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Lacking Leaders

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Former US President Donald Trump’s conviction in the Stormy Daniels hush money case could even lead to a twenty-year sentence. As usual, he has rejected it out of hand as another example of the attempt to deny him the chance to run for President in the coming elections. He has three even more serious cases pending, which he has managed to stall for the time being. There is much concern about a convicted felon standing for the post of President – the legal, moral and political implications. Analysts believe that conviction in this case involving suppression of facts regarding ‘mere’ illegal money transactions would not influence the Trump support base. The Democrats feel that the assault on Capitol Hill in 2021 is a better case to support their cause.

Some may find similarities in this situation with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s incarceration and the heated stand-off between the ruling NDA and INDI Alliance. However, despite what some may claim, the political polarisation in the US is far greater than in India, possibly because the presidential and parliamentary systems have some fundamental differences. The lesson for both nations is that care should be taken when it comes to choosing leaders. In the US, for instance, both the Republicans and Democrats represent ideologies that have substantial contributions to make. However, both at present are poorly represented in Trump and President Biden. Trump’s disregard for moral principles is surprisingly supported by a traditional vote base that stands strongly with the conservative value-system. On the other hand, Democrats are unable to find a younger, more contemporary leader than Biden. This does not bode well for the US come 5 November, when elections are to be held.

Both parties are facing the same dilemma that confronts the opposition in India – how to find a leader that can garner enough public support to win the elections. Trump’s presence on the Republican ticket might alienate large sections of society, particularly minorities, enough to weaken the challenge. A more inspiring Democrat would easily clinch the issue. Some independents even might attract enough votes to disturb the balance.

As India’s elections wind up and the people decide the path India will take into the future, interest will now focus on what unfolds in the US. The world’s two great and influential democracies need to communicate the right message to the world so that people who do not have the luxury of choosing their leaders are encouraged to aspire for democracy. A bad performance on the other hand can prove greatly off-putting.