I woke up Wednesday morning to learn President Trump had been re-elected — at least according to Trump, who overnight declared himself the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
I was relieved to learn the president’s declaration was premature because legally cast ballots were still being counted in key battleground states. As I write this Thursday morning, Joe Biden appears headed to victory, collecting more votes than any presidential candidate in history, while flipping Michigan and Wisconsin in the process.
Naturally, Trump wants the vote counting to stop, displaying the same disdain for free and fair elections as he does for the rule of law and democratic institutions.
As we watched election coverage at the place I hang out, I overheard a friend and Trump supporter say something along the lines of, well, that’s the end of democracy. Actually, that’s democracy in action, a thorough repudiation of the president by the majority of the people he purports to govern.
It is they, not Trump, who have the final say, and, boy, have they said it.
Assuming he wins, Biden and his team will have their work cut out for them repairing the damage Trump has done, starting with the monumental task of taking on the COVID pandemic the president ignored. This country cannot move forward until it is once again healthy and, unfortunately, Biden will have to take two steps back to get one step ahead by doing what should have been done nine months ago.
He’ll have the support of most Americans, but he can also expect the same treatment from Republicans and their conservative media allies his old boss Barack Obama received. On day one, they won’t work with the new president. They’ll stand in his way regardless of how many more get sick and die. A cynical view, yes, but one based on the GOP’s past performance.
Sadly, the obstructionists will have the unwavering support of those who voted for Trumpism, that is, four more years of little kids in cages, corruption, criminality and dictator coddling; the Grand Old Party replaced by the Cult of 45.
“Can we really just come together as a nation?” asked Peter Laarman in Religion Dispatches this week. “Election boards around the country have already counted the votes of 67 million people who want more death, more deception, and more openly racist and exclusionary policies. And a huge number of these voters identify as Christian.”
Thus, the Republican Party — the one that used to cooperate and compromise with Democrats to address the nation’s needs — is dead and gone, the victim of its own deceit. Trump represented the culmination of three decades of right wing media-fueled hostility and lies, the embodiment of the hate Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and so many others spewed.
The GOP establishment might have pushed back on these paid liars early on, but they shortsightedly saw the political benefit of their rampant deception and now it has cost them their party. Only when adults take charge will Republicans begin to rebuild the institution Ronald Reagan so cherished. That’s an even bigger challenge than all of those Biden will face as president.
Meanwhile, it appears adults will be replacing the partisan hacks Trump counted on to tear down all of the progress America made over the last half century. Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be gone as will Stephen Miller, architect of Trump’s brutally inhumane immigration policies, whose own uncle and rabbi condemned him for betraying his Jewish teachings.
Likewise, anti-public school advocate, Education Secretary Betsy Devos, is through along with so many other Trump enablers and sycophants, not to mention the president’s disgraceful spawn and his incompetent son-in-law Jared Kushner.
It will be a new day in Washington, especially if Democrats take control of the Senate, a distinct possibility. Social Security and Medicare will be safe. The social safety net so many Americans rely on in these difficult times will be strengthened. Public education, the great equalizer, will be adequately funded. The wealthy and corporations will pay their fair share, while quality, affordable heath care is available to all.
Trump crippled America’s international standing so it will take time to rebuild America’s leadership status and regain the trust of our NATO allies. The strongman types, including Vladimir Putin, are going to be put in their place, and we may finally learn why Trump seemed to beholden to the Russian dictator.
It hasn’t happened yet, but it appears quite likely Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris the first woman to become vice president. That may well be the case by the time you read this. For his part, Trump thinks he can win in the courts what he lost in the voting booth, at best an unlikely scenario.
As the president is fond of saying, friends, we’ll see what happens.