The American political environment is in flux. Amidst heightened tensions and a strong bipartisan divide, Joe Biden won the US presidency almost 3 weeks ago. Yet, all we see on the news is the Biden-Trump political tussle. While the world leaders have given their congratulations, the transition process has begun, and the new administration is ready to step in, we find ourselves asking one question: Why is there a tug of war, when the ball is already in one’s court? Why isn’t Trump accepting defeat?
The answer to this question lies somewhere underneath the numerous baseless and disputed claims of voter fraud. Though defeat is always a hard pill to swallow, it is the rationale behind this hardness that answers why Trump lives in denial. The most common answers that come to mind revolve around race, gender, colour, and political affiliation.
What could Donald Trump have against another white man who doesn’t belong to ‘the radical left’?
Trump’s exhaustive legal battle goes beyond the purview of a two-man face-off, transcending to opposing the courts, the voting system, the citizens, and the Democratic party. Being someone who always propagated the pro-establishment idea, the President’s post-election reaction has been antithetical to what he always stands for: stability, law and order, and even faith in the electoral college. His denial to accept the result of the race therefore emerges out of the damage caused to his ego- the ‘white male ego’. As the “I concede nothing” headlines make the news, it is imperative to understand why the losing candidate’s headstrong claims hold water amongst the 73 million Americans that voted for him.
Why Can’t Trump Accept Defeat?
Donald Trump has grown up in a set-up that was conducive to victory. As a billionaire with multiple businesses, hailing from an influential family, Trump’s inter-generational wealth and power have pedestalised him enough to give him a big ego-boost. The Independent highlights how Trump’s cult of personality is election-proof, describing him as “Messianic leader who could do no wrong” according to his followers. His ever-powerful position in life, strengthened by the presidency and the importance it gave him, planted the seed of invincibility in Trump’s mind. This automatically ruled out any possibility of losing, or simply being second to anyone. In this context, losing the election would mean failure – something the president isn’t used to.
Having lived in a bubble of greatness that is fuelled by the large pro-Republican sentiment in the country, Trump’s issue becomes one of disbelief: how can he lose the election when he’s the best there is?
This is best highlighted by his popular phrase of leaving the country if he loses the election, implying that his loss would be unrealistic enough for him to consider such a drastic measure.
At a point when Biden’s landslide victory proves Trump wrong, the latter’s inflated confidence requires instant salvation and validation. The pro-Trump ‘Million MAGA’ marches that broke out over the country served to gratify this need, encouraging Trump to give himself and the large right-wing hope about the next four years.
The conviction to refuse, the energy to fight back, and the demands for vote-recount a third time over all speak volumes of the white male ego in society.
Could this over-confidence be Trump’s downfall, when he has already fallen in the post-election period? Will the transition take place peacefully in January? And will Trump’s ego cause further political tensions? The answers to these questions, yet again, lie in his impenetrable aura that fights against odds, facts, and reality. With the incumbent President’s colleagues already starting to accept Trump’s defeat, whether or not Trump will relent is only a battle between him and his ego, leaving American political stability hanging by a thread.