While the left may see the 2020 election as a beacon of hope after their upsetting loss in 2016, it reflects something larger within the US — a turning point.
Downtown LA and NYC have boarded up their storefronts, preparing for political unrest when the new US President is elected. Regardless of who becomes the next President, the road to civil discourse will prove difficult.
Arguably, conservative newcomers into Congress are more Trumpian than Trump himself.
For example, Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avowed supporter of QAnon, the far-right conspiracy group, has been elected to the House of Representatives. Her election and many others suggest that any chance to break the Republican fever has been dashed. The Republican Party has changed, and the country remains just as (perhaps even more) divided since the 2016 election.
Over the summer, I spoke to a friend of mine, a devoted Trump supporter, and though we shared our differences, he commented on something that has puzzled me since.
“I’m thinking of leaving the US. This election will cause a civil war,” he said. “I’d like to watch from afar if I can.”
At the time, I thought he was joking, but as the election loomed closer and the outcome seeming a little less clear, I’ve come back to what my friend said that summer‘s day. Now, a civil war seems extreme, but even before 2016, there has been a deep divide, one where friends were lost, and families were estranged. We hoped that over the last four years, the country would have had enough time to address the woes and grievances that allowed Trump to be elected in the first place. But the nation only seems more divided.
If Biden is elected, he may strive to find a middle ground that no longer exists within the American people. If Trump is re-elected, the country will become increasingly polarised.
And so I ask, “Has the US reached its breaking point? Is this the end of the American Experiment?”
I’ve always been a firm believer in what the Founding Fathers created. I believe in the two-party system, the electoral college, and the checks-and-balances. I believe in the political system that has lasted 244 years. But, I will admit I’m wary of what will come immediately after the election and for the years after.
The American identity is rooted in shared morals, values — The American Dream — and the belief that we have unalienable rights. However, the division now is because both sides have a very different vision of what it means to be American. Something must change within the American people. It could be something as simple as a conversation with people from the other side. It could take a newcomer to the US political arena. Whatever it may be, it’s clear that both sides of the spectrum are feeling left behind and unheard. Wherever one’s political beliefs lie, the US needs to find common ground — a common story — that reignites faith in government and the nation as a whole.