Back in the spring of this year, I wrote a piece saying that the biggest challenge to the US political system will be the loser in the presidential election refusing to concede. As a global superpower, the US is at the top of the world and its citizens have a better quality of life than others, so winning and losing seems unimportant. But if the US is losing its past glory and the quality of life of its people is slipping, then winning and losing becomes crucial. Now, over a month after the presidential election, Trump and his Republican supporters are still refusing to concede, giving the excuse of election fraud.
Actually, claims of election fraud are nothing new. And we need not look too far back. In 2000, the state of Florida — where the brother of Bush Jr was governor — was a Democratic stronghold, but over 70% of votes went to Republican candidate Bush Jr. Video clips showed that at one voting station, out of 1,200 voters, nearly 700 were turned away. In North Carolina, Republicans and Democrats supporters are roughly even, but the Republican-controlled state legislature used its authority of drawing electoral district boundaries to neutralise Democratic votes. US textbooks call this gerrymandering, which highlights partisan electoral advantages. This practice is legal, and both the Republicans and Democrats do it. And so, nine out of 13 congressmen for North Carolina are Republicans — there were 11 in the previous Congress.
Claims of election fraud are only skin deep compared to societal conflicts
This time, Trump refuses to concede due to claims of election fraud, and many are criticising him. Trump is an unusual character, but that is not the root of the problem. The real crux of the issue is that the US is now in a very different position from where it was before, and it is facing unprecedented challenges. Its internal conflicts are intensifying to a stage where they are difficult to reconcile. Moreover, the old ways of maintaining domestic and international political order and stability no longer work.
China had no intention of challenging the US in the beginning, but with China's growing strength, the Chinese can no longer tolerate the high-handedness of the Americans.
The US position is being challenged by many countries, especially China. China had no intention of challenging the US in the beginning, but with China's growing strength, the Chinese can no longer tolerate the high-handedness of the Americans. If the US continues to lord it over an increasingly confident and powerful China, a backlash is to be expected.
During the Cold War, US allies such as France, Germany, Japan had to follow the US’s lead and participate in its ventures and expeditions. This was a strain on their people and finances, and their own interests were sacrificed without receiving real benefits. After the Cold War, they no longer wanted to be pawns in US efforts for global domination; they had their own interests to think of. This is why the US is not finding it as easy as before to deal with the challenge from China.
The US needs to imbibe new ways
In the past, to deal with the challenges posed by socialist countries, the US government had to increase its tax rates to give lower-income groups a sense of security. Economic inequality in the US was thus kept within a controllable range. After the Cold War, America believed that this was the end of history and that capitalism had defeated socialism. They thought that there was no need to make compromises with the working class any longer. They repeatedly lowered the tax rates for higher-income groups and enterprises, widening the gap between the rich and the poor as a result. 0.5% of the richest people in the country own greater wealth than the bottom 90% combined. 80% of Americans struggle to make ends meet and have no savings. A few years ago, the Occupy movement with the slogan “We are the 99%” made waves across the US, and was ultimately subdued with police violence. After Trump took office, he continued to lower tax rates for the rich but aggressively restricted immigration, leading people on the lowest rung of society to believe that he was fighting for their interests.
With a decrease in the birth rate of white Americans and an increase in the birth rate of immigrants, white Americans would become a minority group by 2050. This is unacceptable to those who believe that the US is a white country, and also a matter of life and death for the preservation of “white culture”.
The US is also plagued by a history of slavery. The end of the Civil War marked the abolishment of slavery in the US. However, racial segregation lasted until the 1960s in the 20th century. A protracted civil rights movement ended racial segregation in the US but racial discrimination lives on until today. African Americans dying at the hands of the police are not uncommon, and 70% of the US’s prisoners are of African descent. One in every nine African American males are incarcerated. To some white Americans, black criminals deserve their punishment. However, a considerable number of young Americans believe that what we see today is the evil consequence of racial discrimination, and that the root causes of racism in American society must be eliminated from the system. They are also willing to fight fiercely for this.
With a decrease in the birth rate of white Americans and an increase in the birth rate of immigrants, white Americans would become a minority by 2050. This is unacceptable to those who believe that the US is a white country, and also a matter of life and death for the preservation of “white culture”. Some of these people think that the policies led by Democratic elites, such as diversity, legalisation of abortion, preferential treatment for ethnic minorities, legalisation of same-sex marriage, and transgender rights are destroying the US.
... regardless of who the next US president is, the US is doomed to face enormous challenges. It can no longer stick to old methods to maintain its political order.
70 million people voted for Trump during the presidential elections this year. Although it is seven million people less than those who voted for Biden, the people who voted for Trump are willing to believe Trump’s claims of election fraud and also willing to pick up their cudgels and follow Trump in challenging the election outcome. This is because they think that they cannot afford to lose and are at the stage of sacrificing everything they have to win.
Against this backdrop, regardless of who the next US president is, the US is doomed to face enormous challenges. It can no longer stick to old methods to maintain its political order. In the next few years, it is highly likely that the fate of the US will change significantly.
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