Serious questions have come to the fore since Capitol Hill got overwhelmed by Trump supporters on January 6th. While there are security dimensions of what took place in Washington DC that day, for example why was the Capitol Police not prepared, the focus here is to understand what led to the violent attack – and what it could mean for American politics and the US global standing.
The dramatic events of January 6th may have come as a surprise to many – but matters had been boiling for a while. Since last November, and even before, President Trump consistently remained ambiguous on if he would accept the election results if he were to lose – and when he actually lost – he remained defiant.
Furthermore, Trump’s appealing to right-wing extremists was also nothing new. Political pundits have overlooked this right-wing empathy as rhetoric and posturing. This belief came crashing down when supporters of Trump ran over Capitol Hill, with five casualties.
While he hardly exhibits the wherewithal to stand for a cause he is promoting, it seemed convenient to exploit the grievances of the disenfranchised Americans. The attack has now manifested the rhetoric; indicating that Trump meant what he said. While he has since attempted to back track – is the genie out of the bottle?
And this raises the alarming prospects for what comes next. To understand the trajectory, Trumps phenomenon and mantra of American First needs to be grappled with.
Politics, American Standing and Biden Administration
In the aftermath of the disturbances, Trump released a video indicating that he will allow a smooth transition of power. However, the political landscape has been seriously wounded. With the newfound majority in both the House and Senate, the Democrats move to impeach Trump would further aggravate political polarization. Moreover, it is unclear that the sentiments that Trump has ignited can now be tapered down.
The present chaos and drama is reflective of the tremendous stress US is under to chart out its future direction; whether it be the globalized one or based on America First. The coronavirus has added to the woes – where many have lost jobs and the lifestyle of others acutely impacted – adding to the public anger and stress.
Irrespective of who is to blame for what transpired on January 6th, Biden administration would have to focus on how to bring the disillusioned, and the Trump supporters, back into the system. This is the best approach to prevent matters being further exploited. This implies Biden would have to address the concerns reflecting by the America First mantra – to provide jobs and to improve the economic well being of the Americans than outsourcing jobs overseas.
The challenge would be to differentiate between those that want to deal with the differences peacefully – and those that are bent on using violence.
As far as the American image and global standing is concerned, its directly connected to how smartly Americans are perceived to be choosing the future direction of the country. For example, getting out of the deals US itself help shape was a clear sign to the world that America is confused about its future course. This also adversely impacts its global standing and credibility.