'Looking at America in disbelief': Trump's false election claims reverberate globally

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sister-mary-agnes-ample-bottom  •  3 weeks ago  •  21 comments

By:   Alexander Smith and Nat Sumon (MSN)

'Looking at America in disbelief': Trump's false election claims reverberate globally
"This weakens the moral authority of the U.S. when speaking out about other countries' elections," one expert said.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



'Looking at America in disbelief': Trump's false election claims reverberate globally

LONDON — Accusations of vote-rigging, protests at counting centers and false declarations of victory from an embattled incumbent. President Donald Trump's baseless claims in the wake of the election are a gift to the world's dictators and undermine American efforts to call out antidemocratic behavior abroad, experts have warned.

Since the election, Trump has launched a rhetorical assault on the basic tenets of American democracy. He urged officials to stop counting votes when his lead in several battleground states began to narrow; he alleged widespread voter fraud without evidence and wrongly labeled mail-in ballots illegal; and he repeatedly accused the Democrats of trying to "steal" the election.

Even after a first term in which the president has repeatedly undermined democratic values, his comments this week have caused a whole new level of alarm. This only increased when his supporters, some of them armed, began crowding polling centers during knife-edge counts in Arizona and Michigan.

But independent observers have also warned of damaging consequences abroad, where the United States has spent decades — and millions of dollars — on democracy building efforts.

"He very clearly crossed a line by saying votes should stop being counted," said Michael Link, the leader of an electoral observer mission to the U.S. by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "To use a sports analogy, when you're in the middle of the game and you're leading with 40 minutes to go, you can't stop the game just because you want to win."

The OSCE, a large international organization that monitors elections around the world, found in its preliminary report Wednesday that the U.S. vote was largely "competitive and well managed." But it said it had been "tarnished" by Trump's "baseless allegations" and warned his comments would "harm public trust in democratic institutions" globally.

Watching from Malawi, authoritarianism expert Nic Cheeseman said he was already witnessing first hand the real-world damage wrought by Trump's remarks.

"This weakens the moral authority of the U.S. when speaking out about other countries' elections, and that will embolden dictators around the world," said Cheeseman, who is temporarily based in East Africa but is a professor of democracy and international development at England's University of Birmingham.

Anyone wanting to subvert democracy in their own countries will now be able to "take advantage of the fact the U.S. now has a weaker voice on these issues," he said.

The past four years have seen strongmen — from Syria to Turkey, and Hungary to Thailand — adopt Trump's "fake news" mantra to dismiss factual journalism that they don't like. The fear now is that autocrats will be able to directly reference Trump's antidemocratic rhetoric to justify their own actions. Or they may just feel that the U.S. is more likely to let them off the hook, Cheeseman said.

"The U.S. is the leading democracy in the world," former British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC on Wednesday.

"If we have people talking about stolen elections left right and center, then we are only going to put a smile on the face of people like President Putin, President Xi," Hunt said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, "who will look at their own people and say: Aren't you pleased you haven't got any of this mess?"

© Evan Vucci Image: President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House (Evan Vucci / AP)

Even after a presidency in which Trump has shocked the world with his norm-busting style, for many observers at home and abroad his comments have found a new nadir.

"People here are looking at America in disbelief," Cheeseman said. "America is becoming an electoral laughing stock around the world, and the long-term damage to America's democratic reputation will be profound and last long beyond Trump."

Former Vice President Joe Biden has predicted victory, and called for unity as the final vote was counted. According to NBC News, he has received 253 Electoral College votes, compared to 214 for Trump. His election lawyer Bob Bauer, did receive some criticism for saying that "we've won the election, and we're going to defend that election" in response to Trump's remarks.

For decades, the U.S. has been on the forefront of international democracy-building efforts, being quick to call out some foreign governments when they challenge democratic norms.

In 2018, the United States Agency for International Development spent $92 million on its Transition Initiatives program, designed to help countries boost efforts toward "sustainable development, peace, good governance, and democracy."

Ahead of a spate of elections across Africa, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned last month that the U.S. would "watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences."

And on Wednesday, the morning after the U.S. election, the U.S. Embassy in the Ivory Coast called on the country's leaders to show "commitment to the democratic process" after its election was disputed.

"After what Trump said, that exact language could be very easily boomeranged right back to the United States because it applies here, too," according to Brian Klaas, an associate professor of global policy at University College London.

Of course, the U.S. is also accused of soft-soft-pedaling criticism when it comes to friends and strategic partners. Washington counts among its allies the human rights-abusing theocracy of Saudi Arabia. And it gives $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt, where watchdogs say President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has consolidated his authoritarian rule.

During his time in office Trump has cozied up to dictators, notably saying he "fell in love" with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, widely regarded as one of the world's worst living human rights abusers.

© Ethan Miller Image: A news conference about ballot counting in Clark County, Nevada (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

In this sense, many experts see the president's post-election comments as the most brazen example of a long-running trend, rather than an entirely new development.

During his previous work as an election observer traveling around the world, Klaas said he encountered pushback following the 2000 U.S. presidential race, in which George W. Bush defeated Al Gore despite losing the popular vote and only after an ugly legal battle in Florida that reached the Supreme Court.

"People would say to me, 'How can you lecture us when you don't even give the presidency to the person who gets the most votes?'" he said. "This election is like Bush v Gore on steroids."

There are some senior Republicans who have broken rank with Trump, condemning the comments and insisting all votes must be counted.

"There is no defense for the president's comments tonight undermining our Democratic process," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a tweet. "America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before. No election or person is more important than our democracy."

However, these nuances tend to receive little cut-through outside the U.S., and are "probably getting lost in the wall of noise when it comes to international perceptions," Cheeseman said.

And Trump's antidemocratic message is the one that has reverberated above all others.

In Bangkok, Thailand, where protesters risk jail for demanding democratic reform,student Pan Siripark, 19, said they were something that "no one would have ever expected from the U.S."

It was "reminiscent of third-world countries," he added, "where you have accusations of vote rigging … it seems unbelievable."


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Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

"He very clearly crossed a line by saying votes should stop being counted," said Michael Link, the leader of an electoral observer mission to the U.S. by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "To use a sports analogy, when you're in the middle of the game and you're leading with 40 minutes to go, you can't stop the game just because you want to win."

 
 
 
devangelical
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1    3 weeks ago

you would think the elected leader of our country would hold at least a basic grasp of how the government works.

 
 
 
TᵢG
1.1.1  TᵢG  replied to  devangelical @1.1    3 weeks ago

That is what is most despicable about this.   Trump knows all too well how this works.   He continues to try to use deception (lies) to get his way.   Odd though that he does not realize that one cannot cry foul and somehow prevail in a lost election.   Maybe his ego drives him to this irrational behavior.   

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
1.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  TᵢG @1.1.1    3 weeks ago
Maybe his ego drives him to this irrational behavior.

And he's still having that ego stroked by those who agree with his unfounded assertion that he is being cheated.  There are plenty of Trump supporters still willing to believe and spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the election.

It never seems to occur to them that, if the Dems had wanted to and succeeded at rigging the election, they would have a clear majority in the Senate.

 
 
 
TᵢG
1.1.3  TᵢG  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1.1.2    3 weeks ago
There are plenty of Trump supporters still willing to believe and spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the election.

True.  I just responded to a comment from one regarding this.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
1.1.4  sandy-2021492  replied to  TᵢG @1.1.3    3 weeks ago

I'm just floored by the lack of critical thinking going on.  I just responded to a cousin's friend on Facebook who blames Biden for not having received a second stimulus check.  This woman acknowledges that Biden was not holding any office at the time, but still seems to hold him responsible for that jrSmiley_98_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
1.1.5  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1.1.2    3 weeks ago
It never seems to occur to them that, if the Dems had wanted to and succeeded at rigging the election, they would have a clear majority in the Senate.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
 
 
TᵢG
2  TᵢG    3 weeks ago

This is quintessential Trump.   I suspect nobody is surprised by this behavior, but still one must process the fact that he did indeed actually go there. 

 
 
 
MUVA
2.1  MUVA  replied to  TᵢG @2    3 weeks ago

What would you do if you were being cheated?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.1.1  TᵢG  replied to  MUVA @2.1    3 weeks ago

Where is the evidence that he is being cheated?   Trump started claiming fraud well before the election started.   The night of the election he declared fraud and declared that the voting should stop — that he had already won.

How can you possibly take serious this declaration from someone who is demonstrably a serial liar and has delivered no supporting evidence?

Trump looks like he will win NC but will lose GA, PA, NV and continue to lose AZ.   He has no chance of overturning these states and it takes only GA or PA or NV for Biden to win.

It is over.   

So in these circumstances, I would give a concession speech and prepare for the transition.

 
 
 
devangelical
2.1.2  devangelical  replied to  MUVA @2.1    3 weeks ago

provide evidence or stfu.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1.3  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  devangelical @2.1.2    3 weeks ago
provide evidence or stfu.

Hey!  I was going to say that!

 
 
 
devangelical
2.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @2.1.3    3 weeks ago

think of me as basically a flat chested you with a penis here, although you're much better looking.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1.5  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  devangelical @2.1.4    3 weeks ago
think of me as basically a flat chested you

These things are more of a curse than a blessing.

 
 
 
lady in black
2.1.6  lady in black  replied to  MUVA @2.1    3 weeks ago

Proof please....you can't, there isn't any.

 
 
 
devangelical
2.1.7  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @2.1.5    3 weeks ago

it's like art. I love to look, but I don't own any.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.2  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  TᵢG @2    3 weeks ago
one must still process the fact that he did indeed actually go there. 

Just like a stray dog in a world of lamp posts.

 
 
 
Kavika
3  Kavika     3 weeks ago

I find it incredibly sad that the president of the US continues to lie about our election process. It is our most valued right and hundreds of thousands died fighting for that right. It is a disgrace to those that fought and died for that right. 

It is especially sad that this is coming from a man who has never served a day in his life.

On the other hand, we are seeing real Americans making sure that our right is protected. Thousands of American citizens of all parties counting votes and doing it with pride, honesty, and accuracy. 

To those citizens KUDOS.....jrSmiley_28_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Gsquared
4  Gsquared    3 weeks ago

Since day one Trump has gone out of his way to attempt to undermine our democracy, and he continues to do so.  What a disgrace.  We can't see the end of the Trump regime soon enough.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
4.1  seeder  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Gsquared @4    3 weeks ago
We can't see the end of the Trump regime soon enough.

That goes for Trump, his family, his entire cabinet, his friends (who are profiting from his presidency), and his dictator love affairs.

 
 
 
Gsquared
4.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @4.1    3 weeks ago

Absolutely correct.

 
 
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