Trump's strategy to cast doubt on the election and attack the voting process won't work in the US to overturn the results of the election. But it does undermine America's democratic message abroad and emboldens dictators and authoritarians. — Brett Bruen, Opinion Columnist, Business Insider
Trump's strategy to cast doubt on the election and attack the voting process won't work in the US to overturn the results of the election. But it does undermine America's democratic message abroad and emboldens dictators and authoritarians. — Brett Bruen, Opinion Columnist, Business Insider
Trump's refusal to concede the election not only hurts America's democratic message abroad, it also gives a useful tool to authoritarians
  • Trump continues to refuse to concede the election, even after Biden has amassed well over the 270 electoral votes needed to take control of the White House.
  • Trump's strategy to cast doubt on the election and attack the voting process won't work in the US to overturn the results of the election.
  • But it does undermine America's democratic message abroad and emboldens dictators and authoritarians.
While it won't work here, the president's playbook presents plenty of new possibilities for those looking to cast doubt on democracy around the globe. First and worst, it creates a powerful precedent. Those looking to cling onto power can point to his words and actions. They will talk of faulty election machines. There will be allegations of votes disappearing. Attempts will be made to claim some votes should be considered legal and others illegal.

The real danger in what Trump is doing comes from the fact that there are so few facts to support his arguments. This is somewhat different from his daily doses of disinformation. These are not just exaggerations about crowd size or his popularity. We can all plainly see the vote totals. So, he resorts to claiming hundreds of thousands are illegitimate. No pudding. No proof. Just pure and simple propaganda.

It strikes at the heart of democracy. If anyone, anywhere can claim that truly transparent elections are not to be trusted then the whole system falls apart. This is music to the ears not only of autocrats and authoritarians, but of populist politicians everywhere. They did not lose. The votes were illegal or incorrectly tallied.

For those already in power, it's a convenient way to stay put when a vote goes against them. For those seeking power, it's a powerful means to delegitimize and destabilize a government. What Trump has shown is how fast and far it can spread. In less than a week, confidence in our elections plummeted amongst Republicans from nearly 70% to 35%. If it can happen in the world's oldest democracy, we can surely see it used to great effect anywhere.

... We are now quite reticent to react, whether it is using diplomatic, development, or defense capabilities. Our statements are watered down. Our aid has dried up. Our country is weary from foreign conflicts and wary to use force again. Foreign leaders know it and act accordingly.