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America: Where demagogues win?

rebecca_theodore4By Rebecca Theodore From Caribbean News Now

Aside from the blatant fact of observing the suppression of freedom of speech in a presidential election campaign – something that America forbids in many democratic nations of the world, the great irony is that demagogues are now a part of the natural life cycle of democracy in America.

And even the staunchest of Donald J. Trump supporters who chose to argue for populism in favour of demagoguery, now agree, that demagoguery has violated the principled edicts of deliberative democracy.

Hence, we must begin by recognizing what is new about the demagoguery that is creating a new breed of winners in America.

Despite the contention of critics, that “Donald J. Trump has won the demagoguery wing of the Republican Party that’s been feasting off far-right obstructionism in Washington”, and his actions are “the end result of the scathing vitriols of right-wing talk radio hosts that thrive on their listeners’ distaste for immigration”; it cannot be denied that Trump’s ad hominem attacks seduces misrepresentation and misunderstanding in the democratic process.

More to the point, the Guardian US asserts, that “it is a gulf that has created a microcosm perfect for demagoguery, especially one steeped in racism.”

Albeit, there is no question that Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is using demagoguery as a weapon in the raging battle for the political soul of America, and is manipulating the stereotypes and insecurities that already existed in the democratic discourse.

Even though historians and political scientist alike approve that democracy is also capable of birthing tyranny through demagoguery, and that democracy in Athens was also synonymous with demagoguery, corruption, inefficiency, injustice and unscrupulousness in every aspect of public affairs; and Plutonian reasoning further confirms that “the vulnerability to demagoguery is a fatal flaw in democratic political systems,” attention must also be directed at the way in which the prejudices and emotions of the populace have been provoked in our new technological age.

It is true that it is the power of the Constitution that resolves the threat of demagoguery, and for this, the First Amendment comes into full force in light of presidential campaign undertakings. It is the Constitution that enforces order and ensures civility, but if Americans continue to suppress constitutional ideals that short trail demagogues like Donald J. Trump, and use the power of the First Amendment only when it suits their purpose, then effectively they are helping to make demagogues win.

For it is not the words written in the Constitution, but the power of the people that prevents the rise of demagogues.

It follows that America’s political institutions and the electoral college must now make every effort to foil demagoguery from becoming a winner, and to thwart the successful seizure of them by demagogues and mob rule.

Moreover, if “bigotry is an opportunistic infection that always attacks when the body politic is in a weakened state”, and political theory in America continue to show that democracy is about material wealth, or the ad populism arguments of Donald J. Trump, then demagoguery will also curb the progression of humanity’s task to obtain freedom for all of it citizenry.

Elaborating further, Donald J. Trump’s new demagoguery have awakened the old paradigms of America’s shameful past. Its favoured currency is not only the incomprehensible sobriquet that flows from the lips of billionaires and worthy elites, but the disgraceful resurrection of a discourse that surged from the Jim Crow laws of the 1800s and 1960s.

It requires us, in short, to see demagoguery as a weapon in the uncontrolled battle of who will speak for minorities and the marginalized among us. Will it be demagogues who expound ethnic isolationism or those disciples of hate who through decades have maliciously deepened the divisions between the races and those of different socio economic class and status?

Rebecca Theodore is an op-ed columnist based in Washington, DC. She writes on national security and political issues. Follow her on twitter @rebethd or email at [email protected]

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