The defeat of President Donald Trump in the November 3, 2020 US poll by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did not come as a surprise to many observers of American politics and voting patterns. The fall of Trump was long foretold. The signs were there for all to see. We do not need soothsayers to reveal to us that Trump was fated for a single term in office. Keen watchers of US democracy predicted that Trump would not go beyond the first term in office on account of his racism and America for America rhetoric.
We recall that four years ago, many people did not give Trump a chance at winning the US poll over the best candidate, Hilary Clinton. Some people then rationalized Trump’s narrow win through the electoral college votes that the US was not ready then for a woman president. There may be other reasons why Clinton lost the election in which she won the highest popular votes other than her gender. Regardless of why Clinton lost, America for America campaign rhetoric of Trump and making America great again resonated with many American white voters who saw Trump as a sort of savior and a veritable vehicle to take back their country from those they consider not America enough like black Americans and other peoples of colour.
The emergence of the first black American President Barack Obama was resented by these promoters of making America great again and America for America mantra. They were probably taken aback by his emergence in the White House, an unexpected place for a black man to be. So many Americans have accepted that reality except the few racist supremacists who believe only in the white race and disregard other races in the making of America. Even when Trump was inaugurated the 45th President of the United States, many pundits predicted that he would be impeached in the first year in office.
When this prediction did not materialize, they predicted that he might not be reelected. In other words, he will end up as a one-term president. There are not many in this unenviable club of first termers. But that is where Trumpism has landed Donald Trump who believes so much in himself and nothing else. The COVID-19 pandemic and Trump’s attitude to the demonstrations that erupted following the death of George Floyd in the hands of white racist policemen largely contributed to his electoral loss. The black lives matter protests raised new consciousness among black people and other races and all of them vowed that the asphyxiating system which does not allow black people to breath must be rejected at the poll.
Also, the Biden/Harris combination made the defeat of Trump a landslide victory. Trump’s mishandling of his electoral defeat shows that all human beings are basically the same thing irrespective of colour or creed. It shows that we have good and bad people among all races. It has shown the ugly side of the US democracy, a side not seen before. Perhaps, we have through Trump seen the muted side of US politics. Trump’s unwillingness to concede defeat has once again shattered the myth of superiority of one race over another. The victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a repudiation of Trump’s narrow politics and his rabid America for America rhetoric.
Trump’s refusal to accept the electoral loss has made the US look like one of those banana republics in third world countries. The decline in US democracy is obvious as illustrated by Trump’s allegations of electoral fraud. Donald Trump’s narcissism is a personal burden. His not accepting electoral defeat has invariably constituted a national embarrassment.
Trump should forget his personal ambition, put the country first and concede as former US President Barack Obama has advised. Despite the US election agency describing the poll as the most secure election in the country, Trump is still adamant. The outgoing US President should think so much of his legacy more than sticking to power by all means like sit-tight dictators and tyrants seen in many parts of the world, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The defeat of Trump in the poll by a huge margin in electoral college votes (306 to 232) and popular votes (over 78 million to 73 million) is a strong indication that Trump’s brand of America for America is unrealistic and unsustainable. Many reasons account for this turn out of events in the US politics. Trump’s vision of America is narrow and problematic. It is isolating and alienating other races of colour. It is uprooting the foundation of US as a nation of immigrants. It is an attack on the American Dream.
Trumpism is never in accord with the vision of the founding fathers of US. It is sad that Trump’s America for America politics is divisive and not meant for all Americans. Trump’s idea of America is racist and antagonistic to other people. Since the emergence of Trump, he has done so much to blight Obama’s legacy. But no amount of hate campaigns can erase Obama’s legacy in the US. Those attracted to Trumpism including his acolytes in some African countries, no one can talk about America without acknowledging the contributions of black people to the development of US.
No matter how the blacks came to America, their contribution to what America is today cannot be denied. It is tragic that this is one reality Donald Trump has failed to grasp. He has failed to acknowledge the racial diversity of the United States in his warped and narrow America for America thesis. It is worth pointing out that America for America rhetoric caused Trump his second term in office, the reality he has stubbornly refused to accept. His refusal to accept defeat and congratulate the President-elect, Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is unlike America. It has compounded the woes of the adherents of Trumpism in US democracy.
Joe Biden has started well by stating in his victory speech that he will the president of all Americans, including those who voted for him and those who did not. Good enough, Biden is aware of the enormous task ahead in rebuilding America and making it good for all peoples. For Biden, the healing process has started to unite a divided America caused by Trumpism. In all of this, there is need to commend the strong democratic institutions that America had.
Despite Trump’s unpresidential behavior, the institutions still remain loyal to the constitution of the country and not to individual dictators and tyrants. This is one big lesson Nigeria and other African countries should learn from the US democracy. Although no democracy can be said to be perfect, that of the US has been resilient enough in the face of obvious provocations by Trump and his cult-like followers.