An excerpt from one of South Africa’s major newspapers’ today on our election:

“When a failed real estate developer and pitchman-for-hire became America’s president four years ago, it was partly due to the peculiarities of the nation’s electoral system. Nevertheless… Americans should have known better.

“Trump …saw the government he was leading as an enemy to be subdued and bent to his partisan and personal purposes. Regardless of topic, the president aimed for an alchemy that could turn black into white and prevarications and falsehoods into national policy. Americans should have known better…

“His policies have consistently been at odds with the nation, but nearly perfectly aligned to his personal political and financial benefit… Enemies of democracy and freedom of expression all over the world have been emboldened, America’s friends and supporters alienated or confounded…

“And then… there have been the consistent lies and bizarre statements about Covid-19…his recommendation about injecting household bleach … his touting of non-certified, powerful medicines with serious side effects… Americans certainly should have known better.

Trump “lies and distorts things big and small without regard to the truth, until the very concept of reality has been defiled; a leader who cannot tell the difference between a fairy tale and truth.

Trump stokes “the fever swamp of the worst of the racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist conspiracy theorists… Longstanding public norms against a president giving succour to such bizarre, dangerous theories have been traduced, normalising violence… By now, Americans should know better.

Trump “has been shameless in trafficking ugly, deceitful statements as if they were perfectly normal barbershop chit chat. He has followed the playbook of long-gone dictators who have understood that a drumbeat of repetition for such lies can turn them into beliefs for many. Now, in the final days before the election, Trump’s White House increasingly resembles the last days of the Berlin bunker in 1945. As war was crashing to its conclusion, Adolf Hitler was issuing orders to cowering subordinates to deploy nonexistent military units and wonder weapons.

America “can no longer afford the luxury of praying that high office will turn him into a responsible adult… There has been four years in which to watch the terrifying truth. By now, no one can underestimate the harm that four more years of him would inflict on America and the world. No American has the right, any more, to say, ‘I didn’t know’.”