Fractured Portland poses question: can America heal?

'The National' speaks to residents of Portland, one of the US' most fractious cities

Regardless of who is named US president, one thing is clear: America is a divided country.

But this time it is not a case of rust belt versus West Coast. Voting counts show even states are divided.

In Florida, traditionally a Republican state, more than 5.64 million people voted for Republican Donald Trump, while almost 5.27 million voted for Democrat Joe Biden.

In Wisconsin, more than 1.63 million residents voted Democrat, while almost 1.61 million went for the Republican candidate.

America, and its states, are divided as never before.

Even in states along the Pacific Northwest, which held steadfastly Democratic, inhabitants feel alienated from their neighbours.

Mr Biden won Oregon with a clear lead of 57.1 per cent, yet the state is home to a resurgence of far-right and white-supremacist groups, and a devout following for Mr Trump has emerged.

Some of the country's worst civil unrest has taken place in Portland, as Black Lives Matter and Antifa groups came face-to-face with their right-wing antagonists such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.

"I feel like I don't really know what my home is any more," Anthony Bielak, a Democrat voter who has lived in Portland for two decades, told The National.

“America has changed and it doesn’t seem to know who it is either.”

After the election, the nation will have a tough job on its hands, healing a rift that seems to have widened since 2016.

“You know, I feel like something needs to be done, something drastic, but I don’t know what,” says Dee, a Black Lives Matter campaigner.

“We march, that doesn’t work. We riot, that doesn’t work. We vote, that doesn’t work. What’s gonna work?

“What are we supposed to do? When are other people, white people, going to understand that all we want is self-determination? Is to be treated as equals?

"Unity and cohesion in this country will never be achieved if they won’t even give us that.”

For some, Mr Trump casting doubts on the voting process has made matters worse.

“Legally cast votes are still being counted,” wrote Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, on Twitter.

Ms King was making reference to Mr Trump’s repeated false claims of electoral fraud.

“That’s not ‘stealing the election’," she said. “That’s the democratic process."

For others, changing the election process is the answer.

Robert Derricotte, 79, is a Vietnam veteran who was born in Hawaii and now lives in Vancouver, Washington.

Mr Derricotte has not voted since he returned from the Vietnam war, and said he will not do so until the US has proportional representation as an election system.

Robert Derricotte is a 79-year-old Vietnam veteran, who was born in Hawaii and now lives in Vancouver, Washington. He has not voted since he returned from the Vietnam war.

"I fought for this country's freedom and we should have the freedom to pick our own president," he told The National.

“And we don’t. One vote should mean one vote for the president, not one vote that goes into a system that is in itself discriminatory against Americans.

“Every vote should be equal and that, in my view, is the only way that this country will be able to come together.”