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Deepening polarisation in global politics

June 26, 2024

KATHMANDU – Polarisation has become a widespread phenomenon in the last decade. The electoral victories of Narendra Modi in 2014, Donald Trump in 2016, Jair Bolsonaro in 2019 and the gradually emboldened far-right in Europe clearly suggest a crisis in liberal democracy. This phenomenon permeates global politics, threatening the current world order in the form of tumults, wars, recessions and a multitude of other crises. However, the interesting question is why polarisation benefits only rightists and not others.

The United States will elect a new president by the end of this year. However, candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties are old figures, and there is no excitement or expectation from them. Biden, 82, wants to retain the White House; Trump, 79, hopes to return. Since their policies have dominated US politics for the last decade, it is almost certain what Biden and Trump will do if either of them is reelected. Biden will continue his conventional and centrist policies, and Trump will bring rightist and fascist policies into the mainstream. The significant difference between them is that Trump is a more unpredictable and polarising figure than Biden.

There are four major polarising agendas in US politics that benefit Trump. First, Americans have been deeply divided into Pro-Roe v. Wade and anti-Roe camps. Ostensibly, this issue is not that serious since it is merely about abortion rights. Still, its interpretation and implications take it into the core of the left and right political ideologies. Religion/Bible, ethics and individual rights have come to the centre of this debate.

Second, US politics has been deeply polarised amid the unprecedented migration crisis. The US is known as