Americans shouldn’t have been surprised it took until the Friday after the election to determine who had won this nation’s exhausting and caustic presidential campaign. But surprised, many of us were.

Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday, and unlike in 2016, the pollsters, pundits and political establishment saw it coming.

Voters in middle America — people living in the so-called “fly-over states” such as Kentucky, Ohio, Iowa and Indiana — did not. With their votes in November, they said the U.S. economy was finally working for the middle class, before COVID-19 began blanketing the nation with illness, death and economic peril.

And they’re still frustrated and disappointed with government gridlock in Washington. It’s why they voted for a political outsider as president a little over four years ago.

The only way the heartland’s issues will be addressed and resolved is with the encouragement of all Americans.

First, a spirit of reconciliation is required for our diverse nation to heal from this divisive presidential campaign. And former President Donald Trump – in his own way – led the way with his remarks to the nation early Wednesday.

Trump said he believed the Biden administration will have “great success”.

All of us — conservative, moderate and liberal — must encourage Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Congress to take up the issues of the voters in middle America, like the economy, COVID and health care, as well as the tensions between police and the nation’s minority communities and making college more affordable.

There’s been a transfer of power. So today, let’s endeavor to work together and, collectively, give President Biden an open mind and the chance to lead. These issues can’t be resolved by the president alone.

The only way the issues we face can be solved is with bipartisan resolve.

- Kokomo Tribune editorial board

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