I'm still gobsmacked by New Zealand's election. Not by the results - pollsters and pundits predicted a Labour win, even if they didn't foresee the landslide.
One commentator called National's loss of 21 MPs in Parliament an "utter bloodbath".
What's shocking is the civility with which politicians and their supporters have conducted themselves before, during and after the campaigns.
National's leader Judith Collins, whose party won 27 per cent of the vote to Labour's 49 per
cent, gave a mostly gracious concession speech last Saturday.
The things she didn't say and didn't do were remarkable. She didn't throw a tantrum. She didn't threaten to sue. She didn't claim the election was rigged and that early ballots, which comprised 70 per cent of votes, ruined the democratic process.
Collins later told Radio NZ: "There's nothing like a good old defeat to make people be very
focused on what their job actually is."
Jacinda Ardern spoke with the kindness and respect we've come to expect from our leader.
She didn't flog Collins after Labour saw its best election result in at least 50 years.
She said: "Elections aren't always great at bringing people together, but they also don't need to tear one another apart."
The New York Times wrote Ardern "has become a global standard-bearer for progressive politics that defines itself as compassionate and competent in crisis".
Meanwhile, in my native land, President Donald Trump has been a global laughing stock and purveyor of an increasingly autocratic rule as abuses of power escalate.
While Ardern may win history's popularity contest in the leadership stakes, Trump may end up the biggest loser.
History will lump him with President James Buchanan, who in the mid-1800s refused to challenge the spread of slavery or the growing bloc of states that became the Confederacy.
For his part, Trump refuses to denounce white supremacists or challenge the metastasis of followers who subscribe to whack-a-doodle conspiracy theories like QAnon.
Its members revere The Donald as the only person who can save America from a cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles. It beggars belief anyone could stomach such bull,
but humans have done stranger things.
Trump has the lowest approval rating, an average of 40 per cent, since Gallup started polling on the issue in the 1930s.
His ratings have sunk even below Richard Nixon's (49 per cent average approval), who resigned in disgrace following the Watergate scandal.
The NY Times opined Trump's re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II. What's more, the President has said he won't leave office.
A Times' editorial said: "Breaking with all of his modern predecessors, he has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, suggesting that his victory is the only legitimate outcome, and that if he does not win, he is ready to contest the judgment of the American people in the courts or even on the streets."
Ordering agencies to act outside the law, ending checks and balances, using violence to control society are hallmarks of authoritarianism.
Yet some voters will tick the Trump box because - paedophiles. Plandemic. 5-G. And the stock market is doing well, so, police brutality? What's that?
Also, as an article in The Atlantic theorised, even Republicans who hate Trump will vote for him because they despise Democrats more.
"They swim in a cultural soup of Trumpism, surrounded by friends, family, and social-media acquaintances who do live more exclusively in a right-wing-media ecosystem."