IN JUST a few days time the people of the United States go to the polls to elect their next President.
I, like I’m sure most of you, will be holding my breath hoping for change. After four years of America’s most dysfunctional, racist and reactionary administration in living memory, there could finally be change.
Trump has demonised immigrants, Muslims and the county’s black communities. He has openly endorsed and excused white supremacists, while mocking women and reducing access to healthcare and public services. Under the guise of ‘America First’, the rich have got richer and the poor poorer.
As our exclusive polling in this special U.S. edition reveals, Americans are more deeply divided than ever, pessimistic and fearful of one another.
In an increasingly turbulent world, the lack of leadership and America’s withdrawal from the world stage has seen dictators go unchallenged and international accords and treaties weakened. The fight against climate change has become ever more difficult since the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Agreement, limited as it already was, and efforts to overcome poverty and hunger around the world have been hampered without US support and money.
Donald Trump has tried to make his opposition to China central to his re-election campaign, but of course it has been his actions that has allowed the Chinese to really spread their power over the last few years.
It has been America’s withdrawal from, and indifference to, Africa which created the vacuum into which the Chinese stepped. It was Trump’s indifference to human rights abuses and democracy across the world that has meant the international community has been so impotent to China’s own abuses.
Trump now talks about the plight of the Uyghur Muslims, but it was only last year when he told advisors that China’s establishing of internment camps was “exactly the right thing to do”.
Just as Trump’s election gave a green light for dictators and authoritarian regimes to crackdown on opponents and subvert democracy, we can only hope that a more sensible administration will – at the very least – put a break on some of their worst excesses and eventually see real change.
While, hopefully, we will soon be celebrating Trump’s electoral demise, it is also important that we address some of the issues which led to his rise: deindustrialisation, stagnating wages and a loss of dignity and respect – issues which have also been partly responsible for the rise of the populist radical right in the UK and much of Europe.
But before any of this happens, Joe Biden needs to win and Trump has to accept defeat. And as this special issue of HOPE not hate magazine explores, the most dangerous time may lie ahead. Trump has indicated that he will contest any loss, and with many of his supporters well- armed and willing to fight, there are genuine and well-founded fears that things could get nasty and violent.
Of course, one new leader and one country alone cannot change the world. But the removal of Trump gives us the best chance to reset the international landscape, reintroduce a process of collaboration over competition, the primacy of liberal democracy over authoritarianism, and – once more – hope over hate.
For now, we wait with baited breath. And hope.
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