US presidential elections are hardly two weeks away. Both Trump and Bidden are engaged in bitter fight but unfortunately Trump seems to be very impressed by his friend Narendra Modi the Prime Minister of India. His electioneering has too many resemblances with Mr. Modi and his BJP. America is the oldest democracy of the world but perhaps for the first time Americans are hearing from one of his presidential candidate (Mr. Trump) that if he is defeated China will occupy America earlier he has also stolen Modi’s catchy slogan “Abki bar Trump Sarkar.”
In traditional TV debate between both candidates in which they not only tell their audience about their policy and programs on different issues economy, environment foreign policy etc. and faces criticism on these programs and policies from candidates and audience. The first held about one month ago and it was having very resemblance with our TV debates where chaos noise and vulgarity dominates serious meaning full debate and discussion. According to American poll observers that debate was most chaotic and noisy in modern history. The debate was punctuated by frequent interruptions mostly from Mr. Trump leaving both Mr. Trump and his rival Joe Bidden talking over each other and Biden finally telling Trump to shut up. This debate was so noisy and chaotic that the viewers objected to the moderators for its inability to cut off the candidate’s microphone. The independent nonpartisan commission on Presidential debates responded with the announcement that each candidate’s microphone will be turned off while his opponent gives a two minutes answer to an initial question on each debate topic. The second and final debate could not happen as President Trump was diagnosed with corona virus and he refused to participate in virtual format. Both however participated in dueling town halls on competing TV networks.
There is another resemblance with India’s general election in 2013 when India was preparing for general election and Narendra Modi has emerged as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has warned the nation that “Modi becoming Prime Minister will be disastrous for the nation” this time former President Barack Obama has warned Americans” We cannot afford another four years of this,Philadelphia”.
The second debate however held last Thursday. It was more restrained and sober in contrast to the rude and contentious first one. This debate was mostly focused on foreign policy and so was of interest for the world community. The arguments generated some heat but did not shed much light on where the next American administration policies might be headed. However, on issue of climate change both candidates offered different approaches to addressing the challenges of global warming. It was on the issue that President Trump termed India as a filthy country bracketing it with Russia and China. Actually he was talking about “filthy air” of these countries. It came with reference to Trump’s 2015 decision to come out of Paris accord terming it as unfair to US because it sought to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees centigrade. Trump said that it is unfair to US to pay the cost of mitigation while countries like China Russia and India continue to pollute. In contrast Biden promised to join the pact because he and Democrats believe climate change is the single most important threat to humanity and needs to be addressed urgently seriously and sincerely.
The final debate was a normal affair in which both contenders laid down their respective vision for the country and international community. It was the last chance for Mr. Trump to woo the voters who support republicans but did not like him he won thumbs up only from his traditional 42% voters whereas Biden gave a standard performance but given his lead in national and swing state polls that is what his needed. Mr. Trump is trailing behind his democrat rival and it will be a miracle if wins in next month election. Trump’s biggest political enemy has become Covid 19 to which he has no response. Here too the situation is resembling with India. Trump claims that he has dealt pandemic efficiently and the virus is under control but no American is going to accept his claim. Here in India the Modi government badly failed in controlling the virus and in hardly six months India became second most infected country of the world but a big section of our society still believes that the government has successfully controlled the pandemic.
A larger and broader view must be taken. The foundation on which US super power status rests is the strength of its social contract and the coherence of its domestic institutions if these fall apart isolationism will overwhelm US desire for global involvement and here Biden policies have an edge over Trumps’s divisive and exclusive policies.