Firstly let us establish that behind Donald Trump is a well oiled machine called the American Political system that has been tested and tried to the point where it has ensured that the USA is the biggest world power to date. It is this same system that has made room for foul-mouthed dreamers like Donald Trump to become the president-elect and it is this same system that will guide and direct American politics in the next four years. Hence the general assumptions by critics, media and basically everyone who is distracted by the persona of Trump alone, that he is a rogue card and will wreak global havoc are somewhat ill-informed.
To simplify this stance, let us for example talk about Trump’s anti-immigration rants. To enact them he will have to somehow convince Congress to pass the said law and this Congress is made up of both the Senate and House of Representatives consisting of individuals directly elected by American citizens. The President has signatory authority over the passing of the laws only and if he refuses to sign, Congress can override him. Hence it is not as easy as words uttered at a political rally because the realities on the ground expose the constraints of beaurocracy and in a nutshell it becomes quite clear where American political power is saturated within its political system.
Lest we say that Trump is a representation or reflection of a majority faction of the said political system that will bound him within legislative and democratic checks and balances then we have cause for global panic. So without straying too far from my main argument, lets in all honesty calm down and not make too much out of the Trump character because he is but the poster boy of a system that existed long before he was born.
The Trump Presidency in my opinion is instead a much needed test for American democracy.
Democracy is a Western ideology that motivates most if not all American foreign policy actions .It has been the excuse for state interventions and during the cold war the reason for the big show down between USA and USSR.
That democracy enabled Trump to become the American President-elect is undeniable. All I know is that if Trump was an African President , he would have received some sort of message from America on the importance of embracing the values of democracy . And perhaps at a later stage, his country would be invaded or sanctioned to protect the cause of democracy. However he is American and was democratically elected and nothing is absolutely wrong with him as a representative for the free world. Without going into details on the Trump character which am sure we are all familiar with, his win exposes just how flawed and one-sided the model of Western Democracy is.
Perhaps now the West will understand why context matters in order to make democracy work. Finally what has not been working in Africa, which is leadership in my opinion, is exactly what the USA will be faced with for the next four years.
I am not personally bothered that Trump is the American president-elect, it is a bit too early to say he is a bad or good leader, however in verbatim from what African leaders have been criticised on by the West since they exported Democracy to the continent, Trump should default into the bad leader bracket.
Nonetheless I am willing to wait it out and see how he fares. Western democracy is faced with a leadership challenge based on the character of Trump alone but as already maintained, there is an entire institutional system behind this man and therein lies the true face of Western democracy. Yet Africa has for years been asked to wear the cloak of democracy based on its leadership character alone without the institutional backing that a well oiled political system should come with and the Trump Presidency exposes this truth.
Rakkel Andreas is currently an MA Development and Governance candidate at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. She holds an MA European and International Studies from Centre International de Formation Européen (CIFE) in Nice-France as well as BA in Media Studies and Political Science from the University of Namibia
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