Trying to get a view of what the United States might look or act like over the next four years remains difficult. Even after Election Day, Nov. 3, plenty of issues — from the next President to the balance of US Senate — remained undecided.
At press time, Democratic challenger Joe Biden was leading incumbent President and Republican Donald Trump in a race that could still require several days to declare a winner. And the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, Nov. 4, to legally halt the vote count still going on in Michigan, and could still seek recounts in other, closely contested states.
The battle for the US Senate was also unsettled. At press time, the Democrats had secured 46 seats, Republicans had secured 47 seats, and seven races were yet to be decided.
But Dr. Boris Ricks, Ph.D, an associate professor in political science at Cal State University, Northridge, said he could envision several different versions of America emerging once the final results of the 2020 general election are all sorted out.
If Biden is the winner, Ricks said his election could help restore the US’s presence and reputation in a positive way in the eyes of the international community.
“I think we’d gain an opportunity with other nations to restore that position we once held as a world leader as opposed to being a contrarian or not necessarily leading,” Ricks said. “Once that luster is restored in the international relations community, I think that speaks volumes for us to take care of things domestically.”
If Biden does not have a Democratic Senate to help push forward his legislative agenda, it could make for a rocky first term, Ricks said. And the Democrats also had losses in the House of Representatives, although they still outnumber Republicans there.
But Ricks pointed out that Biden’s years of experience in the Senate could provide some pathways to legislative solutions in what continues to be a divided government.
“Biden — having served in the Senate as long as he did — understands and moves with the idea of bipartisanship,” Ricks said. “It’s a tenant the Senate once operated by. It no longer operates by that tenant; it operates by a tenant of partisanship.
“With a Biden victory, bipartisanship enters the equation. There will be a shift in policies. I think we could be re-writing the tax codes; we could be talking about [changing] tax cuts for the wealthy to the mid-tier, and that is important. I think we would focus more on restoring the economy, with jobs that provide livable wages.”
If Trump is re-elected, the professor said, do not expect much change in how the White House approaches the nation’s business — be it the economy or immigration for example, — and particularly if the Senate remains in control of Republicans.
“You’ll get ‘Trump 2.0,’ Ricks said. “You’ll get the same reactionary policies coming from the White House, imposed by the Senate if the Senate doesn’t flip. You’ll get the same of what you’ve had the past four years.”
What concerned Ricks most about a Trump victory was what he believes is a lack of interest in the nuts-and-bolts demands of being the leader of the country.
“You would have…an executive that believes the President is ruler/king. That’s how he thinks of himself,” Ricks said.
“I would argue that Donald Trump isn’t interested in governing; Donald Trump is interested in being called the President. He is not interested in the responsibilities of the office, he’s only interested in what the title of the office brings.”