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Rigged polls in the US?

  • Published at 12:02 am October 30th, 2016
Rigged polls in the US?

Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump does not like immigrants or Muslims, but he has surely added a new dimension to his character -- undermining America’s democratic institutions by saying he feared rigging in the upcoming elections.

Americans are now making their final decision on whom to choose as their next president, and I am worried.

American people can sometimes be crazy and might just opt for Donald Trump, who in my view is an arrogant, nasty chauvinist.

America with Trump as its president, to me is, a horror story. In the midst of Hillary Clinton’s show of popularity after the three debates, I hope the American people will pick their right choice on November 8.

I am keen to write about Trump’s statement and its threat.

The statement was that he would accept the election results, only if he won; while the threat was to take the results to court if he lost -- to make the post-poll scenario even uglier than the pre-poll campaigns.

“I will totally accept the results of this great and historic election, if I win,” he told a rally in Ohio state.

But what is worrying is this: “I would accept a clear election result, but I would reserve my right to contend or file a legal challenge in the case of questionable result.”

Media reports quoted a Republican senator from Nebraska as saying: “Talking about rigged elections with zero evidence is dangerous because it erodes trust without justification and kindles cynicism.”

For Hillary Clinton, Trump’s comments were “horrific” and that he was “denigrating and he is talking down our democracy.”

Each and every election in Bangladesh has been rejected by the losing side, with many international players interfering.

It will be best for us to take lessons from the US polls and strengthen our own electoral process

But then again, except for 1991, there was immense proof of why the ruling Awami League had lost through stage-managed rigging or a vote coup.

In 2001, Caretaker Chief Advisor Latifur Rahman had allegedly signed the firing and posting lists of bureaucrats hours before even he took oath. And had regularly held meetings with the then opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

It was well set by pro-BNP elements, so that the game was clear days ahead of the voting day.

I visited some centres where the minority Hindu community, generally thought to be an Awami League vote bank, were not allowed to exercise their rights to vote.

The American and Indian administrations apparently had their interest locked with the BNP in the 2001 polls.

Thus, it was selection and not an election.

The continuous screams of BNP about the elections, especially before they win and after they lose, weaken people’s interest and trust in the election process.   

But where does Trump find his fear of rigging?

It is possibly from one election where the Republican candidate George Bush had become president erroneously. But that was only one out of many in a hundred years of American history.

If this election result comes out true, as per Trump’s fear, where will American democracy stand and what will happen to its great sermons to infant democratic nations.

In The Guardian, American journalist Jill Abramson wrote: “The peaceful transfer of power after a presidential election has been the pillar of American democracy. By refusing to accept the results of the vote, Trump would be flouting the tradition of American politics and the democratic beliefs of almost all voters.”

Trump’s rigging allegation is also damaging people’s confidence in the election process itself, she added.

For Bangladesh, it may be worrying if Trump wins and remains crazy as he appeared so far, while a Hillary Clinton win may have some other worries.

It will be best for us to take lessons from the US polls and strengthen our own electoral process along with the election commission and learn to accept as well as respect the people’s voice.

Nadeem Qadir is the Press Minister of Bangladesh High Commission in London.