It’s November 3, 2020, 11PM Eastern Time. CNN, ABC, CBS, and other major TV networks have called California for Joe Biden. With its 55 electoral college votes, the state has ensured that the former Vice President has defeated the incumbent, President Donald John Trump. But there are a few holdouts: Fox News, the president’s de facto ‘State TV’ is not calling the race. President Trump himself is not conceding it. He claims reports of Biden’s victory are a conspiracy by the ‘Fake News Media’. He alleges massive vote rigging including fake mail-in votes and absentee ballots by illegal aliens. His passionate supporters have grabbed semi-automatic rifles and have poured onto the streets in major cities and towns across America, to ‘claim the victory’ that has been stolen from them by an insidious cabal of ‘far-left anti-American ‘socialists.’
The clock is ticking. Biden’s camp cannot believe what’s happening. It’s approaching midnight, and all states have been called, but the traditional congratulatory phone call hasn’t come from Mr Trump. Trump’s lawyers have already filed an injunction in the Supreme Court, where conservative justices are the majority on the bench. Democrats as a result are full of dread. They counter-file a lawsuit of their own.
The following morning, there is carnage on American streets. Heavily armed pro-Trump militia are clashing with liberal demonstrators. Hundreds are dead, property worth billions of dollars destroyed. Smoke is billowing from buildings all over the country, from Seattle to New York.
President Trump declares a state of emergency, suspends the constitution, assumes emergency powers and declares rule by decree, “given the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ in the country,” he says from a televised address from the Oval Office. He orders the deployment of plain-clothed, heavily armed paratroopers to patrol the streets and shoot to kill any ‘looters’ on sight.
A month later, the Supreme Court rules 5-4 in his favour. Trump, not Biden, won the November 3rd election, the court says. Mr Trump serves the term but towards the end in 2024, he throws a spanner in the works: Given that he was impeached by the House of Representatives in his first term, legally that meant that he didn’t really serve it, hence he deserves another ‘clean’ term to compensate for that ‘malpractice’ by the democrats.
We as Africans therefore need to begin asking an even more dizzying question: Will “The Donald” seek a 4th term?
This apocalyptic scenario is, of course, a fiction of my imagination, and no sane person expects this to happen in a ‘shining city on a hill’, in the ‘greatest country on earth’
Except that recent happenings in that country have continued to chip away at that lie.
I have written on these pages before that the world owes Trump gratitude for unmasking the real America. Trump, a blush, arrogant white supremacist born into money, lacks the silver tongue of his ivy-league educated predecessors and is incapable of hiding his true feelings. Whether by calling African countries ‘shithole’, calling immigrants rapists and snakes, or openly appealing to his racist base by saying those who reside in well-kempt neighbours in America’s suburbia would be protected from ‘poor housing’ under his policies, or his calling of predominantly black cities ‘rat-infested’, Donald Trump’s gift to the world has been to put to rest the pretentions of American ‘exceptionalism’ by exposing its arrogance, racism and sociopolitical, economic and social bullying of the world.
When Donald Trump deployed the military in Washington DC to curb protests that followed the killing of George Floyd who then unleashed terror on them, America’s media called the move ‘unprecedented’ and out of a dictator’s playbook. Except there was nothing unprecedented about it. Black people in America had been victims of police terror in the 1960s and 70s, and America’s troops had always been deployed by Mr Trump’s predecessors from both parties whenever there was an insurrection that followed some cataclysmic event such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, and the violent beating of Rodney King.
At the same time, America’s State Department has encouraged, even sponsored, protests in many countries from Hong Kong to DRC and rebuked the governments in those countries for cracking down on them.
From the time Trump was elected in 2016, Comedian Bill Maher has warned that he would not leave if he was defeated in November 2020. At first, they called his ‘prophesy’ one of the many musings of a comedian. However, Trump for months seems to have been setting up a perfect scenario in which he would somehow credibly refuse to accept defeat, or hang on somehow: denying the credibility of the election by sowing doubt about the otherwise normal voting practices such as absentee voting and mail-in ballots; saying the media was working with the democrats to rig the election, and casting aspersions on American institutions. Now mainstream news outlets are openly worried that he actually might not leave after all.
But what kind of poetic justice would that be if that were to happen? For decades, America has interfered with the electoral affairs of countless countries in the third world, removing elected leaders it didn’t want and installing stooges in their place, leaving an ogre of murder and violence in its wake.
To complete the whole gamut in Trump’s dictatorial experiment, a few days ago he threw another gambit into his freakshow. He suggested that under the current circumstances of coronavirus, it’s impossible to hold a free and fair election in November, and therefore the election should be postponed, a statement which threw the media into a frenzy. It was headline news in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Ironically, these same western media and human rights institutions have risen in arms castigating African governments who wish to hold ‘scientific elections’ during this pandemic, arguing that the elections be postponed instead of limiting the campaigning of some of the ruling-party challengers and putting public health in jeopardy.
African governments have been force-fed democracy lectures from America’s government and its affiliate institutions for decades. Africans have always known the gimmick for what it was, hypocrisy. But we never knew that in our lifetime America would elect a president who, with his every tweet, utterance and executive order, would lay bare his own country’s hypocrisy for the world to see. For this, we should be thankful for Donald Trump.