One clear outcome of the U.S. election was the collapse of the promised ‘Blue Wave’ – an implosion that marks the ‘beginning of the end’ to a powerful spell enthralling the West. It was the delusion which Ron Chernow, the acclaimed U.S. presidential historian, gave credence, as he contemptuously dismissed America’s “topsy-turvy moment” as purely ephemeral, and a “surreal interlude in American life”: No longer can it be said that there is one ‘normal’. Win or lose the White House, Red Trumpism remains as ‘President’ for half America.
Biden, by contrast, served as the prospect for Restoration – a return to a hallowed consensus in American politics – to a reassuring ‘sanity’ of facts, science and truth. Biden, it was hoped, would be the agency over-lording a crushing electoral landslide that would terminate irrevocably Trump’s rude interruption of the ‘normal’. Biden supporters were rallied, Mike Lind, the American academic and author has observed, around the idea of America moving toward a ‘managed’ society – based on ‘science’ – that would be essentially finessed and controlled by a managerial, expert class.
Over time, Lind suggests, American society would begin to depart more, and more easily, from its republican roots, through a process already underway: via attempts to alter the Constitutional order, and other rules, to bring about a change in the way America is governed.
The notion however, of what America – as Idea – now constitutes, has fractured into two tectonic plates, moving apart in very different directions – and likely to move even further apart as each ‘plate’ remains convinced that ‘it won’ – and the sweetness of victory has been stolen.
The fracturing of the ‘One Normal’, by contrast, provides some kind of respite to much of the globe.
The fact remains that the election has produced a result in which it is abundantly clear that one half of the American electorate precisely voted to oust the other half. It is gridlock – with the Supreme Court and Senate in the hands of one party, and the House of Representatives and White House (possibly) in the hands of the other. As Glenn Greenwald warns:
No matter what the final result, there will be substantial doubts about its legitimacy by one side or the other, perhaps both. And no deranged conspiracy thinking is required for that. An electoral system suffused with this much chaos, error, protracted outcomes and seemingly inexplicable reversals will sow doubt and distrust even among the most rational citizens.