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Standing in the small rural town of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, Marine One flew past my right shoulder toward thousands of astonished Americans, holding their phones, enthralled, like a group of supporters.

In my dad’s words, “this is rock n roll, Al.”

And the playlist playing on every Trump meeting it certainly supported that idea.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump leave Marine One. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

Credence Clearwater Revival will forever remind me of the impending arrival of the president: by the end I knew the order of the rally playlist and I knew that Fortunate Son meant that the Commander-in-Chief was not far behind.

And I challenge you to play that song in your living room and not get excited, not even a little bit.

Love it or hate it (there seems to be nothing in between), it’s impossible not to be moved one way or another by the atmosphere at a ‘Make America Great Again’ rally.

And for the thousands of Americans who were prepared to stand in the scorching cold or heat (Tampa, Florida, a sauna in October) for hours to get a spot in front of Donald trumpOn stage, there is not a shred of this president that they question or doubt.

Despite not keeping promises he made to some parts of Ohio, I spoke to many different voters at a rally in Circleville (families, farmers, working women) and they all feel that he has served them well, took care of jobs and the economy and deserves another. finished. That was a turning point in my 2020 election prediction.

It was quite evident that in some of these remote American rural communities, Donald Trump could not be wrong.

In their eyes, he is a rock star president because he is not a politician, he is defending the workers and, as many told me, echoing Trump’s mantra, he is putting “America first.”

President Donald Trump dances after speaking during a campaign rally in Circleville, Ohio.
President Donald Trump dances after speaking during a campaign rally in Circleville, Ohio. (AP)

Let us appreciate for a minute the power that this man has: he has managed to convince millions of Americans that the coronavirus will disappear and that it is not necessary to wear a mask, since more than 2000 compatriots die every day.

And he has done so solely in his own words. Trump thought that if he could downplay the severity of a global pandemic, he would not lose support by not controlling it.

And for his more loyal fan base, possibly that worked for him.

They listen to what he says and believe everything, giving him the presumption that he is telling the truth like no other politician has had.

It was fascinating to see his fans gathered, mostly without a mask, listening to their president speak on stage.

They were paralyzed, cheering at every pause, booing the media when he pointed at us on the podium.

And for many millions of Americans, this follow-up translated into votes for incumbent president.

So when I got to Wilmington Delaware, I was pretty sure Trump had the election on the bag.

But in the last days before November 3, Joe bidenThe margins on Trump were growing … I started wondering … could Joe Biden pull this off?
President-elect Joe Biden smiles as he speaks at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware (Photo: November 10, 2020)
In the last days before November 3, Joe Biden’s margins on Trump were growing. (AP)

His leadership grew in the critical ‘blue wall’ states that Donald Trump took in 2016: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. At this point, I think the sentiment among Americans was one of nervous ignorance.

The obvious argument is that polls have been wrong before, and many say they cannot be trusted. I also couldn’t get the images of devoted crowds at Trump rallies out of my head.

Well, he got me. I was caught by the optics of Donald Trump’s campaign. And it turns out that optics count for nothing when it comes to a presidential election.

What counts more than optics?

What you represent as a person. And the American people have spoken.

Despite Donald Trump’s relentless legal challenges against the election result, he has fallen short.

This week, his administration approved giving Biden access to critical resources to work through his transition to the White House.

However, Donald Trump has expressed via Twitter that this is not a concession.

And no more than 12 hours later, the state of Pennsylvania, which gave Joe Biden the required 270 votes in the electoral college, certified his election results and determined that Joe Biden was the winner.

A protester throws confetti outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes were counted. (AP Photo / Rebecca Blackwell)

The writing is on the wall, but not on Donald Trump’s Twitter thread.

Joe Biden’s campaign was incredibly difficult to cover. He rarely held events, when he did we were unable to access because his team limited the number due to social distancing.

And even when he organized events, his speeches weren’t exactly the show we got from the Chief Entertainer touring the entire country.

But, evidently, the Americans listened to every word of Mr. Biden.

They appreciated his promise to follow the science to fight the coronavirus.

They listened when he promised to rebuild the economy.

And there were certainly millions more who thought “At this point, anyone but Trump.”

And indeed, the Biden campaign wanted Americans to think of the election as a referendum on Donald Trump.

I interviewed Blake Marnell, or “Brick Man” as they call him. He wears a brick suit to show his support for Trump.

As he and I drove from Tucson, Arizona to New Mexico on their road trip, we talked about the ‘silent majority’.

Blake Marnell in his “brick wall suit”. (Jim Acosta CNN)

This is the cohort of Trump supporters who are not prepared to announce their support for Donald Trump as conspicuously as Blake, but strongly support him anyway.

And there are many! I have met many Americans throughout my travels who said they would vote for Trump but don’t like to talk about it, because they know that he says and does some questionable things.

In my experience, these people are relatively well-off, middle-aged and older Americans who do not want their savings to be disrupted.

But by virtue of Joe Biden’s victory, a new silent majority has been born.

It’s a by-product of the crazy, confusing, challenging, and testing year that 2020 has been, and a by-product of holding presidential elections amid a global health crisis.

Joe Biden decided to keep a very low profile during his campaign. And so did his voters.

His voters, like Biden, followed science and avoided crowds, probably staying home and possibly wearing a mask. And that’s what a leader does, he leads by example to help his people get through tough times.

And so neither Joe Biden nor his supporters got the ‘airtime’ of Donald Trump and his rallies.

And it turns out that, in fact, they were the silent majority. With Americans now so extremely polarized at the hands of their loyalty to the Republican or Democratic parties, it appears that Biden’s popularity was underrated, swallowed up by his opponent’s ‘in your face’ campaign style.

Biden shares a smile with his running mate
President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. ((AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster))

Optics don’t count as much as I thought, and they don’t have the power to change vote-defined outcomes. Optics is a bluff. And voters are emotionally charged in the United States more than ever.

Surprisingly, there were many times during the campaign when Americans asked me, “What do you think of Donald Trump and what is going on here?”

I quickly learned that this is not a conversation to engage in, so my go-to response was always like “I’m not an American and I don’t vote, so it doesn’t matter what I think.”

When I was with my cameraman watching the fireworks sparkle and explode from Biden’s campaign headquarters, after so many days without knowing it, I felt an overwhelming sense of hope for America.

The moment of calm and caution has come. This year has been, in a word, wild.

It has been a raging blur with a highly contagious disease at the fore. We didn’t know much about the coronavirus when it first swept through the Big Apple; suddenly this claustrophobic and exciting city became a wide open space of tranquility.

And then we understood COVID-19 a little better, and we started to get used to wearing a mask, navigating the new normal in the dry heat of Los Angeles.

But then, just as the new normal settled in, the country erupted in anger after George Floyd’s death at the hands of a policeman.

Many protested peacefully, others did not.

Those days and weeks of unrest have left a sense of anxiety on the streets that lingers today.

Business owners closed their windows with boards months ago, many have never removed those boards. Other businesses have been completely abandoned.

And now, it is as if we have completed the circle.

The pandemic is spreading furiously, infecting Americans at an alarming rate. And blocking restrictions are being restored.

And that’s why I felt so hopeful the night I heard Joe Biden declare victory. Unity has been at the heart of his message all along.

Supporters of President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, pose for selfies near the security fence on the north side of the White House.

Large crowds gather in front of the White House

America needs unity more than anything else.


www.9news.com.au

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