Fruits of incitement: On the mob attack on U.S. Capitol

After the Capitol breach, the task of building bipartisan consensus is that much harder

To say that the incoming and 46th U.S. President, Joe Biden, has a tough job on his hands after his inauguration on January 20, would be an understatement. The sheer viciousness of the January 6 mob attack, and more than two months of hateful vitriol online and offline following the 2020 election, is proof that political America is deeply polarised, brimming with anger and disenchantment at the ground realities. The “unprecedented assault” on the very soul of democracy (as Mr. Biden put it) has been in the making for more than four years. At the heart of the tsunami of angst that was evident throughout the election campaign is a sense of frustration that grips middle America, including the white middle class and blue-collar workers, over the inevitable changes to the U.S. economy and society. There is a view that the forces of immigration and globalisation have lit the fuses on this explosive combination of racial prejudice and economic insecurity. In reality, Mr. Trump’s strident rhetoric exploited this sense of alienation and socioeconomic dysfunction for narrow political and personal gains. Now Mr. Biden has an opportunity to strike a more balanced note by, on the one hand, seeking to revive the moribund spirit of bipartisan consensus and expediently tackling the thorny issue of comprehensive immigration reform, and, on the other, redressing the ills of runaway free-market liberalisation and forging a post-COVID-19 economic vision that can truly deliver on the American dream.

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