Brainnews brings to you the winners and losers of the just concluded United States election.
On Wednesday, the United States of America inaugurated a new administration, putting behind it weeks of tension following the refusal of former President Donald Trump to concede victory to Joe Biden, his Democratic rival and winner of the November 2020 poll. SAMSON FOLARIN examines a list of the winners and losers of the US election
Joe Biden, a former Delaware senator, served as vice president under former President Barack Obama. His battle with Trump started when it became clear he would be the flag bearer for the Democrats.
Trump was alleged to have withdrawn military aid to Ukraine in order to pressurise newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue investigations of Joe and his son, Hunter. But that move backfired, as it led to his first impeachment by the House of Representatives on September 24, 2019.
Trump, in several tweets in the run-up to the elections, insisted that he could not lose to ‘Sleepy Joe’. In the end, he lost by over seven million votes.
Biden, 78, is the oldest president in US history.
Kamala Harris is not only making history as the first female Vice President in US history, she is also the first Asian-American to hold the office. Her recognition of the significance of that platform made her tweet after the elections were over, “I may be the first woman to hold this office, but I won’t be the last.”
She served as a senator from California before she was chosen to be Biden’s running mate. Her candidature attracted block votes of Indians, Africans, Latinos and Carribeans, many of whom were alienated by Trump’s open support for whites.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
The story of the Californian representative’s time in the House would not be complete without a mention of her many legendary battles with Trump. Online and offline, she exchanged tackles with the former president, who saw her as a big threat. She was at the receiving end of Trump’s barbed abuses, including having to endure being called ‘Crazy Pelosi’. The Guardian UK, in a tribute to her, said she had “an uncanny ability to use the president’s own rhetoric against him.” Aside from leading his successful impeachment twice, one of the highlights of her battles with Trump was during a State of the Union speech when she tore his address before TV cameras. While making a case for Trump’s second impeachment, she described him as, ‘deranged, unhinged, and a dangerous president.’ She laughs last.
Barack & Michelle Obama
Trump has never hidden his hatred for his predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, in his book, ‘Disloyal’ claimed that Trump had so much ‘hatred and contempt’ for Obama that he sponsored and participated in a 2012 video in which he mocked his Democratic rival.
The Obama presidency was almost derailed when Trump led a campaign for his removal based on the claim that he was born in Kenya, and not America, an important constitutional requirement for anyone to be president.
Trump’s early years as president were also devoted to reversing many of Obama’s policies, including his signatory Obamacare, a term for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, attributed Democrats’ loss in the 2016 elections to the refusal of many Americans to vote. They joined in a vigorous campaign for more voter participation in the 2020 elections. They will be visibly relieved to see Trump leave the Oval Office.
Black Lives Matter Movement
The Black Lives Matter Movement is a rights group protesting against police brutality and racially motivated violence against blacks. Social media has been a powerful medium of mobilisation for the group, with #BlackLivesMatter.
But the defining moment for the group which brought it into confrontation with Trump’s presidency was the killing of George Floyd in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the increasing rates of deaths from the pandemic, the group mobilised people in different parts of the world to protest against police brutality and demand justice for Floyd. The New York Times estimated that 15 to 26 million Americans participated in that protest.
Trump, whose handling of the Floyd’s case was heavily criticised by the media, especially his call for attacks on protesters, dubbed the group “a symbol of hate.” With Trump’s loss, the group won.
Trump’s policies never favoured immigrants, something no one can fault given his ‘America First’ electioneering slogan. During his campaigns, he blamed undocumented immigrants from Mexico for increasing crime rates in the United States. As a solution, he promised to build a wall to check immigration into the United States through the Mexican border. Trump was also hostile to countries with Muslim-majority. His Executive Order 13769 placed strict travel restrictions on Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, while reviewing immigration under the Trump presidency, stated that more people got into the US temporarily for work, but fewer got permanent visas. This affected many US families who hoped that their relatives would join them. During Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, he proposed to overhaul what he described as Trump’s ‘inhumane policies’ on immigration. This is definitely a win for immigrants.
After the win of Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democrats Senate candidates in the Georgia run-off elections, the party will be in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. While the Democrats hold a 50-50 share with the Republicans in the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris will vote in case of a tie, effectively giving the Democrats the edge. With this, the party can make major policy changes and determine how the country would be run for the next four years.
American liberal media
Trump has had face-offs with reporters of several media houses he considered too critical of his administration. There are clips of Trump exchanging words with reporters with CNN, CBS, NBC, Associated Press, whose platforms he tagged as fake news.
A CNN White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, was barred from the White House after an exchange with Trump, who called him a “rude and terrible person.”
In April 2020, Trump called ABC’s Jon Karl a ‘third-rate reporter,’ telling him he would ‘never make it.’
Business Insider cited 11 times Trump attacked reporters for asking him questions he did not like during briefings on COVID-19.
Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger
Georgia had a flip during the general elections, turning blue in favour of Democrats. Biden polled 2,473, 633 votes, while Trump got 2,461,854 votes. It was one of the states Trump hoped to win, and indeed raised dust about when things didn’t go his way.
There was public outrage when a leaked audio conversation between Trump and the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, exposed the former president soliciting help to overturn the state result.
Trump was quoted as saying, “All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
ABC News reported that Raffensperger, a Republican who supported Trump’s reelection, maintained that Georgia’s election was legitimate and accurate, and rebuffed the president’s allegations. With that singular action, he puts himself on the right side of history.
Trump backed out of the Iran nuclear deal entered into by Obama, describing it as a waste of resources. He also imposed sanctions on Tehran and laid out new conditions for a new deal. That decision heightened tensions between the two countries.
On Trump’s final day in office, Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, could not hide his excitement as he bid a “tyrant” goodbye as he sought a new relationship with America’s new president, Biden.
Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, left the White House with many controversies. The businessman’s refusal to concede the election to Biden, and the rhetoric that followed leading to the attack on the Capitol and death of five Americans, may not be forgotten. Till the day he left the White House, Trump did not admit he lost the election.
According to Business Insider, Trump is the third commander-in-chief to be impeached, one of 11 incumbent presidents to fail to win reelection, and also the only American president to be impeached twice.
His handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been blamed for a number of deaths in the country, including his refusal to wear a face mask in public until he was a victim himself. As of the time of his departure, more than 400,000 Americans had died from the virus.
The US evangelicals
Trump came into office with the support of several groups, including the evangelicals, who seemed to agree with his religious beliefs.
A Pew Research Centre report from 2016 showed that 81 per cent of white evangelical Christians voted for Trump, compared to 16 per cent for his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton. The Financial Times in October 2020 reported that the Pew Centre poll in June 2020 found that at least 82 per cent of white evangelicals were also preparing to vote for him, reflecting his strong support base among the group.
The Independent reviewed clips of top US evangelical preachers who predicted that Trump would win the election. They include televangelist Kenneth Copeland; Californian pastor, Kris Vallotton; North Carolina pastor, Jeremiah Johnson, among others. Vallotton later apologised.
Trump’s attorney, Giuliani
Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is facing several lawsuits based on his false claims of election fraud. CNBC reported that the lawyer has received litigation letters from Dominion, the company making voting machines, for discrediting them. Some lawyers are also making a case for him to be disbarred for breaching the legal professional code of conducts and inciting violence. Giuliani, while addressing a crowd of Trump supporters in videos being circulated online, called for “trial by combat.”
The Republican Party
The Republican Party suffered a monumental loss of the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate. During the second impeachment of Trump just a few days to the end of the administration, 10 members of the party, in an unprecedented move, joined their Democrat colleagues in voting for the article of impeachment.
Jared Kushner & Ivanka Kushner
Jared is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. Jared is also a personal advisor to Trump and part of the family business. The couple formed a force during Trump’s reelection campaign. And when he lost, they joined him in renouncing the results.
Former Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, is among Nigerians yet to recover from Trump’s defeat. The vocal Peoples Democratic Party chieftain fawned over the former US president in public posts, especially on Twitter, where he also commands a large following.
While Trump was battling the COVID-19 and came out wearing the nose mask, Fani-Kayode urged him to “tear off the mask and face your enemies with strength and courage.”
The former minister, however, was one of Trump’s few supporters who condemned the attack on the Capitol and asked him to accept Biden as winner of the election.
Dr Stella Immanuel
Dr Stella Immanuel, a Cameroonian-American became a sensation on social media after a press conference in which she claimed to have treated many COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine with zero fatality. While alleging conspiracy theories in the number of deaths from the pandemic, she discredited public health measures like the use of nose masks and social distancing.
Immanuel, who travelled to the US after medical studies at the University of Calabar, caught the attention of Trump and his son, who retweeted her videos, which were pulled down by Twitter and Facebook. She continued her advocacy for the Trump presidency on social media and must have been devastated by his loss.