To understand why America voted Trump, you need to understand the climate of 2016. Obama, the man that promised ‘Yes, we can!’ had broken a string of electoral promises. After eight years, Guantanamo Bay remained open. Troops remained in Afghanistan. Obamacare failed to solve the healthcare crisis that swept America.
If Obama, one of the most charismatic people on the planet, couldn’t be trusted, could you trust any politician? The short answer is no, you couldn’t. That’s where Trump came in: as he so often reminded voters, he wasn’t a politician – he was a self-styled outsider.
People were desperate. They say every president helps elect their successor, and in the case of Trump, this couldn’t be more accurate.
2016 was a year of brewing anger. For many left-wingers like myself, Bernie Sanders was the candidate of a lifetime and represented hope. When his campaign was terminated by the Democratic primary using a rigged superdelegate system*, this anger was amplified and redirected at the candidate who replaced him and the establishment she represented.
Critics failed to understand that the cruel irony of dismissing Trump as unelectable is precisely what got him elected. Angry and disillusioned with the political status quo that had repeatedly failed the people with broken promises, a vote for Trump was like throwing a wrench into the machine of the establishment.
Hillary Clinton represented more of this status quo, if not worse. Whilst she jetted across the country garnering a legion of billionaire campaign donors, Trump styled himself as a populist. He also embarked on smear tirades that exacerbated anxieties about Clinton belonging to Wall Street pockets, obliterating voters’ faith in her.
In 2016, I would’ve voted with this anger and mistrust instead of the wisdom that told me a sexist, racist demagogue that mocks disabled reporters would not make a good leader of the free world. In fact, I think 2016 is the only year Trump could’ve possibly been elected, because the conditions for an anti-establishment vote were so fervently ripe.
Since then, times have changed dramatically. Looking at the President’s worryingly authoritarian tendencies, his reckless approach to international diplomacy and his horrendous immigration policies, I feel a strong degree of guilt for ever having sided with Trump against his detestable adversary.
His appalling handling of the COVID-19 crisis has annihilated any microscopic trace of my Trumpian sympathies. One million Americans are sick and the country has the highest death toll in the world. The situation is disastrous, and it could’ve been avoided with better leadership.
Trump failed to drop his demeanour of narcissistic idiocy – on the contrary, he intensified it, continuing to evade questions and accountability at a time when Americans desperately needed transparency and advice.
Trump mused with the idea of drinking bleach to cure coronavirus. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that America elected the wrong person for the job.
Huge decisions with drastic solutions will have to be made during the inevitable economic fallout of this crisis, in order to save America from a deep depression. America needs experience and it needs an insider; now more than ever.
Joe Biden commands respect, and speaks with a refreshingly professional, refreshingly presidential, demeanour. This time around, I would vote for Biden – I would vote from prudence, not from passion, from wisdom and not from anger. America’s experiment of putting reality television hosts in the Oval Office is over: it failed catastrophically, and it has cost tens of thousands of lives.
* Links for further reading on the ‘rigged’ 2016 Democratic primary: