MADISON, WISCONSIN, USA:
The bitterly contested US presidential election concluded on Saturday. Former vice president Biden’s sizable victory draws the final curtain on Donald J. Trump’s tumultuous rule that cemented the preexisting divisions in America.
While the result declared Joe Biden as the next President of the United States of America, it also exposed the deep divisions in the country. It exposed the US as one of the most divided nations in the world where, sadly, a considerable number of people still support Trump’s disruptive rhetoric -- a reality that should be accepted.
Biden’s victory does not wipe the division and discord of the Trump years overnight. Having witnessed the election closely, it is safe to say that the 2020 Presidential contest was more about defeating Trump than supporting Joe Biden to lead a country – that for the past four years has taken the back seat on the world stage.
During the intense debates, both candidates claimed they were thrusted into contesting the Presidential election. For the former vice-president, Trump’s reckless behavior was the driving force behind his decision to run for the Oval Office. For Trump, who likes to refer to himself as a non-traditional politician, eight years of Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton’s bid for the White House was the primary reason for jumping into the 2016 presidential race. But this self-proclaimed unconventional Republican candidate and a somewhat successful businessman, broke many records while he occupied the White House. He routinely trashed the press and even called it the enemy of the people. If that wasn’t enough, data collected by top media organizations shows that Trump broke all records of weaving political lies and even spreading misinformation.
As America prepared for electing its next president, analysts were certain about Trump’s defeat at the ballot box on November 3, 2020. His response to the Covid-19 health crisis, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the subsequent economic slowdown, and his general inability to manage the affairs of the country caused his ultimate demise on the political stage. Perhaps, the pandemic, which affected many of his own supporters, became the deciding factor in the election.
The 45th president faced criticism for his performance when compared with other leaders of the ‘developed’ world like South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the Nordic countries. While many call him a sociopath, racist and an autocrat, a significant number of people support him and want him as their leader, and most Americans only started acknowledging this after the election.
Another important reason for Trump’s defeat is said to be the highest voter turnout in recent American history. According to estimates, the turnout is the highest in 120 years at 66.9%. This resulted in Democrat Joe Biden bagging a record 71.5 million votes.
Trump’s downfall is also attributed to his poor handling of protests sparked in the wake of George Floyd’s death and his statements following the incident – that many believe, created more friction in an already divided country. But this was not surprising. Trump’s time in office is defined by fear, divisions and widespread intolerance. The immigrant community feared that the president would force them out of the country. Members of the minority communities feared that the president would trigger a state-sponsored mass murder against them – only seen during the holocaust against the Jews. He blamed China for spreading the Coronavirus and then conveniently associated the Chinese American population with the deadly respiratory disease. The community was attacked and forced into seclusion.
Even during the final days of his political campaign to reclaim the White House, Trump used his speeches to solidify the divisions in America. He continued to hammer themes, including some from his 2016 run, when he targeted immigration, promised construction of the infamous wall to prevent people from neighboring countries to enter the US, and launched attacks on China and his former opponent, Hillary Clinton. This year, he invoked the threat of socialism and the uninterrupted rise of the extreme left, which repulses many in America. But apparently, none of his tricks convinced the voters.
For the world and most people of color, Trump might be Frankenstein’s monster, but despite the odds, his many supporters still see him as a savior who wanted to protect the border, jobs and the supremacy of the white race in America.
The writer is a former Express Tribune correspondent. He recently graduated with a research masters degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Twitter: @shezadbaloch
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