America's Trump-branded fascism isn't going away without a fight.
The 2020 presidential election has just been called for Joe Biden.
While different news outlets make these calls according to different metrics, CNN has now declared victory for the Democratic challenger in enough states to send him over the 270 electoral vote finish line, and it seems certain that the AP will follow shortly. Meanwhile, Joe Biden's team is preparing to make a victory announcement and preparing for a long road ahead.
The victory represents a historic moment for representation, as Biden's running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, is now set to become the first woman and the first Asian American elected to executive branch.
But for progressive voters, a Biden-Harris win means that the real fight is about to begin—with protests and campaigns to pressure the mainstream of the Democratic party into supporting more Left-wing policies like single-payer healthcare, housing for all, and the reappropriation of police funding for vital community services.
It will be an uphill battle, especially with the senate looking likely to remain in Republican control until at least 2022—when a new slate of progressive candidates could have a chance to sweep in and replace up to 22 Republican senators (as well as some centrist Democrats). But none of that can even begin until we figure out how to get rid of Donald Trump...
We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers)… https://t.co/tyDx2FcTzX— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1604526970.0
Already Trump's tweets are hinting at the very predictable chaos he's about to unleash. Donald Trump and his loyalists have spent months hyping dubious claims of rampant voter fraud to discourage and discount mail-in ballots—amid a viral pandemic when minimizing in-person contact is the key to saving tens of thousands of lives. Now they're attempting to cash in those bogus checks, claiming that there's something suspicious in the fact that his supporters didn't use mail-in ballots...
In the early morning Wednesday—long before the counting was even close to being done—President Trump held a press conference telling his supporters, "As far as I'm concerned, we already won." He promised to take immediate legal action to prevent more votes from being counted and to launch recount efforts in several contested states.
Even in 2016—when Donald Trump actually did win the election and was made the most powerful person on Earth—he wasn't satisfied, because Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote. So he invented the idea that three million illegal immigrants had risked deportation in order to cast fraudulent votes—and had managed to do so undetected.
Donald Trump: 'We have already won' - President declares victory without evidence www.youtube.com
That kind of self-serving fabrication has remained the constant theme of Trump's tenure, so it was obvious that nothing short of an overwhelming landslide in Biden's favor would go uncontested. Sadly, that's not what we got.
Truly, we saw how every vote counts in a general election. While Joe Biden's popular vote lead is substantial and likely to continue growing far in excess of Clinton's 2016 results, in the handful of "swing states" that are made the nation's obsessive focus every four years—thanks to the electoral college—margins are once again uncomfortably slim.
In Wisconsin, Biden appears to have won the state by about 20,000 votes—or 0.5%—which is an even narrower victory than Trump managed in 2016, and Trump's team is calling for a recount. That's normal, predictable, and fine, as long as that recount is performed without subterfuge or interference, but the case of Michigan suggests it won't be that simple...
With thousands of ballots left to count, and Biden's lead in Michigan growing quickly, Trump's team has filed lawsuits to prevent further votes from being counted in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, sparking "Stop the Count" protests that have invaded the convention center in Detroit where votes are being tallied. While in states like Arizona and Missouri—where Biden holds onto a narrow lead—Trump Supporters have mounted "Count Those Votes" protests...
Trump's goal is likely to roll back the count to a point in time at which he seemed to be ahead, then cause enough delays and chaos that the Supreme Court will have to step in, as they did in the 2000 election—in which they canceled the Florida recount and declared Republican candidate George W. Bush the winner. Incidentally, three of the current Supreme Court justices—including two of Trump's appointments, worked on the Bush side of that case...
Meanwhile, the president's personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulliani, has been going on live TV to claim that the Democratic party ate the ones "stealing" the election, before declaring Trump the winner of Pennsylvania and calling the news media "filth."
Breaking down Joe Biden's win, it seems unlikely that these tactics will succeed in enough states to secure Trump's re-election, but it's impossible to imagine that Trump will willingly concede the White House. He is constitutionally incapable of admitting defeat, weakness, or imperfection, and he faces the threat of long-overdue prosecution for his many crimes upon his removal from office. So he just won't accept it.
He will claim mass fraud and a deep-state conspiracy. He will insist that he is the rightful winner and America's true president. Of course he will. So what does that mean for us?
We can't force him to grow a conscience or enough self-awareness to be ashamed of his transparent tactics, but he also can't stay in the White House past Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20th. Unless he attempts to occupy the White House with a paramilitary force of his followers (but that would mean close contact with his followers, so probably not), he's out.
He can go on TV as much as he wants to talk about how he's the real president and the Democrats have stolen the country from...a smaller segment of the country. What he can't do is sign one more executive order, appoint one more judge, or sign one more bill into law.
He will have to return to Trump tower or Mar-a-Lago to sulk there. The real issue is his supporters... who aren't going anywhere.
No matter how many times he lies to them, betrays a promise, or ignores their needs in favor of the ultra-wealthy, there is a contingent of the American people who love Donald Trump and hang on every word he says.
They have rejected any notion of empathy for marginalized groups—trans people, black people, poor people, undocumented immigrants—as being somehow responsible for all the problems in our society. They have embraced the idea of purging or violently oppressing these groups can return us to an imaginary, idyllic past, when America was great. And far too many of them point to a "deep state" or "globalist" conspiracy holding us back from that paradise.
They will believe that the election has been stolen. They will believe conspiracies that tell them that all the chaos of 2020 was a plot against Trump. They will believe that they have to take back this country by any means. These people got a taste of the fascism they always craved, and they aren't going to take a "return to normalcy" lying down.
Fact check: President Trump made a series of egregious false claims in his election night address at the White Hous… https://t.co/4xopIxBms1— CNN (@CNN)1604484797.0
In the short term there is probably nothing we can do to prevent violent acts of Right-wing terrorism from surging with Donald Trump's tacit or explicit endorsement.
But in the long-term it is possible to purge some of these hateful, violent, and authoritarian impulses from the American populace. We have the means to prevent the next Trumpian figure from catching onto that fetid undercurrent of American culture and sweeping into power. But not by returning to normalcy.
The people who have been activated and radicalized by the horror of the Trump administration have to push for something far better than the way things were in 2015. Business as usual brought us here. We have to continue building movements to fight for a government that actually serves the needs of working class people, and proves that compassion and solidarity are values that serve all Americans.
If we can do that, we can probably save a lot of the people who have been lured into Trump's camp since 2016. If not, then "Trumpism"—or whatever it's called next—will be here to stay.