Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump Trumps Latin American Elections

Last night Donald Trump said that if elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's email scandal, with the goal of putting her in prison.

Clinton responded first by calling Trump's comments about her emails false, then said, "It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country." 
Trump, as if continuing her sentence, added: "Because you'd be in jail."

Threatening to put your political opponents in jail is, of course, anti-democratic. It made me think of acrimonious elections in Latin America, none of which included this sort of language. The 2015 Argentine election was nasty, but Mauricio Macri didn't even say he'd put Daniel Scioli or Cristina Fernández in prison (and hasn't since, though his government has frozen her assets). Jimmy Morales did not talk about putting Sandra Torres in jail in Guatemala last year. I don't even remember that happening in the famous 1998 Venezuelan election. Hugo Chávez said he would rewrite the constitution but I don't think he said anything about putting Henrique Salas Romer in prison.

Now, in Venezuela the government is in fact putting opposition leaders in prison. And indeed it indicted Henrique Salas Romer in 2014. So Nicolás Maduro has that in common with Trump.

At this point, most Latin American democracies seem more mature than the United States.


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