US democracy or banana republic?

NEW DELHI | Updated: 20 December, 2023 4:36 pm IST
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The United States of America, once hailed as the beacon of democracy and the leader of the free world, is increasingly looking like a banana republic. Since the last Presidential elections, which were dubbed as rigged by Donald Trump supporters and the January 6 rioting in the White House, the US has only been inching closer to constitutional and social chaos.

The latest glaring example is the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that bars former President Donald Trump from running in the state’s presidential primary, citing his alleged role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. The ruling, which was split along partisan lines, is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters who support Trump and his policies. It also sets a dangerous precedent for other states to follow suit and exclude Trump from the ballot, effectively nullifying the will of the people.

The ruling is not only undemocratic but also unconstitutional. The US Constitution grants the states the power to determine the manner of choosing their presidential electors, but it also imposes certain limits on that power. One of those limits is the 14th Amendment, which states that no person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the US, or given aid or comfort to its enemies, shall hold any office under the US. However, the amendment also states that Congress, by a two-thirds vote of each house, may remove such disability. In other words, the amendment does not give the states the authority to disqualify candidates based on their alleged involvement in insurrection or rebellion but rather delegates that power to Congress.

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The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, therefore, violates the constitutional separation of powers and usurps the role of Congress. Moreover, the ruling is based on a dubious interpretation of the events of January 6, which have not been fully investigated or adjudicated by any court of law. To label Trump and his supporters as insurrectionists or rebels, without due process or evidence, is a gross injustice and a sign of the deep polarization and division that plagues the US political system, where the two major parties are locked in a bitter and endless struggle for power, often at the expense of the common good.

The ruling also exposes the hypocrisy and double standards of the Democrats, who claim to champion democracy and human rights but are quick to suppress and silence their opponents. The Democrats, who have accused Trump of undermining democracy and the rule of law, are now doing the same by using the courts to rig the elections in their favour. The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling is not an isolated incident, but part of a larger pattern of democratic erosion and decay in the US. The country is facing multiple crises, beginning with the COVID-19 pandemic followed by economic recession, social unrest, racial injustice, climate change and illegal immigration. Yet, instead of addressing these challenges with unity and cooperation, the US political elites are engaged in a vicious and futile cycle of blame and revenge, corruption and collusion, lies and propaganda, censorship and cancellation, intimidation and violence.

The US should do everything to prevent itself from sliding into a banana republic like situation and it is time for the American people to wake up and stop it.

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