Did you know that the democratic system fosters awareness of human rights as citizens of the country to obtain freedom of opinion, freedom of association and equal opportunities in social or public spaces? A country cannot become a democracy if it does not have the concept of Reschtsstaat. A democratic rule of law will always be connected and integrated from the three basic substances it contains, the constitution, democracy and the law itself.
Who is Donald Trump?
Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Donald Trump’s triumph upset the global political order due to a series of statements and his divisive political policies. Some of Trump’s contentious policies include the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, tight ties with Vladimir Putin, and protectionist policies that have faced opposition both within and beyond the country. In this study, the author employs legitimacy theory to examine the political consequences of Trump’s initiatives. According to the findings of this study, Donald Trump’s policy issue has an impact on a crisis of political legitimacy, posing a challenge to US political primacy in the global political arena.
Donald Trump’s Populism Is Damaging Democracy?
The riots that were erupted by loyalists of the President of the United States (US) Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 had a great effect on this country. This can be illustrated as a pipe that requires water damage restoration. For the first time, the process of transition of power in a country that claims to be a role model for world democracy is chaotic. This is interesting because the US public takes great pride in their complicated electoral system but has a very high level of legitimacy. Broadly speaking, the transition of power in the US, however controversial, has always been peaceful.
It’s just that in the last 20 years, there have been several moments where the election ended controversially. Uniquely, these moments always involve the presidential candidate from the Republican Party who still won the election even though he did not win a majority vote. The first incident occurred in the 2000 US Election between George W. Bush (Republican) vs. Al Gore (Democrat). The furore ensued when the vote count in the state of Florida had to be repeated by order of the Supreme Court and was eventually won by the Republican nominee. This incident even became the subject of ridicule when Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean dictator—offered to send his election observers to help the US.
The second incident occurred in the 2016 election, which pitted Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton. In the election that was considered the most brutal in US history, along with the mobilization of identity politics and massive racial hatred, Trump succeeded in defeating Clinton, who was more favored by various survey institutions.
At its peak, in the 2020 election, President Trump who lost badly in terms of the electoral vote and popular vote refused to admit defeat and instead accused the Democratic Party of large-scale fraud to rob him of his victory. In effect, outraged Trump loyalists eventually stormed Capitol Hill to thwart president-elect Joe Biden’s endorsement of victory.
Within the framework of a political concept, the Capitol Hill raid was the most tangible form of the populist method used by Trump and his conservative elite supporters. Populism is defined as a political act in which a leader tries to gain direct access to his supporters without going through formal political institutions such as political parties. Instead, populist leaders always need interactive channels of communication.
If the populist leaders of old used public speeches and mass mobilization to achieve this, today everything has transformed itself into social media. Trump is keen to take advantage of this as he continues to share aggressive tweets, including provocations to protest on Capitol Hill.
The violence that took place on Capitol Hill was a major blow to the democratic system in the US. This leads to a contradiction; Why do Americans, who are so proud of their democracy, take such anti-democratic actions?
Trump supporters claim that they are actually improving democracy in the US. They are trying to reclaim their votes which were rigged by politicians entrenched in an elitist democratic system. Despite its democratic claims, the US political system is a closed system and cannot be entered by just anyone. In this situation, President Trump presents himself as a symbol of a leader who has successfully penetrated this elitism and became a mouthpiece for white Americans.
By his supporters, Trump is no longer seen as a president, a businessman or a mere Republican. He has become a symbol of recognition of the revival of conservative whites and Christian fundamentalists in this country. So far, the conservative white group has lost its privilege and dominance in various areas of life. They have to share the ‘cake’ with people of color as well as immigrants who come to the US. Their ‘cake’ part is thinning even though they still hold the majority position.
As a populist, Trump is very observant in exploiting this feeling of defeat. Through provocative rhetoric, Trump managed to provoke emotion as well as mass euphoria to move to fight for his agenda. The emotion and hate-based mass mobilization demonstrated in the Capitol Hill attacks, despite being in stark contrast to the basic tenets of US liberal democracy, emphasizes rationality, constructive public debate, and most importantly, peace. The United States, ironically, has now become a dangerous zone for democracy.
In brief, The United States seems to have lost hope of its leadership. Democracy and human rights that he always marketed to the world are now facing challenges. The raid and occupation of the parliament building (Congress) which caused the loss of four people’s lives worsened the image of the United States’ democratic practice.
The United States is now a blurry picture of the democratic practice it has always been proud of. Fair play, chivalry, accountability, fairness, and sportsmanship which are the basic elements of democratic practice are now buried in the soil of the United States. This country is now a breeding ground for anti-thesa democracy.