US 2020 Election

Reflections on the US Election Three Weeks On

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Well, it has taken me over a fortnight to recover from all that drama. Joe Biden did something a presidential candidate has rarely done in turfing Donald Trump out of office after one term, something which has not occurred since the 1992 election when Bill Clinton took over from George H.W. Bush.

But can we say that in full confidence with all the legal challenges? In all seriousness, the sitting president has every right to make a case if he can prove there has been wide-scale fraud in this election. However, these claims are currently unsubstantiated, leading several television news channels to cut away from President Trump when he made such allegations. That just goes to show how remarkable this situation is. I have never seen anything like it in my life because unfortunately, I was only eight months old when the Bush vs Gore election took place in 2000.

From watching several archive clips from that election at a time when this year’s race was still in the balance a couple of days in, former Vice President Al Gore’s concession speech at the end of a long court process was extremely gracious – and I hope Trump can follow his lead when the time inevitably does come.

Regardless of the claims, the way Trump has conducted himself has been at best unpresidential – and at worst, disgraceful. Of course, any candidate would be furious if they felt the election was being stolen from them but both his Tweets and speeches at the time were dangerous. The President had already started the fire during the debates when he claimed there would be a fraud with mail-in ballots – his attitude both during and after the election has only helped to pour more fuel on an already raging fire. 

And I do not want to relentlessly criticise him because plenty of people are already this – but one problem Trump has always had is his style. Substance over style is important, but the US President must have both. He does not have that – the man is no role model. Although I struggle to forget his past comments, especially regarding women, perhaps people could celebrate what he has achieved. His election as leader of the free world was also remarkable, considering he was initially an outsider in the Republican primaries against the likes of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

And someone who was outside the bubble of politics before running in 2016, he had a chance to make a difference to ordinary people’s lives and become the ‘people’s president’. Has he been that? Not for me looking at it from the outside, but I hope to be proved wrong by those who have a different opinion across the Atlantic.

In January, it will be President-elect Joe Biden’s turn to make his mark.

One of the first things he needs to do it just listen. Listen to the concerns of over 70 million Americans who voted for Trump and bring the country together. He has already struck the right tone on this – and he needs to – because if he doesn’t listen it will come back to bite him. Hillary Clinton’s basket of deplorables’ comment and the subsequent 2016 results are a stern warning of this. If we have learnt one thing over the past few years with Clinton’s comment and Brexit frustration, it’s the fact voters will not be afraid to vote against you at the ballot box if you ignore their needs.

Biden will need to deliver on his promises and improve the lives of those left behind by the Trump administration and stay at the centre-ground to give him the best chance of defeating the Republican nominee in 2024. Whether he can do all three simultaneously remains to be seen – but the 78-year-old has the experience and a proven track record. Those are two vital assets.

Let us not forget Vice president-elect Kamala Harris. The history-maker will be a key figure behind the scenes, setting the agenda and tackling the big issues we currently face across the globe. But there is only one near-certainty for the future: Trumpism is likely to come to an end in January. Some will mourn this loss; others will be delighted to see it go. For the sake of democracy, let us hope America can come together as one.

From a UK perspective, I will miss CNN’s coverage with John King, Anderson Cooper and the rest of the team. On the other hand, I will not miss the copypasta or K-pop fan cams on Twitter when trying to get the latest news. At such a crucial election in one of the most powerful countries in the world, it turned out to be more like a reality TV show.

There were no wobbly stages in leisure centre sports halls or a senior cabinet minister losing their seat live on the BBC as we have here in the UK – but this was certainly the strangest election I have ever witnessed.

God bless America.

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