If the 2020 election was a referendum on the Trump years, the pandemic provides a test of conservative principles
“This is the time to heal in America”. President-elect Joe Biden’s words were directed at a nation suffering after four years of Donald Trump’s dishonesty and fear-mongering. Mr Biden understands Trumpism is arsenic in the water supply of American political culture. It has sloshed around the country, flowing most freely wherever Republicans were in power. Even after the president had clearly lost the popular vote, his Republican enablers embraced his claims about a stolen election rather than denouncing them.
Yet Mr Biden wants America to come together not come apart. There is nothing to gain from trading incivilities with Republican opponents. He seeks to bridge divides. Under Mr Trump, the US has become more polarised between educated and less-educated voters; whites and people of colour; haves and have-nots; and urban and rural areas. Mr Biden is right: politics can’t be conducted in a furnace, it’s time to “lower the temperature”.
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