First, the good thing about the Nov. 3 Election outcome: Donald Trump, a wannabe tyrant who seemed to be consciously channeling Italian fascist Benito Mussolini with his balcony appearances at the White House, and Hitler with his brown-shirted and black-shirted federal goon squad in Portland, Oregon snatching demonstrators off the street and hauling them off to secret detention locations, has been defeated, and will join a list of five other presidents sent packing after a single term in office.
A solid majority of U.S. citizens, braving a near record epidemic that has killed nearly 250,000 Americans, infected over 10 million and crushed the domestic economy bringing unemployment to levels not seen since the Great Depression, gave the Donald their message: “You’re fired!”
And they accomplished this feat in a particularly delicious way, winning in 24 states and the District of Columbia a total of 306 Electoral College votes. That’s two more votes than Trump received in 2016 when he won the White House while failing to win a majority of the popular vote.
Trump back then called his 304 Electoral College vote total “a massive landslide” in an interview on Fox News. It wasn’t of course, being only 34 votes more than the minimum 270 required to win.
But if Trump considered that win, even without a majority of the popular vote, to have been a decisive victory, what does he call Joe Biden’s 306 delegate win in the same Electoral College, a victory which comes with a popular vote win of 50.57% (and counting) vs. his own 47.77%?
The real winner of this election though was Stacy Abrams, the Black politician in Georgia who had her race for governor in 2018 stolen away by rampant voter suppression conducted by that state’s governor and secretary of state, who used a whole raft of strategies promoted by Republican strategists to remove legitimate voters from the roles. The most obscene suppression tactic they used was sending out mailing to Democratic voters asking them to return a card verifying their receipt of the mailing and showing they still lived at that address. Those mailings, deliberately designed to look like junk mail, if not returned led to the person’s name being removed from the voter rolls — an action the voter would only discover on trying to vote on election day. Another tactic, put to use this election year too, was to shut down most election centers in low income and minority neighborhoods, forcing those voters to wait in lines for hours to cast their vote.
Abrams, after losing her race for governor narrowly, determined to fix the problem by organizing a statewide voter registration campaign to boost the Democratic vote by 2020. She succeeded, with the campaign adding 800,000 new voters to the Georgia voter rolls — enough to give a victory to Biden by a narrow fraction of a percent, handing Georgia’s 16 electoral college votes to Biden. It was the first time Georgia has gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992, more than a quarter century ago. Abrams’ to boost Democratic voter registration also enabled Democratic candidates for both of Georgia’s senatorial seats to make it to run-offs, one against a sitting Republican senator, and the other in a race with five other candidates for an open seat. (That run-off will be held on Jan. 5, and if both democratic candidates win, Biden would end up with a Democratic Senate.)
The bad news is that the election showed that despite his moral, ethical, and psychological issues, his endless lies and denial of reality and scientific fact, and his clearly impeachable crimes and crimes of personal enrichment, Trump won the support of a staggering 70 million American voters.
That is a daunting reality for those of us on the left who understand that the U.S., the prime threat to world peace with its global military presence and its bipartisan willingness to wage war at will in violation of international law, and an outlaw state in terms of global efforts to address rampaging climate change, needs to be radically changed.
Somehow, although polls show 72 percent of Americans to want a national health system, 70 million Americans voted for a man who wants to kill off even minimal efforts to get there. Somehow, though most Americans struggle to survive on their wages and salaries and live paycheck to paycheck with no savings and no retirement security, nearly half of them voted for a man who has taken steps to destroy both Medicare and Social Security.
Somehow though a majority of Americans have told pollsters for years that if they could have a labor union at their job, nearly half of them voted for a man and a party that consider unions to be threats to profits and something to be discouraged, not encouraged and enabled.
Meanwhile Biden, during his 47 years as a Democratic politician, backed and helped author a crime bill that locked up millions of people, mostly Black and Hispanic, on felony charges that left them unable to vote or even get a business loan, college scholarships and loans, or even a job, he attempted several times to join Republicans in undermining Social Security, and has consistently opposed any kind of national health care system, and yet he won the presidential nomination this year by shamelessly red-baiting leading candidate Bernie Sanders.
The fact that he went on to win the presidential election while promising to “veto any bill” that would expand Medicare to all Americans instead of just those over 65, didn’t deter American voters who wanted Trump gone from voting for his opponent, Biden.
This leaves the American left, such as it is, in a quandary: We know the U.S. needs radical changes. The military budget, which takes half of every tax dollar collected each year by the IRS, need to be slashed. Health care, as the Covid Pandemic demonstrates dramatically, is a disaster in the U.S., and the only answer is some kind of socialized system where the government is the insurer as in Canada and most other modern countries. Global warming is reaching a critical stage and dramatic action is needed immediately to slash the use of carbon-based fuels just to slow the rate of global temperature rise. Major efforts are needed to address massive income inequality in the U.S. that is worse than in the notorious late 19th century era of the Robber Barons. Higher education, and even decent schools for the young, are now out of reach or unavailable for low-income students. Yet in abandoning progressive candidates and choosing Biden as their nominee, Democratic voters also wound up returning to office in Congress a bunch of politicians for whom addressing these issues simply won’t happen.
And if Democratic primary voters had chosen real progressive candidates, would they have won in November, given the rabid but huge minority of Trump voters that we saw voted for Trump and the Republican candidates who succeeded not just in retaining control of the Senate but in whittling away at least six seats from the Democrats in the House?
These are tough questions that need to be addressed.
Trump has been defeated, which is an important victory. But we’re left with a very tenuous situation: a Democratic president who is a relic of the 1980s, a Congress stymied by a Republican-led Senate and a House still in the hands of an aging neo-liberal Democratic establishment, and now a U.S. Supreme Court two-thirds of whose judges belong to the right-wing Catholic Federalist Society, most of whose members want to drag the U.S. back into the 18th century, and to eliminate most of the Bill of Rights Amendments to the Constitution (save for the 2nd Amendment).
It’s going to be a harrowing four years we face.
But again. Trump at least is on his way out the door.