The aftermath of the December 19 Chilean presidential election ironically says more about the parlous state of the United States than anything happening in America today.
Let me explain.
Within hours of the victory of 25-year-old former student activist Gabriel Boric, he met outgoing President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago. President Pinera, who will be stepping down in March, had earlier offered Mr Boric his government’s full support during the three-month transition.
Mr Boric also met his far-right rival Jose Antonio Kast, who had personally travelled to Mr Boric’s campaign headquarters to salute the election winner.
Mr Kast incidentally conceded defeat right after the votes were counted, tweeting a photo of himself on the phone congratulating his opponent on his “grand triumph”.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the historic turnout, the willingness of Kast to concede and congratulate his opponent even before final results were in, and the generous words of President Pinera,” says Cynthia Arnson, head of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center in Washington.
Ms Arnson makes a good point. What the Chilean election aftermath says about that country is something we can no longer intone (with certainty) about the US.
The loser’s willingness to accept the election results; the cordial nature, geniality even, of the transition that’s underway; the determination to respect the manifest will of the people, without complaint, cries of foul and ill will. None of this is a given in the US anymore.
Honestly, it’s hard to believe the US, in 2022 (if vote tallies are not what some want) or in 2024, will so courteously accept the results of an election.