The Sound of a Landslide Not Happening

John ScalziThis election should have been a landslide. Faced with a choice between a decent, if uninspiring, former Vice President with a long and solid track record of competent governance, and literally the worst president since the Civil War era — a president under whom the economy cratered, corruption reigned, human rights were stripped and mocked, social inequality reached new heights and a pandemic was allowed to blaze unchecked, killing a quarter of a million American souls — the decent man should have walked away from this election with 400 electoral votes at least.

America should have forcefully repudiated Donald Trump; this wannabe despot, this childish authoritarian who fawned over dictators, this incipient fascist whose first impulse towards American Nazis was to collect them into his embrace, and could only querulously condemn them under duress. This liar, this racist, this cheat, this sociopathic bundle of insecurities and anhedonia, this sad example of a human for whom the White House was merely an ATM with an oval office, this pathetic creature for whom everything was about who would flatter him and who he could punish, this impeached debauch, this bad man, should have been shown the door on the end of a broom.

Instead, Donald Trump received (at the time this was written) seventy million, four hundred thousand votes — 47.7% of the total vote. Four years of being worst president in modern history gained him seven million, four hundred thousand more votes than he received in 2016, and nearly two percentage points more of the total voting electorate. Seventy million, four hundred thousand American voters lived through four years of corruption and incompetence and eroding social norms and decided they wanted another four years of that. They saw a president be a bully and a bigot and a thug, and voted to give the bully four more years. They saw four years of a man siding with fascists, and then sided with him.

And let’s be blunt: “They” here are mostly white people. The exit polling, while not perfect, makes this clear. White men, white women, white people without college degrees, white people who make over $100,000 a year, evangelical white people — the majority of them who voted gave Donald Trump their vote last Tuesday. They did it again, please note; these same people gave him their vote in 2016, in nearly the same percentages. And while of course hashtag Not All White People — I mean, I didn’t vote for him — at the end of the day, according to those exit polls, 57% of white voters in America decided this awful man, with his lies and his hate and his corruption, was who they wanted, and who their country deserved to have. Again.

There is no excuse for it. I’m not going to be the white man who sanctimoniously tries to apologize to the rest of the United States population for the fact that the majority of white voters, when given a choice, will vote for an ethnically “pure” pseudo-Christian police state with an angry tinpot dictator at the tippy-top. Twice. It’s not my place to do that, not least of all because I’m well aware of how much I benefit, unwillingly or otherwise, from their tendencies. But at the very least I can acknowledge that even someone like me can see there is something wrong with whiteness in America: Something pathological, something hateful, something inexpressibly awful about it. This election was a literal no-brainer, possibly the easiest moral litmus test any presidential election has offered in the more than 220 years of presidential elections in the United States, and 57% of white voters just failed it, a non-trivial number of them flying vast “Trump” flags from their pickups as they did so.

Yes, I know. Folks who are not white (and a lot of them who are, but also happen to be LGBTQ+ or disabled or non-Christian) are rolling their eyes at me and saying “welcome to the party, pal.” I’m not under the illusion that I am telling anyone who has lived under whiteness all this time anything new about it. But let me re-emphasize here that this election was an easy test for white folks, likely the easiest of all possible tests. I mean, Jesus, the Democrats ran with Biden, the whitest of all possible white candidates this year, just to make it easy for other white people who don’t want to acknowledge their ingrained racism to do the morally and ethically correct thing! And still: 57% of white voters voted for Trump. 70.4 million voters, of which white people comprised the great majority. He gained votes and percentages after the four worst years any president has had since Hoover at least.

What I came away from the 2020 election knowing was that when given a choice between the worst president in living memory, who would happily dismantle the country and all its institutions if he could suck a nickel out of it — because he did just that for four straight years — and not that, white voters in their majority chose the worst. White voters will not defend the United States against its worst impulses. White voters will not save the United States from itself or anyone else. They’ll let it burn, to “own the libs,” but in reality because they’d rather be on the top of a pile of ashes than just another part of anything else, with people who they don’t see as being like them.

Which, well. Is disappointing.

Trump won seventy million, four hundred thousand votes. Joe Biden, thankfully, won seventy-four million and won a bare majority (50.5%) of the available voting populace, and the majority of the electoral college. White people did vote for Biden, of course; 42% of those who voted. But others voted for him more, in percentages if not raw numbers. Biden won because of black women and black men, because of Hispanics and Latinos, because of Asian Americans, Native Americans and others, all of whom came out to vote for Biden in much larger percentages than white people.They voted despite racist state and federal policies and ploys established to make it more difficult to vote — for fuck’s sake, the Trump administration started dismantling the postal service to keep early Democratic (read: minority) votes from arriving on time, and Republicans from Texas to Ohio made it more difficult to vote early in person. They voted as if their lives depended on it, because they did.

So did the life of our nation, at least as we understand it today. We don’t have to wait for history to say it, we can say it now: it was black women voters and black men voters who pulled the United States back from the brink. It was Latino and Hispanic voters. It was Asian American and Native American voters. It wasn’t just them — LGBTQ+ voters and new voters (many of whom overlap those aforementioned categories) broke toward Biden as well. They held better faith in the United States than white voters did. In his victory speech, Biden wisely acknowledged that his voters came from all quarters and pledged to make his administration look like the nation that had voted for him.

He had better keep that promise. It’s not enough to thank those who saved us — all of us, even the ones who voted for the wannabe dictator — from four more years of moral and institutional decay. Give them the levers of power that they should have access to already. Let them make this country better and more fair for everyone. We know what the alternative is. We’ve just had four years of it.

And if you think we can’t go back to it, remember: Trump got 7.4 million more votes and almost two percentage points more of the voting population after four years of being the worst president in living memory. Those voters aren’t going away, and not all of them will be peeled away from voting for the worst possible option, so long as it is white, before they shuffle off this mortal coil. 2024 is coming (and 2022 mid-terms before then). We’ll be fighting white supremacy for a long time, folks. At the very least, I can’t pretend to be surprised about it any more.

— JS

(Update: a piece with more general thoughts on the 2020 election is now up.)

120 Comments on “The Sound of a Landslide Not Happening”

  1. Notes:

    1. Political post, so as always the mallet is in play. Be polite to each other, please. And remember I have the political BINGO cards out, and if you fill up too many spots on my card, I mallet your comment out.

    2. For those of you who might be “not every Trump voter voted for white supremacy,” one, read The Cinemax Theory of Racism to see why they did, and two, look: No one who lived in the Trump Era gets to pretend they didn’t know what he was about. He didn’t hide it. He’s not smart enough for that. Voting for Trump in 2020 was an explicitly racist act. Sit with it.

    3. I’m aware Trump is going to court to challenge election results. Let’s just say I’m not convinced they will change much of anything for him.

    4. I wrote this with the intent of it being a general piece about the election; obviously this is not that. I’ll be writing that piece later, so if you want to make general comments about the election, rather than discuss white supremacy and its role in the 2020 election, maybe hold your fire.

  2. This is what I have been telling my friends. The fight isn’t over, we haven’t won. more than 70 Million Americans supported him. It is just going to get nastier while they maintain that kind of support. That was just the first round.

    It is only going to get nastier going on from here, and being trans I am frankly a bit terrified of how dark it might get before we MIGHT round the corner.

  3. The pre-Trump status quo is not good enough. That was already what’s been described as “Fascism Lite”; Trump just showed its ugly, naked face because he’s too coarse and dim to know how to seem normal.

    They’ll try again, next time with somebody smarter. We can’t stay in the center-Right, anti-union, anti-women, plutocratic state that’s been normalized over the past 40 years.

    I think, I hope — I’d pray if I weren’t a stone-cold atheist — that President-Elect Biden and VP-Elect Harris are prepared to be more progressive once they’re safely in office (and after the January 5 U.S. Senate runoff here in Georgia, that could decide whether McConnell gets to continue as God-Emperor of the Senate for another two years).

  4. For me, one of the most frightening results of the election is seeing that one third of eligible voters didn’t show up at the polls. Like it was none of their business, or beneath their notice. What planet do they live on?

    As for those who voted for Trump, they have always been there. They just weren’t motivated and organized enough, but now the Republicans have spent decades on that work. That’s your real “long national nightmare,” and it ain’t over.

  5. As a Jew and the child of a Holocaust survivor, I have been watching and living in America in horror for the last 4 years. I am tearfully grateful that the slim majority of Americans voted him out and still disbelieving of the groups that voted for who I believe to b, arguably, the worst President ever and inarguably the first to be a venal traitor.

  6. I generally agree, from afar. It’s disappointing that so many Republicans continued to support him.

    On the popular vote numbers, I believe there are many votes still to be voted in places like New York and California, so the final numbers may be somewhat different.

  7. Yes.

    And the next four years of Republicans doubling down on making sure Biden accomplishes as little as possible shall try us all sorely. Republicans will do their best to make him fail so they can run against him as a failure.

    And trump will not go away or be silent. The lunatic conspiracism of the right will fester in empty, violent souls. We have a respite, not a victory. let us make the most of it.

  8. I’m struggling with the results similarly. I find immense relief that Trump lost . . .but am dismayed (understatement of the year) by the slimness of the margin. It shows how far off I was in my estimation of basic human decency. As we move forward, I’m looking to try understand underlying motivations and do what I can to engage in the hard conversations the situation necessitates.

  9. I completely agree: I’m relieved, but it should not have been so close. One of my friends is a political scientist and pointed out that it’s apparently pretty normal for a horrifying swing towards fascism on the world stage to occur about 80 years after the last one – but I don’t think anything about this had to be so inevitable.

    I’m hoping that generational trends make it even less likely in the future. I’m not American myself, but I did live in (a semi-rural part of) the U.S. for a while earlier this century, and the reaction I generally saw to the Republicans was ‘wait…you’re trying to empty my bank account, render the planet uninhabitable for humans, and make me hate a subset of my friends/family?!’. A lot of my same-age American friends nonchalantly accept the notion that capitalism is either going to have to change substantially or be replaced. Reportedly something like 25% of the kids being born in the U.S. at the moment are Latinx. And I note that of my closest white American friends who have children, ALL of the little ones are bi- or multiracial. ALL of them.

  10. Yep. And census redistricting controlled by state republicans is going to make it harder for the popular vote to carry the day so we are in for a long fight for democracy and good government.

    Respectfully, it may be worth an edit to add “Native American voters” to the explicitly listed folks who helped save the republic this time around. Because they did, and I am grateful, and think they deserve recognition by name.

    https://www.hcn.org/articles/indigenous-affairs-how-indigenous-voters-swung-the-2020-election

  11. Bravo. I appreciate your words.

    As an older white dude and veteran from rural Alabama, who also happens to be a gay man, I’m not going to say “welcome to the party, pal” because you’ve proven yourself to be a smart and vocal ally for years now. I still show your “easy mode” post on white privilege to friends and family that are having a difficult time with the concept. I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t come away from the experience with a better understanding or systemic racism and the often unseen privileges that come from being in the majority.

  12. Well said. I know it’s not possible to name every part of the BIPOC coalition who saved the election, but can we acknowledge the role of Native American voters? In AZ and WI at least, their votes were enough to swing the states. Given the explicit ways they’ve been disenfranchised and the impact of COVID in many Native communities, it was inspiring to see the turnout.

  13. John, I suspect you truly want your country to heal. As a Canadian, I hope it happens. Should you ever decide that is impossible, you are welcome to move here.

  14. The other sadness, is that even setting Trump aside, many people who didn’t vote for Trump still voted for those who helped enable him to commit many of the daily horrors he did. At any point the Senate could have stepped in, but they only helped make things worse. Now we have dozens if not hundreds of courts that will help further codify these terrible policies.

  15. While I absolutely agree that it’s outright depressing how many people voted for Trump again, I’m a bit surprised that I’m not seeing more discussion of the likelihood that the polls — which consistently predicted clear and decisive wins across the ticket– weren’t actually wrong. Instead, it’s worth considering that the polls were actually a good metric of the success of the GOP’s myriad voter-suppression efforts.

    In other words, the difference between projected vs. actual numbers might be close to the difference between votes without suppression vs. votes because of it.

  16. I’ve been thinking about my own hot take on a separate issue, which actually might be related to this.

    There have been a few posts circulating on social media in the past 24 hours, urging Biden supporters to “be the bigger person” and to reach out with “empathy” towards Trump supporters. “Think back to how you felt in 2016. That’s how they feel now. Be the bigger person and reach out to them to empathize.”

    However, that all has been reminding me of the kinds of things people told me back when I was a child, and a very frequent target of bullies. “They only bully you because they’re jealous.” “They have problems in their own lives and they’re only trying to make themselves feel better by making someone else feel worse.” “Just ignore them.”

    Those messages were all meant to teach me empathy and compassion, I’m sure. But the HUGE flaw in all of those messages is that they did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to respond to the very real feelings that I was having myself in response to having BEEN bullied. I had been bullied and I felt shitty – and people weren’t saying a damn thing about me feeling bad, and were instead skipping straight to telling me to feel sorry FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAD HURT ME. That didn’t teach me empathy – it only taught me that “the bully’s feelings are more valid than yours. You don’t matter as much as they do.”

    It took me nearly 40 years to learn how to say “fuck that.”

    No one was reaching out to the Trump voters in 2016 or 2017 and telling THEM to have empathy for the Hillary supporters. No, they were doubling down and making t-shirts that said “fuck your feelings” or “deal with it, he’s your president.” (And those are the nice ones.) “Empathy” only entered into their conversation when THEY were down and wanted people to empathize with THEM.

    What would work far better with Trump’s supporters is what would have worked far better with me as a bullied child – validating for me that no, it WASN’T fair for them to treat me that way, and then going back to the kids who’d bullied me and said “yo, that wasn’t cool.” If the kid really was dealing with some shit, then help them out so they could handle it better – but if they were just being a shit, then let them KNOW that they were being a shit. Either way, the bullies were kids that needed to get the message loud and clear that “hey, what you did to that other person was NOT COOL, and you need to stop it. Better yet, own up and apologize.”

    No one said that to the Trumpers in 2016. I would further wager that no one has said that to them EVER. So they are self-centered people who don’t have the ability to consider others’ positions, and so when they are feeling slighted they flail around and look for “empathy” to make themselves feel better. Or when someone else gets something they wanted they whine that “it’s not fair” because they don’t have the ability to consider others’ humanity is as valid as their own.

    That might be part of why they supported Trump – not because they’re racist as such, but because he was speaking to the part of their ids that was saying “yes, I deserve everything because I’m the best.” No one has yet given them the wakeup call that “Hey, asshole, there are other people in the world that also deserve things. Oh, and…you were kind of shitty to some of those people and you need to own up to that.”

    Not that I’m gonna gloat (….much), but I’m also not gonna extend an olive branch to Trumpers now the way that others are asking me to. I’ll be civil, but I’ll be REALLY guarded until I get a sense that they’ve had even an INKLING of understanding that the fact that I disagree with them does not negate the fact that I am a human being and just as deserving of respect.

  17. This is why I was so terrified about what November 3 would bring. Yes, I knew that BIPOC and LGBTQ and disabled and non-christian voters in their legions would do their best to vote. BUT, I also knew that all those once-closeted white supremacists are way the hell out of the closet, and they no longer feel any pressure to camouflage their opinions under a veneer of politeness, and there are a whole helluva lot more of them than any of us realized until four years ago today.

    If there is any tiny bright point in this, it is precisely that those formerly closeted white supremacists are indeed outed. They’ve outed themselves, and they’re proudly advertising their hatefulness for us all to see. And that means we know who we’re talking to. I know exactly who the white supremacists are in my office now. I know exactly who they are in my neighborhood now. I know which people to avoid, which ones to be wary about, and which to treat as the loose cannons they are.

    I wish to hell that none of us had to engage in this kind of guarding self-care. I wish my fellow citizens had been raised to be better people. But then, I can remember back 53 years ago, when I was a kid growing up in a suburb of Detroit during the 1967 riots, and I remember my best friend from two doors down telling me indignantly “all those n*****s should just go back to Africa where they came from,” and being simultaneously shocked and utterly unsurprised. Because, you see, I knew her parents. I knew their attitudes. And I knew that my best friend had been fed those beliefs since the day of her birth.

    Racism perpetuates itself. White supremacist beliefs perpetuate themselves. And so do openness, willingness to listen to and welcome others, and a genuine belief that all humans deserve the same treatment. All of us as elders in our respective communities share a responsibility to perpetuate the belief that all people are equally humans, because I can assure you that the white supremacists next door are teaching their offspring and their communities the opposite.

    We cannot be silent. Silence = complicity. It’s scary as hell, but we have to stand up and be counted. The alternative is literally death.

  18. What I’m really hoping is that someone can do a good, reliable statistical breakdown of Trump voters in this election. I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about “deprogramming” the Trump cult, and a good analysis of why they made that decision might tell us how many of them are deprogrammable.

    (Then comes the question of how that deprogramming would work…)

  19. Already we’re hearing from centrists who are “oh let’s come together and talk this thing out” while ignoring the fact that the Republicans won’t budge on anything. Partly by nature, and partly because they don’t have to, since the Democrats are happy to be conciliatory and shift themselves a bit farther to the right.

    It’s fantastic that the White House will no longer be occupied by a sociopath intent on pouring gasoline on a wildfire, but hoping that the Dems can put the fire out is more than just optimistic.There are tens of millions of Americans who would rather have a Republican one-party state than any possible fairly-elected Democrat and while they no longer have a cheerleader-in-chief they are still emboldened and organized. I don’t see this being resolved without some level of cataclysmic violence and I wouldn’t hedge any bets who would come out the winner.

    The American dream for the next few decades is still a nightmare.

  20. In the 1930s, there were more Nazis in America than in Germany. The entire history of the country has been shaped by the massive, abhorrent amount of racism and white supremacy running through it, in every county in every state, with only the definition of ‘white’ changing over time. As a collective we’re ‘less’ racist and white supremacist than we were 50 years ago, and that was less than we were 150 years ago, but we are a long, long way from stamping it out. This election is a good reminder that the problem is not just Trump- the problem is deeply entrenched, and needs all of us working to root it out.
    This week was a good step. Just another 10,000 steps to go.

  21. If America had to choose Captain Whitebread, one would at least hope we didn’t pick the moldy one.

  22. I agree with absolutely everything you have said, and I’m not trying to make excuses for the Trump voters–even the ones who happen to be people I know and love. It’s dispiriting. But on the let’s-not-turn-a-genuine-victory-into-defeat premise, while we are seguing into our election post-mortem I’d like to mention: it is ferociously difficult to defeat an incumbent president. It’s only happened, what, ten times in U.S. history? And only three times (including this one, thank goodness) since WWII? Now, there were times it didn’t happen because it wasn’t possible–Kennedy was a one-term president, but not because he lost his second election, for example, and does LBJ count as defeated at the polls or not?–but it is still worth remembering just how difficult Biden’s victory was, and what a long-shot it was, too, while we are considering how close it shouldn’t have been, and planning how to carry on the fight.

    In addition, I find myself reflecting (maybe a tad too hopefully, I admit) on the fact that Nixon won by a massive landslide in 1972, and five years later no one I knew would admit to having voted for him. Of course, I also know people who claim they would have voted for Nixon in 1976, if he hadn’t resigned–but far fewer of them. (And then, too, while I’m being pessimistic, we got Reagan in 1980, which is a whole other future-possibility we need to bear in mind–that the next authoritarian, racist strong-man will be nicer than Trump. But still. That’s part of future fight we need to prepare to cope with, just in case.) For now . . . maybe there is a slight long-term chance that our Trump-supporting fellow citizens will learn better after having their choice defeated. Some of them, at least. It does take time for large numbers of people to face the fact that they were wrong.

    (Finally, I’d also add: in some ways, it is even more difficult to defeat an incumbent senator than an incumbent president, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for your next post, maybe.)

  23. Thanks, Scalzi. Not a pleasant read, but this is not a pleasant truth to face. And if one chooses to live in the reality-based community, even the unpleasant truths have to be faced.

    The question I ask is not rooted in hand-wringing, but in very simple and pragmatic politics. How to reach those people who convinced themselves to vote for Trump despite everything they saw in front of them? For me the White Evangelicals are the clearest example of the double-think we’re facing. How could anyone with two neurons to rub together believe Trump represented their moral and ethical values? If we accept they’re simply stupid and/or evil then that’s easy, but we also have to accept there’s no way to reach them. Writing off half the electorate as stupid and/or evil just isn’t a practical political option, so what now?

  24. All true, particularly your point in the comments that voting for Trump is an explicitly racist act.

    Without knowing more about the cross-tabs in the exit polls you link to, it’s hard to know exactly what to make of them. For example: 20% of those who had a favorable view of the BLM movement voted for Trump. Of the voters who think racism is an important problem (71%, which is a positive sign, albeit one with room for improvement), 28% voted for Trump. Looking at another group you mention, 28% of LGBTQ+ voters went for Trump.

    I have a hard time understanding those numbers. There were other issues driving those voters, but I don’t have the creativity to imagine what they might have been. Maybe they were wealthy voters and were content to make a decision based on the time-honored principle of “I got mine and I wanna keep it! You’re on your own!” That wouldn’t seem to explain the 18% of Black men who voted for Trump, or the 40% of union households, or the 32% of Hispanic/Latino voters, all groups Trump demonized and did his best to keep from the levers of power. But, again, cross-tabs help answer such questions.

    There’s a darker story that could be told, again depending on the cross-tabs. For example, 17% of those who think the justice system treats Black people unfairly voted for Trump. Of the voters who see racial inequality as the most important issue, 8% voted for Trump. That could mean that (a) they know these are problems, but but don’t see Trump as being responsible, or (b) they like it that way. Let’s hope (a) is the real story.

  25. What KWadsworth said. These people don’t respond to warm fuzzies; they think it’s a sign of weakness.

  26. You forgot that Trump is also a misogynist. Although a lot of white women seemed to also either forget that, or decided they didn’t care! :-(

  27. We have a long history of acting just like this. After all, this is the nation that enslaved people for 100s of years. All while writing prolifically about every man being free and equal. Then had to have a war to put that moral horror show right, except of course we never did put it right. We have literally never given anything but systemic and individual racism to our black citizens. But we like to think of ourselves as giving equal justice for all. This also the country that stole land, culture and life from it’s first inhabitants. We did it and continue to do it, all while pretending it was heroic destiny. This is the nation that is founded by and populated almost entirely by immigrants, but we treat immigrants like dog poo on the living room carpet. This is the country that has actively interfered with other countries in the most ludicrously ignorant and disastrous ways causing war, terrorism and financial ruin. And thinks of it as helping.
    This country has always been deluded. We deserve to fall. We never deserved the rise in the first place.

  28. Over here in the UK we still have our own mini Trump but the victory of Biden has given us hope. But I think we are still appalled at the fact Trump got any votes. My brother reckons that if you take a normal distribution curve of folk, the left hand side of the curve voted Republican but I fear it is not so simple. But congratulations on getting such a fine chap into the White House, and Kamal alooks like a shoe in for 2024.

  29. I just don’t know what else I can do. I phone banked for Warren and then for Biden. I donated, I volunteered and worked the election, I tried to keep my friends and family informed. In the middle of all this, I was diagnosed with a heart condition. And meanwhile I let my personal dreams slip away, as I stopped writing, stopped creating…just stopped doing anything else.

    The end result of all my efforts? A new administration, yes, but one that’s talking about mending fences with the fascists.

    This white man has done all he can, and it’s left me exhausted and in despair.

  30. I used to joke that the older I get, the more misanthropic I become. These past 4 years, and this year in particular, have made me realize why that’s not a joke. Very often, the default human orientation is AWFUL and EGO-FEEDING. Far too many people, when given a choice between caring for others or feeding their ego, choose the latter. Simple empathy is too much for these people.

    “Please wear a mask” = *public freakout*
    “Please consider the poor” = *loud degradation*

    Hell, if it were possible to fail the trolley test by creating more carts and slamming them into other vehicles, they would. People are just awful. The really sad part is that the non-awful ones are trapped here with them and there’s no escape. It’s like the earth is a can of green beans swollen with bacteria. There’s no way to separate the toxins from the beans, so you have to throw the whole can out, just to be safe.

    That realization brought me the answer to the Fermi Paradox: we aren’t actually alone, just sequestered. Frankly, I don’t blame the universe one bit.

    The awful people might interpret this as “we’re badasses!”, but the truth is we’re dumbasses. As a singular species, we will find or even invent reasons to kill one another. Imagine how much more aggravating we’d be if non carbon-based life stopped by to say “Hello!”. We’re the hemorrhoids of the Milky Way. That’s nothing to be proud of.

    So much potential…wasted.

  31. The combination of racism and propaganda clearly won. All you have to do is look at the last few months to see the racism.
    People of color peaceful in the streets, maybe yelling: shoot them with tear gas and rubber bullets
    White people with semi automatic rifles: we appreciate your support. Come on into the capital.

    Voting lines in black areas were much longer than those in white areas.

    There is also serious misinformation. One person we know is an undocumented Hispanic. She opposed Biden because of he supported pedophiles. Complete propaganda win with total misinformation.

    Biden should have won handily. The republicans that used to speak against trump in the primaries are cowards afraid to speak against him, no doubt afraid of the people who for some misbegotten reason believe everything Trump says.

  32. What puzzles me is that we’ve heard almost nothing about the problems with voting machines. Trump is making challenges to absentee ballots and claiming voter fraud. Paper however isn’t hackable, however, at least not yet. In contrast, certain types of voting machines can be hacked, and a minority of states still use them. The first time people gave testimony before Congress on this was, I think, after the Gore-Bush election.

    For a more recent testimony (2016), this from Andrew Appel, a Princeton University computer science prof during a Congressional hearing on Election Cybersecurity. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4623050/user-clip-electronic-voting-machines-vulnerable-hacking

    If I remember correctly, programmer Clint Curtis also testified before Congress as a whistleblower (2006? I’m not sure). He claimed a Republican representative asked him to write a program for voting machines that would flip the vote to the person the flipper wanted to win. The representative denied the allegations. I remember listening to the Curtis testimony before Congress (it was on YouTube for a long time and is probably still there). It’s chilling.

    In the Gore-Bush election, I voted in a state that at the time used the touch voting machines. I voted for Gore and when the screen came up for me to check my votes, it showed me voting for Bush. It also had me voting for other people I hadn’t chosen. I had to redo it three times to get the right results. After that year, Maryland changed its voting method. I believe now they use optical scan.

    I doubt it’s coincidence that Biden won during a time when so many people sent in absentee ballots. What scares me as much as the number of people who voted for Trump is wondering if all of them actually voted for him.

    I understand Democrats want to avoid saying anything that sounds like Trump crying fraud without evidence. But this problem with voting machines needs to get fixed.

  33. The real issue the US faces isn’t the Trump voter, but the Trump and white supremicist enabler. Those who say things like “the extremes of both parties,” while telling the Dems to compromise more. Cable news outside Fox is far from a liberal paradise, it’s instead a corporist ratings desperate creature that always gives half the field away to whatever lies the Republicans they’ve invited on spouts.

    If you look at the supposedly liberal MSNBC the most frequent guests you’ll see are the rats leaving a sinking ship, the Lincoln Project, who’s “radical truths” are simply ripoffs of what liberals have been saying about their employers, the Republican Party, for 20 years.

  34. Thank you, John. Yes, all of it.

    On some level I really hoped/believed it was possible that on November 3rd, Americans would rise up and soundly repudiate the ideology of fear, hate, greed and division embraced and embodied in today’s GOP.

    By the end of the day I realized it wasn’t going to happen, even if we managed to turf Weehands McNodick out of The People’s House and even if we manage to send him to the Big House. Wednesday morning I woke with a sense of leaden grief and sorrow. And disorientation. I felt like the Enterprise crew members in “Mirror, Mirror”, returning to a universe where Starfleet was the thuggish strongarm of a Terran Empire willing to commit genocide to advance its greedy imperialism.

    This is not the America I deluded myself I lived in.

    But it never WAS. Being, like you, a white person, I swam unaware in the sea of racist privilege that supported me and allowed me more than six decades of delusion that the whole “Shining City on the Hill” American exceptionalism was NOT a propaganda tool to perpetuate a fundamentally flawed, unjust system.

    I had maybe a little more insight in that, unlike you, I never enjoyed the privilege that comes with a Y chromosome and only experience the “straight” privilege when I’m ‘passing’. But even so, I wanted to believe all the “Land of Opportunity” stuff. I wanted to think that America had a shared vision for a future based on equity, justice under the law, and a commitment to redressing the wrongs of genocide and oppression.

    This was never going to be a 2-hour movie where the decisive triumph of good is achieved by the time the credits roll. And I WANTED it to be… the exhaustion and anxiety of the past four years rolled over me on Wednesday and Thursday like a tidal wave and made me want to throw up my hands and start investigating what it would take to move to some nation-state with a real commitment to a shared and sustainable and equitable future for all life on this planet.

    Except there ain’t no such place, no, not even Canada or New Zealand (ask the indigenous peoples there…)

    And America for all its flaws has a Constitution and a wealth of ideas and people and diversity and resources that could indeed help realize that goal for the world, if we’re willing to keep fighting.

    With a somber and realistic appreciation that the struggle itself, as well as our “happy ending” will be more akin to the ending of the whole “Game of Thrones” saga than the misty beauty of the “Lord of the Rings”.

    But we can’t let that stop us. The future of my grandson and his potential children rests in our ability to preserve this planet’s ability to sustain life, and our species’ ability to create social structures that allow survival of every resource in every human form.

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will not be able to work miracles. Every millimeter of progress they wrest from a GOP-controlled Senate, GOP-controlled states, and an oligarchy committed to controlling our economy at the expense of all other life on the planet will be painfully won. But it CAN be won.

    ::sniffle:: I really did want a “Yub-Nub” Ultimate Victory celebration… but even that was not “Ultimate”. And that was one pretty fireworks display in Wilmington.

    I’m still in the fight, and I’m glad you are, too, John.

  35. Thank you for your thoughts, as ever.

    I have much the same thought as hex, above. I can’t get my head around over 70 million people voting for more of this, and more than last time. It feels like we somehow have to find a way to make progress as a population in spite of, rather than with, almost half our population. And let’s not forget the people who actually did vote for Biden this time because Trump was so bad, but are quite likely to go back to voting reliably Republican now, if the Republicans manage to find a candidate who’s no more than 75% as awful.

    It seems impossible.

    Some have suggested “misinformed” really is the explanation for a lot of them, because they get all of their information from Trump’s Twitter feed and right-wing media that routinely lies to them. The case has been made that many of his voters actually believe he kept his promises, has created jobs and a strong economy, and all sorts of other nonsense that only exists in Trump’s tweets. Maybe if that’s the case, they can be reached, especially if the full breadth of his fraud is laid bare in the coming years, and we can finally put an end to this era of anything you don’t like being “fake news.”

    But if that many people are fine with so much pure evil so long as abortion is outlawed or immigrants are made to suffer? I can’t see a way around that.

  36. Trump needs to spend the rest of his life in jail as he watches his empire slowly dismantled via fines, seizures, lawsuits, and bankruptcy.

  37. I suspect even psychologists know more about white rats than white racism. I don’t get the subconscious stuff myself. So I’m glad you said white supremacists as I am sure that explains a part of racism.

    Last year I raised my consciousness when I came across poet Audre Lorde’s explanation that racism is nourished by, motivated by, and produces a sense of entitlement.

  38. As a much older white man, I believe you say it well. I was one of those who thought America was better than this; now I retreat to *should be* better than this, and eventually might be. I’m hoping California will add another couple million not-yet-received votes (my state’s turnout was lower than it should have been), at least 2/3 for Biden, and that New York will also add a bunch–but those ghastly 70+ million voters won’t disappear, and unless Stacey Abrams is super-effective over the next few weeks, neither will Mitch the Enabler. I’m happy for Joe and Kamala (and irritated as hell at the continued put-downs of an intelligent, emphatic man who still deals with stuttering problems), but I’m sad we couldn’t do better. And not ready to welcome all the racists/misogynists/me first, everybody else last crowd with open arms.

  39. Thank you for saying this. I cannot understand how anyone, understanding what he is could have voted for Trump. People had to have lied through their teeth on polls. How could a person tell a poll that they felt that the nation was going in the wrong direction & vote for Trump? This makes more sense. Like you I am deeply disappointed. Thank the lord for black voters.

  40. The only thing that puzzles me is that someone who’s spent much of the last twenty years in Trump country is surprised in the slightest by this outcome. You *live* with these people, John. You absolutely should know better.

  41. The reason many voted for trump and for republicans is a combination of things. Some of them are the one issue voters, who solidly believe that the liberals want to allow late term or post term abortions, or allow open unlimited unregulated uncounted immigration with free welfare for the asking, or full on communist socialism, basically 100% tax and a flat rate welfare.
    They have chosen who they want to believe, and don’t want to reverse their whole worldview. They thought trump was a good idea as a “successful” businessman, and didn’t look farther. They then believed him about “biased liberal media” which further limited their information sources. There’s no point to fact checking for them, because they already believe the fact checkers are biased.
    If even a part of your news/information source is social media, it’s a problem, because we don’t all see the same world through social media. Liberals see a liberal world, right wing sees a right wing world, conspiracy believers see more conspiracy stories. It’s both a matter of who you follow, and algorithms showing more stuff similar to what you click on. It pushes people farther and farther from the middle. It’s horribly divisive, in what I think is a truly damaging way.
    The combination of one issue voters, divisive individualized world views through social media, and widespread conspiracy stories spread through social media means nearly all trump voters could see no other reasonable way to vote. They think trump is telling them the truth, and don’t pay enough attention to his actual words to see that he even lies saying he never said something he said in a press conference days before. They think Biden is a corrupt career politician, taking money for himself and his family wherever and from whoever he can get it from, but any stories about trump doing similar must be lies. They believe the claims about late term vanity abortions without evidence. They believe the voter fraud claims without evidence. They see any counter-evidence as false, because they were told there would be false counter-evidence at the beginning.
    Even Gulianni is claiming vote counting issues with republican observers being kicked out, that is patently false, and already acknowledged as false by the republican party’s lawyers before he even said it. But once the statement is out there the trumpists will repeat it, repost it, etc.

    We really need Mitch out of control of the senate, at this point he’s likely not even going to allow hearings on Biden’s appointments. He’s going to do everything he can to make the next 4 years a disaster and lay the blame on Biden, He will let the country burn to get his party back in the presidency.

  42. I really shouldn’t be amazed at just HOW racist so much of America is anymore, but it keeps managing to surprise me. The newest, for this election, is this stuff I have been seeing about for the last week (so presumably it’s older than that but my asshole purges of social media are imperfect) claiming that it’s a done deal for Pelosi to use the 25th Amendment to remove Biden and put Harris in charge.

    Not only does this nonsense reveal just how fundamentally these folks fail to actually understand the content of the Constitution (you need 2/3 of both House and Senate to make this stick, fools!) but it shows how nothing is ever White Enough. As John said, Biden is suuuuuuper white. But having a person of color who could POSSIBLY MAYBE become president, nope, that’s too far. And the idea that this would be the plan rather than just running Harris reveals a lot too. She was a primary candidate! We could have run her if she was who most of us wanted! But nope, they see any melanin anywhere it must be some sort of conspiracy to get one over on white folks.

    In case you wondered, the person I saw floating this was an older white woman.

  43. And I am wary up here in Canada. As noted: there are people who’d rather see my Canada annexed by a Trumpist regime, or if they can’t make that happen, transform us into Northern Trumpistan by their own efforts.

    There is a real new fascist international in the world.

  44. I originally thought that we would have a different result with the pandemic if Hillary Clinton had won in 2016. As time has passed, I don’t really think things would be different had someone competent been running the show. There is a substantial minority in the US that just can’t/won’t think about the collective good.
    While I’m not a practicing Christian, I don’t see how you can reconcile a vote for Trump versus Biden with any reasonable interpretation of the faith I learned as a child. This is not new to our country since I felt the same way in 2004 when Bush (a man who used his privilege to avoid active service and then proceeded to start an unneeded war) won more votes than John Kerry (someone who came from similar privilege, served with distinction, and then was tarred because he was repentant for his participation in an immoral war – what is more christian than that?).
    While I’m glad that Biden won, I don’t really feel hopeful for the future since the 70M who voted for him are still here and they will still be flying those flags and trucks … and Mitch McConnell.
    Thank you for your words John.

  45. Note to evangelicals specifically: Today Joe Biden attended church and Donald Trump played golf. Just pointing out the obvious.

  46. Scott Aaronson had this over at Shetl–Optimised: ‘A friend commented that Biden’s victory becomes more impressive after you contemplate the enthusiasm gap: Trump’s base believed that Trump was sent by God, whereas Biden’s base believed that Biden probably wasn’t a terrible human being. I replied that what we call the “Enlightenment” was precisely this, the switch from cowering before leaders who were sent by God to demanding leaders who probably aren’t terrible human beings.’

  47. I’m stunned that you still think Biden is that much of an improvement over Donald Trump. This is, after all, the man who gave us the Federal Three Strikes laws (that disproportionately target minorities), Private Prisons (that are legalized slavery), harsher sentences for victimless crimes, and making it impossible for those who had to resort to student loans to get through college to ever get their heads above water. Those are not the actions of a “a decent, if uninspiring, former Vice President with a long and solid track record of competent governance” — any more than GET OUT is a warm hug for liberals.

    While I’m mildly pleased Biden won, largely because I don’t have to listen to you all whine about “ORANGE MAN BAD!” for four more years? Let’s not forget it was HILLARY who made “President Trump” possible through her “Pied Piper” strategy — and that Donald Trump is a symptom of a decades-long problem with the Democratic Party’s pro-corporate, Rightward shift…and the Republicans’ descent into Ken Russell levels of murderous religious fanaticism!

    And I reiterate — if you’ve demanded Bernie Sanders, he’ve Blown Trump and the entire Right Wing out of the water….

  48. Gulianni
    Copy edit: Giuliani

    Though possibly alluding to the popular alternative: Ghouliani?
    According to the Urban Dictionary, used by Ron Paul supporters. I think that definition needs updating.

    No issues with the post, though 60 years ago I’d say the white population was considerably more racist than it is now, though capable of being shocked by the more brutal manifestations of racism. But I am, or I was, pretty sure we’d moved on from that considerably at some point, and now it’s back again. (This is also written from the perspective of a white male – one who remembers the 60s.)

  49. Scalzi, you posted a literate and apt rejoinder to an unhealthy election (which barely showed US decency IMO) – and what I’d expect from a good writer. I have a question – and now I must employ a classist slur but I don’t mean to be nasty about it. Anyway, I’d always assumed most aware voters against Trump had understood him (& supporters) to represent “White Trash” thinking. Literally. But when I read & listen to intelligent folks fighting Trumpness, well, no one seems willing to use such slurs even when appropriate! Yes, they use high nasty intellectualness, but isn’t that being too delicate? I ask this because I’m thinking delicacy won’t have much effect on Trump voters.

  50. One victory of this election was the huge turnout. The second was the clear flex of power POC and other minority voters showed. The needs to not be forgotten; you know the Republicans won’t forget it.

    All of us need to do do what we can to help communities that have been historically underrepresented at the polls to be able to get there, to get their friends there, and vote in safety and without intimidation.

    And if you are a Republican appalled at what your party has become, it’s time to start a new party. This one has left you and shows no sign of coming back.

  51. Yes, this. Sadly, the Cult of Trump isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s now the political equivalent of a loose nuke, and every right-wing dictator wannabe out there (looking at YOU, Senator Cotton) is just itching to get their hands on the PAL codes. The fight isn’t over by any means.

  52. My thoughts are similar to yours. I cannot emphasize enough how much it bothers me that so many millions of Americans are comfortable with racism and/or being led by a racist, good with corruption, misogyny, etc. etc. etc. It’s dispiriting to know this about one’s country.

  53. This was really good, and I can’t disagree with any of it. But, if I may: in a time when Native erasure is such a problem, and an election season when even CNN happily lumped is into a category called “something else,” please try to include us specifically when discussing race and elections. Native communities fought long and hard for the right to vote, and are still struggling with issues related to it, and it really hurts to just be lumped into “other” over and over again.

  54. When I’ve listened to Trump voters explain their vote, they rarely tell the truth, but even the lie is bad enough.

    “Because my (paycheck/401k/income) is higher with Trump.”

    We have words for people who will ignore morals and basic human ethics for money. Two of them are “mercenary” and “whore.” That gives me problems because I’d like to have a higher opinion of my fellow man than that.

  55. I live in N. Alabama, and 4 years ago there were trump signs in front of just about every other house. This year I saw quite a few more Biden/Harris signs than trump signs. In fact, I think I only saw 3 trump signs in all my driving around recently, and neighbors that I remember for sure had them in 2016 didn’t have them this year. That made me hopeful, and I really expected landslide voting for Biden/Harris. After all, we voted for a Democratic Senator in a special election in 2017. I was quite disappointed and scared when the results poured in and that wasn’t the case. (And who elects a football coach for a senator? Really?) Statewide the percentages were roughly the same for trump as in 2016. With more people overall voting in 2020 one would think that the number of trump signs in yards would have increased also.

    I have no idea why the political signs were largely absent. Were people afraid to express their preference because they knew that trump was a piece of shit and were embarrassed that they were voting for him? Were the republicans trying a strategy to make everyone else think that they weren’t voting, that Biden was ahead, and trying to keep Democrats from even going to the polls? Who knows.

    I’m still apprehensive about the next four years (Mitch is going to be a pain in the ass), and the 2024 election. I’m going to do what I can to get the young people I work with engaged in the next elections. I’m a robotics coach at a Title I school, and I feel like many of my current and former students who are old enough to vote didn’t this time around.

  56. I’m watching this from the UK – where we also have problems – but my aunt in the US knows people who may not like Trump but will vote for him because he’s anti-abortion and in their minds that’s the only thing that matters. As in ‘yes he’s racist – but he’s antiabortion’… ‘I know he doesn’t pay his taxes and that’s bad, but he’s anti-abortion’ etc. etc. There are, sadly still a sizeable percentage of people for whom this is the only thing that matters – that women shouldn’t have the right to choose. (I refuse to can them ‘pro-life’ ; many of the same people want to prevent any form of gnu (sic) control that might prevent e.g. mass shootings, and are pro capital punishment.)

  57. @debrabourne which is ironic because I would bet good money that Trump has paid for (or at least promised to pay for, potentially reneging after the fact) more abortions than has Joe Biden.

  58. The great Blue Whimper of 2020

    I have friends that voted for Trump and I can’t explain why. We had to abstain from political talk so our friendships didn’t suffer. I am not sure if they could explain if they wanted to.

    There are, of course, myriad reasons why people thought Trump would have been better, they drank the Kool-Aid.

    I, though, think a lot of those spoken reasons are just an excuse. I think they are really afraid to see their power in the world faltering. Trump fought for that. I didn’t see any of that, just a sad excuse for a President.

    We should be congratulating ourselves for getting the important one done.

  59. timeliebe: “Bernie Sanders, he’ve Blown Trump and the entire Right Wing out of the water”

    This implies (1) a landslide-capable population of Bernie supporters, (2) who did NOT vote for Biden this year.

    Firsr, no, dont be ridiculous. If that many bernie bros had existed, they would have won the primary in 2016 or 2020 by a landslide. The lurkers do not support bernie in email. There is no giant silent majority for bernie.

    Second, any bernie bro who didnt vote for biden this november, and thereby helped Trump nearly win reelection, need to understand that nobody wants their pout vote. “I will hold my breath until I get exactly what I want why wont anyone compromise with me????” Is not the grand political strategy they think it is.

  60. remusshepherd: I just don’t know what else I can do.

    Please don’t despair. You (and everyone else who voted and worked and fought) accomplished a great deal. It’s just that the fight isn’t over. Remember the line about all it takes for evil to win is for good [people] to do nothing? Still true. You are good people, and you did something, and that’s why we aren’t facing four more years of appallingness in the White House. I don’t blame you for being tired, but can I offer a silver lining? The lack of an anti-Trump means that we can’t stop working–but it is also a reminder that if we did stop working, we’d likely wake up to face another Trump, or worse, in a few years. So . . . let’s not do that, please? Let’s fight to keep that from happening, as hard as we can? When we don’t fight, when we get complacent–well, we get Trump. Among other disasters.

    Chem-Is-Try: And who elects a football coach for a senator? Really?

    Pretty much any state without a pro football team and a major college football program. Seriously, I saw that one coming from a mile away, the moment Tuberville was nominated; the amazing thing, and the thing that gives me hope for Alabama in particular, is that Doug Jones actually beat Roy Moore in the first place.

  61. I keep thinking about the words of experienced peace negotiators: you have to get everyone around the same table, speaking to each other. That’s the only way to resolve conflicts in a lasting way. You don’t have to pretend horrible things didn’t happen, nor that people weren’t responsible for them. But in a deadlocked situation, the only way forward is through speaking. What helps is if you have someone whom all sides can trust. Preferably an outsider.

    I’m emphatically *not* trying to say that the only people in that table should be centrist Democrats and those Republicans who’d care to show up. That’s a far cry from “everyone”.

    Getting someone to change their mind often means that someone actually talks with them, points out the contradictions in their beliefs, in a non-threatening manner. People tend to double down on the most idiotic beliefs if they feel under attack. Their brain just stops working, even if they’re normally intelligent people. And even when they do change their minds, it’s a gradual process; you’re never going to get the satisfaction of seeing someone change their minds about a core belief in front of your eyes. You do often get the satisfaction of them repeating your arguments to someone else, sometimes verbatim, two weeks or two months or two years later. I’ve lost count on the number of people who’ve later come to tell me I’d actually converted them into feminists…

    I think AOC also pointed out in a recent interview that “deep canvassing” was the way to get votes to progressive causes. So, basically, going out and speaking with people. People who might hold horrible beliefs, or at least not mind voting for people who hold horrible beliefs and do horrible things.

    One other thing. People who were scammed by the Trump University tended to give it the highest possible marks when asked to evaluate their experience immediately afterwards. It took time for them to really get to grips with the fact that they’d been scammed. I saw an interview of a “Trump University Graduate” who was asked, at the end, how long it took for him to realize Trump was a con man. The answer was, eight years. And he wasn’t an obvious idiot. Getting to grips with the fact that yes, you were conned, can take time.

    It makes obviously no sense to say that people who’ve been actively hurt by the Trump regime should feel sympathy towards those who want to keep him in power. That’d just be Stockholm syndrome. But I still think trying to get everyone to speak with each other is a requirement. The other option, as one Irish peace negotiator commented, is to let violence speak, and then speak with each other, with the added burden of more people hurt in the meantime.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Looking from the outside.

  62. We’re in the middle of another massive, long-term civil rights movement made up of many movements by marginalized groups. Trump was elected in opposition to those civil rights movements in 2016. Large numbers of white people voted for him again to continue opposition to those civil rights movements. They will continue to try to block, suppress, delegitimize, terrorize and just outright whine about those civil rights movements. The U.S. has always been a white supremacy. It is still a white supremacy. And there are still a lot of white people who want it to stay a white supremacy, or at least enough of one that they feel comfortable in it.

    Trump is and always has been a tool used by others. They will continue to use other people and entire media outlets as tools to oppose civil rights movements. Some white people will eventually adjust their views of themselves to accept some civil rights improvements because of the work of civil rights movements. Others will not. The mostly white folk who run global corporate and finance industry will continue to fund opposition to civil rights movements both openly and through back door channels because they think inequality is a useful tool for controlling work forces and countries. They are our aristocrats and they have a lot more money now than they’ve ever had before. But civil rights movements will continue, all over the world, because people want equality and equal opportunity. They want to be recognized as fully human under the law, despite the violent and economic threats against that.

    There’s still a chance of that in the U.S. It’s always been a long shot. But drops of water can eventually create the Grand Canyon. This time, this election, we had more drops of water than not. And that was due almost entirely to BIPOC voters who broke through voter suppression against their civil rights. If we can get more white drops of water to see their society the way it is, rather than the way white supremacy pretends it is, that can make a great impact towards a real, equal democracy.

  63. Er–editing my post to read “without a pro football team and WITH a major college football program.” Sorry. I’ve really got to preview more carefully!

  64. I don’t know if it’s politically correct to have schadenfreude over innocent white supremacists, but I can’t help but feel glee at having taken my time machine to the not-so-distant future when, statistically, whites are a minority. Not so distant, not at all.

    And yes, it’s politically correct for me to joke about them because I am myself an outwardly white lower/middle class person. (My “middle class” is honorary because I have a degree)

  65. John,

    The thing many of us missed the last 4 years is that Trump is a symptom, not the disease. It was too easy to focus on him simply because he was and is such a vile creature. A vast number of white people, particularly ones in my generation, the baby boomers, are terrified of losing their power. Those of us who fought in the 60’s for racial justice should not have been shocked at the emergence of racism and nativism from their respective closets.

    Racism, nativism and anti-intellectualism are three currents that have underlain American culture since its earliest days. They have only awaited a charismatic figure to remove some of the shame surrounding their expression. Those of us on the left have been confused by the willingness of the least powerful among us supporting those who hurt them the most. In focussing on economics, we missed the deeper undercurrents growing in our culture. Many people have watched the elites rob them blind, and they were awaiting a “savior” who would play to both their worst fears and their anger. Trump came along.

    Most of us, particularly my fellow geezers, do not like or trust change. Too many Americans have bought into the prevailing mythology of the “shining city on a hill”. They reject any attempt to portray our history with its real faults. Rarely since becoming a world power, has the United States lived up to its stated ideals, both domestically and in international relations.

    Finally, we on the left have failed miserably in promoting those ideals and demonstrating their benefits to our fellow citizens.

  66. @remusshepherd You showed up, you did the work, and you helped achieve a victory. (For which rock on / thank you.) Even with 100% Senate anti-cooperation, even if the “coming together” talk translates into excessive compromise (which it may not, it’s a pretty performative part of being elected President – even Trump did it, recall) – having Trump out of the executive branch means a whole host of executive-policy things will, at least, not get worse, and in many cases will start to get better.

    No matter how hard a single person works, they can’t change everything on their own. *You* can’t change everything on your own, and it sounds like you’re driving yourself into the ground trying to do so. Find a pace that’s sustainable for you, weave that into your life for the long haul, and you will – over the long run – have far more impact than if you flare briefly bright and burn yourself out, or pour yourself so hard into things that it’s shattering when victories are not total. Practice consistency, endurance, and resilience rather than intensity and hyperfocus, and it’ll be better both for you and everyone else.

  67. Thanks for, as usual, describing my own thoughts more eloquently than I ever could. I’m aghast at how close this election was. As an old white guy, I am so thankful for non-white (and LGBTQ, disabled, and other) voters who turned out in record numbers to elect Biden/Harris (and Stacey Abrams is a true American hero)!

  68. While in the military I lived in parts of the country that were so close to all-white that throughout most of the state the occasional other was an aberration–places like North Dakota and Wyoming. I’ve visited others where the same situation existed–Idaho, West Virginia, Maine/Vermont/New Hampshire. I’ve also visited parts of some states with a respectable racial balance but areas which are essentially all-white (PA in particular, but also downstate IL, rural MO, and parts of CO).

    Yes, people there voted for the racist, and did so knowingly (or at least with what they perceived to be sufficient window-dressing they could pull a Bart Simpson-like “who, me?”). But I’m not sure it was out-and-out racism on their part that led them to pulling the lever they did; it was more a matter of not caring. People other than they are just don’t exist in their daily life, don’t factor into anything the think of, play no part in their world view and aren’t part of any decision calculus they make. They ignore racism like I ignore religion–it’s out there, it matters to many, they have a theoretical understanding of it and its impact, but it’s not a part of their life. (Similar to those who believe that Trump for all his faults will defend their religious liberty in ways that Biden, who will become a tool of Social Justice Warriors intent on remaking America, won’t. There’s a whole subculture out there that’s bought into that belief HARD.) I’m not trying to excuse their actions, but it’s similar to criticizing me for upgrading my car’s clutch and flywheel when they need replaced rather than going with OEM replacement parts–you’re welcome to pick whatever luxuries you spend money on beyond bare necessities and insert here instead–and donating the difference to a world hunger charity and having at me because I obviously prioritize my selfish driving pleasure over saving starving people in the world and I must be in favor of watching people die from hunger.

    None of this explains voting for someone who has so massively failed in office in every conceivable way, of course, with obvious racism tacked on as a parting gift, a bit of lagniappe.

  69. “He had better keep that promise.” And I hope he will. With an actual choice of several reasonably plausible – in terms of office-holding experience – minority women for his running mate, one hopes some of the others will appear in the administration. I’d like to see Susan Rice as Secretary of State, for one, though I wonder if any Republican senators would dare to vote for her.

  70. I believe it’s the voting machines whose corruptions are responsible for the disparity between the polls and the vote count. Not that there aren’t enormous numbers of racists, but we know many of the machines/systems used are hackable, and have been used to change votes.

  71. @Eric R – THANK YOU for this. I’m copying it to my journal and going to think about it quite a bit. I’m prone to be a person who goes 110% and then burns out. Learning to “weave it into my life for the long haul” is something I need to learn how to do.

    —–
    *You* can’t change everything on your own, and it sounds like you’re driving yourself into the ground trying to do so. Find a pace that’s sustainable for you, weave that into your life for the long haul, and you will – over the long run – have far more impact than if you flare briefly bright and burn yourself out, or pour yourself so hard into things that it’s shattering when victories are not total. Practice consistency, endurance, and resilience rather than intensity and hyperfocus, and it’ll be better both for you and everyone else.

  72. Scalzi, I know you’re bummed out. But everybody who had a public platform and told people “Have a Plan to Vote!” deserves credit. Enough people listened and acted to compensate for the obstacles put up to prevent a fair election. Give yourself a brief pat on the back for helping to get the message out.

    Now for my negativity.

    About 15 years ago I had a thrombosed hemorrhoid. For a month it was always front and center in my thoughts. When it didn’t hurt, it itched. I could never get comfortable. It was even in my dreams!

    Then my doc removed it. Suddenly this horrible thing that dominated my attention was gone. The silence was deafening and blessed. I never thought about it again, except to tell people that the doc showed it to me with the comment “see what I have delivered from you.” (Damn thing was the size of a currant)

    I was hoping to compare Trump’s defeat to this, especially never having to think about him again. But the fact that so many people voted for him even after the last four years means that it isn’t over by a long shot. A more accurate analogy would be that they took out the hemorrhoid only to find cancer. Not immediately life-threatening, but needing treatment. Unpleasant and interminable treatment with nasty side effects like chemo.

    It’s not going to be fun.

  73. I very much don’t accept the numbers generated by exit polling of Election Day voters. They are massively not representative of the electorate. (Think about it. You know why).

    But I very much accept the reality of 70 million plus voters who embrace white supremacy. That is stark and undeniable.

    (What’s also undeniable is that “Sanders would have done better” are idiots. They’re practicing identity politics of their own, because there are a number of Congressional seats lost because of socialism charges made by the Republican victors)

    Policy doesn’t matter nearly as much as identity. And America is starkly divided on identity issues…and one of those identities is white supremacy.

  74. It’s undeniable that 70 million people consciously voted for Trump.

    But I think it’s also undeniable that the Republicans tried their very, very hardest to steal this election, from purging voter rolls to closing polling places to trying to throw out votes to straight-up putting illegal fake ballot boxes in place. They did everything they could to screw BIPOC while making it dastardly simple for white communities to vote. Successfully voting as a Republican was like biking downhill, while successfully voting as a Democrat was like crawling through mud, barbed wire, and vicious dogs.

    And Trump still lost. Can you imagine how lopsided the vote might have been if the Voting Rights Act was still in place and Republicans hadn’t put more effort into voter suppression than getting out their own votes?

  75. Just to note that there are still plenty of votes to be reported (including in states that were called long ago), so your absolute voting numbers that you’ve included are no longer current. For example, right now Trump has over 71.1m votes, versus the 70.4m you mentioned.

  76. Fear sells. Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a wave of fear of immigrant caravans. This time it was fear of socialism, antifa and riots. If you listen to the people who voted trump despite misgivings they almost all stated either socialism or antifa burning down cities as their primary motivation. Sadly, a significant portion of our population can be swayed by fear and their primary source of information is the Facebook bubble.

  77. My youngest was discussing this very thing with me Friday night. She was frustrated as she wiped away tears that she “didn’t even know why” she was crying. I assured it was a perfectly normal emotional reaction to the horror of so many people acting, through their vote, the way they did. I told my life has, in many ways, trained me to expect the worst. But I had allowed myself to hope more white Americans would reject what we’ve seen these past four years. I don’t usually let myself hope and am still working through my own cPTSD. The past five years have been really rough on me. I even thought I was ready for 2016. I expected him to win, though I hoped against hope he might not. Fortunately, by then I was in the early months of therapy after my ASD diagnosis. My therapist helped me get through. The months immediately after remain a jumble to me.

    Discussing the emotional weight, my daughter and I agreed it felt a lot like the end of the Buffy musical episode, “Once More, With Feeling”. In particular, these lines stand out.

    “The battle’s done and we kinda won
    So we sound our victory cheer
    Where do we go from here?”

    This result is so much better than the alternative. We have reason to hope there will be some progress. Reason to hope some lives will be saved. Reason to hope some brutal injustices will be faced and reversed.

    But more than 70 million people, mostly white, remained all in on the horror show. They are that invested in white supremacy.

    Where *do* we go from here?

  78. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen and experienced these past four+ years is just a small slice of American history. It seems different to us because “we’re” experiencing it, but the one constant in our country’s history has been the strategy of those in power staying in power by demonizing “the other” and pitting one or more groups against the others. Pick a time, a decade, an era, a region of the country, etc, and analyze how the so-called “power elite” has been able to retain their power by following this strategy. And, unfortunately, there are powerful structural, historical and cultural barriers to breaking this cycle. And there are people in this country who don’t want the cycle broken. While we’re wiping our brows and saying “whew!” and congratulating ourselves on sending Trump packing, we must remember that Trump was NOT the cause of all this – he is a symptom – and not all of the 70+ million people who voted for him (and the countless other millions who didn’t vote at all) are racist or homophobic or misogynistic or anti Semitic, but a lot of them are. We’ve got to figure out a way to help our friends and family and neighbors and Americans we’ve never met break the fever of hate and fear and join the tribe of inclusion.

  79. “because they’d rather be on the top of a pile of ashes than just another part of anything else”
    Julius Caesar said that he would sooner be first man in a village than second man in Rome.
    Presumably, if you can’t be first man in the village, burn it down, and sit on the ashes …

  80. The thing that gets me is not just that tens of millions of Americans voted for a blatant racist, but that they voted for one who arguably got hundreds of thousands of Americans killed and put millions more in harm’s way. What in the living hell is up with that?

    It was only when I recalled my favorite anecdote from Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, one that I will probably be repeating to people on my deathbed (along with the instruction, “Yo, read this book”), that I realized that this was predictable and not an anomaly.

    As I remember the anecdote, it concerned a money dispute between a black sharecropper and a white landowner. The dispute was resolved in favor of the landowner, despite the fact that THE SHARECROPPER’S ARITHMETIC WAS CORRECT AND THE LANDOWNER’S WASN’T.

    This aroused my ire like hardly anything else in the book – it was absolutely offensive not only to my inner fighter of injustice, but my inner math geek. It really drove home to me how much racism in those days messed with people’s heads, to the extent that they couldn’t recognize the truth if it was placed in front of them.

    I should have realized that this was more than an illustration of how racism worked in the bad old days. I should have realized that Wilkerson was telling her readers (especially her white readers, including me) that this was how racism worked back then, and how it works RIGHT NOW.

    And that, for me, is what makes sense of the incontrovertible fact that millions of Americans voted to keep a fatally incompetent president rather than risk ceding power.to people of color, or women, or LGBTQ+ folk, or non-Christians, or anyone else other than a straight, white cis male.

    (It makes me think maybe the black Democrats who voted for Biden in the primary knew what they were doing – that they knew white Americans would pay more serious attention to warnings from a white Christian patriarchal figure than to anybody else running. If true, this does not speak well of their opinions of their white fellow-citizens, but I would have a hard time arguing their assessment was unjustified.)

  81. I only disagree with you on one word.

    This was not *disappointing*

    This was *heartbreaking*

  82. I’d argue that the closeness of this race is attributable, in part, to foot-stompery on the left, in particular among Burnie or Busters bent on taking out their frustration and disillusionment with the democratic party on those not privileged enough to survive a four-year-long spanking under GOP control.

    I think there was a rather large blue-face contingent who either stayed home, defected to the right or voted third party.

    I am so glad that, at least for now, their efforts proved unsuccessful and that those with actual skin in the game were able to neutralize the threat they posed, if only temporarily.

  83. While I do not mean to excuse any of the people who voted for Trump–including, sadly, several of my close relatives, I would like to point out what is at least a small mitigating factor for your dismay. These statistics are based on exit polls, which, to my understanding, means polls of people exiting the voting locations on election day. Millions of white people voted early or by mail. Their numbers were overwhelmingly for the decent man. Hopefully, when those totals are examined, we white people–and especially white women– come off a LITTLE better than what is shown by exit polling the November 3 in-person voters.

  84. These statistics are based on exit polls, which, to my understanding, means polls of people exiting the voting locations on election day.

    Edison Research, which does the national polls, also surveyed mail-in voters for the exit polls.

  85. While there are plenty of Trump voters who are truly deplorable, there are also plenty who are mostly deceived. For example, see the statement in this tweet: https://twitter.com/_ElizabethMay/status/1325756718350036992 – literally nothing this person (not Elizabeth May!) says about Biden is true. We can’t do a lot about the truly deplorable, other than deplatform them and apply social consequences (and legal consequences, where appropriate) so they are afraid of coming out of the shadows, but how do we reach the deceived and teach them to recognize truth from deception?

  86. What I am really puzzled about (as a Brit, btw) is why so many non-white people voted Republican (I gather this was enough to swing Florida to the Republicans). Assuming they didn’t actively vote *for* Trump, what was it about Republican policies or attitudes that appealed to them? Or, conversely, what did they dislike about Democrat policies or attitudes? I hope the Democrats explore that.

    An analogy here is why so many northern English, working-class, people voted Conservative/Boris Johnson in the 2019 general election, many of whom had previously voted Labour. One explanation is that Labour had become too ‘metropolitan’, and ignored issues such as immigration and patriotism which genuinely mattered to many of those people, and to whom the Conservatives appealed. It’s certainly giving the Labour party an uphill struggle for the future.

  87. I’m grappling with this today – I have family members that voted for Trump this time around that I really didn’t expect to. One in particular, who voted for Gary Johnson in 2016, stated that the president “proved himself” to her and earned her vote this year. Setting aside the obvious WTFery of believing that, I think it comes down to 1) having a priority being their tax bills and economic performance (with everything else, from Covid to insurgent white supremacy, taking second place because it “doesn’t directly affect” her), 2) being that she’s a small business owner, fear that Biden will double the minimum wage and thus double her payroll expenses, driving her out of business (I’ll be shocked if that particular fear comes true), and 3) intentionally closing herself off from trustworthy news sources because it’s “too much drama.”

    Point 3 is the most troublesome, because I think she’s unwittingly enclosed herself in a misinformation bubble, where she can discount anything she hears that challenges her biases but is still exposed to all the right-wing propaganda that like-minded people share. She’s on the brink of being sucked completely into the Bizarro world of right-wing conspiracy nonsense. I don’t know how to pull her back from that, or how to explain to her that passive acceptance of a racist status quo because it “doesn’t directly affect” you is still a racist act, or that just because you refuse to engage with racism in your country doesn’t mean it’s not happening or that you’re not complicit in supporting it by voting for Trump.

  88. @Susanpeak:

    From what I understand, black men are irritated with the democratic party’s elevation of black women and of their more than appropriate characterization of that demographic as the backbone of the party.

    Many of them appear to be taking their cues from the Moynihan report and attributing their difficulties to uppity black women who won’t let them “lead,” either in their households or in their communities.

    For the record, I think this is bullshit, but…

    They view democrats and their agenda as complicit in their emasculation and invisibility and are throwing in with a party that appears to “respect” manhood.

    Add to that the African American community’s conservative streak and you’ve got yourself a black enclave of Trump town.

    The punditry seems to be attributing Hispanic flight to rightwing scaremongering RE: socialism and communism.

    Apparently, this strategy proved very effective among Floridian Cubans and Venezuelans who fled oppressive socialist and communist governments.

    There’s also the little matter of passing, self-loathing and internalized racism.

    On a semi-related note, the problem, I think, is that a good portion of the electorate is comprised of ruthless privilege guardians and apathetic cynics wholly concerned with their own survival and that of those they care about.

    As far as they’re concerned, it’s every individual and demographic for themselves.

    Don’t believe me, just look at Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, Fifty Cent (not buying his change of heart), Kanye West and Steve Harvey.

    They pay lip service to giving back to and uplifting black America but, at the end of the day, they’re pro-bootstrapping one-percenters concerned with their bank accounts and like Trump’s tax cuts.

  89. The last few weeks I have been stuck in a superposition of leaving the country and shopping for a house. If Trump got elected, the game was over–I would not bet on having any other meaningful election again in my lifetime. I refuse to raise my kid in an autocratic state that would probably kill me one way or another.

    But he didn’t win. We can vote and fight another day. Seeing all the videos of people celebrating in Philadelphia and New York brought tears of joy–this, too, is America.

    We’ve got an amazingly bad shitshow to cleanup, and about 40% of the electorate needs some post-WWII denazification (yes, even the ones who weren’t militia-types, like Scalzi’s neighbors). But demographics are on our side, IF people are motivated to vote and IF we cut out voter suppression root and stem (vote in your damn Secretary of State elections, folks–they run the elections! And put the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact on your state’s ballot if they haven’t signed on yet!).

    The DNC is bad at its job and sucks, and donations to most candidates (unless hyperlocal, like mayors or state reps) fund ads and events, not GOTV. Local doorknocking efforts are more important than changing minds in the current political environment–most state Democratic parties take these duties on (though some are incompetent, like Florida) as well as various NGOs. I really hope Stacey Abrams gets to overhaul the DNC (or any other damn job she wants) but if that org decides to continue choosing bobbleheaded impotence, funding Fair Fight is the next best thing: https://fairfight.com/

    I rewatched Mad Max: Fury Road recently, and the moral of that movie is that greener pastures are frequently illusory; fleeing isn’t the answer if you have any resources to fight with. Instead you have to make regime change happen where you are.

    We’ve started that. There is hope. Let’s keep going.

  90. bsparks: leaving a right wing echo chamber is about as hard as leaving a cult. I grew up in a very insular right wing world, and coming to terms with how … wrong … it was about the rest of humanity took a decade of struggle to recover from. I still catch myself caught up in some nonsense from my childhood every once in a while.

    There is no easy way out of a cult. And no one in a cult is going to go through all that work, go through the complete destruction of their identity, just because you post a link to factcheck.com.

    On an individual level, a person might get someone to look at and realize they’re in a cult by establishing a deep connection of some kind with that person, being extremely generous with them, and walking them through the process. But its not something you can copy/paste over the internet.

    https://aeon.co/essays/why-its-as-hard-to-escape-an-echo-chamber-as-it-is-to-flee-a-cult

    I wish you luck.

    Susan: cuban americans who fled communism under Fidel and settled in florida were targeted by republicans telling them Biden was a communist. And apparenly a lot of Cuban americans believed it.

    Basically, what convinces people to vote against their own self interest is always the same thing: effective propaganda.

    Sarah:”I’d argue that the closeness of this race is attributable, in part, to foot-stompery on the left, in particular among Burnie”

    It wasnt that close. Trump supporters claim it was extremely close, but it was SLOW, because mailin balllots were counted after election day.

    Also keep in mind that the vast majority of Bernie supporters voted for Hillary in 2016. Only 1 in 10 voted for Trump. And they were conservative independents who would likely never vote for a democrat. Bernie supporters arent a large monolithic far-left group, but rather a small group of independent minded people from wildly different political positions and nothing you say would ever get all of them to vote all the same.

    The biggest reason Trump got so many votes wasnt a small sliver of independent-conservative Bernie supporters ended up voting for trump, but that the US is mostly (60%) white and most (60%) white people dont have a problem with a racist bigot in the white house.

  91. Hence my use of the words “in part.”

    I also stated my suspicions that many chose to either stay home or vote third party, something many of them threatened to do when Biden, then Harris were announced.

    I spent three days glued to the coverage and am alright with stating that Biden maintained slim leads, particularly in PA, GA and AZ.

    Hint: I wasn’t watching Fox News or lifting stats from Trump and co.

    I don’t believe Romney’s assertion that America is primarily a right-leaning nation, even if whites are the majority.

    As for what I would or wouldn’t say to butthurt Burnie voters, I’d say nothing.

    All I can do is hope that they either join our coalition or form their own party and grow it so that it becomes a viable, autonomous and formidable threat to the democrats.

    I’m voting for the latter option, as the infighting will accomplish nothing other than providing amusement for the other side and hampering everything we want to do.

    Part of being an independent thinker is holding the folks who are supposed to be on your side accountable for their contribution to a less than ideal political outcome.

    I have nine fingers pointed at Trumpists but I refuse to be so cowardly and disingenuous as to force the tenth to point anywhere else but at the portion of the electorate who vowed to pitch a fit if they didn’t get a pony.

    If nose-holding “independent minded” Hillary voters checked their frustration at the voting booth (hell, blacks have been doing this for democrats for decades) and voted for Biden this election cycle, good for them; they have no reason to be triggered by criticism of those who didn’t.

    Those who are triggered ought to think about why said criticism bothers them.

    One thing’s clear; I sure as hell don’t owe it to them to keep quiet.

  92. That’s what killed me about the election this year when the numbers were coming in. My dad was one of the folks who was all for the wall and thought it would be good to shake things up by voting for Trump in 2016. Other folks I knew held their noses and voted for him against Hillary.

    Okay, I can see people doing that in 2016 and be annoyed with it, but okay. But the fact that he got millions of those same folks to vote for him AGAIN?! Yeah, that was super disheartening. Were we on different planets or something?

  93. I think misogyny and racism came into play as well. Love Kamala Harris, I think she’ll do a great job, but I think she was part of the reason Biden didn’t get more votes as a very white moderate and religious candidate. A lot of those Trump voters won’t vote for a ticket that has a woman VP, and most especially a brown woman VP.

    I find it more than a bit ironic that the candidate who is actually religious (Biden) was not preferred by all the white people who claim to be devoutly religious. Instead those faux religionists went for the grifter who is antithetical to the Jesus these white people claim to revere.

  94. Sarah : “Part of being an independent thinker is holding the folks who are supposed to be on your side”

    In 2016, Bernie got support from about a million independent conservatives who then voted for trump in the general election. While it may be fun to portray Bernie as a “spoiler” or as some sort of a “stab in the back” betrayer, while it may be easier to simplify hus supporters as all being Hillary supporters until Bernie came along and ruined everything, those million ondependent-conservatives were NEVER going to vote for Hillary. Bernie didnt betray the democrat party. Those conservatives were never on your side.

  95. It’s quite easy, as that was exactly what many of them threatened to do, in 2016 and 2020.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/democrats-confront-a-never-biden-contingent-127438

    Far be it from me to doubt their sincerity.

    It may be easy to strawman what I’ve said so that you can trot out the “Leave Burney or Busters Aloooooooone!” defense, but again, reread my post; I’m not going to repeat myself because you are too triggered to comprehend what I actually said.

    And again, one has to wonder why so triggered.

    In the end, neither the Busters gone Trumpers nor the tantrum throwers got their way this time around, and that’s all I care about.

    It may be fun to projectile vomit your defensiveness all over someone who will never, ever agree with you, but I personally prefer a good book, myself.

    If you’re part of that small but determined cadre of disgruntled “progressives” whose outrage over “pragmatic” democrat candidates (I had this discussion with you in the Kamala thread, leftwingmothertrucker) who behaved in the three distinct ways I outlined in my initial post, tough.

    It may be safer to delegate 100 percent responsibility to right-leaning voters, but most of us don’t like to hide in moral cowardice or disingenuousness.

    I’m not going to go back and forth with you like I did in the Kamala thread; I said what I meant and meant what I said.

    If that bothers you, tough.

  96. And because clapback’s should be clear, here’s how this sentence should read:

    “If you’re part of that small but determined cadre of disgruntled “progressives” whose outrage over “pragmatic” democrat candidates (I had this discussion with you in the Kamala thread, leftwingmothertrucker) prompted them to behave in the three distinct ways I outlined in my initial post, tough.

  97. gwangung sez: I very much don’t accept the numbers generated by exit polling of Election Day voters. They are massively not representative of the electorate. (Think about it. You know why).

    Okay, I’ll take a stab at it! I think you’re implying that the exit polls can’t be right because they only sampled voters voting on election day.

    But.

    Give ’em some credit, they’re not total morons. They’ve been surveying people who voted early (in person and by mail). I certainly ain’t saying that we should all accept exit polls as gospel, especially so soon — good analysis of exit polls typically takes a few months even in a, shall we say, more conventional election.

  98. Sarah: “you are too triggered”

    Here is the triggered and emotionally charged language you used to describe Bernie voters:

    foot stompery, blue faced, taking out their frustration on teh democratic party, butt hurt, pitch a fit if they didn’t get a pony

    I haven’t used ANY emotionally loaded language like that. I keep pointing to the poll data from 2016 that shows that the Bernie supporters who ended up votign for Trump in 2016 were CONSERVATIVE independents. They weren’t butt hurt left wingers. They were CONSERVATIVES. They werent holding their breath and stomping their feet frustrated with the Democrat party, they were CONSERVATIVES. Of the 13 million Bernie supporters, about one million were conservatives who voted for Trump when Bernie lost the nomination.

    You’re emotional charged language doesn’t match the statistics of how people actually voted.

    ““If you’re part of that small but determined cadre of disgruntled “progressives” whose outrage over “pragmatic” democrat candidates”

    I’m pragmatic. I’m looking at the overall polling data. I don’t care as much what some talking head or blowhard says on some show or internet discussion. I care how people actually voted. If we want to discuss how people react when their favorite candidate loses the primary, I can well recall a number of Hillary supporters “pitching a fit” (mind reading is fun!) because Obama beat Hillary back in the 2008 primary. I recall Hillary dragging out her endorsement of Obama for a LOOOONGGGG time after it was clear Obama won.

    The number of people who were Bernie supporters, who were left-leaning, who then voted for Trump, because they were butt hurt, foot stomping, fit pitching, frustrated with the dem party, is statistically insignificant and has nothing to do with being a Bernie supporter specifically. Most Bernie supporters voted for Hillary.

    That to me doesn’t look very pragmatic. It looks like you’re holding grudges out of proportion to what actually happened, using emotionally charged language to override polling data that points to a very different and much more mundane reality from what you’re describing.

  99. TheChattyIntrovert: “My dad was one of the folks who was all for the wall”

    This sadly epitomizes the situation. Nearly two-thirds of undocumented immigrants come into the country by plane. Another large chunk of them come into the U.S. by boat. Another segment come into the country through the Canadian border, not Mexico. A lot of them come in on temporary work or student visas and simply overstay those. A decent percentage of undocumented immigrants are “white” or appear so and some of those get through the Mexican border due to bigotry assumptions about white people not being a problem. Those who aren’t white and are getting across the enormous Mexican border can go to many spots where there is no wall and cross. And even those attempting the wall can pretty easily climb over it or go through tunnels under it. The “wall,” both what’s there and what was being proposed to be built, are basically useless at stopping ninety percent of undocumented immigrants, except for the poorest and most desperate coming up from Central and South America. The number of undocumented Latino immigrants coming through from Mexico had actually declined substantially for a number of reasons up until major collapses in some Central American countries and none of those reasons were the border walls. The border walls are simply security theater, not a deterrent.

    All of that information takes about two minutes to find on the Internet. The wall for your dad and other supporters isn’t real as a wall. It’s a symbol and sadly we know what it’s a symbol of. Those who support Trump aren’t doing so then or now for substantive policy. They’re doing it for the pageantry that says they’re the real Americans and they are powerful.

    And sadly, it is quite hard to get most of them to deal with facts over pageantry, to persuade them to give up the idea that they are the chosen, righteous Americans and are justly powerful and can “shake things up” with violent chaos. It’s hard to get them to even acknowledge that refugee immigrants are required by law to enter the country without documents and then apply for asylum. Instead they pretend that those refugees — who are following the law the right way — are coming into the country “the wrong way” and thus deserve to have their children kidnapped and/or be shoved in cages with no running water. Because that shows how powerful they are. Getting someone to give up social, economic and political status, no matter how cruel and nonsensical it may be to have, whether real or perceived, is very difficult. Even though paying all those grifters and crony contractors for real and imagined wall panels cost them tax money that could go to other things like crumbling roads and bridges, they’d rather have the empty symbol and parade more people with guns in front of it.

    Right now, they’re scrambling to prop up a lot of those empty but violent symbols in the wake of the elections. I am truly tired of spilled blood and long-time harm over useless and dehumanizing symbols.

  100. Not triggered, but accurate and based on their own stated intentions.

    I made a rather surgical observation. You made a caricature of what I posted and ran from there, just as you did in the Kamala thread, leftwingmothertrucker/stoptheworldiwanttogetoff/ whoever you are.

    I understand that you may be invested in my being wrong about the Never Biden faction, but that’s really not my problem.

    As I said, we’re never going to agree; let’s see which one of us has the bigger problem with that.

    Lastly, while I sincerely hope that your sock puppet decided against their decision to spank democrats for nominating Biden, I’m glad to see that they were neutralized.

  101. To all here who rejoice in the Biden-Harris victory, we need to remind ourselves of this sobering fact: Nov. 3, 2020, was the *second* most important election of our lifetimes.

    The most important election of our lifetimes: The next one. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, the midterms. Repeat until you understand that the next one will always be the most important election of your lifetimes, throughout your lifetimes.

    In the two modern Democratic presidencies pre-Biden, the midterms presented a bloodbath for the ruling party — 1994 gave us the Gingrich/Contract with America revolution and 2010 gave us the Tea Party. Newt Gingrich’s reign of terror as speaker lasted 4 years, but perhaps the biggest reason Americans consistently hold Congress in contempt was because he remade Congress in his image in that short time. The Tea Party was a populist wave, albeit a producerist one, yet in harsh contrast to the harsh discipline of the Gingrich era … the Tea Party era pre-Trump was chaotic, undisciplined and had disbelief in governance.

    What would the GOP coalesce around for 2022 without Trump? I think it will be Qanon. There are about a half-dozen Qanon believers who were elected last week. Imagine 218 of them with the levers of power in the House, or a few of them posing a viable primary challenge for a safe red Senate seat (think about a Qanon believer standing by a veto point in the upper chamber).

  102. Sarah: “I made a rather surgical observation.”

    “Butt hurt” is not surgical. You are not the unbiased neutral observer you keep claiming to be.

    “based on their own stated intentions”

    Kamal criticized Biden on busing and race during the primary, trying to drag voters away from Biden. Based on your inflexible sense of perfect justice, she can never be forgiven for turning away even one vote.

    Yet you didnt count her when you listed the voters you shall never forgive for their words.

    You are bringing in your own bias that justifies you using emotionally charged words to denigrate folks not exactly perfectly aligned with you, and then you call it “surgery”.

    And when i try to bring polling data to your emotionally charged name calling, you call me “triggered” and start the ad hominems and call me a sock puppet.

    We wont agree because Im just trying to point out you are bringing your own bias to this grudge, and you cant admit you are being anything but surgically perfect.

    It is not “pragmatic” to hold a grudge with all this emotional charge to it, when actual polling data says the number of people who fit your accusation dissappear into statistical noise.

    But if everyone who disagrees with you is fake news, butt hurt, and triggered, then yeah, we wont agree.

  103. I was really disheartened by how many folks voted for him. And by the fact that half of us couldn’t believe anyone would vote for him and half of us couldn’t believe he didn’t win. That disconnect, those different realities we inhabit, seem profound and unbridgeable.

    People talk about the importance of giving to grassroots groups. I want to give to a grassroots group that will help bring white voters in swing states (and then the rest of the country) off the ledge. Will help them see themselves in the future that the left is trying to create. Will give them a place to belong that isn’t with an incompetent fascist. Because those folks shit the bed massively in 2016 and 2020, and they will continue to shit the bed moving forward unless we manage to peel some percentage of them off onto our side. People are praising the work of black, native, and (some) latinx voters, rightfully so. But there were also a number of Republicans that voted for Biden (hence the disappointing congressional results) that helped us win. The majority of white folks voted for the nazi, but almost half of us didn’t. And I don’t know that “white people are trash” rhetoric is gonna help us get where we need to be in 2022 and 2024. But then, I also don’t know how you combat a media machine that has people convinced that up is down and right is left and hot is cold. It is really disturbing to see how out of touch and manipulatable the right seems to be. Not that the left are such hot shakes either, but jesus – to think that the man who tanked the post office to fix the election is the victim of fraud is just hard to take.