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It's not just an election year but a year of elections as a record number of people worldwide vote in 2024. Most recently, elections were held in India, South Africa, Mexico and the European Union, with France and Britain up next. Despite disparate outcomes (actual and anticipated), the results reflect trends across continents as well as suggest insights into America's November election.

In some countries there's thorough throw-the-bums-out outrage — or at least enough of the bums to humble ruling parties, as happened in India, South Africa and Europe — especially in France, where the setback was so significant it triggered a snap parliamentary election. (The presidency will likely be contested in 2027.)

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hoped — boasted, really — that his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would win upwards of 370 to 400 seats in the 543-seat lower house of Parliament, cementing his aggressive ascendancy to the most powerful Indian leader in decades. Instead, the BJP won just 240 and will need coalition partners, which just might moderate Modi's authoritarian impulses. Those impulses have imperiled India's sizable Muslim minority, nongovernmental organizations and independent media voices.

Similarly, South African voters eroded but did not end the post-Apartheid domination of the African National Congress — Nelson Mandela's party, which has ruled the nation for decades. Like the BJP in India, the ANC will require coalition partners to prop up President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Conversely, there will be a new Mexican president. But not because voters are dissatisfied with the politics and policies of incumbent President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly called AMLO). Rather it's because Mexico's leaders are limited to one six-year term. So Mexicans elected AMLO's protégé, Claudia Sheinbaum, who will be the first woman and first person of Jewish descent to lead her nation after her Morena Party won by 32 percentage points, achieving a supermajority in the lower house and nearly one in the Mexican Senate — a mandate that may unfortunately be used to curtail independent institutions that protect the very democracy that delivered for Morena.

Meanwhile, the 27-member E.U. picked its parliament last weekend. While the center held — barely — a surge of right-wing parties rallied angry, anti-immigrant, anti-environmental and anti-European Union sentiment to pick up seats — particularly in Germany and France, where President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the lower house of parliament and called a two-stage election starting June 30. It's a real risk for the French president, who hopes to call voters out on whether the country really wants to be run by the National Rally Party, once considered an extremist fringe, even fascist, movement, but now poised to take a majority in the National Assembly just weeks before the nation hosts the world for the Summer Olympics.

Somewhat similarly, Britain's beleaguered leader, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, also called a national election that experts predict his Conservative Party will lose, ending 14 years of Tory rule. (In an unintended irony, at least to Americans celebrating Independence Day, that vote takes place on July 4.)

In Europe, immigration seemed to be the driving dynamic, just as it may be in the United States.

"It's not clear whether immigration has ever previously risen so quickly in so many different countries," according to a New York Times analysis showing soaring rates of foreign-born residents — for example, 9% in Sweden in 1990, compared with 20% in 2020 (the latest data available, so today's rate is likely higher). In Germany over the same time frame the proportion went from 8% to 19%; in Spain, from 2% to 15%, and so on. And while the Times was quick and correct in pointing out the many benefits of immigration, many populist politicians were just as quick to stir up resentment over it, leading to big electoral gains.

Inflation and its impact on economies was another key issue, Ian Bremmer, founder and CEO of the Eurasia Group, a geopolitical risk advisory firm, wrote in his influential weekly geopolitical update. In a follow-up interview, Bremmer said that "if you are seen to be running against the system, you're generally doing well in this environment." That was certainly true in the four recent elections — even in Mexico, since Morena, despite being the current ruling party, is still an upstart compared to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which governed Mexico for decades.

Looking ahead to the French election, Bremmer said that Macron's gambit was "a huge bet, and if the National Rally actually succeeds in taking the premiership then this will be the most significant threat to the E.U. since Brexit — maybe bigger."

That 2016 referendum, held just months before America's electoral earthquake, is an example of a change election, which Bremmer said occurs "when people don't trust their leaders, when they're not happy about the economy, when they think the country is heading in the wrong direction."

And that, he added in analyzing the U.S. election, "is a real problem for [President Joe] Biden."

In fact, former President Donald Trump is leading in most swing states, a status Minnesota doesn't have — yet. But it's close, according to the Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota poll released this week that showed a slight Biden lead of 45% to 41%, with Trump's voters twice as enthusiastic about their candidate.

Trump hasn't pledged to accept the results of the 2024 elections, and he still lies about the outcome of the 2020 race, making the U.S. an outlier compared to other countries contesting elections.

Those votes were viewed "as legitimate by their population. And that will also be true in the U.K. and also be true in France," Bremmer said, adding: "The United States is singular, as an advanced industrial democracy, in being in crisis, in having a very significant challenge in that a lot of Americans believe that their political opponents are domestically trying to destroy democracy, or already have. And whether or not you believe that to be true doesn't make it less of a problem. And so I do believe that this election is a singular problem this year globally, and that there are an awful lot of people that are not prepared to accept the outcome, whichever way it goes.

"That's a real danger for rule of law, it's a real danger for America being able to continue to abide by the values that are enshrined in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and also to be a committed ally that will be consistent in the way we operate over time, and over election cycles, for other countries around the world."

Those values, those defining documents and America's alliances have been beacons across oceans, across eras. Dimming them would diminish our country, and by extension, the world.