Trump loses, Trumpism triumphs in America; Modi wins, Modism triumphs in India. That sort of symbolises both the similarities and dissimilarities that exist between the world’s most powerful democracy and the world’s largest democracy as of now. Politically, both Trump and Modi are birds of the same feather. Trump has hinged his wagon to White supremacist Christian fanatics and Modi his to Caste supremacist Hindu fanatics. Both are demagogues who skilfully prey upon people’s grievances and misgivings. And yet, Trump lost in America and Modi won in Bihar. Nevertheless, they can congratulate each other on the triumph of their brand of democracy, of which they can be called pioneers. They can also take pride in the fact that their brand of democracy is here to stay for quite some time.
Trump was expected to lose in a big way, but that didn’t happen. Biden’s victory margin is narrow enough in many states for him to challenge its legitimacy. Despite Trump losing, Trumpism has ensured better representation for Republicans in the House of Representatives and mostly likely a majority in the Senate. For a man whom the world generally sees as power hungry, corrupt, a buffoon, a maniac, a sexual predator and a president who was impeached by the house and has greatly weakened America’s standing in the world, Trump has achieved a rare feat by garnering over seventy million votes. And it was made possible with the extra votes he got this time around from a small section of Blacks, against whom he harbours racial prejudice, and from a substantial section of Latinos, whom he has repeatedly called drug dealers, criminals and rapists. If far more Latinos than in 2016 hadn’t supported Trump in Florida and Texas, it would have been the kind of clean sweep for Biden that had been forecast.
A Latino explains the reason for him switching side in favour of Trump: “We care about a lot of things other than immigration.” The things he is referring to are personal religious beliefs regarding family planning, abortion etc and the economy. Latinos say, “The border crossed us, we did not cross the border,” meaning their Latino convictions won’t change. Having escaped from the poverty of socialist countries, they say, “Our parents came to this country and they were able to create an amazing life. Socialism is not an answer to our problems.” In other words, prosperity has rendered them blind to social injustice. This has happened despite Trump’s commitment to deprive millions of free health care and his cavalier attitude towards Covid-19 that has killed around 250,000 Americans and rendered 2 million jobless, all of which adversely affect mostly Blacks and Latinos. How could Christian beliefs make people so utterly selfish! It was altruistic and progressive youths and Whites who came to democracy’s rescue in America and turned the table in favour of Biden.
In India, Modi rides high despite destroying India’s economy and social harmony with policies that were ill thought out or badly implemented. He is a match for Trump in habitual lying, in acquiescing in the persecution and murder of the marginalised, in cashing in on Islamophobia and in showmanship. Both Trump and Modi are helped by the persecution complex suffered by a majority that feels beleaguered by the challenge poised to their supremacy-by-birth by the assertiveness exhibited by downtrodden sections of society. If Obama Care is a red rag for America’s White supremacists, so is Reservation for India’s Hindu supremacists. Trump and Modi have exploited this minority complex of the majority to the hilt.
If democracies have folded their wings and withdrawn to their nests, the credit for it must go greatly to Jihadi terrorists spawned by Islamic fundamentalism. It is the fear of omnipresent Jihadi terrorism that has made the quills of non-Muslims leap to attention. Much of the blame for Islamophobia has to be owned by Muslims themselves. Modi would not have won such a brute majority in parliament if the Pulwama terror attack hadn’t happened. The NDA would not have won the just concluded Bihar elections if Muslims hadn’t rallied around Islamist Owaisi. The ghetto mentality that Muslims take with them wherever they go make them float like water on duck’s back in the countries where they are a minority. And that makes them suspects in the eyes of the majority in this day and age. God alone knows when they will shed their ghetto mentality.
In Trump and Modi we now have a new breed of rulers who are teaching world’s leading democracies how to soar into success on denials and lies. And they are lucky to have a substantial core base that is willing to decry reason and are hungry to consume lies provided they get what they want. Unfortunately, democracy relies heavily on logical thinking and moral rectitude for it to be successful. But we are in a post-truth age when appeals to emotion and personal belief overshadow truth and reason.
Post-truth is grounded in the idea of postmodernism, which holds that truth is subjective, that language, instead of describing truth, creates truth; and the truth thus created is known as post-truth. Wherever post-truth reigns, a lie when repeated over and over again becomes truth. Both Trump and Modi have perfected the art of riding to success on post-truth. When Trump repeats ad nauseam that a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans is a hoax or that Biden has cheated him in the presidential election, nearly half of America believes him. When Modi declares that demonetisation, which all knowledgeable people agree was a disastrous move, has immensely helped the Indian economy or that not only J&K, but the entire country is witnessing a new dawn of peace, a majority of Indians believes him. But because a greater percentage of people in America than in India is able to distinguish truth from post-truth and believes character matters, Trump lost in America while Modi won in India.