Steven Keehner is a junior majoring in journalism and history.
Barring a complete miracle, Joe Biden, the former vice president, will become the 46th President of the United States.
There is a lot to celebrate with this news; for starters, Donald Trump isn’t president anymore.
Now, I have to be honest — I did not expect to write this article. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, if you would have asked me who I expected to win, I would have said Trump. Not because of my own interest in him, but because incumbent presidents rarely do not get reelected.
Even then, I mentioned Trump’s reelection happening at my previous school in April, which by that point, we were already a few months into our current pandemic, so I have definitely flipped on who I expected to win recently. But, after over 200,000 Americans dying due to COVID-19, Biden winning the election became more likely.
Yet, I flipped again on election night. So much so, in fact, I wrote an op-ed from the other side, assuming that Trump had the election sealed up. But like so many times, I put my foot in my mouth and ended up being completely wrong. Honestly, I am okay with being wrong (just this time).
Personal shortcomings aside, we cannot look at Biden’s win as a long-term victory. Neither of the two candidates is the answer to our future.
But as I have written about previously, Biden is not that incredible either — his biggest appeal seems to be that he is not Trump.
Here is the reality. Despite Biden’s record number of votes received, Trump still raked in over 70 million votes, which is not only an increase from 2016 but also the second-highest amount ever.
After four years of preparation, the Democratic National Convention could not create a good plan to get Biden into the White House. This says two things: the Democratic Party is painfully out of touch with America and Trump has already left his footprint for the future.
We cannot beat around it any longer: Donald Trump is America.
The glamor, larger-than-life-ness and excessiveness is a metaphor that has been 244 years in the making since America’s birth.
Yes, Trump lost. But people will still defend him with their entire being. He has defined his administration through lies, xenophobia and a lack of concern for anyone that is not him. But his fanbase does not care. His fanbase doesn’t care because, for many of them, he is what America should be. He didn’t become president by accident.
If he would have just stopped using Twitter, I’d be willing to bet that most of his actions would have gone unnoticed. Then again, his outlandishness is part of what makes him so beloved, so who knows?
Here is where it gets scary: if the next “Trump” is any smarter than the current president, where notions of white supremacy and other rhetoric could get swept under the rug with a classic politician smile, then the potential damages are endless.
Again, we also cannot act like a Biden victory means that America is “cured.”
Contrary to how I have seen so many liberals act, life is not some Disney movie or broadway play, where once we defeat the evil monster, we all break into song and dance and live happily ever after.
Racism, classism, homophobia and transphobia will not end with Biden in office. These are real breathing things that do not just go away because the “Cheeto Guy” is not sitting in the White House.
Trump’s already chosen over 200 federal judges and three Supreme Court justices. He also inspired a large portion of young people to believe that their enemies are minorities, instead of the wealthy elites controlling their policies and paychecks.
So America, let me say this again: congratulations. You (barely) made the right choice between running into traffic or jumping off a building. The fight never began with Trump’s election — it will not end with his departure either.
Keep fighting and stay angry. If not for yourself, then do so for those who cannot fight for themselves. We have escaped one chapter, but this story is nowhere near over.