US election: There's no perfect democracy or leader, perhaps strong institutions

US election: There's no perfect democracy or leader, perhaps strong institutions

As President Donald Trump refuses to concede the US presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden, onlookers are counting on America’s strong institutions to check the incumbent president's antics.

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For many international spectators, and the larger majority of Africans who are still monitoring the aftermath of the 2020 US presidential race, there’s no doubt that the highpoint of global admiration for US democracy is nearing a low point.

Despite losing the popular votes by 6 million, President Donald Trump has so far refused to explicitly concede to President-elect Joe Biden, who also clinched 306 electoral college votes in the 3 November election.

Defenders of democracy

The irony though is the statement about elections in Africa, issued by the US Department of State amidst a chaotic election process in the lead-up to the US poll on 3 November.

Araba Koomson speaks on preparation of Ghanaian media ahead of Election 2020
US election: There’s no perfect democracy or leader, perhaps strong institutions

As Donald Trump refuses to concede the US presidential election to Joe Biden, onlookers are counting on America’s strong institutions to check the incumbent president. Photo credit: cnn.com
Source: UGC

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The US State Department, while stating that the conduct of elections is critical not only for Africans but also for defenders of democracy around the world, went on to threaten sanctions on those interfering in African elections or related violence.

Despite being widely seen as a perfect model and defender of democracy, America's presidential race has presented a sorry democratic spectacle amid unsubstantiated claims of fraud and a slew of lawsuits by President Trump.

The 2020 US election, undeniably, affirms the decaying worldview of American exceptionalism and perfect democratic credentials; something that is self-inflicted and associated with racial divisions and political chaos among other internal ills.

It appears the ''emperor has no clothes'', and today, countries with far worse democratic credentials are offering to ''supply the US with magnificent clothes''.

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Trump’s claim of fraud without evidence has made claims of rigging without evidence in African elections less embarrassing.

Prominent African journalists and civil society activists believe the outcome of the US presidential election will impact how Africans view the US as a defender of democracy and the country’s views on democratic developments in Africa.

The Ghanaian journalist at Citi TV and radio, Umaru Sanda Amadu compared the US election to an African election in a post on Facebook: ''African election in the White House Victory without Concession,'' his post read.

As Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud become more ridiculous, the larger majority of Africans are reminded that there’s no perfect leader as many of his ardent African supporters seem embarrassed and have urged him to concede.

''Game over, Trump. Do not drag this. Not nice. Just call Biden and concede. I didn't follow you to do this. Man up,'' the founding president and chief executive officer of IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, said in a post on Facebook.

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A decaying model

At a time where a nation’s influence is intertwined with its international image, many international spectators like Franklin are begging for an end to Trump’s destructive energy and claim of victory.

Rightly so, and perhaps, to help salvage what is left of America’s global image as a model for other democracies to emulate, especially in Africa.

The aftermath of the US election; the nail-biting vote count and Trump's refusal to concede to Joe Biden are moments that highlight that there’s no perfect democracy.

As a result, many observers are counting on strong institutions in the US to check Trump and set the country on a path of political decency and harmony once again.

Strong institutions

Africa has had its share of authoritarian regimes and leaders who claimed victory before the polls were called for them.

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Similarly, President Trump’s claim of victory as ballots were still being counted after the 3 November typifies the aftermath of most African elections.

Trump’s repeated claim without evidence that he had been cheated amid allegations of widespread vote-rigging has overshadowed a relatively peaceful election exercise and undermined the credibility of America’s democratic practices.

Despite his antics, however – the possibility of a coup d’état has not dominated much of the conversation because many still believe America’s institutions are strong to check the incumbent president.

JJ Omojuwa, a Nigerian blogger in the capital Abuja, who had been live-tweeting the aftermath of the US election to his 1 million followers, is confident that the ''the system will check Trump]''.

Despite the brewing tensions with Donald Trump over the 2020 election, onlookers have faith in America’s institutions in keeping with tradition, to swear in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC on 20 January 2020, as the new president and vice-president of the United States.

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Ghanaians weigh in on the chances of the candidates on the ballot paper |

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