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A Bad Month for Populism – Lequotidien

It appears the promised red wave was no more than a timid ripple that the GOP won’t be riding to a majority in the United States Congress. The democratic party seems poised to retain control of the Senate, therefore being able to avoid the cynical obstructionism that republicans would have launched on President Joe Biden’s agenda. The American people havecome out and decided to vote in favour of democracy, and, quite frankly, in favour of overall sanity. For a year now, there had justifiably been fears of populism and extremism advancing throughout the world; and for the 2nd time in only a months’ time, a big country has stood firm against the divisiveness of would-be authoritarians after Brazil ousted its now-former president Jair Bolsonaro and elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva again after he served from 2003 to 2010. As President Biden put it, “Today was a good day for democracy”. I would say that the past month has been good for democracy and bad for populism.

This victory has demonstrated to the American conservatives that there is only one constant in the world, and that is ‘change’. Despite the billions of dollars poured into campaigns by shadowy rich figures hiding behind political action committees (PACs), the voters have come out in force and showed that they weren’t looking to go back in time. They were looking for something to root for and not against, they were interested in sensible and effective government, and not extremists who, like it was the case in Arizona, proclaimed aloud that their party would never lose again if they were put in charge of elections. The American people, like the rest of the world, is ready to embrace the challenges of this new world together, and not fight amongst each other because of differences of race, religion, or personal beliefs. America has rejected hate and division at the polls for the second time in a row after Joe Biden trounced Donald Trump in 2020. These results proved that the distractions of the constant insults and boisterous lies can only subsist for so long. The people want their representatives who show up and do the job, all without attacking or demeaning others in the process.

Make no mistake, even with Donald Trump and Bolsonaro gone, the recessive gene of authoritarianism is still alive in the US and in world politics, and it must be confronted head-on at every turn with an old-fashioned weapon: the truth. One of the reasons this midterm election failure of the GOP is important is not only because it shows America is ready to emerge from its post Donald Trump miasma, but it sends a strong message to the world. It sends the message that the “burn it all down” type of politics is not a solution. Politicians who turn a blind eye to or incite violence in the supposed name of patriotism are just tyrants waiting to be handed the keys to the castle, and they must be kept as far as possible from power.America has shut the door on these nationalists and is again embracing the multilateral cooperation it has long been known for.

Numerous programs in the developing world like USAID or Africare that were defunded under the Trump presidency could come back in effect, to the benefit of many of my Senegalese compatriots. One of the effects also likely to be seen in the short-run is a decrease in oil prices. The oil conglomerate OPEC, under the direction of Russia and Saudi Arabia had decided to significantly cut oil production, which caused a raise in energy prices and the subsequent inflation many countries have been going through. This was in large part used as leverage to weaken President Biden at home in the hope that his party would be replaced with one that would be willing to turn a blind eye to authoritarian leaders in the world.You can rest assured that a few high-placed people in Moscow, Riyadh, and Beijing were left bereaved by the results of last night’s American elections. The United States president will be able to reassure his European allies and approach the question of Ukraine from a position of strength, no longer worrying about the insurrectionist hordes seizing the capitol at the ballot box this time.

There is still quite a lot of work to do to defeat these destructive ideologies, but it starts by telling the truth, even when it does not serve one’s immediate political interests. Telling the truth is the only way to remain consistent in conducting the arduous task of running a city, a country, or a household. This most basic value seems to have eluded some of our leaders.I, for one, am convinced that those leaders will not be able to sustain their lies, telling a lie is easy but maintaining it is much harder. That is because, in the end, the truth always wins.

By Dema SANE

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