On the eve of the most contentious US presidential election ever, a senior DUP figure warned me against writing off the chances of the incumbent.
“Don’t forget about the shy Trump voter,” he said as the polls gave Joe Biden a double digit lead. “Our party has seen this time and time again here. People don’t broadcast that they’re supporting us but, in the privacy of the voting booth, they do.”
The presidential election result still technically hangs in the balance, although Biden is the odds-on favourite to triumph.
But when all the votes are counted, serious questions must be asked about those polls.
Why did the Democrat only manage to scrape into the White House when we were led to believe he would be the easy victor?
The polls drove the false narrative of a runaway Biden win. Were they slanted or is the mainstream and social media dialogue so prejudiced that ordinary Americans kept their ‘guilty secret’ until polling day?
The Democrats picked the most inoffensive familiar face whom they could find, and he still barely beat the guy with the orange skin, mad hair, and shoot-from-the-hip style that offends half the country.
Trump is no longer an unknown quantity. We have had four years of this racist, misogynist, xenophobe. His venal, mendacious nature is in full public view. And still more people voted for him than ever, and not just the usual suspects. Exit polls suggest he secured more of the non-white vote than any Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon — three times that which George W Bush won in 2000.
Be under no illusions that, were it not for Covid-19, the President would have romped home. The world wanted a watershed moment, a clear rejection of Trump and Trumpism by the US, and it got a spectacularly divided house.
“I may have campaigned as a Democrat but I will govern as an American President,” Biden said last night. Yet is he robust and resilient enough to heal such a deeply divided nation?
‘TrumpIsALaughingStock’ is trending on Twitter. But Trump can’t be laughed, ridiculed or wished away.
He may be leaving the White House, but his supporters are going nowhere.
They didn’t fall from the sky, America created them. Trump’s opponents need to talk to them, not at them.
The President won’t be leaving the Oval Office as a failure no matter how much he is lampooned. He has remade the Republican Party in his image. Confrontational politics, with a strong cult of personality, won’t be disappearing fast.
Trump, for all his faults and flaws, connected with a significant chunk of voters in a way that most other politicians are failing to do.
Despite the chaos and craziness of the past four years, he was not buried by a tsunami of ballots.
His opponents must up their game. They need to learn from what he’s achieved, no matter how much they loathe it.
A Good Morning Ulster presenter who spent two years in Washington DC reporting on the Trump administration says he would have loved to have been there for the election - but said there was still plenty of drama in the Belfast studio.
We know the 'special relationship' between the UK and US has waxed and waned over various White House administrations and that any future president Biden is expected to keep Prime Minister Boris Johnson out in the cold for a bit before any renewal of vows.