As I write it looks likely that Donald Trump will lose the Presidency of the United States. Meanwhile in Britain, Boris Johnson becomes more miserable by the day after a humiliating U turn on lockdown when faced with the second wave of the pandemic.
It is possible that late votes or outrageous legal action could still see Donald Trump in the White House but presuming this does not happen, let us welcome the quiet civilised Joe Biden to the job he has sought for thirty years. His first task will be to restore some dignity to the office of President. Trump besmirched it from beginning to end of his four years in office.
Remember the silly row about how many people had turned up to his inauguration? It created a theme of flagrant denial of the facts, an alternative truth as one Trump supporter put it. It continued all the time until the disgraceful denouement this week where Trump gave a new meaning to the term, bad loser.
The President claims to be a true supporter of ordinary hard-working Americans who are despised by the Washington elite. It hasn’t stopped him implying that thousands of people who volunteered to count the massive number of votes into the early hours, of being incompetent or part of some fantasy fraud to deny him four more years. The officials in charge of the counts should have been far more critical of this outrageous slur against their staff.
But this is not just farcical behaviour on behalf of the President, it is dangerous too. Shops are boarded up against civil unrest. We shall see how the next few days play out.
Celebration of Joe Biden’s expected victory has to be muted however. The oldest man to take the office of President comes with no coat tails. The Senate is expected to remain in Republican hands and Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives. Despite everything he has done, Donald Trump got more votes this time than in 2016. The truth is millions of Americans share his values. Obamas’ election may have been a liberal aberration. It is going to be a hard country to govern.
It was another bad night for the pollsters. Just as in Britain, they seem to be unable to reflect Republican/Conservative support. There is growing evidence that many of these voters are shy or afraid to indicate their support for a right-wing candidate. We will need to bear that in mind here as the next election approaches.
Meanwhile here the latest lockdown has been greeted with bitterness, despite the Chancellor’s further economic support measures today. Many businesses are on their knees, people with elderly parents openly distressed, youngsters upset they can’t play football.
However, although the rules are badly drawn,it was the right decision, taken too late. Johnson looks increasingly depressed at the prospect of his premiership being defined by COVID-19.
Meanwhile Kier Starmer has enhanced his position considerably. He called for this lockdown early and his action over Jeremy Corbyn was right. He should not pay attention to the threats of the hard left. It may well be that by 2024,British voters may be crying out for a calm, dull decent man to be Prime Minister.