Gastbeitrag von Taylor Tensen Cooperman
In the US, Election Day was last Tuesday. By Wednesday evening it seemed very clear that Biden would win the presidential election. However, what followed was a four day wait as battleground states slowly counted millions of mail-in ballots. Biden officially became president-elect on Saturday; since then many parts of the United States have erupted in celebration. People gathered in parks and streets of “blue” cities to shout their relief and celebrate. At these celebratory assemblies, beside Biden/Harris flags, LGBTQ pride flags, Black Lives Matter flags, American flags were also being waved, not the most common sight at gatherings of the American left. But liberals and leftists of the country were united over the weekend in what they saw as a victory against fascism; against a ‘law and order’ president who refused to condemn white supremacy, or be guided by any reasonable standard of truth, and who used the office of the president to feed his ego.
For those who don’t see a Biden administration as a true victory for their political agenda, still see reason to celebrate his win, insofar as Biden is decidedly not-as-bad-as Trump. Noted progressives, such as congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, and Senator Sanders, worked hard to help get Biden elected, even though they are ideologically opposed to his vision for America. Now, though they see a new kind of fight ahead of them under the Biden/Harris administration, they also see this as a moment to commemorate a hopeful turning point in American political history. The American left took a pause before beginning the struggle to promote progressivism in Biden’s cabinet picks and policy proposals.
The celebratory eruptions that occurred over the weekend were definitely not the result of excitement about the incoming president, a decidedly uninspiring centrist who is nearing his 80s. Rather they were a reaction to what many see as the survival of American institutions, a resilience in the so called ‘American experiment.’ For some, Biden’s victory is worth celebrating because it returns us to the Obama years when the United States was still able to garner a modicum of respect, even admiration, on the international stage. For others, this victory is worth celebrating because it gives us a chance at a planet that will remain habitable longer into the future — Biden has promised to rejoin the Paris Agreement and to tackle the climate crisis; Trump denied the very fact that ecological breakdown is underway. People also saw reason to celebrate in the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman and the first person of color to hold that office. But the ultimate reason for most people’s celebration is, of course, Donald Trump’s defeat.
Trump was indeed defeated in the election, though by a popular vote margin that was narrower than some expected. So far, Trump has received about 71 million votes, and Biden has received around four and a half million more. Biden, may well end with a significant margin in his electoral college win, the likelihood being that he will receive 36 more votes than the 270 required to take the White House. However, this election, though a defeat of Trump it has been, a defeat of Trumpism it has not. Trump’s base of supporters has grown since 2016. This year he was able to garner more support from racial minorities, especially from Latinx voters. And his supporters are unwavering, even in the face of this clear democratic defeat, they insist that Trump is the real winner and the system was rigged to favor Biden — a completely baseless claim. However, Trump has effectively amassed a following that believes the truth can only be determined by the words coming from Trump’s own mouth, or his Twitter feed.
Trump often confuses PR campaigns with legal battles and this election is no different. He and his team immediately geared up for lawsuits in battleground states, lawsuits that have no real chance to change the outcome of the election. But Trump is not one who can lose gracefully, nor is he one who holds much regard for vital American institutions — not even the democratic process on which the United States stands. Trump is also planning to hold more of his infamous rallies in the coming weeks as the litigation challenging results of the election continues.
When President elect, Joseph Biden, is sworn into office on January 20th, Trump will leave the White House but I think we have little reason to believe he will leave the American consciousness. There is already much speculation about what Trump will do as an official loser. Some people have suggested the possibility that he may begin a media company. In the last months he has begun to turn against his beloved Fox News, which has been his propaganda machine from the start of his political career; as in all things, his supporters are following suit. Now more radical right-wing sources are becoming favored to Fox in Trump circles. If Trump begins his own media company it will almost certainly be aligned with these kind of alt-right news outlets and will likely have an easy time getting the attention of at least the 71 million Americans who voted for Trump. However much many Americans may want it, Trump will likely not fade quietly into the background. He has unleashed a deep seeded racism and nationalism in the US and weaponized it to propel himself to power. Letting go of that power, and the attention that comes with it will not be easy for him.
As well, Trump’s presidency has profoundly changed the Republican Party. Even if Trump is not the person leading the offensive, his brand of politics will likely remain a mainstay of the party in the coming years. For now, the Republicans who have accepted that Biden will become America’s 46th president must focus their energy on two very important runoff races in the state of Georgia. These are two races for Senate seats that will occur in January. Whichever party wins will likely hold a majority in the Senate. The outcome of these runoff races will be hugely influential for how much the Biden administration is able to achieve during their first two years in power. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader tirelessly fought to block the Obama administration at every turn, and McConnell and his Republican colleagues will undoubtedly treat the Biden administration no differently. Biden has repeatedly emphasized American unity and stated he believed he would be able to work with Republicans in order to pass important legislation. If the Republicans maintain control of the senate, Biden will may not be able to live up to that promise. He and Harris will be stepping into their roles amidst a national crisis, with daily coronavirus cases surpassing 100,000; they have vowed that their first order of business will be getting the coronavirus outbreak under control. In order to do so, some bipartisan work may be necessary. Though, in this profoundly divided political landscape, it has never looked less likely.