US election uncertainty beyond technicalities: Global Times editorial

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Source: Global Times

Two vehicles with public health messages drive past the Washington Monument on Sunday. As Election Day approaches on Tuesday, shops and important buildings in the capital boarded up against possible riots or protests, as tensions rise. Photo: Xinhua

Will the US presidential election go smoothly and yield a clear result? If controversies emerge, will the court’s decision convince the public? Will local or larger-scale riots break out due to the election? These were hardly issues in the past.

Previous US elections seemed to be fierce, but the country had rules with a powerful ability to prevent things from going out of hand. US society can be divided before the election but can soon get together afterward. This has been a cycle every four years. The US is considered one of the most stable Western countries in this regard.

However, things are different this year, and the above-mentioned questions seem to have become quite realistic. They may not happen, but many people are concerned. They worry, but they share the same feeling that this election will not be roses all the way.

This situation reflects the trend of political fanaticism in the US. In the past, only the election outcome, not the election itself, was uncertain. This had been a political and moral high ground for the US as a developed Western country. Americans used to believe that only developing countries would witness serious disputes over their election process, and there might be even riots, with the losing side refusing to accept the outcome. They are not supposed to bother with the same uneasiness as a member of the top country in the West.

The US has to some extent degraded. This is the conclusion. In recent years, the US has ignored rules of the international community. Everything has been oriented toward maximizing American interests. Egoism has flooded both internally and externally. The US domestic political arena also has a tendency to take sides. Lies dominate, the original bottom line of value has been breached, and the end justifies the means. These assumptions have become real problems “all of a sudden.”

For the sake of the election, the coronavirus epidemic has been politicized, and anti-racism protests do not seem that simple anymore. The problems related with people’s safety and the country’s fundamental principles have been used as tools. No matter who wins the election, the US will lose some of its most precious things.

The US has invested heavily in this election. The country is torn apart by two forces fighting for their own interests, and it is operating around those interests. Lying has become political rationality. Such logic has alienated the truth. The alienated truth and the lies constitute the two sides of the coin of politics.

It’s fair to say that over half of the 230,000 COVID-19 deaths took place as a consequence of this US presidential election, and more will die. US policymaking is driven by elections. But this presidential election has failed to bring about the optimization of policies on key issues such as anti-epidemic. This is most regrettable.

The Trump administration’s China policy has brought many uncertainties to the US and dealt a heavy blow to global stability. Its aggressiveness and absurdities have become quite clear. However, the election has prompted the Democrats to make up a tougher policy on China. Biden and Trump are competing with each other over who is tougher on China. The ability of US elections to correct deviations has to a great extent played a role in making the deviations worse.

Something must have gone wrong with US’ national competitiveness and its social governance. The country needs serious and profound domestic reforms, which will be an arduous task.

However, the election has made US political elites distance themselves from the dirty and hard work of internal reforms, and have chosen to play tricks to shift the blame on their opponents and the outside world.

The election mechanism of the US has been riddled with loopholes, filled with, implicitly or explicitly, individual or collective interests of political parties and elites. This is the tragedy and loss of US society, but is not limited to it.

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