Presented with an opportunity for a wholesale rejection of a highly divisive, race-baiting, xenophobic, media-hating, anti-science, lying, juvenile incumbent, a sizable swath of America’s voters decided to take a pass and pull the lever for Donald Trump, and that speaks volumes about who we are as a nation.
But all this didn’t happen in a vacuum; the world has been watching.
Joe Biden may still end up winning this election, but no matter how you cut it, it was clear here and around the globe that roughly half of America believes that the character of our President doesn’t matter all that much, an impeachment is meaningless and the Department of Justice really should serve as the chief executive’s personal law firm.
More importantly, from a global perspective, roughly one in two of American voters signaled to the world that not only are capricious trade wars palatable, but long-standing global alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) don’t matter anymore.
Not to mention what this split decision says about the US and our moral fabric on the topics of social justice, racial equality and inclusiveness.
Even if Joe Biden ekes out razor-thin margins in the remaining contests that have yet to be called, he will inherit the keys to a White House that must try to govern and attempt to unify two vastly different sides that approach our nation’s place in the world from completely opposite vantage points.
On Tuesday night, Democrats learned that “America First” is not just hollow and meaningless campaign jargon meant to fire up Trump’s base — it’s actually a summation of how many in this country actually see our place in the world. America, the country that has historically been able to coalesce around bipartisan issues such as promoting free trade and forging strong, international alliances, is no more, it seems.
On one hand, a President Joe Biden would have to find ways to appease the progressive wing of his own party that will demand bold and decisive action on climate change, health care, economic reform and a host of other issues at odds with the other half of the country. While on the right, he will face an emboldened GOP that will see the results of Senate and congressional races as a validation of their particular policy prescriptions.
And, unlike any president before him, Biden would have to contend with a new, third vector of influence and pressure — an embattled ex-president who will have no qualms about voicing his opinions on an hour-by-hour basis to a rabidly loyal and very likely disgruntled base, one Tweet at a time.
Even if he wins, it’s not going to be an easy road ahead for Joe Biden, a man who has already suffered so much and sacrificed plenty.
No matter who wins this election, America is already weaker for it. We had an opportunity as a country to turn a page on this dark chapter in our history, but we, as a people and a nation, came up well short.