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Fareed Zakaria: I Was Wrong in 2016, But I ‘Believe’ in America So Biden Wins



Fareed Zakaria swears that this time it will be different. The CNN host on Sunday conceded he was wrong in 2016 in predicting a Hillary Clinton victory. But because he “believes in the best in America,” Zakaria declares that Biden will win in 2020. 

On his Fareed Zakaria GPS show, the host lectured, “In 2016, I was one of those people who didn’t think Donald Trump could win the presidency. Like many, I studied the polls and believed they showed a comfortable margin voting against him. I thought people would see through him.” 

Offering a very CNN take, Zakaria explained his errant prediction: “But I think what convinced me most that Trump would lose was that I believed in a different America.” 

 

 

The host ran through a litany of reasons why Trump should lose in 2020 and concluded with his new prediction (same as last time): 

Ever since the nation’s birth, it has gradually expanded the idea of liberty and democracy, making America great by surging forward into the future rather than lapsing back into nostalgia for the past.

Meanwhile, I will take my chances and once again predict that Donald Trump will lose this election. Humble as I am after these four years, I would still rather bet on and believe in the best in America.

The segment was sponsored by HomeAdvisor. Click on the link to let them know what you think. 

A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Fareed Zakaria GPS
10/25/2020        

10:01 AM ET 

FAREED ZAKARIA: But first, here’s my take. In 2016, I was one of those people who didn’t think Donald Trump could win the presidency. Like many, I studied the polls and believed they showed a comfortable margin voting against him. I thought people would see through him. He was just too weird, too vulgar, utterly ignorant about most policy issues and pathologically incapable of telling the truth, even about trivial things. For example, during the 2016 campaign, he claimed that he had met Vladimir Putin. Something that was easy to disprove.

But I think what convinced me most that Trump would lose was that I believed in a different America. Trump had catapulted himself on to the political stage with birtherism, a shameless effort to exploit white prejudice against the first black president Barack Obama. He announced his campaign for the White House by making slurs against Mexicans. He proposed a total and complete shutdown of the nation’s borders to all Muslims from anywhere in the world.

Throughout the campaign, his rhetoric towards foreigners and minorities was insulting. I didn’t believe Americans would go for this. You see, I arrived in America in 1982 in the midst of a deep recession as a brown-skinned student on a scholarship with a strange name, no money, and no contacts. I found a country that welcomed me with open arms. I still remember being stunned at how friendly and genuinely warm people were to me.

I had been more aware of being Muslim in India than in America. Perhaps I lived a sheltered life in New England college towns in New York City, but I saw very little of Trump’s brand of naked racism. I knew it existed, of course. I’ve read about it in books and newspapers, seen it on television and in movies, but I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of the phenomenon. So I guess I placed less weight on the evidence for Trump’s victory than I should have. I simply couldn’t believe someone with his racially-charged world view could win over the nation. And here’s the thing, I still don’t.

First, many Americans voted for Donald Trump despite his race baiting, not because of it. But more important, a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump and have for almost his entire term. His average approval rating throughout his presidency is the lowest of any president since we started counting.

As The New York Times’s Nate Cohn has said, Donald Trump’s luck was that he ran against the second most unpopular presidential candidate in modern American history. Second only to himself. Because of the electoral college and small margins in three Midwestern states, he was able to capture the White House.

There are parts of Trump’s coalition who are anxious about the country’s future, and their own place in it, and are susceptible to the snake oil being pedaled by a clever salesman. But America is changing. Consider a recent New York Times analysis. You will see that the core of Trump support, whites without a college degree, is shrinking as a share of voters.

The core of Joe Biden’s support, whites with a college degree and minorities, is growing in even greater measure. For example, in Florida the core Trump voting bloc of non-college educated whites has fallen by 359,000 people since 2016. The Biden coalition has grown by more than 1.5 million during the same period. In Pennsylvania, Trump’s base shrunk by 431,000 since 2016 while Biden’s grew by 449,000 people.

Now, if he wins, Joe Biden’s challenge will be to make all Americans understand that the country has always been a grand experiment, an attempt to create the first universal nation. Today living up to that idea means embracing all kinds of people, black and white, native born and immigrant, gay and straight, and many more. It’s a messy process, and it can seem disruptive and disorderly.

It sometimes gets bogged down in squabbles over terminology and political correctness, but it is all part of a noble effort to ensure that everyone in this country finally feels that they are included in the American dream. Really included.

Ever since the nation’s birth, it has gradually expanded the idea of liberty and democracy, making America great by surging forward into the future rather than lapsing back into nostalgia for the past.

Meanwhile, I will take my chances and once again predict that Donald Trump will lose this election. Humble as I am after these four years, I would still rather bet on and believe in the best in America.



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