Believe it or not, Donald Trump’s defeat can be traced to the day he became only the third president in American history to be impeached. It seems like a century ago, right?
Well, he was actually officially impeached by the House of Representatives on the 16th of January 2020. That’s right, this year!
The reason for his impeachment was that he abused his office by withholding aid to Ukraine because he wanted an investigation opened by the Ukrainian government on Joe Biden. In other words, Biden was the reason for his impeachment.
Apart from the fact that he abused his office to prevent an anticipated defeat to Biden, Trump also raised conspiracy theories about how the Democratic Party (DNC) sabotaged Bernie Sanders’ campaign in a bid to hand the party’s nomination to 77-year-old Biden.
The picture was pretty clear; Trump really did not want to face Biden- and now we know why.
A brief background on the President-elect
Joseph Robinette Biden Jnr became senator of his home state Delaware at just 29 years old, in 1973.
Not long after he was elected, Biden lost his wife and infant daughter in a car accident.
He was sworn in as Senator at the bedside of his two sons who were receiving treatment in a hospital after surviving the accident.
Years later in 2015, while he was Vice President, he lost his first son, Beau Biden to brain cancer.
In spite of these horrific personal tragedies, Biden has been heavily involved in the renaissance of American automobile industry and the Affordable Health care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, during his years as Vice President.
Also, as a senator, he had been responsible for the passage of numerous laws including the Violence Against Women Act.
The blue wave of 2018
America’s political system can be a head-scratcher. This is because apart from the quadrennial elections, there are also midterm elections held every two years. During these midterm elections, seats in the House of Representatives and some seats in the Senate are up for grabs.
This includes gubernatorial offices(office of the Governor), mayoral offices and many others.
In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats snatched 41 seats in the House of Representatives and seven gubernatorial offices from the Republicans.
The Republicans, however, gained two more seats in the Senate and maintained their majority there.
This historic win by the Democrats especially in lower House of Representatives was viewed by pundits as an indictment on the presidency of Donald Trump and portended doom for him in the 2020 polls.
This projection, however, was not very credible since the last two sitting presidents who lost the House of Representatives won re-election in two years time.
The verdict was pretty clear. Number 45 still had time to turn things around.
The Primary Season
There were calls for Biden to drop out of the race after Bernie Sanders won the state of Nevada. Yes, you read it right.
This was because Biden who was the front-runner early on in the polls for the nomination had lost the first three states.
History too was not a friend to Biden as no eventual democratic nominee, in decades had lost his or her first three primary contests.
After being battered on the debate stage by Kamala Harris (again, you read that right), his record on civil rights being questioned and his age and cognitive abilities being a popular topic for discussion,
Mr. Biden faced a familiar situation- another unsuccessful presidential attempt. The gloomy shades of 1988 and 2008 began to reflect as his poll numbers dropped.
With his good friend and former boss on the side-lines, silenced by his promise not to involve himself in the primary race, it looked like this was the end of the road for old Joe.
Suddenly, days before the South Carolina Primaries, Jim Clyburn, a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina resurrected the campaign by endorsing Biden for president.
Being the incumbent majority whip, this endorsement propelled Joe to win South Carolina primaries and emboldened other established Democrats to endorse him.
This new momentum, fuelled by Clyburn’s endorsement propelled Biden to the nomination by winning state after state, as his opponents dropped out one by one.
The Complexities of 2020
Biden is a moderate Democrat, a man with a calm demeanour, an experienced and accomplished politician and an immensely empathetic figure.
Even though these qualities are what most Americans preferred, they were not the defining elements in the decision of voters to deny the sitting president four more years.
The coronavirus pandemic coupled with the huge racially charged civil unrest caused by the killing of George Floyd were events that greatly impacted the outcome of the elections.
Trump’s evasive nature with facts and the truth on coronavirus hurt him badly.
Under his watch, over 200,000 Americans died with the case count still steadily rising.
The George Floyd protests all over the country also spread far beyond the borders of the U.S with foreign leaders and their citizens calling out the perpetual injustice against black people in America.
The strength of the movement was reflected even in sports as athletes in the NBA and the English Premier league knelt before their games in solidarity with the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Instead of joining the movement, Trump and his allies unleashed attacks on the BLM movement, even going as far as labelling them as a terrorist organisation.
His photo op with the bible amid the protest did not also help his case.
His approval ratings declined. The writing was on the wall.
Is this the end of Trump?
As we are all aware even after numerous media houses have called the election for Biden, Trump is disputing the integrity of the election and by extension, its apparent results.
There have been claims of mail-in ballots being a source of fraud for the democrats in stealing the election- an allegation that has been echoed by a sizeable number of powerful figures in the Republican party.
His resort to the courts to challenge the results of the election in some battleground states at least tells us that he is going nowhere, at least for the time being.
Questions have however been raised about what happens after this phase is all said and done. Is he going to run again? Will he be taking a break from politics? What really is his next move?
Nobody has the answers to these questions but one thing that is certain is that, with the powerful grip Trump has over the Republican party as well as his combative persona, it seems quite likely that he might mount a comeback in 2024.
This would be quite an unusual thing to do but if we have learnt anything in the last four years about Donald Trump, it is this: Everything about number 45 is unconventional.