Abdulai Mansaray, author

America has always been known as one of the highest priests of democracy. History shows that America’s aim to promote democracy across the world had seen it encourage governmental and non-governmental organisations and actors to pursue political reforms that will lead to democratic governance. Ironically, every American effort to promote, uphold and enforce democracy around the world had come with some hazards: American interests. Thanks to its interests, we have also seen America’s support for non-democratic autocracies.  From the Bay of Pigs, Nicaragua,

Interestingly, there is an increasing anxiety about the future of democracy around the world, as many autocrats are beginning to feel emboldened by America’s new interpretation of democracy at home. What we see in America today is democratic recession, as we see this nation attempts to uproot and destroy all the foundations of its democratic principles. In the recently concluded “democratic” elections in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro who was fondly described as the “South American Trump” lost the election to former President Lula. Although he met with Lula’s team to begin the transfer of power, Bolsonaro never conceded defeat.

What seems to be the vogue these days is the rising brand of “election deniers”. It is becoming increasingly fashionable to dispute election results even before the take place; thanks to “Denier -in Chief”, Donald Trump. To all intents and purposes, Bolsonaro had no intention to concede the election. After trying and failing to undermine the integrity of the elections, his party shamelessly invited to army to seize power. Sounds familiar. There are significant similarities arising from the debacle in American politics today. Like Trump, Bolsonaro condemned the outcome of the election even before it took place. While his party invited the army to seize power, Trump machinated the capitol riots on January 6th. Unlike Trump, Bolsonaro failed in his attempt to stage a “coup”.

So, why did Bolsonaro fail where Trump succeeded?

Wielding an iron grip on the Republican party, every syllable of Trumps lies, conspiracies, misdemeanours, impeachment etc have been fully supported, promoted and oxygenated by his own party. Many of Trump’s allies and Republican politicians continue to hang on to his coattails of deceit, lies, and alleged crimes. Unlike Trump, Bolsonaro failed to get his party to support him fully with his conspiracies and attempt to undermine democracy. While he was busy casting doubts about the integrity of the Brazilian election, members of his party were busy congratulating Lula and conceding the election results. Although there were some ripples of riots chiefly by truck blockades, they fizzled out chiefly because “a few good men” stepped up to the plate to DEFEND DEMOCRACY.

While Republican politicians have not only given Trump and his acolytes succour to wallow in falsehoods, but they have also demonstrated a shallow commitment to representative democracy. It is not surprising that   republican efforts to disenfranchise some selected voters is now the norm. their Brazilian counterparts have stood up to their leader.  Has Brazil become America’s teacher of democracy?

That is one of the defining differences between the new American democracy and Brazilian version. There is no doubt that pro-democracy attitudes should co-exist and do co-exist with varying degrees of differences. What we see these days is a significant lurch and willingness to consider non-democratic alternatives, because of dissatisfaction with how democracy is currently working in some nations. It is one thing to be dissatisfied with the status quo, but does that mean that we should dismantle the whole concept of democracy?

What is happening in America has been the domain of third and underdeveloped countries. In Africa and elsewhere, no general election is complete without allegations of fraud, vote rigging, intimidation and unlawful detention of opposition politicians. In America, we witnessed Trump’s and by association, the Republican party’s attempt to overturn the election by violent means. Last week, an alleged Republican supporter attempted to kidnap the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. He settled for viciously attacking her husband as an alternative. These are the kind of stories that you would associate with so called third world countries. The question is, how many republicans came out to condemn Mr Pelosi’s attacker, David DePape? Republicans have since engaged in conspiracy theories and mocking Speaker Pelosi. That gives you an idea of how low Republicans are ready to go, to protect and promote their Trumpian cult.

Is America a failed state?

If this happened anywhere else around the world, America would be quick to call it a failed state. At this rate, there is no doubt that America is fast becoming a failed state. It is showing all the hallmarks of a failed state and undemocratic principles. In today’s America, “cancel culture” is now edible. America now runs on its differences, rather than the similarities that invoked the idea of “United States of America”. It is ironical, that the nation which made democracy as art of its GDP is now trading it to self-destruction. Can you imagine the number of lives lost in places like Zimbabwe, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iraq and many more. Generations have died of hunger because America chose to enforce embargoes on countries not deemed democratic enough to American standards. Coups, rebel wars and revolutions have been masterminded, supported and promoted in the name of democracy. Sadly, these are the same democratic principles we see being dismantled before our very eyes in America today. The irony is that, unlike other nations, America’s destruction of its own democracy would not require any external forces.

What does “American Democracy” mean for the world today?

It goes without saying that most democracies around the world were calibrated by American standards. Most countries were only considered democratic, on the say so of America. Being considered democratic by America meant that a country was in receipt of USA aid, loans, support and in some cases, an American military base on your front porch. The implications for the breakdown of democracy in America will have implications worldwide. In little known Cote D’Ivoire, we know the regrettable consequences that followed Lauren Gbagbo’s attempt to do a “Donald Trump”. In those days, politicians, and especially opposition politicians cried foul after voting. Thanks to Trump and his acolytes, the allegations of fraud, vote rigging and corruption are levied even before elections. They seem to dance themselves lame, even when the main dance is yet to come.

So, what does this mean for democracy in Africa?

When a politician condemns an election process even before the election has taken place, does that not count as a recipe for chaos and anarchy? America will conduct its mid-term elections on Tuesday. Among the numerous issues at stake, including abortion rights, inflation, LGBT & Q rights, it is so sad to hear that this election is predominantly about “Saving American Democracy”. Who would have thought that America, the self-anointed disciple of democracy on earth would be fighting to “Save Democracy?

Does America still have the moral authority to comment on the democratic credentials of other nations today? What would America say to Mamadi Doumbouya, the Interim President of Guinea, when and if he decides to replace his military fatigue with a kaftan and do a Lansana Conteh? Paul Biya of Cameroon became Africa’s longest serving President yesterday, 6th November. He became the President on the 6th of November 1982-(40 years ago). What lectures can America offer this octogenarian on democracy? I know a small country where the ruling party believes that “proportional representation” (PP) is the best foot forward in its embryonic democracy. It has proposed PP as the best formula since “Cow & Gate”. The opposition has already cried foul. Does that count as “election denying”? Just asking on behalf of my cousin.

If Americans think that Democracy is at risk only in America, think again. If Americans think that Trump is a danger to American democracy, think again. If Americans think that their mid term elections is about “saving Democracy” only in America, think again. If Americans thing that Trump is only a danger to America and American Democracy, think again. Trump is a danger to democracy worldwide, and in effect a danger to world peace.