How has the Constitution helped America

In the two and a half centuries that the United States of America is old, the country has weathered a lot - economic, political and social crises of all kinds. And the country's constitution, which came into force in 1789, has proven to be a very useful set of rules proven. The US is not a perfect, but by and large, successful, stable democracy.

One should therefore beware of hysteria when evaluating the events of the past few days. It is not uncommon for the losing side of an election to occasionally take some time to see its defeat. All you have to do is recall the comments made by prominent Democrats after Donald Trump's victory four years ago.

Back then, too, there was talk that the election had been rigged and that Trump was an illegitimate president. The loser at the time, Hillary Clinton, is of this opinion to this day. And back then, too, there was a call that the Electoral College should do "the right thing for the country", ignore the will of the voters and not elect Trump as president.

The Electoral College refused this dangerous nonsense four years ago just as it did this year. In a democracy it is almost never "the right thing" to ignore the will of the voters. In 2016, Donald Trump won by the rules and became president. In 2020 Joe Biden won according to the same rules. The electors confirmed this victory on Monday, making it official. With 306 to 232 votes they voted for the Democrat Joe Biden. And that's why Biden will be sworn in as the new president on January 20th next year.

Still, you have to get queasy when you look at what has happened in the United States over the past few weeks. Yes, on the one hand, as the saying goes, the institutions held up. Trump and his bizarre squad of lawyers have failed in all attempts to contest or undermine the election result. Judges of all political stripes, right up to the Supreme Court, have dismissed their ridiculous claims. In key states, Republican politicians have repelled the president's attacks on the election and defended democracy.

Democracy only survives if there are enough democrats

On the other hand, none of this changes the fact that there have just been these attempts and attacks. The incumbent President of the United States has tried to overturn the outcome of a free and fair election. Donald Trump clearly lost his re-election. Not only did he not acknowledge that defeat, but he tried to stay in office by using tricks that may have been legal but not legitimate in any way.

And a great many Republicans - under massive pressure from their voters - helped him with this. Last week, 126 Republican MPs joined a lawsuit from Texas against the election result that had no legal substance but was a sheer party-political stunt, a shameless assault on a cornerstone of American democracy. That was a very dramatic moment in recent US history.

And therein lies a lesson that other countries have made their sufferings: Democracy only survives if there are enough democrats. We knew that Trump despised democracy. Since last week, however, it is no longer entirely clear whether the Republicans are still a Democratic party. Or just a cult that pays homage to a would-be autocrat.