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Political Reflection

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US President Donald Trump has been ‘acquitted’ of the impeachment charges by the Senate, which is numerically dominated by the Republicans. This was a given from the start and any revolt within the Republican Party on the issue would have been considered nothing short of a miracle. With the voting having taken place on partisan lines in the Congress and Senate, it cannot be said that the issue has been decided on the merits of the case. What Trump did is an established fact – the issue has been of how his actions are to be interpreted. From the very first, Trump was considered an ‘impeachable’ president by the Democrats because his brash ways violated the politically correct culture of the Washington elite. It was only a matter of time before the opportunity arrived for the Democrats to move into action.

It may be noted, however, that nobody of any consequence in the US has questioned the legitimacy of the process that acquitted Trump. Municipalities and states have not declared that they would not accept the verdict and not consider the President as having authority over them. The ‘polarised’ politics is not being allowed to impact the security of the nation, nor the forces of law and order being challenged while performing their duty by organised protestors. Contrast this with how even mainstream politicians are behaving with regard to the ongoing CAA protests in India.

The political analysts in the US have moved on to examining how the event will impact the coming presidential elections. This is because they understand the importance of the public mandate in a democracy. In fact, it can be stated that the emergence of Pete Buttigieg as the Democratic Party’s first choice in the Iowa primaries can be described as the immediate impact of the impeachment results. Joe Biden, the candidate who is the favourite with the party establishment (which is basically responsible for the messed up strategy against Trump) came in a poor fourth. This indicates the change in people’s thinking as a consequence of the political developments. Unfortunately, similar setbacks revealing the ineffectiveness of existing political leadership do not impact on parties in India, where ‘supremos’ maintain their stranglehold in the confidence that captive votebanks would, some time or the other, bring them into positions of power. This was witnessed in Maharashtra, for instance, where the clear electoral mandate was turned on its head. So, the dynasties remain in power with their outdated politics, while the problems get worse as new leaders with effective solutions fail to make it to the top. And, ironically, this is all done in the name of upholding the Constitution!