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ballot-1294935_1280I’ve spoken previous of my admiration for the work of Tom Pepinksy, and my only significant concern with his post here is that I didn’t make the Thailand/Trump connection myself.

Rather than simply reposting the link and encouraging you to read it, which I suggest you do anyway, I’d like to add something to his insights.

My somewhat limited addendum is to point out that just as delegitimising election results can get countries into a world of pain, legitimising election results offers a glimmer of hope on a possible way out of the darkness with minimal political chaos. Pepinsky recognises this in commenting that “when electoral procedures lose popular legitimacy, it is nearly impossible to get that legitimacy back”. Nevertheless, I see that restoration of procedural/popular legitimacy, however difficult it may be, as one of the few ways forward for Thailand from this point on.

I must admit to pessimism on whether that will, or even can, now happen in Thailand. The critical problem I see is that countries that are not deeply divided make no political space for key actors to sabotage the legitimacy of their own electoral processes, and inversely that countries that sabotage the legitimacy of their electoral processes are already deeply divided (regardless of the rhetoric of acting to preserve unity).

For the United States the looming election may yet be a referendum on how united the country remains. For Thailand, whatever unity remains in the body politic is vaporising by the day.

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