It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The national polls continually placed Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump for the Presidency, and Democrats (especially in Texas) engaged in large voter drives to encourage people to turn out and vote. Yet, as this article was being written, the result was far from clear. Joe Biden may lead on predictions, but there are still many millions of ballots still to be counted and the prospects of Donald Trump being wiped out at the ballot box have disappeared.
So, why has this happened and what can the US and the wider world learn from the 2020 Presidential Election?
The first is that Donald Trump may be highly erratic and may make outlandish claims, but when it comes down to it, he will always end up sticking by what benefits him. For weeks, the President had claimed that the election was going to be stolen due to mail in ballot fraud, despite there being no evidence to support his claim. As push came to shove, the President stuck by his guns and declared that the election was being stolen from him and that should he not win, he would challenge the outcome in the Supreme Court.
Conversely, Trump has also claimed in a speech from the White House, that he had won, despite there still being millions of votes left to count. His statement followed a tweet by Joe Biden, in which Biden said that he was confident about winning, urging supporters to remain upbeat. Trump’s comments have been condemned across the political spectrum, with some of the harshest criticism coming from prominent Trump supporters such as Chris Christie, who have claimed that the President has no evidence to back up his claim that he has won.
The second is that despite Democrats continually pointing to Trump’s chaotic style of leadership, how it has impacted the US response to the coronavirus, and his repudiation of science, their words appear to have had little impact. Donald Trump has still managed to win 213 Electoral College Votes (at the time of writing), suggesting that large swathes of the population virulently disagree with the Democrat portrayal of the President.
Joe Biden may have been touted as a ‘boring candidate and a return to normalcy and competency’ by some commentators, but that, it appears, was not enough to convince vast swathes of the American public to vote for him. Indeed, it may have had the opposite effect. Whilst Biden can be seen as competent and boring, Trump is both chaotic and exciting. He also says what he thinks and very rarely apologises, this has proven to be a way of winning the approval of segments of the population who are tired of being schmoozed and then betrayed.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have either talked down to a large proportion of the American people, calling them ‘deplorable,’ and other such unflattering names. They have embraced identitarian causes that do not have majority support outside a few small bubbles online or on campuses or elite dinners. Consequently, some voters may have been off put by the Democrats, feeling that they do not wish to vote for a party that despises them and everything they stand for. Trump, despite his crassness, might be a better option for them as he at least appears to love his country.
The Democrats strategy hinged on painting Trump as the worst thing to happen to the USA ever and it does not seem to have worked in the way they had hoped. The result looks to be incredibly close, despite all the cards the Democrats played. Trump’s claims of voter fraud and pre-emptive declaration of victory combined with the Democrat push back against those claims will have consequences. Red or Blue, whoever ends up sitting in the White House at the end of all of this will face a nation more divided than ever. The task of reuniting it will be a gigantic effort that will require everyone’s willing involvement.