COMMENT | It wasn’t so long ago that the US had censured (then) Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and even restricted Modi’s entry to its country. By the same token, it wasn’t so long ago that Donald Trump was a reality TV show host making guest appearances at professional wrestling events.
The two men’s fortunes have changed. Modi and Trump are now leaders of their countries, and each possessed of a maniacally committed voter base.
Trump and Modi have often been cited together as emblems of the rise of autocratic nationalism in hitherto secular democracies. Both have openly directed hostility towards their own minorities and neighbouring foreigners. And both dominate social media, bypassing traditional mediums of communication by speaking directly to their supporters and detractors alike via popular digital platforms.
Both have had checks on their tendencies towards autocratic rule, and both have reacted with disdain and disregard to any attempt at blocking their authoritarian use of power.