No matter who wins the 2020 presidential election, America will never be the same again. Division and polarization have reached unprecedented levels. The quality of political confrontation is deteriorating by the day. The phraseology of the American president and other leading political officials is unprecedented.
In big city neighborhoods, a war has broken out between well-equipped gangs driven by extreme political views. The problem will take on a whole new dimension if none of the candidates scores a clear victory. Donald Trump recently suggested that the transition of power after the election may not be peaceful. It was a grave insinuation that can only presage trouble for the American republic. It would make the 2000 Bush-Gore battle look like a walk in the park.
We are now seeing furious supporters who are ready to take on their opponents in the street. Trump’s most diehard supporters in particular are drawn to conspiracy theories and keen to buy his allegations about mail-in ballots being a “big scam” and other wacky claims.
Even if Joe Biden wins the election, it will be extremely difficult to restore the cohesion of American society and improve the quality of partisan confrontation. The old Republican Party has virtually ceased to exist and what’s left of it is apparently being propped up by extremist elements. Trumpism will continue to reign in its ranks. A significant part of the Supreme Court’s judiciary will have been appointed by him and will influence rulings on key issues.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are held hostage by a minority that has migrated to the fringes. Their views are often far from the average American voter, if they do not put him off altogether.
Reason and history suggest that America is going through a bad and violent cycle; but it will survive as it has done with similar cycles in the 1960s and before. It is a fact that in order to overcome its current deadlock, the country needs to be led by the political equivalent of a Franklin D. Roosevelt, to say the least. But no FDR seems to be on the horizon at the moment.