After what felt like a lifetime of campaigning, followed by a lifetime of an election, we finally
know the winner of the 2020 US Presidential election. Joe Biden will be the next President
of the United States of America. Right?
For me, Tuesday 3rd November was a long, nervous, and wasted night without sleep. Last year, for the 2019 General Election in the UK, I spent the evening watching the BBC coverage projected in an LSE lecture theatre. The exit polls were released around midnight, well early enough for me to catch the train home. The US election did not follow that
routine. Yes of course, there is a time difference, but I really did believe that by the morning of the 4th , I would know who the next President would be. How naïve I was. Finally, four days later, a BBC alert went off on my phone, informing me that the wait was finally over.
However, simultaneous to this announcement came a stream of news coverage on Trump, claiming that he is angry, planning to sue, and demanding a recount. In my mind, he is truly living up to the stereotype that everyone in America sues anyone for anything (as an American, I can attest to this). So, what is Trump actually doing and what does any of it mean?
Here’s the rundown
Regardless of your opinions on the President, over the last four years Trump has brought a new element to American politics that has been absent for at least a few decades. The idea of being an establishment against the establishment is at the core of his political personality and rhetoric. These lawsuits follow in line with this discourse, and thus, even though Trump may be out of the Oval Office, his legacy remains, as do his supporters. I believe Biden recognises this. Those who voted for Trump in 2016 have not gone anywhere. They still have the same anxieties, ideas and wishes that they did before, hence Biden’s focus on being a “President for all Americans” in his victory speech.
Politics in America over the last four years has been extremely adversarial. Democrats and Republicans appeared to have nothing in common, leading to very limited effective debate. It is not a productive political system. I can only hope that Biden can help parties communicate in a more consensual way, allowing the Republicans to legitimately hold the Democrats to account over the next four years, instead of baseless claims being used as the basis of political discourse, causing polarisation and divisions across the nation.
As an American based in the UK, I feel theI feel the general European consensus is that the US's glory is fading and has been for a few years. The communist fighting, Cold-War and world war winning hero of the West is not what it once was. And what lies ahead for the Biden administration is a tough task. The issue of Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon, and the social and economic ramifications that the pandemic will have are problems that will persist for the coming years. Thus, we must wait to see what this new era brings for the USA, but I am hopeful that it will bring something good.