AMERICA made their choice of leadership for the next four years, opting for a change from Republican Party led government, under President Donald Trump, to Democratic Party led government, under Joe Biden, through a keenly contested election that handed Biden the trust of American presidency with popular votes of over 74,000,000.
Every election year in America draws huge concerns not just to Americans and their America, but also countries across the world that are directly or indirectly affected by outcomes of Uncle Sam’s electoral exercise.
The November 3, 2020 election has again, presented another ground for testing the wits and clear thoughts of American citizens in political decisions. The impressive progressions of the country’s democracy had always remained one of the greatest legacies of America, countries across the globe hallow.
Donald Trump, the incumbent president and Republican Party candidate went into the fight with uncompromising gusto despite stirring controversies that challenged his acceptability by significant number of citizens as president that could lead America to expected heights in another four years.
Trump is not new to such tests as he navigated similar turbulence in 2016 elections when he was roundly accused of conniving with Russian government in hacking America’s classified information. That nearly upturned the apple- cart against him to the favour of then Democratic Party candidate and challenger in the election, Hillary Clinton. In the end, he survived the scare to beat Hillary and emerge the 45th American president.
This time, the row is not about his gangsterism label but his first term policies, including the controversial immigration laws, tax reforms, health care, diplomacy and to cap a rancorous administration, his position and utterance on the emergence of coronavirus pandemic across the globe.
American foremost disease expert, Anthony Fauci, spared no blood in driving home his disaffection with Trump’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic spike in America. According to Fauci, “the president’s it will-all-work-out approach to the virus has repeatedly proved to be flawed, leading Americans to view his handling of the pandemic with broad skepticism. I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”
On the part of the Democratic Party candidate, Biden, the waters presented a smoother sail for cruise on populism, latching on the flawed handling of coronavirus pandemic by Trump’s administration to get the voting supports of Americans, especially securing the support of the blacks and squaring up against Trump with the white voting population.
Before citizens trooped out on November 3, to exercise their franchise, nearly 100 million votes had been cast with both candidates on neck and neck in the race.
Undoubtedly, American election is always a showpiece of democracy though keen observers are already sensing cracks in recent time that may taint the high estimation if allowed to degenerate. With Trump giving early hint of legal action should the election go against his expectation, the questions of what constituted his expectation and his trust in the system come to the fore.
“The Democrats are stealing our votes and I will go to the Supreme Court to challenge it. This is about the integrity of America.” Trump threatened while counting was still at critical level.
The poser then was what could have been Trump’s position should the final result turn to his favour. Should he still have rejected the result or retract his statement and accept the result? Patience is a very important tool here and Biden seems to have held the ace while the apprehension lasted.
In fact, his calm disposition gave the impression that he was really on course for victory, while Trump’s jittery exposed the undercurrent of despondency.
Perhaps, echoes from Biden’s camp during the final debate leading to the election revealed what not many could see when the Democrat supporters berated Trump as possessing no plans for a second term business. “He has no agenda and no plans,” the Democrats maintained.
In the words of American Attorney and authour, Jill Filipovic, “if one single thing shown through in Thursday’s debate, it was that Donald Trump has absolutely nothing to say. He has no agenda, he has no plan. He has no ideals or hopes. All he has is the raw pursuit of power for his own benefit and no one else’s.”
The result as finally announced by the American electoral body, declaring Joe Biden winner in the contest has pegged Republican supporters back on their steps to rethink and re-evaluate what punctured their roller- coaster ride than seeking self help from court.
A professor of French studies, University of Lagos, Professor Victor Ariole believes the American model of democracy remains exemplary as dreamt by Thomas Jefferson in 1801, despite pockets of unfancied violence in different counties and Trump’s reluctance in accepting defeat without further fights. He admitted that there is obvious division in America currently that if not addressed, would not make the ‘God’s Own Country’ any more fancy for emulation.
One thing remains remarkable when the postscript of November 3, 2020, election in America is contemplated. The sharp divide in American polity found good expression in the final result of the election; with 70,000,000 citizens casting their votes for Trump and his Republican Party, while over 74,000,000 Americans voted for the eventual winner, Biden and his Democratic Party, indicating that Trump’s score- card in his four-year term showed impressive performance in the minds of many Americans.
Arguably, Trump administration’s economic performance in the past four years caught the admiration of citizens and would have given him big mileage in the course. Not even his loquacious predilections/tendencies could dwarf his looming image on this front.
Former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America and Research Fellow, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Professor George Obiozor captures it succinctly thus; ‘if the election was determined on the basis of management of American economy, Trump is definitely successful all along in spite of the environment.”
Obiozor, alongside other experts believe the handling of coronavirus pandemic gave Trump more bloody nose in the fight than any other causes. Even at that, he acknowledged Trump’s quality, having been able to secure 214 Electoral College votes; the highest for any losing candidate in history of America.
According to the former Nigerian Ambassador, Americans considered personality above all factors in making their decisions in the election and fortunately for Biden, it went on his favour.
“The few things that incredibly determined the emergence of Biden as President-elect in this election is personality- America focused on personally. Another issue that was extremely favourable to Biden was the coronavirus and how it was handled. The third issue could be the postal- voting system which was Trump’s greatest fear.
“He summed the outcome as, one being defeated by what he feared most while noting the significant role the choice of black American woman, Kamala Harris, played in giving Biden the muchsought victory.” Many had thought it would be detrimental to Biden’s election but no matter how divided the Blacks are in America or whatever issues that divide them, majority of them still voted for him and his vice presidential candidate, Harris.
One major take from this Biden, Harris experiment is its delivery on actuating black women to exercise their franchise and get their voices heard through the ballot, against what obtained half a century ago. Perhaps, this no doubt contributed to the record number of votes that characterised this election.
Biden has seen it all too in American politics, becoming the Vice President under Obama administration, therefore, he lacks no knowledge of governance in anyway. Now, he has emerged the president of the United States, the first task besetting him as he has even acknowledged in his first speech as President-elect is bringing all Americans together, both Black and White and ensuring that justice, fairness and liberty; which are the core creed of America is enthroned.
Certainly, the task is not going to be easy, especially given that he may be working with minority congress, since Democrats have 46 seats in the upper parliament against Republican’s 47 seats currently, but the balance of power in the chambers may take a different shape come January, when a runoff election will be held in Georgia.
However, from the point of present perception, only God knows what card Trump intends to trump-up at the Supreme Court that could alter the immediate narrative as he challenges the outcome of the election.
For Trump, “it is far from over,” and definitely not preparing to leave the White House in January, without sufficient fight. Trump’s dependable ally and Utah Senator, Roomney, captures this in a statement: ” He is going to keep on fighting until the very end. But I am convinced that once all remedies have been exhausted, if those are exhausted in a way that is not favourable to him, he will accept the inevitable.”
Biden has already begun the journey of returning America back to the founding fathers’ dreams as he puts it, noting that it is time to heal in America.
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