The rest of the world has been looking at the United States in horror and wondering why the greatest democracy in our lifetime can descend so low as to elect whom many people believe to be utterly unfit for its highest office.
The horror is even magnified when one considers the disparaging statements people like Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and a host of other Republicans made about the candidacy of Donald J Trump only to fall perfectly in line behind him as candidate and as president.
Trump’s election in 2016 was, although predicted by many, largely seen as a fluke. As 2020 approached, many observers believed that those who may have given him the benefit of the doubt in 2016 now know exactly what presidency he offers, and as such would not vote for him again.
That argument was shredded with Trump bettering his 62 million total votes in 2016 by 11 million more and counting in the 2020 election. Now the head scratching has begun trying to figure out how is it possible for that many Americans to see presidential quality in Donald Trump.
But relegated to seeming oblivion is the counter narrative and perhaps a welcoming reality that on the other hand, Joe Biden has also bettered Hilary Rodham Clinton’s 65 million total votes in 2016 by as many as 15 million in 2020.
Where Clinton beat Trump by 2.8 million popular votes, Biden has smoked him by 6 million votes and counting.
And that’s what brings up the question: Is America a glass half full or half empty?
United States is a country of systems and institutions. It is the one country that can truly run on cruise control for a while. Thus the occupant of the Oval Office while extremely powerful, is never considered a King. Trump threatened to change that and Americans from all nuke and cranny came out to vote against him.
A sizeable chunk of exit poll respondents admitted that they voted more against Trump than for Biden. And because where one votes in America has consequences on the electoral vote tally, many observers are happy that the popular vote blowout has translated into an electoral “landslide” which is how Trump described his version of 306/232 electoral win over HRC in 2016.
In the end, some would say the system worked and the right person for America at this moment won in both the electoral and popular vote category.
But to those who voted for, and support Trump, it seems the world is coming to an end. Despite the presidential term being only four years, and the importance of preserving the great experiment called the United States, some are willing to jeopardize the survival of all systems and institutions to achieve what amounts to a short-term goal of retaining Trump.
Ironically they are buoyed by claims and potentially questionable belief that there were voter fraud. But wasn’t the shoe on the other foot back in 2016 when Clinton, cognizant of Intelligence community-certified belief of Russian interference, conceded anyway despite more Americans voting for her for president than did for Trump?
Amid all these perplexing developments, observers outside the borders of the United States are contemplating throwing in the towel on the country. They say America has lost its way. But has it?
Don’t those who might argue that America found its way back in the 2020 elections have perhaps more credible argument? If Trump was able to galvanize 11 million more people who did not vote in 2016 to come out and vote for him, can’t that same argument be made about Biden, or at least the system galvanizing 15 million more people who also did not vote in 2016 to come out and vote against Trump?
So as Trump stymies the transition process, and as Biden builds a one-sided transition anyway while the states of Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin sort out a barrage of election-related court cases, is America worthy of optimism or is worthy of pessimism?
Jermaine Nkrumah, DNT