To UMNO Leadership–Don’t Use Singapore Malays for your Politics


December 8, 2016

To UMNO Leadership–Don’t Use Singapore Malays for your Politics

by Mohsin Abdullah (received via email)

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The first ever Singapore’s Malay Brigadier General, Ishak Ismail, who is also the Commander of Sixth Army Division(left in the picture)

In wanting to garner support of the Malays and thus to cling on to power, UMNO has this habit, albeit bad, of using (or should it be misusing) the Malays of Singapore. We all know that, right? But I’ll say it again here all the same.

The party tends to portray Singapore Malays as being “discriminated”, “ill treated” and “marginalized” by the Chinese-dominated PAP government in Singapore.

Having done that, UMNO will say (or rather warn) the Malays in this country that they will suffer the same fate if UMNO loses political power in Malaysia.

In short, they’ll say, “Support UMNO or you Malays will suffer like your saudara di Singapura.” The latest UMNO leader to use this overused tactic is Puad Zarkashi, a member of the party’s supreme council.

Puad was obviously riled up when Tun Mahathir Mohamad who helmed UMNO for more than 20 years had praised DAP for upholding the Federal Constitution, the constitutional monarchy, special position of the Malays, national language, and Islam as the religion of the Federation.

And Mahathir lauded DAP for being a Malaysian party.These remarks were made when Mahathir attended for the first time ever the DAP national convention held recently.

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Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament

In admitting his previous wrong impression of DAP, Mahathir said although the party had often been painted by its enemies as a Chinese party, the DAP anthem and the speeches at the convention by secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and acting chairman Tan Kok Wai were in Bahasa Malaysia.

Puad retorted by saying that using the Malay language for party anthem and speeches “does not ensure DAP will protect the Malays”.

 

According to him, DAP “is just following the strategy of Singapore’s PAP”, going on to say that “Singapore’s national anthem is in Malay but what happened to the Malays because of the policy (similar to DAP’s Malaysian Malaysia ) practiced by Singapore?”

He did not elaborate but in all probability he was talking about the Malays in Singapore being treated “unfairly” by the Chinese PAP.

So, are Singapore Malays marginalized by the PAP?

I can’t say for sure. But there are grouses. For instance, I’ve read of Singapore Malays wanting full equality in national service and all sectors of the armed forces, suggesting some sort of “mistrust” for the community from the authorities.

Caption: The inaugural recipients of the MERCU-SMU Excellence Scholarship are (L-R) Nur Amalina Binte Saparin, Muhammad Hafiz Bin Kasman, and Khairul Ashraf Bin Khairul Anwar.]

I’ve read also of their call for full employment opportunities for all Malay women, including the tudung-clad ones, demanding for “equal treatment, equal opportunities”.

Anyway, not too long ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in Parliament that the next presidential election of Singapore due next year is reserved for candidates from the Malay race.

Meaning only Malay candidates will contest. An all-Malay contest. But, they must first be qualified, of course. This means Singapore will have a Malay as President again after more than 46 years since Yusof Ishak, the first president of an independent Singapore.

“Reserved” election is meant to ensure minority presidents or rather Singaporeans from minority communities are elected from time to time.

Hence next year the presidency of one of the world’s richest countries will be served on a silver platter to the Malay community. A gift. But, this is how the Malays in Singapore reacted to the gift. Majority of them anyway.

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A Malay Rebel

Retired Straits Times journalist Ismail Kassim had this to say among other things, via his Facebook posting: “Thank you PM for your unsolicited gift but we don’t want and don’t need it. Do you realize that your gift will only reinforce the negative images of us and undermine our past progress?”

To Ismail, “the day a Malay assumes the Elected President through a reserved race will be a day of shame for us and for all the people. It will be a step backward for multiracialism, meritocracy and democracy”.

A piece written by one Nizam Idris for the Straits Times also caught my attention. Nizam I later learned is an economist and market strategy head of an international bank in Singapore. He also viewed the reserved election as a “big step backward for the Malay community”.

Said Nizam he was brought up in an era where “we Malays were told we had to fend for ourselves in schools and in our careers as Singaporeans of other races did.”

After initial trepidation, due in part to seeing how Malays in other countries in the region depended on race-based policies to help them advance, Malay Singaporeans grew out of their historical reliance on such crutches. And that has over time become a source of pride and motivation for the community.

Nizam is proud to say the Singapore Malay community has made significant progress and proved “we could stand on our own feet”.

That, said Nizam, was thanks in no small part to the brave decision by “our earlier leaders to take away our proverbial crutches and make us compete on a level playing field”.

And like everything else, said Nizam, healthy competition drives the community to a higher level. He nevertheless admitted that not many Malays would reject a gift like the chance to have a member of the community as president.

“That’s human nature,” he said, ” but what would be even more satisfying is a hard fought campaign leading to the election of a Malay president who deserves the position based on the famously Singaporean values of grit and merit “

In a nutshell, for Nizam and most Singapore Malays, they want to earn things — be it the presidency or anything else — based on merit and ability. No short cut, no easy way out, no tongkat.

Tabik Melayu Singapura!

 

 

Dean Johns on Najib and UMNO ass-embly 2016


December 3, 2016

Dean Johns on Najib and UMNO ass-embly 2016

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As they do without fail every year, UMNO leaders, bleeders and pleaders are busy putting the ‘ass’ into ‘general assembly’ with a series of speeches so false and fatuous they would disgrace a herd of donkeys. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak opened proceedings with an astonishing combination of braying and praying.

“God, do not let this country, and the fate of this race (Malays) fall into the hands of traitors and the wicked,” he beseeched Allah, as if the Almighty wouldn’t be as aware as the rest of us that the true traitors and wicked are allegedly Najib himself and his UMNO accomplices.

But nothing daunted, he then went even further, with “Oh, great God, we promise to fight to the death until we have spilled our last drop of blood.”

Let me interject at this point with the perhaps obvious but nonetheless pertinent remark that a great many of us would pay good money to witness Najib and his fellow members of UMNO deliver on this promise.

In fact, however unwillingly and even unwittingly, Malaysians have paid countless billions of dollars over the past half-century or so through theft by UMNO, and it’s high time that the people got some value for their money through witnessing demise of the alleged regime blood-suckers.

Not that such a desirable denoument is likely, of course, at least on the part of Najib himself, as at every sign of conflict or trouble he goes into hiding and gets his ministers, police force, judiciary, mainstream media and paid gangs of thugs to do his fighting for him.

And in any event, in this very speech he revealed how utterly empty his fighting words were, as he proceeded from promising the last drop of his blood to spouting some story about the Prophet and the Angel Gabriel in support of the totally conflicting conclusion that “so I think we should no longer waste our time and energy to entertain or fight traitors to the race and country.”

Similarly confused and confusing, if not so blood-thirsty, was the urging by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to the Malays, on whose credulity and racial and religious paranoia UMNO has so successfully promoted and preyed on all these years, to “discard their defensive mindset and chase after progress.”

“Malays,” he continued, “should not be a race that is anti-knowledge, anti-competition and seeking for a ‘crutch’ to aid them,” before going on to thank Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak no less than 11 times for the complex of crutches that Najib has provided in his so-called ‘TN50’ programme for the betterment of Malaysia (but especially Malays) by not the year 2020 as previously envisaged by Mahathir Mohamad, but by 2050.

By which such time, unless he has fought to his last drop of blood for Najib before then, Khairy, as he said, will be 70 years old.

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Ambitious Crown Prince of UMNO who stands to benefit when Najib falls from power–101% behind the Prime Minister with a dagger(?)

And the rest of us who happen to survive that long will be feeling more like 700 years old, after decades more deadly-dreary UMNO general ass-emblies like this one, in which the Deputy Prime Minister (Zahid Hamidi) preposterously compared the Malaysian opposition to the Nazis by claiming that allegations of Najib’s massive embezzlement of public funds via the fake national wealth fund “1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is a Hitlerian ‘big lie’.”

When of course, as has long been glaringly obvious, there is nothing so Nazi or fascist as Umno, in every way from its destruction of democratic institutions to its politically-complicit police and judiciary and its mendacious, regime-propagandist mainstream media.

Blaming woes on diverse scapegoats

Meanwhile, wife of the principle suspect in the notorious RM250-million National Feedlot Corporation scam and Wanita UMNO Chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil joined Zahid Hamidi and Khairy Jamaluddin in blaming UMNO’s (and thus Malaysia’s) woes on such diverse scapegoats as Dr Mahathir, perennial regime bogeyman Jewish-American financier and philanthropist George Soros and the BERSIH movement.

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BERSIH being the biggest regime bugbear of all, as the UMNO gang is not so asinine as to imagine it can survive the kind of clean, free and fair elections for which this admirable organisation keeps loudly and publicly calling.

And this 2016 annual UMNO General ass-embly is likely the last one before the general election that Najib clearly intends to call as soon as he thinks he can get away with it.

Before, that is, investigations in the US, Switzerland and sundry other countries around the world can reach their findings in investigations of the 1MDB fiasco, and possibly then institute criminal proceedings against Najib and his partners in this scam.

So it is more urgent than ever for all of us who are sick to death of UMNO’s making a Malassia out of Malaysia and Malassians out of Malaysians to do everything in our power to finally find a way – any way – to kick this gang of crooks out on their asses.

 

A piece of advice after BERSIH 5.0


November 24, 2016

A piece of advice after BERSIH 5.0

by Azly Rahman

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Malaysians, we need to come back to our senses. Our strength will still come from diversity and the respect and cultivation of talent. We should rejoice and celebrate the achievements of this nation for that beautiful concept of unity in diversity; not to organise any rally that spews hatred and invoke the horrors of the May 13, 1969 tragedy.

 

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The recent yellow-shirt 60,000 strong-mass rally in Malaysia, urging cleaner elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak ended in both warring parties winning – the protesters got their message across for the fifth time and the government got to test-drive the 2012 Special Offences Act (Sosma), its new anti-terrorist law, for the first time.

The leader of BERSIH (‘Clean’ in Malay), Maria Chin Abdullah, a long-time human rights activist, is now in solitary confinement, detained like a suspected Islamic State (IS) terrorist while investigations on her alleged links with the American intelligence-gathering-legit-government agency, the CIA, are being carried out. Exactly how she is linked will be a puzzle and a mystery, like those of the world-famous money-laundering and high-profile case of the Malaysian 1MDB.

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But the government, as always, is winning. I attribute this perpetual victory to one concept – hegemony. Rousseau and Gramsci have written a lot about this idea of ‘common sense’. The control over Man, machinery, media, and money.

The former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled Malaysia with an iron glove for 22 years mastered this concept. Today he marches with the BERSIH protesters, outside of the real of hegemony he created, and trying to figure out how to play the game of counter-hegemony and feels what it is like to play with authority.

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Najib learned politics from Mahahtir Mohamed

Ironically, the authority he is trying to bring down was a child of his own creation – his Frankenstein. Or rather, culturally speaking, his Badang. It is a tough and complicating act and one which seemingly has no poetic justice in sight.

Recently, in a US-based publication, I wrote about the representation of the Malays on the eve of the red-shirt-yellow-shirt confrontation:

“ … Aren’t Malaysians tired of seeing the Malays being represented as buffoons, stupid, amok-prone, close-minded, rempits, kris-kissing fools, Ali Baba forty-thieves, rejects, religious fanatics, red-shirts, whatever shirts… it is a clever production and reproduction of the Malay ruling class, both feudal and wannabe-feudal… so that the Jebat aspect of the Malay – the amuck, the wannabe-sultan, the misogynic, the sex-maniac-royal groper and rapist of ancient Malacca, the royal-jet-setting-good-for-nothing-ancient-kings, the hedonistic, the grotesque epicure, the gangster, the absurd – is pushed forward and propagated to strengthen the Tuah aspect – the fool that followed the foolish orders of the foolish and idiotic Malacca sultan, the womaniser-cum-religious leader – the bad hombre of Malay culture – these are the twin representation of the Malays. A laughing stock – the Malays are made to become…” Source here.

So – how now brown cow? What are Malaysians to do after yet another rally? After yet another governmental pounding on the protesters with arrests a la Machiavelli?

The way forward

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Dr. Azly Rahman–An Educator for Peace

As an educator for peace and an advocate of long-haul bloodless revolutions focusing on changing consciousness through education and self-reflection, through living an ethical, morally-compassed, and intelligible life for the collective-good of society, I would suggest the following as a long-term plan for a radical change:

It is better to focus on raising your children well in adjusting to a changing, globalising, and very diversifying Malaysian and global society. We must work harder to improve race relations, be stronger to fight corruption and power abuse, and be more intelligent in designing policies that will benefit the poor, the marginalised and the powerless.

We must teach our children to focus on ways to understand others, improving their English language skills, perfecting their moral compass, encouraging them to think well and good about children of other races and religion, to encourage them to make friends with people of other races, to be grateful that schools offer the great opportunity to love and respect teachers of different races.

Teach them to learn about the dangers of generalising, stereotyping, and projecting hate that would lead to mass deception, to encourage each child to learn about other cultures and religion, and to teach them that all of us in Malaysia are now Malaysians and not this or that group of immigrants.

We all are migrants in time and space and in history and that all of us are human beings with emotions, struggles, challenges, history of joy and despair, memory of pain and pleasure of living, and that all of us are merely of differing skin colour tone and born to speak different languages and to believe in different things about salvation and that we are all travelers in this life.

We cannot allow Malaysia to come to a point in which riots such as those race-based against the police to take root. We cannot allow the Malaysian version of #BlackLivesMatter to be the impetus for urban violence.

We are all these and will not need moments of history where we cultivate hate for the bigger picture of oppression we do not understand. We may all be pawns in this great political game of big-time plunderers and multi-ethnic robber-barons skilled at mass deception and distractions. Today, the level of corruption and the growing cases of mass corruption and power abuse that are going unpunished have made Malaysia a critically ill nation.

We should be grateful that we are still alive and breathe daily and that we must think happily and joyfully like Malaysians in order for each and every one of us to prosper in peace. We cannot travel the path of America in which racism is on the rise and of late especially in places such as Texas, Islamophobia is brewing.

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Malaysians, we need to come back to our senses. Our strength will still come from diversity and the respect and cultivation of talent. We should rejoice and celebrate the achievements of this nation for that beautiful concept of unity in diversity; not to organise any rally that spews hatred and invoke the horrors of the May 13, 1969 tragedy.

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Let us design a safer journey towards a progressive and harmonious Malaysia, beyond for example, the red T-shirt red-river of blood march of some mangled manufactured propaganda of Malay dignity.

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My Thanksgiving wish is to see a saner and more peaceful America as well as Malaysia – two countries I have loved and will continue to love. On that note: Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans!

BERSIH and its followers and detractors


November 21, 2016

BERSIH and its followers and detractors

 by Mariam Mokhtar
 www.freemalaysiatoday.com

The people who say it’s not the time to rally must tell us when the right time is.

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You would have to be living on another planet to be unaware of Malaysia’s worst financial scandal and political crisis in recent memory. In her series of exposes on 1MDB, Clare Rewcastle-Brown has alleged that our leaders are ill-equipped to deal with large-scale corruption. Many certainly agree that the 1MDB affair is about fraud on a massive scale.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that our so-called democratic system and institutions cannot stop Malaysia’s slide to becoming an international pariah. The right to dissent has been taken away from us. We are threatened with the Sedition Act and a slew of other draconian laws. The avenues for discourse have been reduced to so few that a complete overhaul of our institutions has become necessary if Malaysia is to retain any respect from the democratic world.

That’s why it’s important to support BERSIH. BERSIH has often been denied permits for its peaceful rallies. When plans were being made for BERSIH 3, the authorities claimed that communist elements were going to topple the government. That was quickly exposed as a lie. Against BERSIH 4, the race card was used to isolate the Malays from other Malaysians, with the claim that the Malays were not interested in reforms. That tactic failed too.

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In anticipation of BERSIH 5, sermons in government controlled mosques all over the country alleged that going on marches against the government was anti-Islamic and would expose the country to foreign intervention.

This tactic of using religion to scare the Malays from participating is also likely to fail, and the authorities probably know it.

Some people have claimed that the best way to make institutional reforms is to cast your vote at election time. Have these people not heard that electoral fraud has not been redressed? The electorate has no confidence in the fairness or legality of elections in Malaysia.

In many places around the world, people have pledged to be in solidarity with Malaysians taking part in the BERSIH 5 rally. At these overseas locations, people will march without any problems. They will not be arrested, be photographed or beaten up.

In Kuala Lumpur, the authorities do not want BERSIH participants to march to or gather at Dataran Merdeka. The reason is simple. It’s where Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first Prime Minister, raised the Malaysian flag and the Union Jack was lowered. It was the place where the colonial power, Britain, returned the country to its people. It will be a psychological boost for the rakyat if Bersih gathers at such a symbolic location, and that’s why the authorities don’t want it to happen.

The people who say that now is not the right time to march have the burden of telling us when the right time will be.

Students have been warned of disciplinary action if they take part in the rally. Civil servants have been threatened with dismissal or pay cuts. Journalists have been harassed. So, isn’t this as good a time as any to protest?

The rally-goers are not flippant people who have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning. They are sacrificing their time, effort, and possibly their freedom so that their children may have a brighter future.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

Electoral Reform in Cambodia


November 21, 2016

Electoral Reform in Cambodia

by Chheang Vannarith

http://www.khmertimes.com

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Cambodia–Kingdom of Wonder and Emerging Democracy

Japan’s foreign policy, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been more robust and assertive, through deep linkages between economic diplomacy and strategic and political interests.

Japan has also started implementing a values-based diplomacy by focusing on democracy and human rights.

Stating that “expanding support for countries that share strategic interests and the universal values of freedom and democracy with Japan is crucial in attaining a free, prosperous and stable international community with the goal of securing peace and stability in developing countries,” Japan’s White Paper on Official Development Assistance in 2012, released in 2013, enshrined democracy support as a crucial principle of the country’s foreign development support and engagement.

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Of Pristine Beauty and Peace

Cambodia is the first country Japan actively involves in democratization, particularly through electoral reform and institutional capacity building. The Cambodian government seems to trust Japan more than other countries in democratic reforms given shared understanding of Asian values.
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Upon the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2013, Japan positively and quickly responded with support to reform the electoral system by providing technical and financial assistance to the National Election Committee (NEC).

After the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991, Cambodians from different political and ideological orientations came together to reconstruct the war-torn country with the introduction of a liberal democratic political system.

Democracy is believed to be the foundation of peace, stability and development. However, democratization is a long, complex process. Democracy will fail if the people fail to understand and practice the core values of democracy. Social cohesion, political consensus, institution building, responsible leadership, citizenship, people empowerment and public participation are indispensable elements in democratic consolidation.

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Obama Gone–Trump Next

Cambodian democracy remains fragile due to the lack of a strong and resilient democratic institution. Over-personalized politics, zero-sum political game, political polarization and irresponsible public manipulation have been threatening the very foundation of democracy.

Although five general elections had been organized since the UN-supervised 1993 election, Cambodia has grappled with post-election political crisis or deadlock.

Election irregularities were the main issues used by the losing parties to protest against the winning parties. Normally, power bargaining and sharing between political parties led to post-election political reconciliation and settlement.

In the aftermath of the 2013 election, the power-sharing arrangement between the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodia National Rescue Party was short-lived.

Deep political distrust between the two leaders of the two parties prevents the two parties from reaching any meaningful and fruitful political negotiation. Uncertainty and risks are high ahead of the upcoming elections, which are predicted to be the most competitive race between the two main political rivals. There have been questions raised in relation to whether the upcoming elections will be fair and inclusive. The most puzzling question is whether a power transition, should there be any, would be peaceful.

The international community is pinning its hopes that through free, fair and inclusive elections, Cambodia will be able to maintain political stability and continue to prosper.

Japan and the European Union are the two main donors in electoral reforms. Japan supports the NEC in three areas: voter registration, the improvement of electoral procedures and the enforcement of voter awareness and education activities.

So far, the voter registration system has been smoothly carried out with a computerized system, with more than 74 percent of the electorate registered.

With the improvement of the organizational structure and technical system, the NEC will be able to perform much better than before. There will be no legitimate reason for any political party to protest against the election results, so the post-election political crisis or deadlock will be avoided.

Should electoral reform in Cambodia prove to be a success story, Japan will continue expanding its values-based diplomacy to other parts of the world, similar to what Japan has done with regards to peacekeeping operations.

Personal interest and dedication to human rights and democracy by the former Japanese ambassador to Cambodia, Yuji Kumamaru, also contributes to promoting Japan’s image and role in strengthening democracy in the Kingdom.

“Reforming the election system, along with the NEC demonstrating independence and neutrality, is a perquisite for increasing trust and confidence of people and for all the political parties and candidates competing in the election freely and fairly,” Mr. Kumamaru said on August 18.

“It is hardly necessary to point out that every step of the election processes needs to be as open and inclusive as possible,” he added.

What about the US Presidential Elections 2016–The Ugliness of Democratic Politics


November 9, 2016

This election year (2016) has been an exhausting parade of ugliness. It has also highlighted some fundamental truths about the United States circa 2016, lessons that political leaders should heed beyond Tuesday’s elections.

Hate sells. Racism, bigotry and misogyny, Donald Trump has proved, can energize a national campaign. Mr. Trump has shown it is feasible to recruit the alt-right, conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and anti-Semites as ferocious allies without alienating reliable Republican voters.

Economic anxiety is high. Americans of all backgrounds — whites, blacks, Latinos, men, women, people in rural and urban communities — have this in common: They are worried about their economic future. The country recently experienced the longest recession since the Great Depression, incomes had been falling or stagnant for years and income inequality in recent years has been worse than at any other time since the 1920s. All the candidates, Republican and Democrat, have sought to make this issue central to their campaigns.

But Mr. Trump has outdone even Bernie Sanders in tapping this anxiety. While economic worries cut across all demographic lines, he has gotten away with exploiting the real concerns by attacking immigrants and trade agreements, but offering no cogent policies for creating good jobs and lifting wages. His economic and tax proposals would hurt ordinary workers and blow a hole through the federal budget. By contrast, Hillary Clinton has offered practical ideas that could improve the economic situation for most Americans.

The media enable extreme candidates and the parties are too fragile to stop them. Social media sites and TV news transmitted every political spitball and insult spewed over the past 18 months. But they had little capacity to establish widely shared truths or foster constructive debate about issues like climate change or criminal justice. In democratizing the media, Twitter and Facebook have also made it possible for Americans to encounter only the messages they want to hear. Desperate for ratings, Fox News, CNN and other networks handed Mr. Trump an open mike early in the contest. And having fanned the flames of extreme partisanship for years, Republican leaders were powerless in the primaries to stop Mr. Trump’s rise, and then were afraid to alienate his supporters by opposing him in the general election. Mr. Trump used his media savvy and entertainment value — often in the form of insults — to keep all eyes on him. Imagine how much further a more disciplined demagogue might go applying a similar formula.

Hispanic turnout is rising. Here’s a bright spot. Early voter turnout during the last few days in states like Nevada and Florida suggest that Hispanics are voting at much higher rates in this election than they did in the past. This shows that the Latino vote can mobilize, and it could be pivotal in delivering the loss Mr. Trump deserves. How fitting that would be.

Citizens are turning to local solutions. The presidential election is not the only consequential choice before voters. In fact, tens of millions of people across the country on Tuesday have a chance to take matters into their own hands by voting on ballot proposals that could change their lives and communities. Voters in nine states will consider measures to turn around the failed war on drugs by permitting the medical or recreational use of marijuana. Cities and counties, including Los Angeles and Seattle, will be voting on financing rail lines and other desperately needed transportation projects. Washington State will vote on taxing carbon pollution. Elsewhere, people will vote on stronger gun control policies and raising state minimum wages.

These proposals are a powerful response to the anti-government zealots who have hogtied Congress into inaction on anything besides futile, partisan investigations. For deeply frustrated citizens, this end run around political dysfunction may be the only way to move the country forward.