Have these last few days been historic? Trump v Biden eh? Some may really hope so, but if you have clicked on this post then I am sure you have some idea of how politics works, not only in the USA but really in the world. One party (or leader) gets elected, then they have a certain number of years to make an impression. And depending on the quality of their performance, the more or less likely it is that they will be re-elected again. Eventually of course the steering wheel will need turning, or even the whole car if the leader has been particularly bad. As however good an effort one party or leader is putting in, eventually citizens will become fed up. The public’s discontent will also be reflected in the media, as it reflects and enhances what everyone is feeling telling them to vote for something new. Essentially though it does seem that there are always going to be some people who are going to support a particular party or ideology, however irrational this may seem. But overall it seems as if change and history are just repeating themselves; over, and over, and over again…
This way it can seem as if we have no reason to feel optimistic about the election of Biden, due to the fact that many of Trump’s beliefs still persist among many Americans, as well as further afield. Therefore, with only 4 years for Biden and his team to prove himself, the result off the election could easily differ again as candidate with similar views to Trump is elected once again. However it is possible that the election of Biden could represent maybe just a little change in tune of attitudes within the USA.
So Why Did People Vote for Trump?
So even to me it doesn’t seem like too long ago since Trump won the 2016 election. I will be honest and say I wasn’t too politically literate at the time, however I remember hearing that he was “sexist”, “homophobic” and “right wing”. I would have preferred Clinton, but the reasons as to why people actually chose to vote for Trump at the time didn’t really occur to me. But there were a wide range of reasons why people did vote for Trump at the time, ranging from the anxious desire for economic and social security, the desire to revert America to how it used to be, and being in the state of malevolence toward the establishment. There was also the perception that those who vote democrat are of some “elite” middle class, unlike Trump who was perceived to be more honest with and relatable to blue collar workers. Furthermore, as Kamala Harris puts it, people chose to vote for Trump because people know that Trump is “no better” to themselves, concerning views of prejudices. Yet because of reasons including the poor handling of the pandemic, and the extent of changes made by the Trump administration which many anxious voters would have hoped would have been protected by the amount of “checks and balances” there are meant many voters came to the polls reluctant to re-elect Trump…
But already we can see how this is becoming a bit of a cycle, and is likely to make anyone slightly skeptical of politics question whether in four years time, a candidate with similar values to Trump will once again get elected… Plus it is important to bear in mind that 61 million Americans chose to vote for Trump this time round, while of course many voters for Biden would have obviously not have agreed on his political standpoint or even known what it was, but would have instead voted for him because they do not like Trump. Of course it is politics… But saying this, we simply cannot allow the follies of elections (and arguably Biden) to bring us down…
Biden Certainly isn’t for everyone
Now I am not hitting out at Biden by suggesting that he doesn’t really intend to unite America, but rather in reality no politician, or political party is going to be able to impress everyone. As I am sure you are aware, many voted for Biden not because they are convinced by his policies, but rather their political views are more aligned to his, rather than Trumps. Or as I already said, they simply don’t like Donald Trump! Yet this line of reasoning can be contestable, as some may feel they cannot vote for something which may be “less bad” due to them endorsing policies which the voter still strongly opposes. For instance those with beliefs much farther left to those of Biden or the Democrats, may oppose voting for him as he is going to continue supporting capitalist systems. Also who remembers the austerity period by the Obama and Biden presidency? But even if they vote for him, they are unlikely to totally agree with his principles, nevertheless even as the system is skewered meaning the outcome isn’t going to be completely fair or honest, it may just be a stepping stone toward the right direction.
It is about Leadership
The arguably sad truth about politics (at least from what I have seen, I don’t really know!) is that no leader is going to run a premiership where every single policy they set out, is something which they personally strongly agree with. This is just not how politics usually works. Instead they have a wider electorate to appeal to, a party which keeps them in check and certain members who they don’t want to pi$$ off! Therefore the job of a leader is to lead the thoughts from a much broader party, rather than implement their own political agenda (ok so Trump did, but maybe that’s why he has ended up as a loser!) Which is obviously good in the sense that it makes it much harder for a severely corrupt leader to enact severely corrupt measures, although it is not so good when it comes to delivering a positive radical change, or even when trying to stop or start something…
For instance Obama had promised to close the detention facility at guantanamo, a detention center based in Cuba opened by George W Bush to hold terrorism suspects captured overseas after the 11 September 2001 attacks. And while the USA may deny any claims that torture is taking place there, reports say an inmate has been subject to treatment banned under international law. However he did face obstruction under congress at the time, especially when it was (and still is) under republican control. But what’s more is that Obama deported 2.5 million immigrants between 2009 and 2015, not only meaning he has deported more immigrants than any other president, but making this greater than the sum of deports occurring throughout the 20th century. Now it is hard to find a logical way to justify this, however it could be argued that this was the only pragmatic solution to the current situation. And you may quite rightly contest that it was far from the moral thing to do, however the decision probably wasn’t fueled by rampant hate and hostility.
Plus to get a more rounded picture, we need to bear in mind that the Obama administration has began a faulty, but potentially a much fairer system of healthcare in the USA. Moreover in response to the shooting of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both in 2014, the Obama administration initiated a task force urging that police killings to be investigated by independent prosecutors, while called for ending all racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. Furthermore it is important to acknowledge the efforts made toward tackling climate change from the securing the Paris Agreement as well as investing billions in renewable energy, while creating jobs. A stark contrast to some of the rulings of Trump, it is important to bear in mind that no one leader can paint a “perfect America” while in power, however to varying degrees they are a guide. Therefore voting for the “lesser off the two evils” isn’t a complete waste of vote!
Now to some this may still sound like a very petty/non reason as to why to vote for the democratic party, however surely when we are talking the livelihoods of people, then it is important to exercise a vote to protect and help as many as possible! Therefore with Biden’s varying commitments to support minority groups for instance, should mean that his premiership should at least steer toward a more inclusive society, whether he delivers all of his promises or not…
So there is an Ok leader, but how the heck can things improve from here?
Good question, as looking at the “bigger picture” can seem like clambering out one tunnel just to find yourself in another. Nevertheless the situation in America 100 years ago was incredibly different to the situation it is in today. And this is heavily down to not just the way the public have voted, but due to the known demands of them. Otherwise how can one be expected to win an election? And with the greater transparency of the political world with increased media coverage, more of us are enabled to be more aware of issues on a local and global scale. Therefore as especially the younger generations become more politically aware than ever before, hopefully there will be more concern for human rights, domestic issues and of course issues of race and gender (ties into human rights). This way parties will basically find themselves having to change faster than ever before, in order to appeal to an increasingly informed electorate. While the Democratic party has certainly evolved over the years becoming increasingly pro choice, while until a few decades ago the issue of gay rights weren’t even mentioned; there is even the potential for this process to accelerate as people are more informed and are more equip than ever before to speak up for what they believe in.
A wider Reflection
Just because Trump, the product of millions of who had been galvanized into voting for him due to the providence of a safety blanket for fragile, anxious and angry voters to vent their previously internalized views, has gone; it doesn’t mean that the deeper feeling of anger at the world is going to go anywhere soon, or the unnecessary injustices which go alongside it. Yet Biden has received a higher number of votes than any other president ever has. And apart from a rise in population, this can be put down to two things. One being the sheer incomitance and the unbroken promises from the Trump administration; as blue collar worker’s jobs weren’t fixed, global coordination wasn’t fixed and nearly 250,000 people have died of Coronavirus. This suggests that perhaps Blue collar workers have began to lost their faith in Trump and far right principles, realising that they are less committed to helping them than what they may make out. However another reason could be due to the more liberal leaning of younger voters who may not all have been able to vote in the previous election, as well as further challenges and misjustices presented. From the obvious Coronavirus catrastrophe, to the focus on the brutal racial injustices existing in America as well as all over the world. This could have taught many, maybe those who may not have chosen to vote beforehand, the importance of voting for something which will steer a country in a more progressive direction. With issues like coronavirus highlight the importance of politics in very difficult times, which may just change lives. While the increase in young voters suggest to us all that there is hope for the future that more progressive changes can and will be made.
Therefore although things are very unlikely to change overnight, because of the crazy time we are going through and due to a strong awareness of injustices within the system, it is important to remain optimistic about the election of Biden. With commitments toward leading a movement focused on progressive change, and more people than ever with a strong desire for things to get better, it proves that America could just bee heading in the right direction.