The result of the U.S. presidential election will come out as early as the afternoon on Thursday. That is, if a candidate has an easy victory. If the votes are close in swing states, chaos of delayed counting of mail-in ballots, litigations, and riots is likely to happen. It is also expected that President Donald Trump who has indicated he would not concede a loss will claim an early victory. A sharp increase in gun purchases, continuous conflicts, and tension surrounding urban cities are redolent of the eve of war.
The crisis of the American tradition of concession and a peaceful transfer of power that has been at the basis of the country’s democracy clearly shows that this year’s presidential election is the source of division and tension in the U.S. The election has been all about competition between pro-Trump and anti-Trump. Democratic candidate Joe Biden called for “building back America better” from the years of President Trump’s presidency but did not show much presence. Rather, the U.S. has been divided into pro-Trump or anti-Trump with the election being the judgment of the president’s last four years.
President Trump’s election win four years ago was the product of the “Trump syndrome.” His strange political behavior resembling his personality on a reality TV show, unproven words and behaviors to provoke division, constant tweets, and the supporters crazed about all of these led to Trump’s win, but a sense of crisis in the Western world regarding the inflow of refugees in the world was at the root. The huge influx of refugees caused by civil wars and chaos in the Middle East led to the border closures of European countries, the expansion of the far-right, the U.K.'s Brexit, and finally President Trump's inauguration.
President Trump has remained faithful to such a political background. He responded to the requests of his main supporters in the White lower middle class by banning Middle Eastern refugees from entering the country, building a wall along the border with Mexico, and engaging in racially-discriminating words and actions, which heavily damaged the democracy of harmony and compromise. In terms of foreign relations, he withdrew from several international agreements, put pressure on allies, and showed off his personal relations with dictators. In academia, many discourses defining Trump’s politics as “para-fascism,” which is not as blatant but still threatening, have continued.
Trump’s politics is the product of the current era. The election is the judgment of the American people. However, given the “Trump effect” produced as a result, the impact of the judgment will not just stay in the U.S. President Trump’s normalization of the abnormal has desensitized people around the world. Inflammatory politics that mimic Trump and incite division have risen in various places. The world is paying attention to the fate of Trump’s politics that showed how easily a mature democracy can be destabilized by the scheme of incitement and division.