While waiting for the official news of Joe Biden’s victory, the presidential election on Tuesday, November 3, has confirmed once more the deep internal contradictions that split the United States, together with the persistence of some elements of significant continuity.
For over a century, the so-called Swing States, which are decisive in the presidential elections because they hover between different candidates and parties, are almost the same. It is in the Midwest that the race for the White House is decided at each election, this time restricted to Wisconsin, Michigan and especially Pennsylvania.
As four years ago, Trump has chosen to coagulate around him the electors of central United States, or the white majority of Germanic lineage still preeminent, as well as the ‘militarist’ south, bearer of a cultural diversity that was hit hard in recent months by anti-racial protests.
On the other hand, Biden has bet on the multicultural and perhaps already post-historical maritime states of the Federation, where the great American technological and financial capacities are concentrated, as the tradition of every democratic candidate.
Biden was voted by the half of the country that could no longer tolerate Trump’s attacks on some fundamental norms, values and customs that govern the functioning of the American institutional apparatus. On the contrary, the Republican tycoon has continued to reap consensus among those who consider simply unbearable the pre-eminence of the Washington establishment and of the politically correct.
On the structural level, the electoral challenge reveals the contradictions of an empire in full discomfort and with an internal crisis practically at the gates. This cathartic moment resurfaces with astounding regularity in American history, every 80 years or so.
Far from destroying the country, it simply makes it reborn, projecting it into the future with a new institutional order and above all renewed energies: the first cycle produced the federal government, without however defining its relationship with the federated states (1787-1865); the second sanctioned the authority of the government over the states (1865-1945); the third, finally, extended its pre-eminence to the economy and society as well (1945-2020s).
While waiting to see when and how the race for the White House will formally end, no one is fooled by the comparison with the Bush-Gore duel of twenty years ago, resolved in the context of a country in a completely different health and at the time of the unique superpower.
For sure there will be Biden’s extreme difficulty in governing the United States. It is not only the soul of the nation that is split, but also the government. The Senate should remain in Republican hands, albeit with a narrow margin. While in the House the Democrats accuse the erosion of their own majority.
For this reason it will be practically impossible to implement the social agenda promised by the democratic candidate during the election campaign: after all, European welfare only intrigues the US coasts, while it is alien to the rest of the country, starting with the Midwest.
All this casts a long shadow on the hopes of Biden and the federal bureaucracies to provide solutions to the social problems that afflict the American people and which in recent years have nurtured the enormous support of Trump.
Meanwhile, European countries rejoice that they are in the process of recovering a friendly and benevolent face in the White House, to brighten relations between the two sides of the Atlantic.
Except having to realize soon that the superpower’s basic strategic objectives will not change: siege of China, isolation of Russia, disarmament of Iran and weakening of Turkey. And that among a thousand smiles and so many good manners, a Biden administration will be much more demanding than Trump’s towards its European allies.