For so many, it was hard to contain the excitement when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election. Despite calls not to gloat, there is a national celebration going on. And why not? Why shouldn’t people be jubilant over these results?
Four years ago, we were told “You lost. Get over it”. Like the also-ran in a World Series, there is the inevitable “Wait til next year” response. Next year was actually four years later, but like that team that gained a measure of revenge, their fans deserve to celebrate a victory.
We were told, Trump is your president, despite the fact he never strayed from the base that got him elected in the first place. And therein lies the fatal flaw in his re-election strategy. By believing the adoring crowds at his super-spreader rallies represented all Americans, Trump embraced the delusion that he had overwhelming support.
When he is inaugurated on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be facing twin crises. No doubt the coronavirus pandemic will still be raging, and the economy will still be struggling. Not since FDR has a president faced a situation this dire.
Unlike his eventual predecessor, Joe Biden is listening to the experts, and has already formed his own Coronavirus Task Force. Biden also has a plan to rescue the economy; something Trump has dragged his feet on as he watched his poll numbers dwindle. Instead of focusing on these crises, Trump chose to focus on re-election and hold large rallies, while criticizing Biden for “hiding in his basement”.
There is a sense of loss with a certain segment of the population. After all, Trump did garner over 70 million votes, which means he received the second most votes of any presidential candidate (Joe Biden took first). So, there will indeed by millions of Americans undergoing “Twitter withdrawal” as Trump’s numerous Tweets provided them with a sense of direction, albeit a misguided one. The division caused by four years of relentless abuse of power will not simply go away with a new administration.
Unlike his predecessor, who sowed division, Joe Biden has pledged to be a “president for all Americans”. This will be difficult for Trump supporters to accept. Distrust has been the hallmark of the Trump administration. Conspiracy theories and the shadowy “Deep State” have permeated the psyche of those on the far right. Getting them to believe that a Biden administration is trying to help them goes against the paranoia that they’ve lived with for the past four years.
America is broken. It is a country in crisis, beset by enemies, both foreign and domestic. In order to heal, there needs to be a great unifier. Joe Biden has sworn to be that unifier. He has pledged to listen to both sides and be a president not just for those who voted for him, unlike the current Divider-in-Chief, but those who didn’t.
Despite the rhetoric of these past four years, America was already great. And we can be again. Lacking a concession speech, those on the right will have to learn to trust. When they do, and the country has a unified purpose, America wins.