« Trump administration one of the worst in US history » – Interviews with American citizens
The whole world has followed the presidential election in the USA, but what do American citizens think about it? We asked three of them to share their opinion with us: James (50), civil engineer from Missouri, Brad (31), PhD student of history from Tennessee and Douglas (46) from Colorado.
Camäléon: Would you mind telling us who you voted for? Are you happy with the outcome of the election?
James: I voted for Biden/Harris. I am happy with the outcome, although it would be nice if we had fewer people vote for Trump. This would make it harder for the party of Trump (Republicans) to ignore the results.
Brad: In a “normal” presidential election, I would be more reluctant to say who I voted for, but this year was most definitely not normal. I voted for Biden. So yes, I’m very happy with the results.
Douglas: I voted for Joe Biden. I am very glad he has won the election.
Camäléon: What do you think about the Trump administration?
James: I am not a fan of President Trump or his administration. I think that the Trump Administration has a single purpose and that is to serve the interests of the Trump family and their richest supporters. They are a conglomeration of amateurs who don’t believe in science. They make a big show of supporting the downtrodden in our society, but really are supporters of the people who take advantage of the downtrodden. The uneducated downtrodden people believe in the show and support him like some sort of Messiah. The Trump administration and the party of Trump have manufactured lies about the goals of the Democratic Party and have no qualms about spreading complete fabrications that serve their goals.
Brad: I think the Trump administration is one of the worst administrations in the history of the United States, and I am not exaggerating. Since November 8, 2016 (the day Trump was elected), the entire country has felt unsettled. I think what we saw in the 2020 election was a sort of national catharsis after four years of holding our collective breath as a nation.
Douglas: The Trump administration is a terrifying amalgamation of Neoliberalism and corporate money/interest that exploits and divides the U.S. The administration maintains its voter base through its rhetoric that excites racism and the false promise to revitalize industries that have vanished due to globalization or by the simple fact of them being obsolete; in addition to the obscene deregulation of many areas of the economy that stimulates the stock market.
Camäléon: Is Biden the perfect candidate or did you vote for him because there was no better alternative?
James: President Elect Biden is definitely NOT a perfect candidate, but there are no perfect candidates and there never will be. Life is about choices and seldom will we find that things are ‘black and white’. Things are always some mix of gray. While Biden may not be white, he is a lot closer than the darkness that inhabits the other candidate. That being said, I do like that Biden is more ‘middle of the road’ and hope that this characteristic will help him to pull the country together after this divisive term of the current president and the divisive election that we just finished to replace him.
Brad: There is no such thing as a perfect candidate (the only person who might disagree with this is Trump). That being said, some choices are clearly better than others. Biden, I think, is the right man for the moment. He came of age politically at a time when bipartisanship was still a thing, and I hope he can bring that back to American politics, we desperately need it. Although it would have been interesting to see a more “progressive” candidate like Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee, I don’t think he (or somebody like him, for example, Elizabeth Warren) would have done well in the general election. Put differently, I voted for Biden because I thought he was the best candidate for this particular election.
Douglas: I wanted Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate. I like to say I voted against Trump rather than for Biden. Biden can be defined as a moderate republican of years past. I am very happy to see Kamala Harris as VP. But that is simply because the U.S. lags far behind its Western counterparts in regards to women’s rights and women in politics.
Camäléon: Do you think the election has been manipulated?
James: The only manipulation that I suspect has happened is the foreign interference prior to the election. I believe that it is likely that help was provided to both candidates in some way. We live in an interconnected world and it has to be very difficult to limit outside interference. I believe that the election itself was relatively free of manipulation or corruption.
Douglas: The election has not been manipulated in regards to counting votes. There are too many safe guards preventing vote count manipulation. However, there are many States that restrict voter’s rights so I would say, yes, the U.S. vote has been manipulated via systemic racism.
Camäéon: Do you think that Biden will manage to make big changes?
James: I expect Biden to work hard to restore a place of respect for the United States in the global community. This country has done a lot of good in the world and I think that there is a lot of good left out there for us to influence. … I understand that we have also done more than a few terrible things, but overall I believe that we have been a positive influence. Domestically it will likely be difficult to accomplish great things since we will likely have a divided government. The 50% of the country who voted for Trump will continue to make their voices heard and will make things difficult for President Biden.
Brad: This is a tough one. I guess it depends what you mean by “big” changes. It’s not like the United States is going to become a “socialist” country (whatever that means) over the next four years, but I do think we could see some changes in terms of immigration policy, income inequality, and the environment. A lot of what Biden will do is to restore things to how they were pre-Trump. I think USA 2024 will look a lot like USA 2016, at least in terms of policy. In other words, Biden will roll back what Trump did and then build on Obama’s legacy.
Douglas: Biden will have a Federal response to Covid. He will address racism within the U.S., but this will be with extreme limits. He will lean more towards Europe’s approach to Iran. He will mirror Obama on climate change. I do not anticipate much change from Biden and Obama. But with Trump as President for the past four years, it will appear as if Biden is making big changes, but he is simply going back to the Obama center. The military will continue to be over funded. South and Central America will continue to suffer from U.S. intervention. The stock market will be a great importance. Health care will have NO fundamental changes.
Camäléon: Why do you think the participation was considerably higher this year?
James: Voter participation was high this year because President Trump brings out the worst influences of politics. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who are scared of the future and want to return to « Make America Great Again ». Most of these people don’t recognize that for many in our country, America never was all that great. Trump’s campaign has brought out a lot of passion on both sides. I do believe that participation is a good thing and am optimistic that this participation will lead to more engagement and participation in the future.
Brad: I think the increased voter participation in the 2020 election was the silver-lining of the Trump presidency. Because Americans felt so strongly about Trump – they either loved him or they hated him – they voted. I saw a statistic the other day that said 2020 had the highest voter participation since the 1900 presidential election. This, I think, bodes well for American democracy.
Douglas: There was a huge political advertising push of doom and gloom by both the Trump and Biden campaign. There is massive unemployment in the U.S. due to Covid and there is a huge polarization of society. Use of mail in ballets has been influenced by health concerns due to Covid.
Camäléon: Do you think the electoral system of the USA should be modified?
James: Coming from a rural background, I can see the use in the Electoral College. Without the Electoral College, it would be easy for the more populous states to roll an agenda over the rest of the country without concern for objections. The way that Congress is set up and the Electoral College tends to give more power to people who would be easy to overlook with a straight line democracy.
Brad: Another tough question. Yes, I think we should replace the electoral college with a simple popular vote. This would be very difficult to accomplish, however, because it would require a constitutional amendment. That being said, stranger things have happened, and we are living in strange times.
Douglas: The U.S. is a Republic. It needs to abandon the electoral college. The vote needs to represent the population. In short, it needs to mirror Germany’s voting system.