On 4th July, a small town in Pennsylvania gathers to watch fireworks celebrating its country’s independence, hard won in a war fought 250 years ago.
Today parts of America feel like they’re at war again, as this powerful country battles disease and division under its polarising and unpredictable President.
As the nation gears up for the presidential election, the ABC’s US Bureau Chief David Lipson takes us on a road trip through the northeast swing states to talk to ordinary people about the coming contest.
Trump’s re-election looked like a certainty before the pandemic. Now, with the economy buckling under more lockdowns, COVID cases rising and civil unrest running in the streets, his grip on power looks more tenuous.
As fringe groups arm themselves for conflict, will this fractured country survive the ultimate democratic stress-test?
David meets Phil from the Michigan Patriots Militia who’s angry about his state’s lockdown orders describing them as ‘a stomp on our constitutional rights’. In protest, the Michigan Patriots Militia took control of the State parliament in April. Now Phil warns a Trump defeat could get ugly.
‘There’s a lot people out there that would not be able to handle that… there is people… that just think Trump is…like a God.”
‘Bikers for Trump’ member Londa has kept her faith in Trump and is banking on him to deliver the prosperity America used to enjoy.
‘He doesn’t care what anybody thinks. He’s doing what’s best for the country.’
In middle-class Ohio, a professional soccer mum with six children says she’s changed her mind about Trump because he’s ‘unkind’.
‘It’s just not the way that I would want my kids to be treating anybody”.
In Detroit, once the engine of America’s car industry, Dave meets African American woman Desha. She watched her husband die a painful death from COVID-19 and is now urging African Americans to come out and vote on election day.