I am not a Trump supporter and he was clearly the wrong sort of character to be ideal for the White House. He screwed up all over the place, undermined faith in American leadership across the free world and made more enemies than friends. But not everything he said or did was bad, which is why 70 million Americans voted for him on Tuesday. And whereas in 2016 many traditional Republicans voted for him, because against their wishes he wound up as their candidate, this time everyone who voted Trump voted for him because they liked what they saw. In spite of Covid, Twitter, the Wall and the ongoing mysteries surrounding his finances and financial connections, ie Russian money.
I cannot pretend I was a Biden supporter either, because to me he was too old and yesterday’s man. My faith in the vibrance and energy of the American Dream told me that as the twenty-first century develops, surely the US could do better than a choice between two old white men, or three if you include Bernie Sanders? In the end I was wrong. Biden won, and although the margins in several states were narrow, he gained over 50% of the popular votes and four million more of them than Trump. Thus the win has straightforward legitimacy around the democratic world, where usually the winner is the candidate with the most votes.
Much is being made in the media about the fact that more Americans voted for Biden than ever before in their history. But the second in line on this roster is Trump. The shock of defeat, which he has currently refused to accept, has clearly unhinged Trump’s self esteem and clouded his judgment. Most of what he is now saying is either lies or drivel. But with his rampant base, Trumpism is baked into the American psyche and Trump, even if he storms off in a sulk, will not go far. Only a fool would bet that he will not be back.
Given those circumstances, which perhaps present an America more viscerally divided than at any time since the election of 1861, what is needed is a healing hand. And now I have no doubt at all that Joe Biden is the right man in the right place at the right time. Moreover at his side is the historic choice of the first woman Vice President-elect and the first woman of colour. Kamala Harris is an inspirational step change for the better, after the plodding colourless Pence.