It’s been a good time for democracy

Election workers on midterm election day in Washoe County, Nevada. After the smooth midterms early this month, relieved US election officials are now looking to the 2024 elections. – Reuters

THE results of the US midterm elections should be a huge relief not just for the United States but also the world, because like it or not, US democracy remains the one which much of the world looks up to, despite all of its imperfections.

Ahead of the polls, the Republicans stood a great chance of sweeping both the House of Representatives and the Senate but eventually had to be content with a slim lead, ensuring the checks and balances mechanism will work properly. This is very healthy and constructive in a democracy. A landslide victory for the Republicans would have been disastrous for the world’s largest economy and military because it could allow the Republicans under former president Donald Trump to reinvigorate his disastrous Make American Great Again campaign.

“It was a good day, I think, for democracy,” US President Joe Biden told a press conference at the White House earlier this month.

For the Republicans, the failure to secure a large majority is a disappointing outcome given that nearly all US media organisations and public opinion surveyors had predicted the vote would swing heavily them.

During his four-year presidency, Trump took the United States to the lowest rung of democracy, thanks to his dictatorial mindset and disrespect for international agreements. When Biden defeated him in the 2020 elections, Trump refused to concede his loss, saying the elections had been manipulated. He even encouraged his diehard supporters to revolt and did not do enough to stop an attack on the Capitol Hill on Jan 6, 2021.

For Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy after India and the United States, the US political developments provide a good lesson. Anyone who wants to manipulate democracy for their own interests will eventually confront the common sense of the voters.

American voters have proved their maturity in understanding the value of democracy – and so will Indonesian voters who will elect their new leader in February 2024. -- The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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