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An American cliff hanger and a landslide that never was

opinionAn American cliff hanger and a landslide that never was

Andrew Yang, a Democrat and a former presidential candidate, suggested that his party is perceived as a party of out-of-touch ‘coastal urban elites’ by the working-class Americans. Issues of urban violence and ‘defund the police’ have hurt the Party.


This was Donald Trump’s election to lose right from day one. There was a forecast of a “Blue-Wave” to sweep the American mainland and drown Trump in one of the oceans that flank the continental United States. However, the “Biden-storm” the US media and poll-pundits predicted turned out to be a mere flatulent whimper.

Unlike former President Barack Obama, Biden lacks any personal charisma. He ran a dull and uninspiring presidential campaign. In ads, Biden projected himself as a man of good character with moderate views on most issues. He seldom talked about his plans for his presidency, and when he did, it was mostly in vague terms. He presented a contrast vis-a-vis a much divisive and disruptive Trump. His TV ads were mostly biographical and sounded like a character certificate than the vision statement of a leader of the free world. On Covid-19, Biden’s hunkered down basement became synonymous with lockdowns and mask-dictatorship. Unlike Trump, Biden stayed away from the public and restricted himself to small gatherings and drive-in rallies.

Due to the pandemic, there were no usual stops at suburban cafes and sundry country diners. Even the ceremonial holding of babies that have become part of the American electoral campaigns was missing from the scene. What was going on behind the scenes, however, was much sinister than anyone could have imagined.

Most of the legacy media spent their last four years delegitimizing the election and the presidency of Donald Trump by peddling lies, cooked up narratives, and manufacturing conspiracy theories such as Russian interference, Afghanistan Bountygate, etc. As “without evidence” becomes a new catch-phrase for the media, allegations of “voter fraud” were summarily rejected without examination. Still, the issues such as “voter suppression” were overplayed ad nauseam.

In the run-up to the elections, media houses embarked on suppressing news and information critical of the Democrats and later to its presidential ticket. Many upright journalists resented this, and the stories of editorial-room squabbles started to surface in public. Reporting on the violence, looting, and arson following George Floyd’s killing made the situation more contentious. The high-profile resignations of journalists such as Bari Weiss and Glenn Greenwald sent shockwaves in the journalistic circles of the US.

Polls and surveys projected a landslide for Biden, though people are now questioning the methodology and the motives behind such faulty polls. Despite being labelled a misogynist, fascist, racist, etc., the early polling data suggest that Trump broke significant ground in virtually all demographic segments, including the Black and LGBTQ electorate. “People are more inclined to trust their conviction than any borrowed opinion, agenda, and propaganda,” said Satish Kumar, a California based entrepreneur.

If the media led the censorship and misinformation from the front, the big tech companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google worked behind the scenes with their biased algorithms. For example, when it came to the story of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, and his relationship with the corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma, both Twitter and Facebook blocked access to the New York Post story linking the Bidens to corruption. Twitter went so far ahead as to lock the Post’s account.

On Covid-19, even reputed medical journals like the Lancet got into the game and blatantly indulged in misinformation. Lancet published a “fake” research paper involving hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) purely for partisan political reasons. They had to retract the peer-reviewed paper amid questioning from the medical and scientific communities.

When all is said and done, Trump, in most likelihood, would end up losing his re-election bid. Biden, the data suggest, will get slightly more popular votes than Trump. But Biden’s victory is expected to come at the cost of reduced strength in the House. “With a Republican Senate, a conservative majority Supreme Court, and a subdued majority in the House, Biden’s will be a largely lame-duck presidency,” commented Ram Prasad, a Chicago-based political observer. Voicing a similar opinion, a former Mich McConnell staffer told this author that “Joe Biden will be the weakest President ever to enter the White House. He will be forced by Mitch McConnell to nominate moderates to his Cabinet over the protest of his radical Left allies. And if the House flips to the Republicans, any far-Left legislative item will be dead on arrival.” Senator McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader and controls the Senate’s legislative agenda.

The less than expected showing and the repudiation of the Democrats’ Left-Progressive tilt are creating discontent in the Party. Andrew Yang, a Democrat and a former presidential candidate, alluded to it when he suggested that his party is perceived as a party of out-of-touch “coastal urban elites” by the working-class Americans. Issues of urban violence and “defund the police” have hurt the Party, a fact several Democrats have publicly acknowledged. Trump’s non-conventional style of functioning, on the other hand, did strike a personal connection with many voters. “Trump brought the turnout by going to these [smaller] places, talking to people, listening to them,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the Wall Street Journal.

As Americans brace for life after elections without Trump, the last four years of Trump presidency seem to have shifted the Republicans towards the working class with a broader, diverse support base. The Democrats, on the other hand, are increasingly seen as a party of out-of-touch radical Left-wing urban elites with higher education and income. Whether or not such political realignments will have any lasting impact on US politics, only time will tell.

Avatans Kumar writes frequently on the topics of Indic Knowledge Tradition, language, culture, and current affairs. Avatans is a JNU and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign alumnus. He tweets @avatans.


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