America will remain a divided country


America will remain a divided country

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Donald Trump supporters at a Stop the Steal rally in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department, Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 7, 2020. (Getty Images)

Instead of bringing people together last week, the US presidential elections have divided America more than ever. Former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner not based on official certification but on the unofficial vote counts tabulated by the mainstream news media, much of which favored him and was excessively critical of President Donald Trump.
As elections go, both Trump and Biden have much to brag about. Trump received the highest vote that any sitting president has achieved, more than 71.5 million. That is even more than America’s most popular presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.
Trump also led his Republican party to block a takeover of the US Senate by the Democrats. Currently the Democrats hold 48 of the 100 seats and the Republicans hold 50. The Republicans stand to win two more in run-offs scheduled in Georgia, a Republican stronghold.
Trump led the Republican Party to weaken the Democratic hold on the US Congress, gaining up to 13 additional seats previously held by Democrats, winning three and holding leads in 10 others where the vote difference is described as “too close to call.”
Republicans in Congress won every incumbent seat and 28 out of 29 competitive seats. Additionally, under Trump the largest number of female Republican candidates were elected to the House in the history of Congress.
The biggest achievement for Trump is that he once again proved wrong every news media poll and survey by CNN, the New York Times, USA Today, MSNBC and the Washington Post, which said Trump was trailing behind Biden by as much as 10 to 12 percent.
You might almost think that the news media was intentionally exaggerating Trump’s shortcomings while marginalizing Biden’s.
Biden, however, can also claim several achievements, too. He won more votes than any prior candidate for president of the US, 76.4 million votes.
Biden also, according to the news media, claims to have won enough states to give him 290 electoral votes over Trump, who the media asserts only has 219. The candidate with at least 270 electoral votes wins the election.
With the wind of the media blowing hard under his wings, Biden declared victory on Saturday, offering a memorable and inspiring speech that asserted the need to bring the country together.
Biden borrowed a version of Obama’s 2008 victory speech. Obama said then, “We have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America."
Biden’s version: “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States.” He argued America must come together.
“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans,” Biden said.
“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end — here and now. The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make.”
Powerful words. But, given the ugly rhetoric that dominates many pro-Biden supporters against Trump, that is no different than the hate they complained about from Trump supporters. It is clear America will remain a divided country.
The roar of hate, anger and demonization on both sides will only grow louder, and you can’t just blame that on one side.
Trump lost several states that traditionally voted Republican in the past, giving Biden an edge. The most damaging loss for Trump was Arizona, where allies of the late GOP Senator John McCain undermined the president and helped Democrats.
Trump and McCain never had good relations in part because McCain could never understand why Americans elected Trump in 2016 while soundly rejecting his own candidacy in 2008.

The roar of hate, anger and demonization on both sides will only grow louder.

Ray Hanania

But Trump was always his own worst enemy. He took real issues he could have justified and turned them into petty, vicious personal attacks. One of his biggest failures was the way he pushed for peace in the Middle East, not only angering advocates of the two-state solution but souring America’s influential Jewish community. Polls showed that Trump enjoyed the support of 71 percent of Israeli Jews, who cannot vote, while Biden enjoyed 70 percent popularity among American Jews, who can and did vote.
Trump placed the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict in jeopardy by empowering one of the illegal settler movement’s leading champions, David Friedman, to serve as the US ambassador to Israel.
Those actions, more than moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, doomed the benefits Trump might have harvested in the American election while ushering in a more cohesive Middle East peace policy.
If Biden is certified as president, he has vowed to restore support to the Palestinians, confront expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and embrace a more generous two-state solution.
Despite some strong popularity in America, Trump’s missteps clearly cost him the election.

  • Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at Twitter: @RayHanania
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