The November election in the United States took place under most extraordinary circumstances. A deadly pandemic, historic levels of unemployment, massive protests against racism and deep polarisation defined the context within which the electoral battle played out. Despite the odds, supporters of President Trump and all those who wanted him out of the White House participated, leading to a high turnout with an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots. When polling started on November 3, more than 100 million had already voted. Americans meant business. After all, this was no ordinary election. Defeating something larger than the man, i.e. Trumpism, turned into a goal for millions. Yet, Trump did not lose in political terms. Over 70 million Americans continue to support his world view—a toxic mix of high-pitched populist rhetoric underlined by xenophobia, racist overtones and a directness that politicians usually avoid.
Donald Trump’s ascension to the highest office gave voice to White working and middle classes who have faced unprecedented economic decline in the past few decades. Two-thirds of Americans have no emergency savings and most live ‘paycheck to paycheck’; in many parts of the country the minimum wage has not been upgraded for years. Skewed globalisation and neoliberalism have fueled inequality, bringing it to the levels of early 20th century, when such economic phenomenon led to cataclysmic changes in the politics of the West. This time, the fast-changing demographic have added to the anxiety. Roughly 40 per cent of the population is non-White and the fear that White supremacy shall dwindle over the next few years is real. Trumpism, therefore, has a formidable base and plays on economic and racial insecurities.