It's not over yet
President Biden, should he survive all the court challenges and nastiness -- see armed intervention of vote counting in Arizona, for example -- and make it all the way into office in January, is a temporary reprieve, not an end to the American Nightmare.
He was not the choice of the progressives. He was not even really the choice of the American people, who are in the process of handing him the weakest of mandates in what should be the most perfect of electoral circumstances.
Biden has said he only plans to serve for one term. Already being past the age of mandatory retirement for a Canadian Senate or Supreme Court seat, that is probably sensible.
In his single mandate, he will face a vengeful and unhinged Republican-controlled Senate, which will make accomplishing anything at all in itself an accomplishment.
But accomplish he must. His strategy to rely on soft Republican voters did not work -- more Republicans voted for Trump in 2020 (93%) than did in 2016 (88%). His victory was given to him by two major factors: COVID19 and the current President's utter mismanagement of the file, and Progressive America's willingness to hold their nose and vote for him, in spite of being the quintessential establishment candidate -- in a country that is so eager to dump an establishment that does not work for the average person, that they voted for Trump in the first place.
And that is the point. The root angst on the left and on the right is essentially the same. In the plutocracy nigh kleptocracy that the US has become, the average voter knows that the system is not meant to work for them.
The American left's response is to offer a more socialist vision for the country, where the people take care of each other society-wide. One in which the cracks are filled in so that people may not fall through them any more.
The American centre's response is that there is nothing wrong, the country is running exactly as it should. GDP growth is great, stock markets are healthy, and population numbers are just that -- numbers, rather than, you know, people -- and that billionaires are a perfectly healthy byproduct of a free society.
The American right's response at the grassroots level is to conflate the centre for the left -- easy and fairly obvious to do in a two-party system -- and blame the "libtards" for taking what little they have, to share with everyone else who didn't work as hard as they did to get it. Someone who destabilizes the system, pockets what he can for himself, and does things that piss off the "libtards" is great, because the system they gave us sucks so anything that makes them angry must be good. And in this broken world, someone who manages to get richer and pay no taxes while in office is a hero -- he's sticking it to the man. Opportunists see this as an easy market to gain power, and with the deep cynicism of this perspective, ethics and accountability is a non-issue.
The left, here, held their noses and voted for the centrist to prevent the right wing reactionary from continuing to burn down the country.
The story does not end there. The left keeps voting for centrists, believing in compromise and having a worldview where everyone is of equal value. A compromising left moves to the centre, and the centre moves ever-further to the right, until we have the weirdly skewed spectrum today in the US where their "left" is almost everyone else's "centre-right".
But the American left has had enough. If Biden is not a clear and ambitious transformational progressive, willing to shake up the country to work for everyone on the level of FDR and his New Deal, the left in the US will not fall for the next candidate's platform after having been hoodwinked, yet again, and will no longer be willing to compromise or hold their noses to vote for the centrist to block the opportunist.
Failure to make real progress that tangibly benefits both the disillusioned left and the disillusioned right who know the system does not work for them will be disastrous in the long term; the Democratic party will be eviscerated in the 2024 election, and an intelligent, charismatic, competent, organisationally-skilled autocrat will rise in Trump's place.
American Democracy, already hanging by a thread, will face its greatest challenge yet.
So why, as a Canadian, do I care so much?
Because the Canadian right's leadership is watching the Americans closely, is trading knowledge and manpower with their American counterparts, and looking to bring that same division to Canada to seize on the same angst to achieve the same power.
Because in a right-wing autocrat leader to the South, a Conservative government will see opportunity rather than danger.
Posted at 09:43 on November 05, 2020
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