People are nonetheless anxiously ready to search out out who would be the 46th president of the United States. However whereas the outcomes of the 2020 race should still be murky, what this election has made clear is that whoever succeeds President Donald Trump — whether or not in 2021 or 2025 — will face an uphill battle of governing a post-Trump America.

What’s going to this appear to be in apply? One solely must look so far as one of many United States’ closest allies within the hemisphere, Colombia, for a glimpse of the challenges that await Trump’s successor.


360° Context: The 2020 US Election Defined

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Colombian politics has its personal Trump-like determine. His identify is Alvaro Uribe Velez. Elected in 2002, Uribe ruled for eight years as a tricky conservative politician. His aggressive army campaigns in opposition to the nation’s guerilla teams introduced long-sought stability and safety to a lot of the nation and reworked him right into a nationwide hero for a lot of Colombians. However his presidency was additionally marred by controversy. He has been accused of facilitating widespread human rights abuses, corruption and drug trafficking.

Regardless of — or maybe due to — this twin legacy, Uribe has remained a central determine in Colombian politics since leaving the presidential palace. He continues to function the chief of the nation’s ruling political social gathering, the Democratic Middle, and sat as a senator till summer time 2020 when he resigned pending the outcomes of a legal investigation in opposition to him.

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The affect Uribe continues to wield on the Colombian political scene ought to function a warning to whoever succeeds Trump within the Oval Workplace. In Colombia, Uribe’s willingness and talent to mobilize broad swaths of the inhabitants to help his pursuits has proved a problem for governance by opposing politicians.

Former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos skilled this firsthand in 2016 as he tried to promote the individuals a peace deal to finish the nation’s 60-year-long civil warfare with a guerrilla group often known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC). As probably the most seen and vocal opponent of the deal, Uribe constantly belittled each Santos as a politician and the peace he negotiated with the FARC. “Peace sure, however not like this” grew to become his rallying cry in public speeches, interviews and maybe his — and Trump’s — favourite platform, Twitter. His vitriolic assaults performed a component in Colombians’ shock rejection of the peace deal in a nationwide referendum, a humiliating defeat for Santos.

Trump Could Nonetheless Affect US Politics

The small margins of this 12 months’s US presidential election recommend {that a} Democratic successor to Trump should confront a former president with a equally devoted following because the one Uribe has maintained in Colombia. Trump is unlikely to bow graciously out of politics. With a big base that continues to help him, he might nonetheless affect politics informally, by calling on his followers to have interaction in (probably violent) protests.

The president’s continued recognition amongst Republican voters can also pressure the GOP to take care of its present far-right coverage positions to retain voters in future elections. The election of a QAnon conspiracy theorist to the Home of Representatives confirms that Trump’s affect reaches past the presidency.

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Certainly, Democrats aren’t the one ones who ought to be nervous about Trump’s continued affect after leaving workplace. Uribe’s handpicked successor within the 2018 presidential election, President Ivan Duque, has struggled to manipulate beneath the shadow of the previous chief. Just like the US, Colombia as we speak is deeply polarized. Although Duque and his allies maintain a majority within the Senate, mistrust and frustration with the federal government despatched practically 200,000 Colombians to the streets of the nation’s main cities in protest final 12 months.  

However Duque’s reliance on help from Uribe’s hardline followers has successfully precluded him from constructing bridges along with his opponents, lest he be seen as abandoning Uribe’s legacy. Unable to totally fulfill both camp, Duque’s approval ranking has languished far under 50% for many of his presidency.

Confronting the Legacy

Republicans will face an identical problem in the event that they want to keep Trump’s base whereas additionally attempting to restore the deep divisions that he has sown amongst US society.

It could appear excessive to check the United States to Colombia, a rustic that has teetered on the sting of collapse and battle for over 60 years. However the actuality is that the US can be a post-conflict nation. Our civil warfare might have resulted in 1865, however occasions in 2020 — the partisan reactions to the coronavirus pandemic, racial tensions following the extrajudicial killings of black People, and a presidential vote that is still too near name three days after the election — have proved that the legacy of the violence and the polarization it sowed persist as we speak.

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Whoever succeeds Donald Trump should confront this legacy head-on. However as Colombia exhibits, doing so with Trump within the background will probably be removed from straightforward.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.