On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

All is not what it seems

I’M not a Donald Trump fan and am ecstatic that he has to vacate the White House. I can’t stand his smirk, bravado and arrogance.

His endless bashing of obstacles in his way or politics, often racist in nature, has always been distasteful to most of us.

So it’s not surprising to the world that he alleges votes were stolen from him.

In the 2016 presidential election, he made the same accusation, claiming the election was “absolutely rigged” by the “dishonest media”…“at many polling places”.

Trump then questioned the legitimacy of the election process in a series of tweets: “Of course, there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day.”

Naturally, he accepted the results wholeheartedly when they were in his favour because in those instances, the system apparently wasn’t rigged.

Now he’s back at it again, accusing Democrats of cheating without proving his claims.

Predictably, many of his supporters have echoed those sentiments because, well, Trump said so. His inflammatory remarks are dangerous and can rally his hardcore base.

But the real point of this piece is, based on what’s played out on CNN and other major news outlets, it’s easy to have thought that Biden would score a landslide victory.

Trump has been made out to be a moron and/or a monster, and that he’s a serial liar, a cheating husband and a president who worked with the Russians, and much more. His limited vocabulary and penchant for exaggerations and exclamations haven’t helped his cause either.

Yet, many Americans voted for him. It was such a slim win for Biden that at the beginning, Democrats had resigned to the fate of him losing.

Although he’s been the most controversial and divisive president in modern US history, Trump has had a remarkably steady approval rating, thanks to his staunch supporters.

With Trump being Trump, we can count on him to be delusional enough to declare himself a winner, with his poor suffering wife and family by his side as he proudly walked to the podium with Hail to the Chief accompanying his grand entrance.

We have many of our own political clowns, but this American Orange Man takes the cake for this incredibly moronic act.

The New York Times reported that Trump enjoyed huge support within his own party, winning 93% of Republican votes.

The report on Nov 4 also said that Trump did somewhat better with Black voters (12%) and Hispanic voters (32%) and of course, he won Florida with its huge Spanish speaking electorate.

Here is Trump, who has supposedly mismanaged the Covid-19 pandemic, messed up the economy, divided races, cheated on his tax returns, treated women badly, and is essentially someone not fit to be a US President.

CNN, as we’re all aware, threw out objectivity a long time ago and campaigned incessantly against Trump.

But the real story of the 2020 US elections is that a scary number of Americans still wanted Trump.

The Democrats also failed to unseat the Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with the Republicans maintaining their stranglehold.

British newspaper The Guardian rightly reported that “Biden didn’t offer a clear and compelling alternative” and described him as a “weak candidate from the start”.

“Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, represented the corporate wing of the Democratic party; he loudly defended the private health insurance industry and fracking industry from attacks by the left” and “he didn’t show much interest in courting core constituencies like Latino voters (reportedly, the Biden campaign didn’t consider them part of its “path to victory”), which helps explain the losses in Texas and Florida.”

So the real story isn’t that Biden won but how it was a neck and neck fight all the way. And it wasn’t true at all that Trump was hugely unpopular as the US media wanted us to believe.

Simply put, Trump continues to be a formidable force and, well, he still has the numbers.

And what can we say of the American voters who chose a Republican candidate from North Dakota who died of Covid-19 for the state House of Representatives!

This is the irony – Trump, who was perceived as a dangerous man, never went to war. The nearest was a trade war with China. He even befriended North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and eased tensions.

In contrast, Barack Obama, who vowed to end conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan before he took office in 2008, went to war throughout his eight-year tenure.

He launched airstrikes in at least seven countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, and incredibly, still won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama endorsed same sex marriages. While it was embraced in Hollywood and the cities, the decision went down badly in the rural Midwest.

Likewise, the protests in the cities and the street battles against the police set alarm bells ringing in many middle-class homes, especially in predominantly white areas.

What’s portrayed in the media, sometimes, doesn’t reflect the values and positions of middle America.

While Trump is barrelling towards a defeat, it’s certain we will still hear from him in various forms, including his Tweets.

As the voting pattern has revealed, Trumpism resonates with many Americans.

A substantial portion of the world may want US leadership, but its involvement in numerous countries has led to many American casualties and a heavy toll. The reality is that Americans don’t want their presidents to be busybodies in the name of promoting democracy when they have enough problems at home. They don’t need their loved ones to come home in body bags from war zones in countries they can’t even locate on the world map.

As is common knowledge now, there were no weapons of mass destruction as claimed by the US, and after Saddam Hussein’s downfall, Iraq has turned out for the worse, and not better.

American philosopher Jason Brennan perfectly encapsulated in a nutshell how democracy works.

“Most voters are ignorant or misinformed because the costs to them of acquiring political information greatly exceed the potential benefits.

“They can afford to indulge silly, false, delusional beliefs – precisely because such beliefs cost them nothing. After all, the chances that any individual vote will decide the election is vanishingly small.

“As a result, individual voters tend to vote expressively, to show their commitment to their worldview and team. Voting is more like doing the wave at a sports game than it is like choosing policy.

“Just why voters know so little is well-understood. It’s not that people are stupid. Rather, it’s that democracy creates bad incentives.”