When Mr. Trump was inaugurated, Sarvin Haghighi, 41, an Iranian who had married an American man and moved to Chicago in 2013, was visiting her parents in Australia. Just after taking office, Mr. Trump issued an order barring Iranians and others from entering the United States, a ban that, in its initial form, even applied to permanent residents like Ms. Haghighi. She would make it back to her husband in the United States before too long, but she still cries talking about the whole experience. Her parents have not been able to visit at all.
“I am very saddened how divided this country is now, how racism is woven into this country,” said Ms. Haghighi, who became a citizen in 2018. “Even with Trump leaving this office, it won’t go away.”
The notion that the country’s major problems start and end with Mr. Trump rings hollow to many, who see the turmoil of the last four years as not solely because of Mr. Trump, but as part of an array of forces that the Trump era unleashed.
Christopher Kershaw, 41, a manager at a food distribution company in New Jersey, is somewhere in the political middle, approving of some things the president has done and strongly disapproving of others. But everyone had to pick a side, he said, and any given issue seemed to matter less than whether the president was for or against it.
Mr. Trump bore much of the blame for that given his needlessly provocative rhetoric, Mr. Kershaw said, but it distorted every political discussion, even about minor issues. A Biden-Harris administration could best unify the country now, he said, by failing to get much done.
“If the Senate and the House could go back to doing nothing like they normally do maybe we could just have a few minutes to regroup,” Mr. Kershaw said. “Give everyone a chance to go back to their corners and take a breath.”