The title says it all. One of the worst presidents in American history was narrowly defeated and not permitted a second term. If 20,000 votes were changed in AZ, GA and WI, this would not have come to pass. To put things in perspective, only Jimmy Carter did not get re-elected from a similar position in 1980. As we have previously mentioned, the defeats of George H. W. Bush and Herbert Hoover don't count since both followed Republican presidents and therefore represented continuations of the same theme. We have to go all the way back to Benjamin Harrison to see a similar pattern but that's too far over the horizon for consideration.
How did this happen? It should not have been close. With a pandemic raging out of control and "King Lear" at the helm, it should have been a slam dunk for Biden. Instead it was a nail-biter which went down to the wire. Biden ended up winning only 509 of 3143 counties---mostly urban and suburban counties---which is, hands down, the smallest number of counties won by a presidential candidate. All this goes to show that it is really difficult to defeat an incumbent, no matter the situation. But it also points to a much greater schism in present day America and a harbinger of things to come.
What is that schism exactly? Liberals and progressives find it easy to talk of the "rubes" who---living in echo chambers----have been brainwashed into voting the way they do. They point out, rightly so, that the Republican party has all but abandoned all its principles and is now a party that is just focused on power and obtaining it by almost any means necessary. While there are many things accurate about this perspective, it also leaves out much more than it explains and also hides the fact that liberals and progressives may be guilty of living in their own bubble---one which we should closely examine to discover clues that could lead to healing the schism.
We have previously mentioned that "Spiral Dynamics" offers a great framework to understand present-day America. This election validated the spiral dynamics worldview in spades. It is now extremely clear that individualism (and not whiteness or Christianity or fascism etc.) is on the rocks and is dying. Economic orange (as per spiral dynamics) is driven by supply side economics and is reaching its end stage which is not surprising. But what is more interesting is the death of social orange---something rarely discussed but even more relevant in the age of the pandemic: if I do not listen to authority and do whatever I please, people die which is simply unacceptable. So, we can agree with spiral dynamics and bid adieu to social and economic orange (or individualism and laissez faire capitalism) and wait for something new.
But, it's not as simple as this. The death of social orange should also mean the death of technocracy since these are correlates. Technocracy after all is the latest attempt to reduce each human being into ever narrower expertise-based atoms. At the same time, the technocracy is speeding up everything else (through automation) making the fragmented and bifurcated human multi-task at a pace that will not stop. Period. We are therefore headed for a soft civil war decade which should first see the death of individualism and laissez faire economics (with the latter already headed to the dustbin thanks to the Great Recession of 2008). But, it should also see the death of the technocracy as the rise of AI leads to a level of speed up and opacity wherein we do not understand our complex systems any more. Technocracy then will lead to a rapid increase in the credentialed class who will have no place to go and in an AI-fueled turbocharged world in which humans won't be able to understand their systems and keep up with the blistering pace set by the machines. This is what's coming and it is not going to be pleasant as we feel the impact of both of these forces at once.