By: Dr. Josephus Moses Gray, PhD |email: [email protected]/ Mobile(+231)880330299|
History is full of instances where the battle for political supremacy has exploited different groups of the society for their own benefit, and that the United States as is evident today. In the contemporary world, there is not a single country that doesn’t grapple with challenges and the need for positive change, sometimes the change comes at the cost of another pitfall or defeat, change in politics is always unavoidable. Therefore, individuals trusted with the populace mandate must lead by examples and serve as a mentor for others to follow, as an Associate Professor, Dr. Josephus Moses Gray provides an in-depth analysis on how leaders come to face the reality of losing political reelection due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic based on the manner and fashion applied in the process. Dr. Gray serves as a professor of International Relations and journalism at both the University of Liberia Graduate School and Under-graduate level.
One of the dominant political trends in recent time is how leaders come to face the brutal reality of losing political power, although losing is hard to accept and never easily digested while the incumbents practically and specifically believe that lot of good issues seriously worked from their programs and set to cross over for the next term are already geminating progressively with political gains. However, it is deeply troubling for the defeated incumbents who angrily see themselves no longer at ease, and at long last, going down, and rapidly sinking in the pool of perpetual defeat after the electorates have finally spoken for a change at the ballot box.
Typical example of such scenario is the dreadful Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic consistently and persistently deforming the ability of the entire world including the richest and most sophisticated (in the truest sense of the word) nations. By all accounts, COVID-19 has led to the disgrace and downfall of several leaderships across the globe with the prospects for others’ re-election at stake. In some instances, few influential leaders have been dragged down by the coronavirus pandemic to the advantage of their adversaries using the pandemic as a political whipping stick, and a painting brush to decorate them weak in the eyes of the electorates.
Every political group shares not only a social or economic interest, but they also face certain common hostilities, frustrations and drawbacks that they want to overcome and address. It could be suggested that despite the fact that several contributing factors could have engineered the now-difficult-to-accept defeat by President J. Donald Trump in the recent American election, COVID-19 pandemic definitely and indeed plays a major role in his downfall. It can also be argued that the coronavirus pandemic changed virtually everything about the American 2020 election with bulk of electorates criticized of the president administration response, while the plague has deal a major blow to President Trump’s reelection.
Also, the pandemic exposed political leaders’ weaknesses and stained their popularity, therefore, dragging their reelection prospects in a state of political limbo. Certainly, President J. Donald Trump is not the first global leader to be defeated in a vigorous democratic exercise nor will he be the last to lose a presidential election, I have no doubt of several persons who will trek the same path of political quandary in leaving power.
The swift influx of coronavirus pandemic has put global leadership at stake, and has wedged the standing of these influential leaders, the likes of which we have not seen in our generation. The severity of the impact of the pandemic on the popularity of dominant leaders across the global from Africa to Asia, North America to South America and Central America, from Western Europe to Central and Eastern Europe, from the Mediterranean and Middle East as well as from Nordic countries to Caribbean to Oceania, COVID-19 is overwhelming with unimaginable catastrophic, unprecedented devastation and dire economic effects on individual countries. However, states and multilateral institutions are waiting to see how quickly and effectively global leaders take on the mantle of global leadership in response to the pandemic in weathering the dire storm.
However, the devastating scale of the COVID-19 should serve as a wake-up call for global powers and nations to build an open world economy, enhance macroeconomic coordination, and jointly keep global industrial and supply chains stable and unclogged. There was always an argument that the existing world order cannot change because only a momentous war has done that in the past and wars have become impossible, but the COVID-19 pandemic. An invisible enemy with no specifically defined frontline nor with identified foes has threatened the current world order, with the emergence of new power from the global south.
Nowadays, nations and states are functioning in a moment of insecurity to people’s livelihood, and that no one even the prestidigitator or the famous sorcerers like Lord Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore can tell. While others might disagree with me, the current battle against the pandemic is like a flight in the sky without a radius or a vessel sailing in the violent storm on the Pacific Ocean without a compass. As the awful situation remains, we don’t have the solution yet or even know how long before the pandemic will be defeated or last. In such a situation coupled with challenging times, people turn to their leaders for hope, inspiration, aspiration, courage and strong leadership.
Can the world truly count on global political leadership for the much anticipated solution to COVID-19 considering the reality that global leaders’ popularity and standing are at stake due to the dire economic effects on individual countries and unbelievable catastrophic of the result of coronavirus pandemic, with our leaders now being heavily preoccupied with revamping the economy; while some are very worried of political powers-reelection, as others have suffered political dilemmas, (defeats) perhaps, the prestige of the powers currently in bad shape continues to suffer a severe blow during these extraordinary times due to the coronavirus.
The recognized fact is COVID-19 pandemic affects every sector of the world, but it has more impact on some societies and governments than on others due to different scenarios such as illiteracy, persistent denial, poor health system, traditional belief and unwillingness to accept change and respect lockdown measures including strict adherence to all the prescribed health hygienic protocols, thus putting a great number of the population of countries at huge risk. Other leaders attached added importance to power and authority regarding their images rather than accepting the facts. For those who are not taking this scourge lightly, are equally aware that this menace is unconcerned about sex, color, race, creed, borders, age, status or fame. Countries that do not have a sustainable health system can hardly shelter their population. In some parts of the world like Africa and South America, access to health services is a luxury, not a right
The most hopeful scenario I think could be if the world comes together under one purpose, put aside political differences, deep-seated qualms, so-called supremacy and increased cooperation, with a focus on multilateralism or globalism and not nationalism. I am positively sure that an inclusively well-defined new commitment to better governance, will lead to the creation of an effective international order and cooperation to counter COVId-19, the global threat that that is rewriting with full note in a backward-and-upside-down fashion; human’s rich civilized, refined and immense achievements in both science and applied science, technologies and the established decent conditions of surviving which could have led to improved recovery of economic growth. The coronavirus pandemic forced candidates to momentarily suspend the face-to-face interaction campaigning for about three months.
Other argued that qualms about the safety of in-person polling also led to nationwide record use of mail-in ballots which favor the Democrats, instead of the in-person voting with largely rejuvenates and favors the Republican-Trump’s bloc. Another take away from the 2020 election is instead of the winner be projected by the media as victor and being announced on election night, the winner wasn’t called or projected; again this was the first for over a century in the history of America. However, the result of the voting on the on election night largely favored President Trump, while in the nationwide unprecedented record use of mail-in ballots went in favored of the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The rapidity at which the pandemic is striking influential states and leaderships, the contemporary world has been basically reshaped by COVID-19, with global major economic power specifically the G-13 nations suffering an extended economic misery and restricted interactions beyond national borders. Other nations beyond G-7 that fall within the array of G-77 or among the group that merely classed as less developed or underdeveloped nations are at the greater risk of a severe deterioration due to their melancholy economic state.
Others argued that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was even more cavalier about the threat of coronavirus pandemic, which has hit his nation so severely with a dire national tragedy claiming about thousands of lives. That’s the world’s second-highest toll after the United States which has more than 235,000 Americans died, and more than 9 million were infected. The COVID-19 pandemic had already created significant shifts in people’s behavioral patterns, interactions, movement, and if we failed to collectivize our focus against this uphill battle against humanity and all the values we stand for, indeed, it could transform our daily lives in the long run, including keeping or following social distancing guidelines and hand washing. Already, a new phrase is on the block called the “new normal.”
There are two school of thoughts, for others, it was certain that President Trump was destined for reelection until the COVID-19 surfaces to spoil the party, while others on the contrary harbored the believe that President Trump was bound for defeat. If my candid opinion was to be sough on the argument, I will agree or not to agree with either side but draw the argument in a different perspective and present my argument, and let the reading audience be the referee. Over the course of the unprecedented ten months of the November 3 election, about 230,000 Americans died, and more than 9 million were infected, the highest number of deaths for a single country. Only Brazil came second of the world’s second-highest death toll of 145,000 lives, followed by Western Europe countries, the likes of Great Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Kingdom of Belgium.
The U. S. economy was relatively strong as unemployment below 3 percent in the days before the outbreak of the Pandemic across the United States, which many political pundits saw as the strongest argument for the president’s re-election, but coronavirus pandemic devastation ended the economic argument, and turns the political table in favor of president-elect Joe Biden who used the pandemic devastation against President Trump throughout the campaign. According to Wall Street Journal, through 2019, growth and a strong job market lifted many Americans, including less-skilled workers, and that before the coronavirus outbreak began weighing heavily, the U.S. economy added about 273,000 jobs in February, showing impressive strength, but the pandemic reversed that noble achievement in the growth and rewarded instead by killing Americans in large quantity.
Others contended that the president did not institute quick and strong response between February 12 and 15 when only a handful of three new cases were confirmed in the United States, accusing the president of down-playing the pandemic, although he counter-argued that he instituted action including travels ban. Many believe that President Trump’s campaign saw the economy as his path to reelection, but due to severe devastation of the American people’s lives, the campaign changed its strategies and tried to paint him as the most qualified to revamp the economy and bring it back on fertile ground. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, President Trump’s reelection was far from certain, but it appeared that the coronavirus devastation on America might have also influenced voters and altered the outcome of the race. The economy, likely Trump’s greatest political strength before the pandemic, suffered a major collapse as businesses across the country were shuttered and unemployment skyrocketed.
Other attributing factors are the countless investigations and accusations throughout the Trump’s presidency by the Democrats, such as the Russia investigation, impeachment, massive racial protests and the handling of the coronavirus; the Russia narrative is no longer being discussed, as the poll is described by American electorate body is fraud freed, even though the Grand Old Party (Republicans) are arguing the outcomes.
Numerous polls indicated a sure case that President Trump was going to suffer defeat in a landslide to president-elect Joe Biden and that “Democrats blue wave” a sure case on the election night. Unfortunately, the anticipated “Democrats blue wave” didn’t happen, Former Vice President Biden is projected winner by securing narrow victories in a battle ground states, although President Trump is yet to accept the outcome and congratulate president-elect Biden.
As other pundits would put it, Trump became the victim of his own achievement. Trump himself fell victim to the pandemic and landed him in the hospital at the peak of the campaign, perhaps, this period was the turning point and the beginning of his defeat for reelection. Some political pundits also argued that If President Trump never fall victim to COVID-19, he wins bound for election, while others disagreed on grounds that voters were not prepared to forgive the president for the deaths of about 230,000 Americans.
As things stand, the “Democrats blue wave” to control the Congress didn’t arrive; all members of the House of Representatives of the GOP won reelection and filliped several democratic incumbents’ seats, with other more close races having yet to be called. However, the Democrats are curtained to maintain control of the House of Representatives. It is expected that President-elect Biden will campaign in Georgia for runoffs races that will shape the Senate and have a profound implications for his administration agenda and the United States, as the control of the Senate hang on the Georgia runoff races. The current dynamic of the Senate stands 50-48 in favor of the Republicans, therefore, the runoff races are much win for the Democrats for a 50-50 tie in order for the vice president-elect to break the tie.
The 2020 electoral system allows voters to cast secret ballots, free of intimidation, violence and inducement; it further gives electorates the options to make their choices on the basis of alternative programs instead of primeval issues. It provides for changes in government without violence while power can be transferred from one party to another by means of majority decisions-the highest votes count.
Most importantly, the electoral process-service as a conduit for the nation to move another step forward; provides an opportunity for those contested the presidency to advance their respective strategies, distinctive platforms and manifestos and how they can protest America global interest, improve the economy and create jobs.
About the author: Dr. Josephus Moses Gray, Ph.D., is the Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (Liberia College) of the University of Liberia. He holds an academic rank of Associate Professor and serves as a full faculty at the University of Liberia Graduate School, teaching International Relations at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Graduate School of International Studies and Journalism at the Department of Mass Communication. He earned a Ph.D. in International Relations with high distinction (Summa Cum Laude) from Paris, Republic of France. Dr. Gray’s Ph.D. dissertation: “The Effect of Diplomacy: Liberia-U.S.-China’s triangular Relations”, is instructive and wildly cited by graduate and doctorate students. He hails from Southeastern Liberia village of Kayken in Barclayville Chiefdom, Grand Kru County. He has authored and published dozens of peer-reviewed scholarly articles and three books and over 200 scholarly works in local and international journals. He can be researched via (+231)880330299 or [email protected]