Donald Trump continues to keep America and the world guessing as to his next move which should be to concede victory to Joe Biden. But he has not done so formally, though he is sending signals indicating that he is willing to concede without, of course, taking any meaningful action to vacate the White House. This appears to be a game he is playing for a tactical reason: he is playing for time. Though Joe Biden won on the popular vote by nearly seven million votes nothing is certain until the Electoral College confirms his victory. On paper he has the votes of the Electoral College too. But there is speculation as to whether the electors from rogue” Republican states will vote for Biden at the Electoral College.
Despite all traditions and precedents binding the electors of the states won by Biden to vote for him there is no guarantee that they will do so in the coming Electoral College vote on December 14. There are instances where electors have voted against the will of the people of the state and voted for their favourites. In 2016,” states POLITICO (November 19), seven electors ultimately broke their pledge to vote for who they said they would support.Five electors voted for someone other than Hillary Clinton despite Clinton carrying their states, while two abandoned Trump.” This means that Trump still has a chance of overturning the will of the people if a sufficient number of electors certified to vote for Biden at the Electoral College turn against him and vote for Trump. Remember Trump lost the popular vote and won in the Electoral College in 2016. According to David A. Bell of POLITICO, election experts are still worried about the talk of legislatures going rogue between Election Day (November 3) and the selection of Electoral College electors.” (December 14). If, as speculated, the Republican rogue” states gang up against Biden on the pretext of vote fraud, or some other technicality, there is still a chance available for Trump to remain in the White House. So why concede victory too early when there is still some hope, though it is diminishing fast. And who cares if more Americans die as a result of the obstructionist policy of Trump to prevent the new Biden administration working out strategies for the Corona crisis. Corona-caused deaths have gone beyond 250,000. What does it matter to Trump who dismisses it as only another kind of flu?
Clearly, Trump is putting America through a meat grinder. His ego-centric politics is tearing America apart. It is difficult to find in living memory another rough and divisive passage in American history like the post-2016 period. At the core of the American apple is Trump wriggling and eating into its vitals like a revolting worm which came from within the system. He is doing to America what pariah dogs on the run do to lamp posts. He defines himself each time he opens his mouth and fills it with lies. Each time he spits out his egregious hyperboles unsubstantiated by facts or figures he drops deeper and deeper into Dante’s hell. He is fixated on creating and living in the Napoleonic cult of greatness — a small man with big ideas. He imagines that history began with him. In his statements he tries to give the impression that nothing great has happened in American history before his arrival at the White House. Nor has there been anyone in history as great as him. Once, he made a concession to Abraham Lincoln but that too was done grudgingly. He has dragged America to the depths of despair with two devastating crises: 1. Corona pandemic and 2. the constitution. The most notable part of his Presidency is in creating a cult of his own fathering a following that is ready, willing and able to go along with all his crudities.
He performs theatrically on the political stage as the most popular public figure hero-worshipped by the millions. Considering the figures he had scored in the last election he is not wrong either. It reveals that there is an on-going love-hate relationship between him and America. Half of America loves him and the other half is divided between hate and awe. He had brazenly done what all other politicos had feared to do: he had unmasked America and exposed the hidden face caked with liberal cosmetics. He has revealed the fragility of the American democracy which can flip any time under the demagoguery of a swaggering braggart bent on breaking the rules and dismantling the institutions that safeguard the security and the democratic values. Above all, he has proved that he can silence with one twitter even the most respected Republicans who hated his guts in the beginning and then fell in line like a herd of rhinos with thick skins impervious to the rising threats to everything of value created and preserved by the mighty American adventure.
He displays all the symptoms of an egomaniac riding the populist path overdetermined by Trumpism — the new political cult rising to shape the next generation of American policy-makers. It is putting deep roots into the soil fertilized with hate politics. His aim, as declared by him, is to make America great by putting America first — seemingly innocuous labels marketed to disguise the hidden racist ideology of white supremacists. Instead of the fiery, mob-manipulating, hate politics of Hitler he does it the modern way with a consistent flow of Gobbelsian twitters. The only thing that seems to stand in his way of becoming a Yankee Hitler is his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner – the man behind the historic move of making Jerusalem the capital of the Jews.
His total indifference to the hundreds of thousands of Corona virus victims is inhuman and unpardonable. Like the way he places himself above the law he places himself over and above the universal laws of physics and science. His delusional belief in his own power to force men, events and the laws of nature obey his commands is a trait that is a serious threat to planet earth lurching from one critical crisis to another. There can’t be a bigger threat to the welfare and the future of the world than a voodoo Frankenstein presiding over the mightiest nation on earth. The consequences can be far-reaching and colossal as seen in the way he has handled the Corona virus. He condemns his best experts like Dr. Fauci as idiots” and disasters”. With his inhuman policy of presiding over the premature deaths of 250,000 Corona victims he deserves to go down in the annals of American history as the most obnoxious and notorious undertaker ever.
At least on basic humanitarian necessities it was his moral duty to cooperate with the Biden team to alleviate the suffering of the victims of the Corona virus. Trump’s vindictive politics is aimed at obstructing and frustrating any Biden initiatives to succeed. In his last days he is making desperate moves to tie down the Biden administration to his dangerous policies in global and domestic affairs. Trump out of office can be more dangerous than in office. A part of his tactic is to play the role of victim whose victory was stolen by a rigged election. He knows that his future is not going to be rosy with rows of legal cases awaiting his exit from the White House. The evidence against him is overwhelming. His main defence is to play the innocent victim of a corrupt, rigged system.
What is the legacy he is leaving behind? Take the case of Israel. He is leaving legacy mined with explosives. His policy of legalising the Jewish occupation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank is a time-bomb placed under Biden’s chair. The 600,000 Jews in 142 West Bank settlements in Palestinian land has been declared illegal by the global community. Biden will go along making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. It is accepted by the Christian voters of America. But legalising the land occupied by the Jews is an issue that is going to burn the Middle East – and perhaps the world – in the foreseeable future.
Above all, his decision not to abide by the democratic will of the people is going to make him the ugliest American in history books. For the moment he will survive because he is riding high on the passions he has injected into the apathetic veins of the sleepy Americans. Credit must be given to him for keeping the American nation awake 24/7 with his provocative twitters. He kept the nation alive and kicking on a regular diet of lies. Not surprisingly the latest polls indicate that a substantial percentage of voters believe that Trump lost because the election was rigged.
What is happening in America is surreal. Only a brash maverick like Trump could make it happen. He has validated the rejection democracy as a fit form governance as first declared by Socrates and Plato. They opted for philosopher kings”. The problem with that theory is that there are enough Donald Trumps in the world who claim to be philosopher kings”. In fact, philosopher Bertrand Russel blamed the Platonic concept of philosopher kings” for breeding Hitlers and Stalins. They presumed that they had the key to unlock the mysteries of history by playing the messianic role of political saviours. Driven by their ideologies they made the 20th century the cruellest age in history.
Humanity has suffered untold miseries at the hands of these fake messiahs – from Hitler and Stalin to Rohana Wijeweera and Prabhakaran. What is unacceptable is the willingness of a section of humanity to follow the Wijeweeras and Prabhakarans. A good example of this is Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda, who, for all intents and purposes, seems to be a rational human being. After all he was an academic who held a chair in the professoriate. He not only believed in the goodness of these brutal messiahs but also theorised on their behalf to justify their obscene violence. Once he returned from a fleeting meeting with Prabhakaran as if he had seen the earthly manifestation of the heavenly Prince of Peace. Taking Prof. Uyangoda and a Trump-follower as empirical evidence that demonstrates the political mind-set of messianic devotees one is entitled to ask whether there is any difference between the two?
If you look around the pundit class (synonymous, of course, with the chattering class) you can find enough and more theorists who pretend to be the panacea to complex and all intractable problems of the nation. Take the case of Dayan Jayatilleka, another one of those pundits whose theories are tailored mostly to advance his next career move. In his latest outpouring he has blamed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his model of governance for the second wave of Corona virus.
After circumambulating around his pet hates, including Sinhala-Buddhism, he concludes that the fight against Covid-19 isn’t going well because of the unscientific or pseudo-scientific metaphysical ideology through which the Rajapaksa regime sees everything. To him the end of the world has come. It is the Corona Chernobyl. The holocaust. And Hiroshima and Nagasaki — all rolled into one.
It is apparent that the hidden agenda behind his attack is to target the Rajapaksa regime which has rejected him. It is partly a personal attack on Gotabaya Rajapaksa and partly an attack on the Rajapaksa model of governance. All his theoretical conclusions about the second wave is to downgrade the Rajapaksa achievements which he had praised to the skies not so long ago when he was with the Rajapaksas. He says: For this regime, it is more important to believe in its model of governance, its system, than to seek truth from facts” as was Deng Xiaoping’s motto. The regime does not see the need to look at how the really successful countries have managed this and learn from their strategies…” because it is an article of faith that Sri Lanka under the present leadership is the really successful country”, and it is felt to be more important than anything else to keep the faith in this postulate, whatever the empirical evidence to the contrary. Nobody dares to contradict the new model, still less learn from the strategies” of the really successful countries”. In consequence, we may be running the risk of a Corona Chernobyl.
The current Sri Lankan model is one which is derived a priori from a sense of superiority stemming from a mix of having won the war (again, falsely listed as the only or the first victory over terrorism, at least in the 21st century) and the innate superiority of the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, civilization and way of being. To question the results on the basis of evidence, i.e. the successes of the model, acknowledge defeats and failures, and shift course” as Dr. Ranan-Eliya urges, is to question the sacrosanct model itself and verges on heresy and treason.”
This attack covers a whole range of factors that characterise the Rajapaksa government. He is making use of the Corona crisis purely to hang his political attack on it. His real motive is to use the second wave as an excuse to run down the Rajapaksa regime for acting without seeking the truth from facts”. By the way, I am not citing Deng Xiao-ping to show off my familiarity with the founding fathers of the Chinese Revolution because it is threadbare statement commonly used in practically every civilization long before he was born. In any case, it is not such a profound or original statement that needs the backing of a distinguished authority. It would have had the same impact if he quoted Haramanis Singho instead of Deng. Throwing in big names as authorities for trite statements is a part of his style to show off that he is not one of those the run-of-the-mill political scientists. Writing advertisement about himself to enhance his image as a political scientist is also a common ploy of his to impress his readers that he must be taken seriously and not treated as a frivolous yes-man” hired to manufacture excuses to boost the political fortunes of his new master.
Now that he has parked himself in Sajith Premadasa’s camp he is doing just that: struggling to manufacture excuses to boost his master’s fortunes. Both are trying to politicise the COVID-19 wave to gain some political mileage. But the more sensible and constructive approach to the Covid-19 crisis was enunciated by Ruwan Wijewardene, the Deputy Leader of the UNP, who urged all parties to unite to overcome the crisis. (Daily Mirror – 17/11). Now that is a sign of a mature and responsible leader who genuinely cares for the people.
The last thing that this nation needs is another fake theorist who is singing for his supper
H. L. D. Mahindapala