Donald Trump’s impact on America will be felt for years to come, regardless of the result of the United States elections.
This was the view of a couple United States citizens currently in Trinidad and Tobago yesterday, even as the vote count continued in their home country. They believe that many of Trump’s supporters have been galvanised by the US President’s approach and it may take many years for that change.
“Even with Trump out of the White House, you still have Trumpism all over the place, as his supporters are not going to vanish,” said Dr John Gedeon, a professor who teaches critical thinking at the University of the West Indies Open Campus.
“He’s a larger than life kind of character, is more than political figure. He’s a brand name, right? He’s an identity, people go around saying I’m a Trumper. Like people say I’m a Christian right?”
Gedeon, who is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—one of the key battleground states—said he was surprised that the election results were so close after initial polls had shown Biden comfortably ahead in some cases. As a result of this phenomenon, he said Trump supporters will continue to be prevalent.
“It’s you know, Joe Biden is gonna have a lot to deal with because Trumpers see Democrats or people who don’t believe like they do. (They see them) Not as different but they see them as the enemy and that’s going to take a long time to change,” he said, adding that the Republican party would also be heartened by the results.
“I think they think they’ve been validated, as a lot of reporters were saying that the Republicans were going to get beat so bad. They’re gonna have to you know, the party might go out of existence, things like that. I think with their strong showing there are emboldened to stay on the same path.”
Gedeon admitted that this made him worry about his friends and family in the US.
Another US resident currently in Tobago, James Brathwaite, similarly believed that Biden had a lot to address should he win the Presidency.
“I suspect that it might be viewed as one of the most destructive administrations for the moral fabric of the US for the way how democracy is supposed to operate and did not operate during the Trump presidency,” said Brathwaite, who felt that Trump’s impact could be felt for at least two or three presidential cycles if some of his influence holds within the wider American society.
“I think they are now seeing Biden’s presidency not only as a tool to get back to more civil discourse, not only as a tool to rebuild the US democracy and the norms and presidential norms and the way how we know this country runs … I think they’re also seeing it as a time when a lot of the ills that they see in society meeting racism, a horrible immigration policy or negative view towards Muslims and other immigrants … I think, you know, this is seen as a chance for it to be rectified,” Brathwaite said.
Brathwaite said he believes that if those issues aren’t addressed, it would be a problematic four years under Biden.