After the most dramatic election ever, the American people have reason to expect a new beginning: under the leadership of a new government, let the United States, which is deeply rooted in the epidemic and political division return to normalcy.
As the president-elect, Biden recently announced that he would nominate African-American and retired four-star Army General Lloyd Austin as the new Secretary of Defense. Although the move has caused some controversy within the Democratic Party, it is also seen as Biden’s new efforts to bridge the ethnic division at home.
Return to pluralism and tolerance
During the campaign, Biden repeatedly stressed that the most important task of his administration will be to remove the many shortcomings of the Trump administration, the most critical of which is obviously to bridge an already torn community of countries, on which the United States can return to prosperity and restore world leadership.
Of the most important concerns is that his ruling team will adopt a “diversified combination”, especially in terms of gender and ethnic background. His choice of congresswoman Kamala Harris from a multiracial background as the vice presidential candidate late in the campaign has clearly expressed his will – his team will fully reflect the essence and foundation of the United States as a country: pluralism.
The recent list of cabinet candidates has made this concept more prominent. Among the published lists, women and non-whites occupy the majority, and there are many key positions, such as Thomas Greenfield, who was nominated as ambassador to the United Nations, who is both female and African-American.
And Biden’s nomination created and continues to create a series of “firsts” in the U.S. government cabinet, such as the first female treasurer (Yelen), the first female director of national intelligence (Haines), etc.
These choices are clearly deliberately countering the characteristics of white male dominance in the Trump cabinet to highlight Biden’s “president of the whole American people” rather than the president who is obsessed with “white supremacy”.
In contrast, the Trump administration is the “whitest” U.S. government in decades. His cabinet was the first cabinet in 20 years without any Latino members. Only after that, it began to gradually incorporate several minorities into the cabinet.
In terms of action, Trump launched seemingly unintentional attacks on almost all kinds of non-mainstream people (such as people of color, immigrants, refugees, Islamic followers, various gender-oriented people, etc.), which not only helped him make headlines, but also effectively gained more basic support for him.
Biden’s opposite intention is obvious: he hopes to use it to calm the rift between moderates and progressive radicals within the Democratic Party, as well as between old and new faces.
More importantly, Biden also wants to show Americans that he is not only concerned about the experience faced by non-mainstream people during the Trump era, but also allows these people to participate in the decision-making of the U.S. government and return the country to the past of pluralism and tolerance.
Identity politics is the root cause of conflict
As an established moderate Democrat and probably the last idealistic politician of the Baby Boom, Biden’s ideas are the most iconic tribute to the era that has passed away – but may also be the last. Gone are the glorious and warm-hearted era, and Biden faces unimaginable political challenges.
Even within the Democratic Party, Biden’s choices are not without objections. As a traditional centrist, Biden faces continuous attacks from both conservative and radical sides of the party, and the conflict behind it is beyond the cabinet candidates’s solution.
In particular, the young progressive radicals in the party attacked some cabinet members (mostly white) nominated by Biden, which are difficult to represent the fundamental values of the Democratic Party, especially when it comes to sensitive issues such as police law enforcement and social welfare policies that currently plague American society.
It can be expected that Biden will continue to face the challenge of these new elites in the party, and generational turnover is dividing the Democratic Party from within. The dangerous source of this internal tearing faced by the Democratic Party is also the most iconic source of political conflict in American society at present – identity politics.
Of course, identity politics is more serious in the conflict between parties. For example, Rubio, a Republican congressman and an extremist anti-China representative, criticized Biden’s cabinet candidates for being “full of elites from famous schools” on Twitter, mocking these people for “siding the decline of the United States in a gentle manner”; and saying that Biden’s so-called return to “normality” is nothing more than a submission and reliance on China, not to make the United States great.
Big. Rubio’s words are nothing new, but they also reflect the root of the bipartisan differences and the crux of the American problem. The so-called “gender or ethnic pluralism” is not at the core.
Although Trump and his team are labeled as anti-immigrant and gender discrimination, careful observation shows that his cabinet and team, especially in the later administration, do not lack minorities, especially women (such as Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations of the Trump administration, is Indian women).
In this election, Trump’s vote is far below expectations, and in some regions, the proportion of Trump’s minority supporters even more than four years ago, which is enough to illustrate: the crux of tearing is not the pluralism of ethnicity and gender.
The crux of government governance is failure.
Four years ago, Hillary expected to use “Break the gender ceiling” as the core mobilization slogan of the campaign, but failed to win the ideal proportion of female support. As far as ethnic relations are concerned, it is hard to say that American society is as bad as media exaggerated. The data shows that the proportion and support of Americans in inter-ethnic marriage continue to rise; the American people are also increasingly opposed to racial and immigration discrimination.
In the “Black Lives Are Life” movement that has swept across the United States, the participants’ racial backgrounds are extremely complex, including a large number of white people, including right-wing people, and even Trump supporters. The younger generation is more generally accepted with the idea of the movement and is more indifferent to ethnic differences.
The reason is that the movement really points to corruption and abuse of power in the police and the judicial system, and the failure of government governance caused by party struggles, not ethnic inequality.
In other words, what American society urgently lacks is not pluralism, but justice. Anti-Trump believe that he incites hatred, tears up society, and leads to the incompetence of the government.
The ordinary Americans who helped Trump come to power and still tried to keep him in office after his absurd words and deeds believe that the elite represented by the Democratic Party ignores their demands and well-being. The two sides are seriously divided in values, but they all refer to a disappointing but helpless state machine, which operates leisurely in the eyes of hatred from all corners of society.
Biden’s idealism is admirable, but in the face of the country’s machine, his efforts to bridge the rifts of American society will ultimately be difficult to succeed.