After he is inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, Joe Biden will face the enormous task of repairing the damage to our country and our democracy caused by outgoing President Trump, whose entire presidency has been focused on benefiting himself rather than the American people.

And make no mistake: despite Trump pretending he still has a way of overturning the votes of 81.3 million Americans who elected Biden as our next president, the 306-232 vote by the Electoral College on Monday in favor of Biden finalized the former vice president’s victory. On top of his impressive Electoral College win, Biden received over 7 million more popular votes more than Trump.

Trump’s baseless and ridiculous claims of voter fraud supposedly carried out by both Democrats and Republican officials to benefit Biden have been rejected by dozens of state and federal courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court.


And even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., finally joined a growing group of Republican lawmakers Tuesday in accepting the obvious reality: Biden is president-elect and will soon be president.

Trump can keep filing lawsuits and sending out angry tweets if it makes him happy, and keep conning supporters to rake in millions of dollars in donations, but his presidency is winding down to an inevitable and disgraceful close.    

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"We're all victims," Trump insisted Dec. 5 at a rally in Valdosta, Ga. His faithful followers —cheering, booing or screaming in rage, depending upon Trump’s cues — embraced what has become the most iconic belief of the Trump era: the conviction that average White Americans are being mocked and oppressed by a loud, liberal and increasingly Black and Brown electorate.

In four short years, we’ve gone from the first African American president to a charlatan doing all he can to disenfranchise the work of President Barack Obama’s administration, as well as disenfranchising Black voters. We’ve gone from the highly educated, cerebral and deliberate Obama to a man who conducts policy via tweet and lives in a world of his own fantasies rather than reality.  

More notable than Trump changing America is the fact that he has revealed America — the urban-hating, White part of America that is seething with grievance as its perceived standing in the social order is eroded. The mean part of America, where resentment is religion and reality is the devil.

Trump can keep filing lawsuits and sending out angry tweets if it makes him happy, and keep conning supporters to rake in millions of dollars in donations, but his presidency is winding down to an inevitable and disgraceful close.    

Thanks to Trump, what has also been revealed is a whole new set of data for sociologists, psychologists, historians and those who study social evolution.

We keep asking: How do millions of people come to accept and believe Trump’s absurd lies? His supporters exclaim "He’s one of us." But there is no one more "coastal elite" than Donald Trump. He was born in New York City to a multimillionaire family, educated in private schools, shielded from his business failures by multiple business bankruptcies, and treated as a celebrity and reality TV star based on a false portrait he painted of himself a brilliant billionaire dealmaker.

However, the question itself overlooks the obvious: Trump is the perfect anti-hero. He’s the rule-breaking TV cop, cleaning up the streets; he’s the enemy soldier in the war movie, who defects and comes over to your side. He has inside information about the people you despise, and he can hit back in ways you can’t. Yes, he’s crass, overbearing, and full of himself — so is the fictional Tony Stark, a billionaire who becomes the superhero Iron Man.

Trump has repeated incessantly what 47% of Americans apparently wanted to hear: we’ve been robbed, everything is rigged against us, and we are entitled to take it back by any means necessary!

It’s the secret pathology of Trump’s right-wing base, given a megaphone, and the power of the Oval Office.

Trump has not outlawed journalism. We can all still find legitimate, truthful information about the election, about the coronavirus and about anything else. But his followers willfully ignore anything that disrupts their alternate reality.

Even though both Trump and his personal lawyer — the once-vaunted Rudy Giuliani — were both hospitalized with COVID-19, the pandemic denial continues. In Trump circles, it’s just one more purity test for the faithful.

For the other 53% of us, the Trump administration, and this year especially, have given us a series of personal and community traumas. Our mental health safety net was fragile to begin with, and too many of us have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

We’ve watched a Black man murdered by police; we’ve lost jobs and homes and health care; we’ve been beaten and tear-gassed and arrested; we’ve lined up at food banks; our children are isolated and falling behind academically; we’ve buried over 300,000 loved ones who were carried away by the coronavirus; we’ve stood by, helpless, as fire or wind or waves ravaged our cities.

Some of these calamities were beyond Trump’s (or any president’s) control; but far more were exacerbated by his incompetence and recklessness.

How do we get back to where we were, just four, eight, or 12 years ago? We can’t. And perhaps we shouldn’t try. Perhaps we should set aside our distinctly American rugged individualism for just a moment and recognize the collective pain we’ve experienced.


Trump’s rampage across our democracy has wounded us all — even his supporters — in fundamental ways. We can recover, of course. We can reconnect to our American mission — the American Dream. We can bring all our creative powers to bear, and reimagine health care and education and criminal justice.

Growth can come from trauma. But first, we have to heal.

The incoming Biden administration has called for unity, but unity cannot be accomplished without accountability. The stranglehold Trumpism has on the GOP must be unraveled by courageous Republicans.


The weak spots in our democracy, the norms that have been trampled during the Trump administration — these will need to be shored up, and in some cases, codified into law. Racial justice, expanded access to health care, and economic initiatives are challenges that loom large. Tackling these massive projects will move us toward an equal playing field for all, from coastal cities, to heartland suburbs, to rural communities.

Reconciling the bitter halves of America will take more than electing a new president. It’s a task for a generation. We need to get started now, before it’s too late.