Awaiting the End of Trumpism
The victory of Joe Biden is seen as bringing change to the world. But Trump’s style of politics will not simply vanish overnight.
THE result is out: Joe Biden has been elected to become the 46th president of the United States of America, replacing Donald Trump. Biden’s victory is a breath of fresh air: The US will once again be seen through its global commitments and multilateral initiatives that were abandoned by Trump. For example, Biden has promised he will abide by the Paris Accord on climate change and will allocate funds for United Nations agencies. But the biggest hope from Biden’s win is the end of Trumpism.
In the last four years, the world has been attacked by Trumpism: Trump’s style of leadership that upholds narrow nationalism, economic populism, and a lack of concern for ethics and democratic norms. Trumpism also cares little about human rights or environmental protection. Trump justifies any means to achieve his ends. To divert attention and conceal problems, he fires off claims and accusations that make no sense. Stark polarization and disputes between groups are aggravated.
Trumpism has also marked the Trump administration’s foreign diplomacy. Seeking allies against China, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited a number of nations, including Indonesia, at the end of October. When addressing members of the Ansor Youth Movement, he spoke about the sentiments of Muslims in Indonesia regarding communism. Pompeo charged that the Chinese Communist Party was the greatest danger to freedom of religion. It is easy to see this provocative stance as the politics of playing one side off against the other.
Therefore, the destructive power of Trumpism has not only endangered the American public, but also citizens of other nations. And now many leaders are copying Trump’s leadership style. From India to the Philippines, democratically elected leaders are all trying to paralyze democracy. The Trumpism ‘pandemic’ has also spread to Indonesia. The tendency of Joko Widodo’s government to press ahead with economic development while ignoring fundamental rights and the environment is one realization of this.
The post on Twitter by an official of our government stating that Trump is better for Indonesia because under him America does not care about fundamental rights is an honest admission. This statement indicates that the Jokowi administration no longer wants to improve fundamental rights in this nation.
This impression is reinforced if we look at the weakening of democratic institutions during the Jokowi era. All the good things born out of the reform process have been overturned. The Corruption Eradication Commission has been shackled. The Judicial Commission has been given no room to move. The Constitutional Court has been tamed by increasing the retirement age of judges. President Jokowi’s masterpiece, the omnibus Job Creation Law in practice opens the door to investment by sacrificing environmental protection and the rights of workers and indigenous peoples. In the United States, Trump has done the same thing. He overturned important policies of the previous administration such as Obamacare and international initiatives such as the nuclear peace treaty with Iran. The chaos that subsequently appeared was obscured by propaganda and even hoaxes. These methods are no longer strange to us.
It appears that considerable time will be needed before the last traces of Trumpism are erased. For the four years of his administration, Trumpism became deep rooted. And this year Donald Trump garnered even more votes than he did in the 2016 election. The endeavor to end Trumpism will be long and complex.