This is good news. But we need to be honest. The future looks very bad indeed.
Reagan vs Trump
In 1980 Ronald Reagan ran for president with a very positive message: that conservatism was going to make us all much happier. It was bullshit of course. But the people were voting for something positive — something that would make their lives better.
I’m the first to point out that Reagan was the Trump of his time. Proportionally, Reagan harmed our country as much as Trump. But at that time, Republicans still believed that they could and should win majority support.
Right now the Republicans are not offering anything to the American people. They don’t need to. As bad as Trump was, he almost won re-election.
As I write this, Biden won the popular vote by 6 million. And that will likely grow as the vote continues. That’s 52 percent of the popular vote (excluding third parties). But he won 57 percent of the Electoral College. What am I complaining about?
Trump would have been re-elected had he won Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. So let’s look at the number of votes Biden won those states by:
Let’s put this in context. This is roughly half the number of votes that Trump won by in 2016 and we all rightly noted that it was basically nothing.
What these numbers mean is that this country is every bit as in love with Trump as they ever were. In my darkest moments I think about how I might eventually retire elsewhere because I don’t want to die in a fascist country.
Because of the American system, Republicans grew their numbers in the House of Representatives. And it is likely they will stay more or less where they are in the Senate. So there will be no fundamental changes to that American system. And this is very bad indeed.
By the time we have our next election, the states will be even further gerrymandered to the benefit of the Republicans. And we have a Supreme Court that will absolutely not stop them from doing that. At the same time, we can count on the Court to stop Biden from doing everything possible via executive action — something that a less-conservative Court was not willing to do to Trump.
It’s good that Biden won. It’s better than Trump having won. But things look very bleak. It looks like there will be Republican minority rule for a generation because half of America thinks the benefit of expressing their racism publicly is more important than fighting a pandemic and saving the economy.
Our only real hope is that the Republicans will, as usual, do such a bad job governing that they throw it back to the Democrats. But that’s just at the national level. States like Michigan and Pennsylvania are still controlled by Republicans because of their 2010 election gerrymandering. And now they get to do it again!
So I think things are really really bad. Access to abortions will be gone within a couple of years. I had thought Obamacare would be gone next year with nothing to replace it, but it looks like some conservatives on the Court are exhausted by this issue. (But don’t count them out!)
In a fundamental sense, America is exceptional. We have an exceptionally bad anti-democratic system largely the result of slavery. And we still have huge numbers of white people who think the only racial problem in this country is that they aren’t given special privileges for being white. Hopefully, this will change. But there’s no indication that it will.
The Republican party has fully embraced authoritarianism. And even if people like Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio had not embraced it, the base would have demanded it. Forty percent of this country is made up of authoritarians.
Brace yourself. This is going to get bad.