How a Historic Election Win May or May Not Fix It
By Seamus Bozeman
Image by Montgomery Community Media
The United States, after four years of endless chaos and intensive division, finds itself at the end of an election cycle unlike any other before; marred by the challenges of a global pandemic, an exacerbated economic crisis, climate catastrophe, and a deeply diverged nation. An overwhelming majority of Americans voted for the 46th President-Elect of the United States Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris; the first woman, Black, and South-Asian American to have been elected for this position. Shockingly, an astounding amount still voted for Donald Trump in an election where some hoped a ‘blue wave’ would sweep the nation; something that never materialized in either the senate, house or the presidential race. Instead, it was a nail-biter that lasted for four days as mail-in ballots were counted. This was expected though, as a record number of mail-in ballots were cast due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this election saw more votes cast than any in history.
The acceptance speeches from both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden were the most presidential and systematic heard in the last four years. Both filled optimism and hope, while acknowledging the challenges they now face, and also the support that got both into the place they are today. Both were highly cognizant of those people who are so often lost in whiteness that this country holds, and to the people who are powering democracy in the United States.
"Black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty and justice for all, including the Black women, who are often, too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy." - Kamala Harris, November 7th, 2020.
Many Democrats feared a loss was imminent on election night, as many of the crucial swing states leaned towards Trump in the ‘red-mirage’ of election day in-person votes. As ballots continued to be counted and races were called, Biden led in the electoral college and popular vote. After days of waiting, it was an exciting moment for millions when results in crucial states were finalized and Biden was declared the winner.
Trump and Republican allies are poised to fight this election tooth and nail, and the outcome may not arrive until inauguration day when Trump is either trespassing on government property or leaves of his own volition, which seems unlikely as he continues his attempts to undermine the electoral process, feeding his base with baseless and fraudulent conspiracies. This has pushed some supporters of President Trump to have contradicting rallies, of either wanting to “count the vote” or “stop the count” depending on the lead, or deficit, Trump had in that state. In contrast, Biden was patient and unwilling to make a victorious speech until the Associated Press and many other news outlets made their final projections. Donald Trump will likely spend the last few months in the White House firing federal officials, non-loyalists, and signing a flurry of executive orders in an attempt to leave a legacy.
With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the new duo in the White House, will the United States face four years of stagnation and/or political instability? It is unknown whether the democrats will take a majority in the senate, which hinges on two runoffs in Georgia, on January, 5th, 2021. The house will continue to be under democratic control, even though some lost their seats to Republicans, which could continue to happen in 2022. One thing that should be noted is that in the past, Joe Biden, even with the republican senate control, could compromise, which could make his attempt at a people’s agenda more centrist, calling into question its stated goals before it is even set into action. While some progressive agenda items could pass through, some that have been continually pushed by the “radical left” would continue to be impenetrable, as it would be too much in the interest of the people for centrists or republicans to even consider. As many have said, leaning on the status quo, the patriarchy, support of a police state, and systemic racism will continue, unless radical and progressive change is made.
Even as the United States celebrates the defeat of an autocratic madman, work is nowhere near complete, as division, fear, confusion, and a tattered nation await this incoming administration who hope to mend the torn interpretations of the constitution and nationalism attached to the American flag. Trump was a symptom of our country’s divisiveness and hateful rhetoric, not the entirety of its recent strife, and so much needs healing. The success of the Biden-Harris administration may hinge on their ability to push through many of their cabinet positions, federal court positions, and empty federal offices.
In this election the electoral college and popular vote elected a Democrat, the system may not work like this again, as Republicans may take advantage of a Supreme Court majority, and advantages in state legislators to gerrymander, close polling stations in Democratic districts, and change voting laws to suppress as many votes as possible, putting our long term plans for a stable democracy in jeopardy. In Georgia, a historically red state now turned to a battleground state as of this writing, is still uncalled in favor of either presidential candidate. This close race was massively improved by the extraordinary efforts of Stacey Abrams, who registered over 800,000 voters with her organization Fair Fight, in response to the victory that was stolen from her back in 2018. It has also been acknowledged that the Navajo and other Native Americans were a big part of turning Arizona blue.
The intention of the newly elected Biden-Harris administration is “to heal America” using a combination of across the aisle policies, like the Build Back Better plan, which fosters economic growth with job creation, and green energy, following the economic fallout of COVID-19, and also includes improved environmental policies. Although the climate plan is an improvement to the current state of affairs, it is not as progressive as many had hoped. Even though unifying the country seems like an incomparable task and out of reach, the policy that may be adopted to do so will be at best centrist, maybe even right-leaning to appease to the senate majority Mitch McConnell might unfortunately have.
Those who saw their president defeated feel their freedoms are being stripped away, as they fear wide governmental overreach with programs like public healthcare, welfare assistance, and higher taxes. It is a misconception of these groups of rural American Trump supporters that their problems were cured by the last four years, and it could be said their situations have worsened. Government assistance should always be there to be used when a person needs help, but private industry can remain an option. This is partly why God-loving, rural Americans fear the liberal-left because they somehow believe they don’t get to have a choice.
No matter what direction the next four years bring for America, little will likely get worse; if miracles of all miracles occur, things might improve for the people of the divided States of America. And unification could happen if political differences are not causing melees in the streets, but that may be far off, well beyond four years of repairing “the Soul of the Nation…”
Written by writer Seamus Bozeman