The predicted ‘blue wave’ never came and America’s wounds are unwashed

The final democratic “blue wave” that pollsters predicted would sweep the US 2020 election never came on Tuesday night, and the winner of the White House contest inherits a deeply divided nation that is still wounded by the wounds of the past four years.

America’s ‘most important election ever’ is over and while it is still too early to say whether President Donald Trump or his challenger, Joe Biden, will take the oath in January 2021, one thing is clear: the votes were wrong again.

The democratic “blue wave” or Biden sweep that pollsters and pundits predicted in the introduction to the vote on November 3 was not realized. The close competition and the long periods of success with legal challenges and threats underline how well the Republicans read the national tea leaves in a teacup Trump himself touched. The messenger’s message of unity and tolerance failed to consider the overwhelming majority of American voters that the voters predicted.

“Something went wrong, either the Biden polls overestimated the votes or the shy Trump voters are not just shy, they are not telling the truth and creating expectations for the Democrats,” said Robert Singh, an American policy expert at Birkbeck University in London. an interview with FRANCE 24.

Regardless of who wins the White House, for Democrats, the election tomorrow was after a bitter pill to swallow. “So, Biden is cracking to win, but the Republicans retain control of the Senate and increase their seats in the House. The Supreme Court remains leaning to the far right, plus federal judges. Trump supporters are convinced that Biden won through fraud. A bleak four years ahead, stated Mira Kamdar, a writer and former member of the New York Times on Twitter.

So Biden shouts to win but the Republicans retain control of the Senate and increase their seats in the House. The Supreme Court remains leaning to the far right, plus federal judges. Trump supporters are convinced that Biden won through fraud. A gloomy four years ahead.

– Mira Kamdar (@mirakamdar) November 4, 2020

This is not a pandemic

The unexpectedly close 2020 race has revealed the extent of the polarization within the United States, embodied by the two presidential candidates and the messages they chose to highlight on the campaign track.

The Biden team estimated that the coronavirus pandemic was the most important campaign issue for reasons that have been obvious to large parts of the world. Covid-19 has killed more than 232,000 Americans, with the United States a world leader in infections and per capita deaths. The US shambolic response to the pandemic has revealed a declining superpower in health care, a cumbersome process that American allies and happily observed by its rivals, such as China.

But early-age polls showed that the economy, not the health crisis, was the single biggest factor influencing the vote in the 2020 US election. . The economy was ranked as the most important issue for a third of those polled, including six out of ten Trump supporters.

Racial equality came next in the list of voter problems, with 21 percent of the voters surveyed marking it as their main concern. Covid-19 ranked third, with 18 percent of respondents saying the health crisis was most important in their voting decisions.

“It’s amazing after all we’ve been through this year,” Singh noted. “America is in such a hyperpart, polarized state that Trump supporters do not seem to be so concerned about the coronavirus pandemic.”

It’s the economy, stupid

“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a mantra since Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign, a cliché that has been adopted, adapted and disappeared in American culture for all sorts of purposes.

But James Carville – Clinton’s campaign manager who is credited with minting the slogan as a reminder to team members to stick to the message – was one of many knowledgeable people who got the 2020 race wrong.

In an interview with MSNBC last month, Carville predicted with certainty that Biden would wrap up the election at 22.30 ET on election night. “Not only will we know about election night, we will know at 10:30 a.m. Eastern,” said the man known as “Ragin ‘Cajun.”

The fact that Carville got his timeline so wrong and underestimated the wisdom of his own mantra underscores the disruption between kennels and the public in the United States today.

By making the pandemic its central campaign issue, Democrats calculated it would highlight Trump’s economic failures.

But Trump supporters proved willing to consider the president’s economic record before the pandemic, which he consistently dismissed, struck.

“Before the pandemic, the economy was doing well, no matter how much credit he had [Trump] should get for it, that’s a very good question. “He continued the growth we had seen in the Obama-Biden administration, but people are joining where they are and the basic fact was that the economy continued to grow, unemployment fell, so many people had done pretty well before the pandemic,” he explained. Dean Baker from Washington, DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research in an interview with FRANCE 24.

The “blue wave” to drown the “red mirage”

The Democratic candidate’s platform included a $ 3 trillion proposal for coronavirus tools and more $ 1,200 stimulus checks “if conditions require.” But Biden, according to some experts, failed to present his platform to the American people with the panache that a panacea for a temporary illness deserves. In other words, Biden failed to inject the most important ingredient that his boss, Barack Obama, embodied in the 2008 campaign: Hope.

Shepard Fairy’s iconic Obama poster with the word “hope”. © Wikipedia

The long-awaited “blue wave” did not wash over voters because it was based, among other things, on “the idea of ​​a very, very large mobilization of the anti-Trump sentiment, not so much an attachment to Joe Biden,” explained Philip Golub, professor of political science at American University of Paris.

“Joe Biden was a weak candidate, he was not present,” Golub explained. “He maintained a low profile, because the assumption made by the Democrats was that this would make Trump’s fault appear. But it made Biden look invisible. When he went to the public, he had no charismatic personality or platform. Even if he wins the election, it will be by a much smaller margin than expected. ”

Given the complex, decentralized US electoral system – further interrupted by the pandemic – knowledgeable people envisioned a “red mirage” of early Trump gains. But they were sure that the red hue would disappear under a fast, powerful “blue wave” to the White House and Congress.

On Wednesday afternoon, Biden had taken the lead in some of the most important battlefield states while the Senate and House races were locked in a dead heat between Republicans and Democrats.

But even if Biden wins, he will inherit a bitterly broken nation with an opposition that is prone to breaking the rules to thwart political initiatives.

“In fact, Boden’s message of healing America, of working across the aisle, does not work when the other side wants war – not an armed war, a political war,” Golub said. “Obama tried to work with the Republicans, the Republicans tried to bite and cut off the hand. The idea of ​​reconciliation does not work when the country is so broken, these are just words that have no bearing on social reality. It requires charismatic leadership, the ability to pick up a historical situation that you as a leader can provide a solution. Biden does not embody much of it. ”