First published in the Mail on Sunday on 17 January 2021.
When Joe Biden takes the oath of office this week, he will go down in history: having won more votes than any previous candidate, he will become the oldest person ever to become the country’s Commander-in-Chief. He will also, perhaps, be the first President to fulfil his mandate on the day of his inauguration.
For millions of Americans, Biden has one job – to remove Donald Trump from the White House – and he will complete this mission by lunchtime on Wednesday. Much of the country will sigh with relief as the twice-impeached Trump leaves Washington to await the Senate’s verdict on charges of high crimes and misdemeanours and its decision on whether he will be allowed to run for office again.
Biden’s problems will begin with whatever he decides to do for an encore. As I found in my research throughout the campaign, his 81 million-strong electoral support is not a monolithic bloc. Much of the Democratic base yearned for a more liberal, progressive direction and found the compromise of nominating an elderly, white, moderate, career politician quite agonising. (more…)