The American president-elect, Joe Biden, says he wants to “heal” the nation. Donald Trump, the man he defeated, is not going to be helping him out.
Mr Trump is contesting the outcome of the presidential election on 3rd November. According to The Economist, 86% of Mr Trump’s supporters regard Mr Biden’s victory in the election as “illegitimate”. This is precisely what Mr Biden, Hillary Clinton, and their fellow Democrats said about Mr Trump’s victory in 2016. Apart from spending the past four years trashing his presidency as “illegitimate”, they misused both the FBI and the impeachment process in their efforts to destroy him.
Mr Trump is not likely to forgive any of this. It therefore looks as if Americans – and the rest of us – can look forward to another four years in which the loser denies the legitimacy of the winner. But there is more to this than the obvious antipathy between Messrs Biden and Trump and their followers.
When Mr Trump hails the “greatness” of America and the New York Times simultaneously promotes the idea that that nation was conceived in slavery, you know that there are deep chasms in that society. Healing them will be impossible if Mr Biden’s party continues to kowtow to the ideology behind “black lives matter”, which holds that America is systemically racist.
The election was supposedly a referendum on Mr Trump, his behaviour, and his style of government. If this package is as terrible as his critics claim, then winning 72 million votes (almost 47.5% of the total) is a surprising result. Last time round Hillary Clinton branded the “illegitimate” Mr Trump’s 63 million supporters as “deplorables”. Since then the number of deplorables voting for Mr Trump has grown by around eight million. The question is why?
But for Covid-19 and his handling thereof, Mr Trump might well have beaten Mr Biden. Before the health crisis, the United States (US) experienced its lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. The tight labour market meant that lower-paid workers with lower levels of education enjoyed larger percentage increases than others. Median household incomes increased faster among Hispanics and blacks than among whites.