OPINION

A few basic conclusions from the presidential race

a-few-basic-conclusions-from-the-presidential-race

Independently of the final result, the elections in the United States have demonstrated that President Donald Trump – as well as everything he expresses and represents – is like an action hero who refuses to die. To put it bluntly, there is a much greater chance of seeing Trump supporters chanting “four more years” for their candidate than it is for those who voted for his Democratic rival Joe Biden to express their sentiments in a similar manner.

Preparing for the event of a defeat, Trump began to cast doubt on the electoral process early on. He undermined the timely delivery of mail-in votes by appointing a close ally as the head of the US Postal Service, while also slashing its funding so that it would struggle to cope with the demand of an election. He loudly and frequently proclaimed his skepticism about the validity of and his opposition to the process that allows people to vote ahead of election day. He also increased the numbers of ultra-conservative judges on the Supreme Court, to which he hopes to take recourse in the event that he loses – and has said so on several occasions. Last but not least, right up until the final hour he urged his supporters to vote in person at the ballot box, so as to create the impression that he was in the lead during the early hours of the count, thus enabling him to accuse his rivals of tampering with the vote in order to overturn the result.

Apart from everything pertaining to Trump’s personality and antics, the US elections have shown us, among other things, that:

– Division in the United States is an enduring phenomenon that is cultivated by racism and defined by distinct cultural differences between the people on the East and West coasts on the one hand and the rest of the country on the other, but also between voters in big cities and those in small towns and rural areas.

– The Democrats chose a candidate who is not only old, but also lacks the charisma and intensity needed to attract voters, thus elevating Trump into a symbol of the confrontation. The selection also points to the Democratic Party being in the grips of a crisis, in terms of its organization, its candidates and its ideas.

– Information technology has changed everything we once took for granted in terms of voter influence and is undermining the reliability of opinion polls and, by extension, the selection of the right tools and methods to reach out to voters.

– The American electoral system has become completely obsolete and irrational; it distorts the will of the people and confirms the notion that the USA is not a federal state but a confederation of states.

– Finally, it needs to be understood and accepted that religious beliefs, “America first” nationalism and the right of gun ownership are crucial elements in how many Americans think and ultimately vote. These are all things that have been systematically cultivated. They are also alien to European culture, with the exception of the commonly held belief in the effect of a country’s economic performance on the results of its elections.