Elections as the Broken Mirror of the American Society

One of the most intense presidential races in US history is over

It coincided with enormous social tension, which was reflected in a significant increase in voters' sympathy for right-wing populism, as well as liberal radicalism. In other words, the main result of the past elections in the United States was the strengthening of intra-party and inter-party contradictions, which ultimately led to a deepening polarization of society.

Just like in 2016, most experts and sociological agencies were unable to effectively analyze socio-political trends in the United States and understand the real preferences of American voters. Thus, according to numerous forecasts, by the end of the voting day Joe Biden should have defeated Donald Trump by a large margin, and the Democrats should have firmly strengthened their positions in both chambers of Congress.

However, the counted ballots made it clear that the deafening triumph of the Democrats did not happen. Moreover, the large number of voters who voted by mail led to the fact that the announcement of the election results was delayed. Only on November 7, the leading American media declared Biden the winner of the US presidential election. Trump's headquarters refused to recognize the result, accusing the Democrats of "falsifying the country's electoral system," and initiated filing lawsuits in several state courts about the need to suspend the counting of votes and partially cancel the ballots already processed.

Perhaps sociologists again failed to take into account the electoral preferences of Americans due to the large-scale campaign to demonize Trump and his supporters organized by leading expert and analytical centers and the media. Such efforts of the Democratic political strategists led to the fact that voters who took part in the polls felt it necessary not to disclose their true political views.

Also noteworthy is the distribution of votes for ethnic minorities and African Americans. American political scientists initially assumed that Trump would not be able to attract enough Hispanics. However, the results in Florida confirmed the effectiveness of the interaction of his administration and campaign headquarters with local citizens and immigrant communities. This is mainly due to the support of Trump's policy towards Cuba from the Cuban diaspora, which has traditionally advocated tough measures against Havana. Thus, the Republicans managed to retain the leadership in this state for the second presidential election in a row, despite the fact that it is traditionally difficult for it to decide on the final choice.

At the same time, Trump was unable to maintain the support he had accumulated by the beginning of this year from African Americans, which, although not very significant (some of them approved the migration policy of the head of the White House), could have brought him additional votes. The large-scale protests against racial discrimination and police abuse that started in the United States in June have become a powerful tool in the fight against President Trump. Democratic political strategists have effectively leveraged the mobilization capabilities of organizations such as Black Lives Matter, primarily in promoting their election agenda among African Americans, and as a result, they managed to deprive Republicans of their support.

The main electoral advantage of the Democrats, of course, was the coronavirus epidemic. This radically changed the balance of power in the political struggle, influencing the electoral preferences of Americans. The coronavirus outbreak has exposed many of the problems in American society and, as a result, contributed to an increase in the number of politically active Americans. During the current electoral cycle, this category of voters has noticeably rejuvenated and has become much more willing to project its crisis socio-economic state onto the contradictory activities of the head of the White House.

In turn, the strengthening of left-liberal sentiment in the media, large-scale clashes with the police amid surges of social discontent, and damage to the private sector and small business, all benefited the Trump's headquarters and the Republican Party. American political scientists largely underestimated the negative consequences of the mass protests, which obviously did not lead to the desired radical regrouping of the vacillating electorate in favor of the Democrats.

Extremely important events for the US political system also occurred following the results of the elections to Congress and state legislatures. In early November, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, about a third of the Senate (35 senators), and governors of 11 states and two territories were re-elected. Although they got more seats than Republicans in the House of Representatives (presumably at least 214 versus 195), contrary to the forecasts of many analysts, they were unable to maintain the 232 majority they won after the 2018 midterm elections.

On the contrary, the Republican Party has a chance to retain its advantage in the Senate. It should be taken into account that even after all the votes have been counted, the final alignment of forces will be known only on January 5, 2021, that is, after the start of work of the new Congress.

The fact is that in Georgia, unlike the overwhelming majority of other states, more than 50% of the votes are required to win the Senate elections, otherwise there will be a second round. It is in this state that none of the candidates has reached the required level of support to date. Both Republicans and Democrats have such chances. If both parties retain 48 seats in the Senate each, then these two votes can become decisive.

Noteworthy precedents arose during the US Congressional campaign. So, Oregon residents voted to decriminalize hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. In addition, for example, New Mexico became the first state in history where only women from ethnic minorities won the election to the US House of Representatives.

The vote in Colorado attracted a lot of observers' attention, where residents were in favor of joining the so-called National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This document was signed in 2006; it implies that the electoral college of the state will give its votes to the candidate in the presidential election who wins the majority of the votes of the voters themselves. According to the parties to the said agreement, such an approach should prevent a recurrence of situations like the 2016 elections, when Trump won solely thanks to the electoral college.

For the agreement to enter into force, the states need to obtain a simple majority, that is, gain more than 270 electoral votes (there are currently 196 of them). The results of several recent elections show that Democrats are consistently gaining more direct votes, so lobbying by the Democratic Party to secure ratification of the agreement can be expected before the next US presidential election (2024).

Apparently, at the initial stage of the presidency, the foreign policy of the new head of the White House in the key areas for Washington will be distinguished by a certain inertia. So, if the Democrats come to power, it is quite reasonable to expect a continuation of the heavy-handed anti-Russian actions. The statements about the so-called "Russian threat" became one of the few methods that allowed containing the disintegration of the bipartisan consensus in the United States under Trump, including in relation to many political issues not related to Russia at all.

At the same time, Biden is likely to resume many of Barack Obama's foreign policy projects. First of all, this concerns strengthening the transatlantic alliance and building a balanced approach to interaction with international organizations and other complex mechanisms within the framework of the system of international relations. The 46th head of the White House will give preference to multilateral instruments in promoting the American position in the world; for example, he may again return to the idea of the United States' membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to contain China's activity.

The elections held in the United States demonstrated the disintegration of society in relation to a variety of national issues. Even after many decades, politicians have not been able to reach a consensus and find a common language with citizens regarding the right to keep and bear arms, the degree of toughness for the migration policy or restrictions on the powers of law enforcement agencies.

The difficulties stem from the fact that neither party demonstrates a genuine willingness to find constructive solutions acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans. The reaction of Trump and his supporters to the results of the current election is, in fact, a mirror image of the 2016 election. Since then, the liberal-minded public has not been able to recognize Trump as a national leader, and the Democratic Party, interested in his departure, did everything possible (up to initiating impeachment) to lower the rating of the incumbent president.

Disappointment of citizens in the national elite, active promotion of "progressive ideas," and the strengthening of globalism in due time paved the way for Donald Trump to become the head of the White House. If the Democrats do not take this into account, then they risk spawning new, even more non-systemic politicians. Meanwhile, in the Democratic Party, the crisis is intensifying in terms of establishing interaction between left-wing politicians (whose number, for example, in the House of Representatives has increased significantly this year) and moderate members of the political establishment.

Similar trends may appear in the Republican Party. So, it is likely that the so-called Trumpists will become stronger among the Republicans. Although, in the opinion of many hardened Republicans, they are not able to effectively solve the aggravated issues in the United States.

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The dalliance of politicians with radical voters on one side of the barricades led to a sharp increase in protest moods on the other side. It also led to a decline in the level of trust of American citizens in government institutions in general, especially in the US Congress. And the question whether Biden will be able to become a "president who will not divide, but unite" the country is still open.

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