It actually happened.
Donald Trump lost the presidential election. On Jan. 20, 2021, we expect the country to swear in Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th president of the United States. Due to record voter turnout and persistence amid a pandemic, our nation decided to make Trump a one-term president and say goodbye to his disastrous administration. As much as this news is fantastic for millions of Americans and me, Biden's win didn't feel as validating as I thought it would. I could not rest easy knowing that more than 70 million people voted for Trump and everything he said and stood for. Biden's slim win confirmed something I was very much scared of happening to the soul of this country. Trump may be gone, but Trumpism is something we will be dealing with for a long time.
I wasn't expecting Biden to win in a landslide. However, I never expected it to be as nail-biting as it turned out to be. Trump had a disastrous response to the pandemic, which has now killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. He failed to condemn white supremacy during the first debate. Dozens of women have accused him of sexual assault, and he has bragged about committing such acts on tape. He is unabashedly sexist, labeling women he doesn't like as either a "low IQ," "dog" or "disgusting." He mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who accused his then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. He belittled the heroism of the late John McCain when he said, "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." He still refuses to admit he was wrong for calling for the death penalty for the exonerated Central Park 5. He was a vocal proponent of the "birther" conspiracy that Barack Obama was born in a foreign country. Just this summer, while America was having a racial reckoning, he labeled the words "Black Lives Matter" a "symbol of hate." He tear-gassed peaceful protestors to make way for a photo-op in which he awkwardly held a Bible at St. John's Church. He fails to listen to scientists regarding climate change and undermines infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci at every chance he gets. His entire presidency ran rampant with corruption, and he tells us not to believe the evidence we have in front of our eyes. The accusations previously listed in this paragraph are not even close to the entire list of the recklessness of Trump's character.
What does it say about our country that despite his racism, misogyny and blatant corruption that nearly half our nation decided that those weren't deal-breakers?
As a Black man in America, I have had my fair share of heartbreak and disappointment in the state of this country. However, the election result was a different kind of heartbreak that I haven't been able to shake off. I hoped we would come together as a country and undoubtedly signal that we have had enough of Trump and aim to be the country where everyone is equal. Instead, Trump had millions more people vote for him compared to the last election. I knew white people would show their true colors and vote for Trump. However, Trump seeing an increase in voter turnout among Black men was extremely disappointing. This feeling of disappointment only grew when I accepted that the supposed "blue wave" wasn't going to materialize. Democrats didn't retake the U.S. Senate and didn't remove any Republicans in the House of Representatives. Consequently, like clockwork, moderates shifted the blame to progressives because moderates are never to blame for their failures.
Unfortunately, my conclusion since Trump received the second-highest vote total of any presidential candidate in history is that Trump will be far from an anomaly. The reliable support shown to Trump means it is only a matter of time before a new "Trump-like" candidate appears. History is known to repeat itself, and my biggest fear is that Americans will realize it too late. Trump is excellent at manipulating media but is entirely terrible at governing. The next "Trump" will be a lot more competent. As Atlantic writer Zeynep Tufekci put it, "Trump ran like a populist, but he lacked the political talent or competence to govern like an effective one." Based on how quickly Fox News accepted the election results and how some GOP members are publicly congratulating Biden on his victory, it appears Trump is done being a means used to justify their ends. The GOP has gained more support in their political tent, namely from women and nonwhite voters. They have an overwhelming conservative majority in the Supreme Court and might retain control of the Senate. There isn't a better situation for a competent politician to run on Trumpism in 2024.
As some celebrate Trump's loss, we should be severely aware that Trumpism is far from defeated. The Democratic establishment cannot keep running the same old gameplan in which they utilize nostalgia rather than embracing the future. It's time to accept progressives aren't going anywhere and quit the constant finger-pointing to the people winning the elections. If Biden governs as a typical establishment Democrat, it won’t be long until we see the next Trump.
Critics won’t quickly draw the next Trump into Twitter feuds. The next Trump will have the poise and experience to govern over people. This person won't have prior baggage like a tape in which the individual brags about sexual assault. The next Trump will know it's career suicide to belittle any member of the military. The next Trump will say all the right things but will embrace Trumpism subtlety. The next Trump is coming very soon, whether we like it or not.
Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.