Some quick thoughts following the 2020 election:
- Joe Biden won. This is a good thing, but among the range of outcomes what we got was likely on the low end of positive outcomes.
- “Why?” The senate wasn’t secured, and Democrats lost seats in the house. Republicans gained more governors, and gained ground among state legislatures. Also, Biden’s victory wasn’t anything resembling decisive, let alone a “mandate” or “landslide.”
- “What about the senate runoffs? Can’t Democrats get the Senate if they win both?” Yes – if Democrats win both it’s 50-50 in the Senate, and ties are broken by the VP. But – and this is a huge, gross butt – Democrats are not favored to win these runoffs. Despite GA flipping blue for the first time in 28 years, one race is a toss-up and the other heavily favors the Republican candidate. It’s not impossible, but there’s a lot of work to do (and we’re going to see mountains of money poured into GA from both sides).
- “But isn’t it great that Trump’s gone? That’s enough, right?” It is great that Trump has been defeated, but I wouldn’t characterize him (or at least his supporter base) as “gone.” Despite losing the presidential election, Republicans also experienced record turnout and have lots of smaller victories and reasons to be optimistic. Their current political direction has been validated in a number of ways, so far-right ideals have not been defeated, and “Trumpism” (I wish to petition to change the name of this as quickly as possible, because the ideologies go beyond a dude’s last name) will not be going quietly into that good night.
- “But not having a crazy person in the White House is such a huge improvement, right?” Yes, it is, but we can’t be complacent. While doing nothing would be an improvement, we can’t afford to do nothing. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic (and all the negatives that causes beyond sickness/death), we still have entire generations saddled with low wages and high debt, we still have inadequate systems for healthcare and education, and there’s the whole climate change thing that we haven’t addressed meaningfully at all. There’s so much more but I think that’s a pretty good shortlist of things everyone cares about.
- “Well, what do we do?” There’s two main goals here.
- 1 – win the Senate runoffs. No major change will occur with a hostile Senate. Biden can absolutely do many things without the Senate; filling government positions with capable people alone is a huge improvement, and executive orders can go a long way. But you’re not getting major overhauls to healthcare or education without a friendly Senate. Same goes for climate change, major tax plan shifts, etc.
- 2 – yell at the Democratic party so they try to do the things we need them to do. Relying on them to just do the things has proven to be foolish. They have to be taken to task and forced to follow up on their rhetoric. We have to pave the way for them (elect Biden, flip Senate, preserve House, etc) but they have to be kicked in the ass too.
- Both of the above things must be accomplished, or we have to wait longer for change. Dems taking the Senate in 2022 is very likely (21/33 Senate races involve GOP incumbents), but pissing away another two years isn’t what we want. And even if we pave the way, we have to force the Democrats to walk the walk too.