After four years of presidency of Donald Trump, reuniting the United States will be “immensely complicated” for Joe Biden, said Wednesday, January 20 on franceinfo Soufian Alsabbagh, specialist in domestic policy in the United States, while the 46th president of the United States was officially invested. Joe Biden does “not master all the keys to succeed in this challenge”. It will be the Republicans “to calm down” their electorate, believes Soufian Alsabbagh, author of The New American Right, published by Demopolis. And for his part, Joe Biden will have to find “themes that can rally all Americans”.
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franceinfo: Will Joe Biden succeed in reuniting the United States after the four years of presidency of Donald Trump?
Soufian Alsabbagh: It is immensely complicated. To be honest, I think at least half of the keys just aren’t in Joe Biden’s hands to pulling off this immense challenge of reuniting America. In the first place, it is for the Republican Party to address [un message] to his voters, and to the new voters who are very clearly not attached to the traditional leadership and establishment of the party, but who really claim to be their Trumpist leader, this totally anti-system leader who challenges the rules of elementary democracy. We saw it two more weeks ago on Capitol Hill and this very morning, when Donald Trump refused to do a completely normal handover. I don’t think Joe Biden can do anything about it. It is up to the elected Republicans to try to calm this electorate.
“What Joe Biden can do about half the things he can master is his politics, trying to come up with themes that can rally all Americans.”Soufian Alsabbagh, specialist in domestic policy in the United States
It’s really not obvious even from that point of view. Half of the Republican Party electorate is going to be really horrified at all the societal reforms Joe Biden wants to push through. Let’s not talk about gun law. Let’s not also talk about the climate. But maybe there is one big infrastructure plan left that could make all Americans happy. We will also have to look at foreign policy and the tone that Joe Biden will adopt vis-à-vis China. And the new Cold War that former Vice President Mike Pence spoke of, perhaps, would be a reason for unifying the two parties. But it all does seem very, very complicated when you see that the theme of Joe Biden’s inauguration speech is democracy itself.
But does Joe Biden’s speech speak to strong supporters of Donald Trump?
No. It’s complicated, since all of Donald Trump’s technique for four years was, from the start, to delegitimize any Democratic opposition. The whole strategy around the 2020 election was from the start, if the Democrats win, that it will not be legitimate because the election is rigged, the votes are not regular, etc. to the half of America who watched Joe Biden’s speech and said: ‘it’s very nice all these outstretched hands from the Democrats, but we want our President Trump because we basically believe he won the election and the Democrats stole it from us’. This is the real challenge of Joe Biden. And I don’t think he has mastered all the keys to succeeding in this immense challenge of reunifying the country.
Are we witnessing a return to old-fashioned politics compared to the very special four years we have just experienced in the United States?
It is true. It looks like it anyway, since we have an inauguration today in Washington which took place almost as usual. And obviously, we exclude the pandemic and the absence of the outgoing president. But tomorrow, politics resumes. And the elected Republicans have one goal, and that is to be re-elected. And these elected officials, if they ever collaborate on any subject with Biden, are going to be in danger on their own re-election which will come either in two, four or six years. Trumpist voters are extremely influential within the Republican Party. Proof of this is that Donald Trump won 12 million votes between 2016 and 2020. These are purely Trumpist voters that the Republican Party alone cannot reach if it starts collaborating with the Biden administration. And without the votes of Trumpists, it’s a safe bet that many of its Senators and Elephant Party representatives could lose their seats in the years to come.