South Africa should play the Trump card? Lessons from the Trump election victory.

2016-11-12 06:21

The sobering  reality is that the heir apparent  or the AIPAC  annointed Hillary  Clinton  didnt get the nod even though vote  for  vote she  outshone  Donald Trump. She lost  because of the electoral  system  not because of voter apathy That's  my reading of the outcome.

If we take this further and there are lessons  learnt here that a higher than usual  voter  turn out at the polls  showed  up the impact  of intense political  education through activism  and media  debates as well as " town hall" discussions on the outcome.

I reiterate that it  showed  up a higher than usual  voter turn up and in the process trouncing  an influential  lobby group, AIPAC  whose war chest exceeds  the  budget of many African states.

The lesson?

Citizen power. Yes civic activism is an awesome tool that both  the Democrats and Republicans  exploited to the hilt.

Ranged against the debates about two years ago about  whether America  was suffering  from political decay ( the same can be conflated in the local context) that country's remarkable constitutional system of checks and balances coupled with partisan  polarisation  combined  to yield an outcome  that no one on this platform or anywhere  predicted  with any conviction.

So what is , the lesson, in my opinion?

Notwithstanding the latest  bout of ' vetocracy' we painfully  but expectedly  noted ( re the third defeat of the motion of "no confidence"  debate on the Zuma Presidency in parliament) is that the majority party may decide to stand behind a compromised  leader but we cannot reject what the power of a high people interest and activism at the polls and on the streets,  which was abundantly  demonstrated in the 2016 local government elections , can achieve.

Whatever we might think of their ( American voter) choices,  American voters flocked  to the polls in state after state  and, as Francis Fukuyama noted in the latest Foreign  Affairs publication ( " American Political Decay or Renewal?: The meaning of the 2016 Election"  accessed  on 12.11.2016 via http: // www.foreignaffairs.com/ articles/ united- states/ 2016-06-13/ american-political- decay-or-renewal? ) " wrested  control   of the political narrative from organized interest groups and oligarchs".

We, the people of South Africa, can replicate that and play the trump card.

We are far from done with the corrupt  and the morally  lapsed politicians in South  Africa by letting  them be and if anything we have learnt  from the defeat of the no confidence debate  in parliament is never to let  up and  we must be determined to stay relevant through activism.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

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