Someone told me that this is the most boring US election ever. We know who’ll win, they reasoned. If Hillary couldn’t beat Trump, then how can Joe? For the current President, losing was never an option. He repeatedly claimed that he did not know how he could handle defeat, especially to someone as lowly as Joe Biden. Anyhow, the same brain told me that Trump has never known losing. Throughout his sheltered life, failure was never an option. He was brought up on a silver spoon and acted like an insufferable brat all his life. He was the proverbial Tracy Flick, a fictional character from the movie Election which a young Reese Witherspoon portrayed. His win-at-all-cost mentality was very reminiscent of Flick. That Tracy was only a challenger (and not in power) was the main difference. Another contrast was that the fictitious know-it-all was conned while there was probably no cheating involved in this election. By the way, the title of this week’s post was culled from a documentary on the legend of two-sport All-Star Bo Jackson.
On Saturday evening (US time), news broke that Biden had won the 2020 Presidential election. The latter had even given a victory speech, together with his vice-president (VP), Kamala Harris. The latter becomes the first person of colour and the first woman to be VP. The streets of America were divided. Some rejoiced in the Democrat win, while others renounced the election result, saying that it was rigged. This is real vindication for Biden, marking his third attempt at the US Presidency. His first bid was in 1988, then in 2016. He served as VP under President Barrack Obama from 2008-2016. He also lost his first wife and his son to a car accident. He then lost his other son – to cancer. Thus, he is no stranger to failure.
For those pondering Trump’s reaction, he went on live TV following polling day. Sensing potential catastrophe, he went on record at the White House. He prematurely claimed victory and maintained that the votes were tainted. He argued, without evidence, of mass electoral fraud. He proclaimed that his team would wreck heaven and earth to prove this cheating. He and his team have maintained this stance for all of this past week. Trump spent the next couple of days far from modernity, playing golf in Virginia. Yet despite the distance, he could not avoid the backlash from protesters as he was driven around. Trump’s behaviour during his term has inspired countless parodies. Saying that he’s the most lampooned American President ever is not a stretch. After Biden’s moment, there was still 74 sleeps before inauguration day. The world is wondering what could happen in those days.
For all purposes, Trump has well worn out his welcome. He had four years of borrowed time. Most Yankees worth their salt would know that Hilary probably won the prior edition. In four years, he has spent his time undoing the progress of his predecessor, Obama. He has run the White House like a reality show, replete with firings and unnecessary drama. He has manned the ship with a fury, removing those who dare challenge him. Meanwhile, he expects the rest to quietly bow to him. This is true not only among his people, but also with other world leaders. Throughout his tenure, Trump has been a lightning rod for controversy. His comments over the late Senator John McCain swayed Arizona voters against him. Who could forget the Trump blimp which flew over London? Donald personifies someone who cares little about others’ feelings.
The showdown was closer than predicted, with polling numbers at a record high. This election was decided among the so-called battleground states. Regardless, Biden was ahead after the first day of ballots. To win the White House, both combatants needed to amass 270 electorates. It seemed like Trump was stuck at 213. Four days later, he garnered just 214 electorates. Meanwhile, Biden was slowly pulling away. It got to the point where he needed merely Pennsylvania (with 20 seats) to reach the magic number. When that finally occurred, Trump’s re-election hopes were foiled. Even before the decision, Trump launched recount requests across the nation. While a couple were successful, others were rebuffed. A few were still pending.
Many commentators have argued that Trump won’t go out quietly. Some have gone so far as purporting that Donald wouldn’t surrender the White House and would have to be forcibly evicted. Apparently, Trump doesn’t listen to anyone and hates almost all media outlets. He even unleashes his attack dog, the fiery personal lawyer who launches his missiles. While he retains his cronies and sycophants, he has lost the confidence of more than half of the Americans who voted. He continues to shine in the eyes of hardliners, as seen in the anger and bitterness among his rank and file. Like their skipper, these followers will fight to the end. Anyhow, the minorities will never embrace Trump as a result of his tough policies. This plebiscite reveals that America has had enough. The record voter turnout is a testament of a country willing for change.
After four years in the Oval Office, Trump becomes the first one-term American President in almost thirty years. He remains a polarising figure: some gush about his aura while many despise him. He fancies himself a bridge of peace, striking deals between countries in the Middle East. At the same time, he also advanced Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, angering the Palestinians. During his time in office, there were only a couple of state visits. In this regard, he could not stop criticising the Obama administration but there is no doubt that the latter had more allies. One could avow that Trump was making the wrong friends. He sought out Kim Jong-Un, making headlines around the world. However, his inner control freak ignited a trade war with China and tensions between the two superpowers have never been higher.
He has made sweeping changes to America’s foreign policy that has seen them retrogress instead of moving forward. The gap in the States’ social strata has become even more pronounced. People are losing their business, their livelihoods, their necessities. Due to the coronavirus, the country is in a bad recession. The road back to black seems like an improbability that will not happen in the next Presidential term. Black lives are more precarious than ever, a big talking point that Trump has avoided. When issues are of little benefit to him, Trump has consistently shown his apathy. Thus, the spate of injustice endures.
Trump clearly underestimated his opponent. At various times, he ridiculed Biden for being ‘too old’ and for his stuttering. He called him ‘Sleepy Joe.’ He seemed blind to his own gross negligence, his appalling treatment of the American public. He ignores the fact that 240,000 of his constituents have fallen asleep as a result of him mishandling the coronavirus response. While he is busy Tweeting and planning his next assault on democracy, various insiders have reportedly asked him to concede and hand over the reins. Donald acted as if this election was his to lose. Trump has lambasted the media for declaring the Biden win. The outgoing leader believes that the news media has cooked up this victory and insisting that we should not trust them. The media in turn has responded, reminding Trump that there is no evidence of vote tampering whatsoever. Trump’s refusal to accept defeat has been labelled a sad day in American history.
‘Pass the flame’
When Trump finally leaves the White House, what happens then? His debt is a staggering USD 300 million. While he claims that he will re-contest the 2024 election, that will be a long shot. The Republican party will not pin their hopes on someone who already lost them the last plebiscite. By then, he would be 78 years old, the same age as Biden. Furthermore, some women have accused him of making unwanted advances towards them. The worst-case scenario is he ends up like disgraced Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. That’s not even mentioning all the other perks. The Secret Service, Air Force One, limousines, chauffeurs, a full ministerial cabinet, and the whole of the armed forces were at his command. Presidents are the biggest stewards of America. Now it’s time to turn over the page and pass the torch.