The Stupidity of Politics

If democracies can live without the travails of politics, the world would have arrived at a tremendous turning point in its history which would herald unlimited growth without chaos and peace for all its inhabitants.

That is of course, a rather simplistic statement to make. Politics is an inherent part of all democracies, and sometimes politics is present in monarchies, theocracies and dictatorships as well. It appears that we cannot do away with the politicking of political parties in shaping our democracies.

When U.S. Presidential Politics goes into a nosedive with incomprehensible philosophies and unreasonable commitments, then the world knows that the U.S. is in for a period of turbulence till the new President is elected. Once elected, the Presidential priorities change as pragmatism takes over the place of pure ideology. We saw this in every recent election, including that of the current President Obama, who could not keep several of his campaign commitments that he made to the U.S. electorate, such as the closing down of the Guantanamo prison in Cuba. This is not unusual as Presidents do run into heavy opposition in the Congress when they try to actually implement their commitments to the people.

Donald Trump is inching ahead of all the others in the U.S. Republican polls (till now), despite some minor setbacks. He has proved that his pedigree of big claims, outlandish promises, unpardonable language and intentions, and a generally cavalier attitude to global politics (a.k.a. foreign policy), would be all right in the eyes of the electorate which is demanding a big change from Obama. Mr Trump has assiduously managed his public persona and wealthy image as a successful businessman, to position himself strongly ahead of the other Republican presidential contenders.

One can agree or (mostly) disagree with him, but one cannot ignore him. Increasingly, the electorate is eyeing him as a probable alternative to the usual Democratic Party or Republican Party candidates, who are beholden to the party ideals. The recent statements that he made against other religions do not go well with his stature, neither do his previous statements against immigrants. Nevertheless, the U.S. and the world have to contend with him should he be nominated as the Republican Party’s official candidate in the U.S. Presidential elections – he has a good chance of winning against Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party, in my assessment.

Overall, the stupidity of the candidates speaks for itself, loud and clear. An educated, employed, above-average U.S. household would evaluate the choices rather carefully when it comes to voting in the Presidential elections. However, that may not be the case in the rest of the U.S. which, like most other countries’s electorate, could easily be swayed by the aggressive and sometimes repulsive statements of the candidates.

I am not taking a personal stand for one or the other candidate. My only hope is that the U.S. should not isolate itself from the rest of the world. Never mind what many people say around the world, this world does require a global police man. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depends on how one sees it !), the U.S. has been that policeman for a long while (atleast after the breakup of the Soviet Union), and is required to be in that position given the emergence of other powers, in order to establish a strategic balance of powers.

I know that many Asian and South East Asian nations would need that kind of assurance from the U.S. If that assurance does not come, then these countries would have no choice left. I believe that the Presidential election’s stupidity parameters would not carry over into the next White House and a semblance of normalcy with consistency of policies would remain (as it does today).

The U.S. Presidential election campaign has proved one more thing – that the U.S. is no different from the other large democracies in the kind of stupidity which engenders election campaigns in a noisy, unwholesome, and moronic way. But, that is the nature of democratic politics and we have to live with it.

Welcome to noisy democratic election campaigns, but ignore the key messages !


Vijay Srinivasan

13th December 2015


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