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A New Hope

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

On the evening of November 8th 2016, I wobbled off to my bed (it was during the NBG Conference after all) around 1am, having kept an eye on the US Presidential election over the course of the evening. Off I went, slightly concerned that Democrat Hillary Clinton, the woman who was going at that last, great glass ceiling with a battering ram, wasn’t doing as well as I so desperately wanted her to. That was four years ago and we all know how it panned out after that.

It wasn’t the only big political decision that year with far-reaching consequences, of course, but it has at least now come to some sort of conclusion. Unlike the other one, which is still being dragged out, like Jarndyce v Jarndyce, to the bitter end. Will future political historians look back on the Trump White House years and wonder what on earth was going on? The election of a property magnate and former reality TV star to the highest office in the land wasn’t entirely without precedent, don’t forget. A former Hollywood leading man did it in the 1980s and the Ronald Regan years are regarded by some as the model for modern US conservatism and cross-party political consensus.

I’ve written before that US politics isn’t really any of my business, although, in a world where technology and social media means we all feel like we’re living in each other’s pockets, what happens in Washington and, in need in Pennsylvania, has the ability to affect all of us.

I was glued to CNN last week, watching as Donald Trump’s initial lead in the polls was steadily eroded by those pesky postal ballots and watched, aghast, his bizarre diatribe from the White House briefing room, about the supposed crookedness of the election process. Something about which there still appears to be zero evidence. Even some of Trump’s former allies are now distancing themselves from his claims. Vice=President Mike Pence for example, has been very quiet, presumably edging away so that he can try and prepare for his tilt at the top job in 2024. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani is, at the time of writing, still sticking to that story, though the fact that he will forever be associated with a press conference in a landscaping company’s car park, sandwiched between a sex shop and a crematorium, does seem to have blunted the message somewhat. For an administration that was characterised by lots of WTF moments, I suppose it was a fitting, if thoroughly undignified, end. How my heart soared when I saw the clip of Senator Kamala Harris’s phone call to her running mate “We did it, Joe. We did it.”

We make the mistake sometimes, of assuming that, in a two-party system, people are either one thing or the other. That’s not necessarily true and there are plenty of American voters who support the Republic Party, but not the man who is their President and plenty more who chose Democrat over Republican but are not necessarily big fans of the man who is their President -Elect. Plus, there are plenty of dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters who will never accept Biden as their President, nor Harris as their Vice-President.

However, Biden is a good man, in a way that I don’t believe Trump is. I have no idea how things are going to pan out over the next four years, but the fact that, as of January 20 such a man will claim 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as his address and the fact that, as of January 20, the US will have its first female Vice President – a mixed race one at that – makes me more hopeful for the future than I have been for years. For four years, to be precise.

 

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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