Dionis Cenușă: There are structural preconditions for January 6 Capitol events to repeat

“There are structural preconditions for the events that happened at the Capitol in the U.S. on January 6 to repeat,” Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Liebig-Justus University in Giessen, Germany, said in IPN’s public debate “What is going on in the U.S.? What will happen in the world?”

“We witnessed a failed coup and an insurrection attempt that will be crucial for the future political career of Donald Trump, the outgoing President of the U.S.  What’s going on in the U.S. somehow sets the tone of democracy at global level. The assault on the Capitol transmitted alarming signals to the other democracies,” stated Dionis Cenușă.

“New protests were panned for January 20, when Joe Biden is to be inaugurated, and those protests can involve tens or thousands of people, being organized by the same supporters of Trump who want to further discredit the idea that the elections were valid as they consider Trump’s victory is deserved and legal. A part of the republican politicians continue not to recognize the election results and these are supported by the republican voters,” said the expert, noting public opinion is being manipulated to serve Trump’s political interests, but the political configuration in general also favors Trump as the most popular U.S. President on behalf of the republican camp.

As regards the role of social networking sites in the presidential elections in the U.S., Dionis Cenușă said many societies have large groups of people with conservative thinking even if the U.S. is one of the most democratic states on earth. That’s why these groups of voters can be easily influenced by using particular symbols. Donald Trump promoted the idea of white supremacy, of the inferiority of women and other messages that are discriminatory against different social categories. When Trump tried to maximally use his Twitter account, he knew he would reach the eye and the heart of many Americans. Currently, Trump’s Twitter account has 88 million followers and he was voted by 74 million American citizens. That’s why the decision to block his Twitter and Facebook accounts are somehow justified.

As to how the events that occurred in the U.S. on January 6 can influence democracy in other states, Dionis Cenușă said the U.S. is a very important reference point for other democratic societies. “In 2016, when Trump won the presidential elections by lie, misinformation, manipulation, these types of political and communication techniques penetrated many societies of the world, both democratic and less democratic, including the Republic of Moldova. If the political leaders in the U.S. can deliver speeches full of misinformation, why cannot we do the same? We will not be penalized. On the contrary, the population will vote us. We must admit that the Brexit, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, is also an effect of the presidency of Trump. What happened in the Capitol on January 6 can have effects on different electoral cycles in different countries, principally in the EU. That’s why I think the democratic systems of the world should unite based on the transatlantic partnership between the U.S. and the EU so as to save democracies,” noted the researcher.

As to the future Moldovan-American relations, Dionis Cenușă said a lot depends on who will speak in the name of the Republic of Moldova, who will represent Moldova in Washington and how efficient Moldova’s policy is in general, if we have priorities related to the dialogue with Moscow or not. “The worse is the relationship with Moscow, the more prolific will be the relationship with the West and the U.S. A lot depends on the training of the foreign policy players of Chisinau, who are President Maia Sandu’s advisers on foreign policy, how much experience they have and how they behave towards other allies of the U.S. in the region. Romania is also an ally of the U.S., alongside Ukraine.”

The public debate “What is going on in the U.S.? What will happen in the world?” is the 166th installment of the series “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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