There is something that needs to be said about the 2016 election: no matter what side you identify with the election was a huge success. America went from 8 years of one party control of the presidency to switching parties completely in one day. One day. Aside from a few violent riots this year, this is identical to how 2008 looked. And 2000. We completely changed gears in a single day and we did it peacefully.
The rest of the world isn’t so lucky. Bashir al-Assad’s good graces with his people ran out years ago, and after repeated instances of abuse they revolted. They did not have the option to hold elections of any consequence and four years later their situation is dismal. It will take over 45 years to rebuild the infrastructure to pre-war levels. Hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, and worse, Assad is still president, and the war is still raging.
Iraq likely would have dumped their abusive leadership decades ago if fair elections were an option, but instead the U.S. had to oust their leader for them at great cost to ourselves and the Iraqi people, a cost that is still on-going after more than a decade of conflict and unrest.
Libya had to revolt like Syria, although unlike Syria they ousted their leader. Kaddafi was run out of office and found a form of justice at the wrong end of a rifle, though the country still is in terrible shape years later.
North Korea has no hope for disposing of their leader as his brutal rule keeps thousands or even hundreds of thousands starving to death in concentration camps. His grip on the throat of the country will not be loosened without extreme action of some kind, and the effects of his regime will echo for generations.
For most of the world, these types of leadership situations are normal. Freedom House reports that 60% of the nations in the world are either “not free” or “partially” free. In the last 10 years over 100 countries have seen a net decline in their freedoms. It might be said that it is impossible for these states to see regime change in a single day, much less a peaceful one—even if another state implemented it for them.
In January of 2017 Barack Obama will leave the White House. Donald Trump will enter office. This will all take place because of the work done by our Founders and by our officials who work to give us a government of remarkable stability. Americans will not have to take up arms to force Mr. Obama to leave. They will not need to topple the government to put Mr. Trump in office. These elected men will do it themselves in accordance with the law of the land, of their own volition, because we, the voters, simply asked them to. That’s amazing. That’s success. That’s democracy.