By Kurah Daniel
In the last eight weeks, January 20, 2021 to be precise, the then president-elect, Joe Biden and his vice, Kamala Harris assumed the mantle of leadership of the United States of America after the inauguration ceremony on that day. The US military was duty bound to handover the nuclear codes to the new commander in-chief, trespassers were hardly allowed, it came to pass.
The above analyses are obligatory forthwith sequel to a keenly contested elections in the US held on the 3rd of November, 2020 which of course was preceded by an overwhelming electioneering between the Republicans and Democrats. And as Americans wished and waited for the best result, it was what happened on Saturday 7th November, 2020. The major news networks called the election and announced Joe Biden as President-elect of the United States. It was one of the closest and most fiercely contested elections in American history. Over 160 million voters participated; turnout was 66.9%.
President-elect Joe Biden got over 74 million of the votes casted (the highest in 120 years) leading president Donald Trump by over 4 million votes, an impressive 290 Electoral College votes. Trump had over 70 million votes, with 214 Electoral College votes. This result was very much about an election like no other. It was a battle for the very nucleus of America and for many, the nightmare is over. That which is represented by four years of Trump presidency. Though he talks of “America first” a cliché for all his predecessors and successors have always projected a guiding principle.
The irony with Trump is that everything was reduced to his overly big ego, did I hear you say megalomania? That was its period! His rants, his abrasive, corrosive, fake omniscient posturing was annoying. He turned Americans against Americans and even against the world.
Mr. Donald Trump crushed established traditions in fact, there was no one too descent or too big for him to insult or abuse. He succeeded in alienating the world. He behaved very much as if the White House was an anteroom of the Trump Towers. People who loved him did with much the same fervour as those who were on the either side of him. Here in Nigeria, the week before the election.
Daddy Hezekiah, a church leader took to the streets of Onitsha a behemoth congregation in support of Trump’s Presidency victory at the pools. Paradoxically, even in US, there was unease in major cities and states as Detroit, Michigan, Phoenix-Arizona, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. There was tension in Georgia, Nevada, where recounts were reordered given the closeness of the margins. When Mr. Donald himself began to protest after hearing the announcement at the golf course albeit venting his anger on those golf balls that the counting should stop and that “thieves were stealing his votes”. It looked quasi “Surrealistically African”, excuse me Reuben Abati 2018.
It would be wrong to assume though that Trump had been disgraced. Far from it, it is possible that even in fact in the future he rarely be remembered as a great American President, depending on what the future holds or he may have the legacy as one of the worst American President in history. The large volume of votes that he received shows that he has followership and a solid base, which views cannot be overlooked in a hurry.
While Biden’s supporters and the Democrats celebrated across the US on November 7th, nearly half of the voting population was in a sour mood. Trumpism, the ideology that he defined the US presidency in the last four years is like an intoxicant – it turns its users into fanatics and with such individuals their master can do no wrong.
For us as analysts, observers, Trump’s defeat is largely due to his human abstract; he did not want to see Muslims from certain countries in the US that he qualified as “terrorists”. He would rather build walls to keep out Mexicans who to him are “Criminals” as seen in his series of Executive orders which smacked of fascism. His failure to curtail COVID-19 Pandemic and his careless handling of it which resulted in over 235,000 deaths. The killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests which further divided the US. The murder of Breouna Taylor is still fresh in our memories.
Perchance if all these ugly incidents did not play out, Trump would have won his election? It is also possible that his travel ban which included over six African nations, Mymar and Kugystan in Asia. Nigerian migrants whom he qualified “Brown Skins who would never go back to their huts once in the US” and others could have given him an edge over Biden.
President Biden had promised to heal America in his own very words “This is the time to heal America”. Indeed America is in need of healing and reconciliation. It must play safe and employ subtle diplomacy to gain the support of the dominant Republican senators who may wish to give him a rough time against major economic policies nursing a grudge. He is lucky for having Kamala Harris as a Vice President (First ever female vice president) a gifted and unique individual whose ancestors and relations can be traced to India Tami Nadu, and Brown’s Town in Jamaica. A woman of strength, diversity, historicity and admirable narrative that has made America truly great. It is the kind of America Trump stood against. Haba! Biden is as less in content, having served twice as vice president under Barrack Obama and over 35 years in the American Congress, we are sure of divine and advantages to succeed in yet another American Renaissance.
He has hit the ground running, a transition programme is in place, a 12man Presidential Task Force has been announced to tackle Covid-19.
Biden will not wait for six months to make key appointments a clear policy decision on key issues and hopefully addresses the Trumpian Migration policy as well.
Whatever may have been the uncertainties and tensions from the US Presidential elections it is intrinsically and fundamentally first an American experience before anyone of us. It is America that has won in the end.
Kurah, a public affairs analyst,writes from Makurdi.