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What should the left make of the US election result?

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 am, November 10th, 2020 - 76 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, election 2020, jacinda ardern, Joe Biden, uncategorized, us politics - Tags:

What should we make of the election result?  My responses as the results have rolled in have varied from fear to hope to optimism to happiness to what the f&*k happened?

I am pleased, so pleased that Trump lost.  But why was it even close?  Sure Biden dominated the East Coast and the West Coast and the North and the urban centres and he won the popular vote by over 4 million votes but how did Trump get 70 million people voting for him?

Was it a triumph for the progressive left in America?  If so why was the result so close?

When you look at the tactics this suggests that the Democratic Brains Trust continues to think that the electorate can be thought of as a bell curve.  There is a rich wad of votes in the middle that can be persuaded over as long as the policies are not too radical.  They need to present an alternative to what the opposition is proposing, but it cannot be too different, just in case it scares the punters.

But what happened?  On one side was a netherandal who has separated kids from their parents just for political kicks, has just fired the Secretary for Defence because he thought keeping Military bases named after Confederate Generals was a good idea and who took delight at trashing anything to do with addressing climate change and on the other side there was Joe.  I would have voted for Joe.  I can’t think of anyone who would be challenged making the decision of who to support.

This was not a battle for the middle of the bell curve.  This was a fight over two completely divided parts of the electorate about who managed to get the most of their supporters to vote.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has pointed out as much in this Guardian article:

“There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee,” she told the Times’ Astead Herndon. “And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party – in and of itself – does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a longtime Democratic politician in 2018 and who won re-election in her Bronx district by more than 50 points, endorsed the Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, over Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary.

The truce is over. The failure of the party to operate an online strategy “in a real way that exhibits competence”, Ocasio-Cortez told the Times, made it hypocritical for the party to advance criticism of progressive messaging.

“If I lost my election, and I went out and I said: ‘This is moderates’ fault. This is because you didn’t let us have a floor vote on Medicare for all.’ And they opened the hood on my campaign, and they found that I only spent $5,000 on TV ads the week before the election?” Ocasio-Cortez said. “They would laugh. And that’s what they look like right now trying to blame the Movement for Black Lives for their loss.”

Grassroots activism that produced large turnout in Detroit, Philadelphia and Georgia was crucial to Biden’s win, and if the Democratic party fails to recognise that and incorporate the grassroots, the party disintegrates at the ballot box, Ocasio-Cortez said.

“It’s really hard for us to turn out nonvoters when they feel like nothing changes for them. When they feel like people don’t see them, or even acknowledge their turnout,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Naomi Klein describes the problem in this way:

I think about that moment in 2018, when the Democrats took back the House of Representatives. They were expecting their victory parade and instead had their offices occupied by the Sunrise movement and [Ocasio-Cortez] greeting them and pledging to introduce Green New Deal legislation. That sort of inside-outside pincer is what we need to be replicating again and again and again. That is a glimpse of the kind of dynamic that we will need if we are going to win the policies that are actually enough to begin to keep us safe.

What we have seen with the failure of the Democratic party to do the one thing that we look to from a political party, which is be good at winning elections. I don’t need to outline all the things we had going in our favor but this election should have been a repeat of Herbert Hoover’s loss in 1933. We are in the grips of a pandemic, a desperate economic depression and and Trump has done absolutely everything wrong.

This should have been a sweep. It should have been the sweep that we were promised. And the fact is, the Democratic leadership bungled it up on every single front. It wasn’t just a mistake. They did not want to offer people what they needed. They are much more interested in appeasing the donor class than they are in meeting the needs of their constituents, who need them now more than ever.

This boils back to who would have been better?  Joe or Bernie?  The polls and the doning class said Joe but you have to wonder if Bernie may have enjoyed greater success.

There is a further problem for progressives in America.  There does not appear to be a downside if you want to bend the rules to breaking point.  At least for the right and I say this because I cannot think of a similar situation where the left have bent the rules so egregiously.  From Glynn Greensmith at Crikey (paywalled):

Look at what can be achieved when you simply deny a Supreme Court candidate a vote eight months out from an election, then force a different candidate through within days of the next one. Because you can. All you have to do is accept the charge of hypocrisy and you can change the fundamental balance of constitutional law, and potentially elections themselves.

Accountability, so underrated for so long as to be thought to be inherent in the system, is now found wilting through a prism of fanaticism, polarisation, and gerrymandering. Without electoral accountability, the structures holding civilised society together have found themselves at the mercy of the awesome power of shamelessness.

The question, then, is how to put structural integrity back at the heart of democracy.

Politicians own the ability to claim a mandate from the people after every election. But that does not mean/should not mean/was not designed to mean they then own the very essence of the concept of governance.

Maybe it is just that the electorate is hopelessly divided and bell  curve analyses no longer apply.  Maybe turnout is king and the Democrats should do nothing more than what Stacey Abrams has been doing in Georgia and get people enrolled and make sure they vote.  And offer them hope.

The result should be contrasted and compared with the recent result in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Labour should be exceedingly thankful to support from Maori and Pacifica communities.  And we need to reflect on how competence and passion worked so well with the electorate.  And how incompetence and passion in America nearly gave Donald Trump a second term.

76 comments on “What should the left make of the US election result? ”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    The house of representatives moved slightly to the right,the Senate moved slightly to the left while the Presidency moved slightly to the left.

    Diplomacy will be the currency of the new US govt a refresh of the divisive Bullying of recent times.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Community organising to overcome gerrymandering and voter suppression is the key.

    Alexandria Ocasio Cortez needs to be a Presidential candidate in 2024, she will meet the age criteria by a month apparently, along with her friends for Congress and Senate.

    Mr Biden got a narrow victory, indeed significantly due to black voter turnout.
    Nature may elevate Kamala Harris sooner rather than later, to President, or acting President, but AOC will be required to achieve a blue landslide.

    She and her ethos reaches working class people whose pain Trump pretended to recognise, the orange tumour in human form of course never intended to actually do anything, like raise the minimum wage, to relieve that pain.

    The “Yuge” vote for Trump will be analysed for months to come and interesting statistics are already emerging. But the most interesting statistics are already out there–the wealth corralled by the 1%ers, and Covid deaths–until the Democrats address that, take on the donor class, they should expect cliff hanger elections.

    • millsy 2.1

      AOC is better off staying in Congress, working to get legislation across the line. She could still be there in the 40's or even 50's (feels weird typing that), where was she has a max of 8 at the white house.

    • Gareth 2.2

      CNN exit polls found that Biden-Harris support amongst ALL minority groups dropped compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trumps support amongst minority groups increased compared to his 2016 numbers.
      Biden's big gain came from white men with no college education. They made up for the drop in all the other groups and put him over the top.
      How does that fit into the popular narratives?
      Harris was supposed to bring out the black vote, but the black Democratic vote dropped instead.
      Trump promised jobs to the angry working class white men and then didn't deliver, so they went with Biden.

      • Anne 2.2.1

        Harris was supposed to bring out the black vote, but the black Democratic vote dropped instead.

        But didn't Trump and his team of State lackeys make it as difficult as possible by cutting back on polling places in many of the black communities? Assuming the poorest among them don't have access to online voting they probably gave up because there was nowhere for them to vote.

        • Gareth 2.2.1.1

          That would affect the total number of votes cast, not the percentage of people whom, having cast votes, told CNN they voted for Biden vs Trump.
          The total number of votes cast actually went up by huge numbers. The US had the highest voter participation rate this election since 1900, and in 1900 only white male landowners voted.
          Biden received the highest number of votes ever cast in a presidential race. The second highest number of votes ever cast in US presidential race history went to Trump.

    • Tricledrown 2.3

      ÀOC will never be President of the US.

      Big business has to much power unless you get 66% of Congess to change the electoral college to have proportional representation ie 1 man 1 vote nothing will change and that's not going to happen as voter suppression will continue to happen unless more mail in voting.

      Voter suppression is endemic like voting day was moved to Tuesday so employers can keep voters at work during voting hours giving them compulsory overtime to prevent workers from voting.

      This is maybe why Arizona a normally republican state has flipped as they have moved to mail in ballots for all elections.

      • joe90 2.3.1

        Voter suppression is endemic like voting day was moved to Tuesday so employers can keep voters at work during voting hours giving them compulsory overtime to prevent workers from voting.

        Google is your friend.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_Day_(United_States)#History

      • Andre 2.3.2

        Arizona has used mail ballots for decades, it's nothing new for this election. So it's unlikely to be a significant factor in Arizona going blue.

        Ballot by mail has been available in Arizona for over two decades and approximately 80% of Arizona voters already choose this method to vote. As such, the infrastructure and security are well in place. Importantly, there is a long standing relationship between Arizona election officials and the United States Postal Service for the delivery of official election mail, including ballots.

        https://www.azcleanelections.gov/how-to-vote/early-voting/vote-by-mail

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    It's not as if there weren't less far-right alternatives to Biden. Elizabeth Warren had the smarts and the energy to formulate genuine economically-based progressive change. It remains to be seen whether Biden has.

    • Margaret 3.1

      Biden was Corporate America's choice for president.

      Democrat leaders sidelined the man of the people,

      America had a chance to change but Democratic rule threw it away in favor of Corporate America.

      Nancy Polisi is too old, so is Biden, the world belongs to the millenials now and that should be reflected in their leaders

      • Andre 3.1.1

        Do you fail to understand how voting works? How more than half of the Democrat primary voters, ordinary people, chose Biden? While roughly a quarter of them chose your "man of the people", roughly half the support that Biden got.

        • arkie 3.1.1.1

          Do you not remember Bernie leading the primary until all the other contenders dropped out an endorsed Biden?

          I remember the argument against Sanders was that he'd be called a socialist and that would be disastrous!

          But then…

          "Biden, Harris and their socialist comrades will fundamentally change this nation," Trump campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle warned.

          https://www.npr.org/2020/08/25/905895428/republicans-blast-democrats-as-socialists-heres-what-socialism-is

          A barrage of attacks trying to link the Democratic nominee to policies like Medicare for All aren’t hurting him, polls show, as many of the policies remain popular with most Americans.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/14/business/socialist-biden-trump.html

          The GOP will always try and demonise their opponents, no Dem would ever be acceptable to them, the trick would be to appeal to their voters, not the politicians.

          • Andre 3.1.1.1.1

            So?

            How much did Bernie's support share increase after the others dropped out? Sweet fuck-all. So all that tells you is he entered the race with a dedicated base of cultists and was unable to attract significant support beyond that cult.

            • arkie 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah cos all the other candidates endorsed Biden?

              We already know what you think about Sanders, it's tired at this point.

              What is important is how does the left in the US continue to expand the electorate? Stacey Abrams and others have shown that increasing voter registration is great, as opposed to large ad spends. Meeting people where they are at and offering them material improvement in their lives has shown to be effective also.

              • Andre

                Actually, my opinion of Sanders himself is much higher than my opinion of his cultists that can't get their heads around the realities of politics and why Sanders doesn't win contests that require winning votes from a broad and diverse electorate.

                As opposed to those with some connection to reality that supported Sanders while his chances were still live, but when reality hit home, they switched their support to the best remaining option to get progress towards what they believed in.

                • Tiger Mountain

                  People like Mayor Pete and Ms Warren fudged their withdrawals on purpose, they stayed in long enough to draw votes that may have gone to Sanders while intending to leave the race, and keeping that to themselves.

                  A straight Biden/Sanders fight would have been interesting, but it was not to be. The “Obama call” set the play really, and Rep. James Clyburn in South Carolina did the rest. Bloomberg played a spoiler role too.

                  Think I’m wrong? Biden’s campaign was a joke until the DNC big guns got directly involved in strategy, and Covid probably did not help either. The thing is a lot of Bernie and the movements that backed him, policies are supported by working class Americans, including Republicans as the various referenda showed on Nov. 3.

                  • Andre

                    The truth is out there, for those that want to believe.

                  • Phil

                    Biden’s campaign was a joke until the DNC big guns got directly involved in strategy

                    What part of leading a crowded field for over a year, then destroying the opposition the first time Black voters got a say in the primary, suggests his campaign was "a joke"?

          • Phil 3.1.1.1.2

            Do you not remember Bernie leading the primary until all the other contenders dropped out an endorsed Biden?

            https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html

            Bernie led national primary polling for less than a month, after Biden's poor showing in the first couple of states. By the time the rest of the field dropped out after South Carolina (the first large delegate haul and, more importantly, the first state with a "majority-minority" electorate) it was abundantly clear that the moderate/centrist part of the party was significantly more favored by primary voters than the left part of the party.

  4. Half of the country still voted Trump despite everything. Why?

    • The oligarchs have figured out how to hack democracy. Divide and rule, gaslight the public square with bullshit, and corrupt the system with huge "donations".
    • The Rust Belt & destruction of work & NAFTA
    • Torrents of disinformation and lies via Fox and social media
    • Mistrust of intellectual elites
    • Conspiracy thinking & faith co-opted perverted by charlatans (QAnon)
    • Macho militaristic gun culture and jingoism
    • White fragility and fear of socialism
    • Aversion to far left wokeism and its anti family, anti faith agenda

    Neither party governs for "We The People" any longer, but instead of organising a revolution against Wall St mega-thieves, Americans have turned on each other

    • tc 4.1

      +100. Trump could've won with a more considered approach. Biden didn't convince many and Harris appeared to be the difference in key swing urban areas.

      The politics of division, corporate media and an electorate that by design lacks the ability to think critically about the messaging makes for interesting times.

      • CrimsonGhost 4.1.1

        Even Harris not that great a candidate. Little support for her in California Primary …Lost her own state. Not liked by many blacks/BLM as she was 'a lock 'em up & throw away the key' prosecutor. Many call her Cop Kamala. Her selection as VP was just more of the same old pandering to 'diversity' … a shallow diversity that basically just folds minority elites into the smothering embrace of the white elite. As if a top university/rich Lawyer elitist semi-black woman knows the struggle of the masses of black working class women & can claim to represent them just by virtue of her 'blackness'. Mainline Dems are just all about the surface wokeism with no real care/policy for the ordinary working/poor/unemployed people

        • Phil 4.1.1.1

          Even Harris not that great a candidate. Little support for her in California Primary …Lost her own state.

          Harris dropped out of the primary in December. That's two months before a single vote was cast the Iowa caucus, let alone the California primary a month after that.

      • Bearded Git 4.1.2

        "Trump could've would have won with a slightly more considered approach."

        FIFY

        The Dems scraped this election against an idiot. I was impressed with Harris's mana in her speech accepting victory…maybe there is something hopeful to look forward to when she becomes president.

    • Anne 4.2

      Was talking to a wise gentleman about it last evening and he had one word to say why 70 million people voted for Trump. NAFTA.

      My memory of that agreement was scant so looked it up. An excerpt which sums up what he was saying:

      NAFTA is a free trade and investment agreement that provided investors with a unique set of guarantees designed to stimulate foreign direct investment and the movement of factories within the hemisphere, especially from the United States to Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, no protections were contained in the core of the agreement to maintain labor or environmental standards. As a result, NAFTA tilted the economic playing field in favor of investors, and against workers and the environment, resulting in a hemispheric “race to the bottom” in wages and environmental quality.

      https://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp147/

      And therein lies the origin of the current situation?

      Most of the rednecks in the southern and central states of America probably don't understand what was done to them. All they know is they lost their jobs and many have been living hand to mouth since. Then along came this rich Neanderthal who convinced them he was going to raise their standard of living again. Even the meme MAGA was coined to fool them into thinking they were going to be front and centre of his administration. Its going to take a long time before they even begin to read the writing on the wall.

      • roblogic 4.2.1

        Yes. The basic problem is class warfare, as Warren Buffett pointed out years ago. The 0.01% class is winning, and the American people are losing. But they can’t see it.

      • Patricia Bremner 4.2.2

        Yes Anne the Bush era changed the playing field, just as Bill Birch did here.

    • WeTheBleeple 4.3

      Nailed it.

  5. The Left ended up being totally sidelined..they were simply their as observers..I would feel far more hopeful and reassured if I thought, for one second, that the Centrists were capable of doing some soul searching..meantime inequality will continue to flourish, Americans are still going to be bankrupted if they get sick, mothers are still going to send their kids down to the shop and have to pray they don't get shop by a cop……and multiple countries are going to have to brace themselves for War in its various guises…oh yeah, and the Planet is still going to burn..maybe slower…but barely….its just everyone can hide their head under the pillow a little longer….

    • greywarshark 5.1

      I was thinking about women's position in the voting for T or B. It's decision time now, if ever for them in the USA. They have to decide whether they are going to be thoughtful and opinionated, or be an attachment to some bloke or blokess with a loud mouth and a confident air. Blowhards come in all genders.

      Some of the USA states are retreating into separation and cult mentality as we see at Gloriavale or whatever glorious name it is called. Which is, on the look of it, partly modelled on the Amish, with a mix of prosperity church, and patriarchy rules. The old saying of 'Keeping women barefoot and pregnant' is at the back of the male minds prevailing.

      And some of the states have no doubt gone so far in their desire for control over women (and sexuality) that they've made it hard to buy contraceptives. That was the case in parts of Australia as close as the 1970's. All that thinking women have agitated for is on a slide towards the rubbish heap. It isn't being nostalgic to grab it back and say this is not for throwing out, it has lots of good wear in it still!

      And then there is health and needed services. And something needed is kindness; neolib has encouraged the downplaying of this by presenting it as a falsity, an hypocrisy where people are really doing something to give themselves a buzz – a good deed is equivalent to a shot of drug. Only sick minds could draw such conclusions and spread them as 'gospel'. And don't throw that back on me just because you don't want to study what neolib proponents actually think and say.

      I think the way forward now is to plan from the bottom up. What are the basics, how should they be made available, when and to what extent. Get a travelling road show going with people doing a thinking exercise, and each person set stuff down which is photocopied and the original given back for later study and amendment. Then what should be the major drive and approach to life in the country. And a talk on how to get better politics and outcomes.

      It would be helpful for people trying to visualise a better society to think about the way road rules apply. With all the vehicle and people movements in the country, by following the same straightforward rules, (translated for foreigners with icons or foreign language guides). That is an example of how we can be, give way when required – many people don't understand the right hand rule but when we understand the reasons and necessity of those rules most obey – the accidents are aberrations usually.

      I think the left has to watch they don't get smug. They have to be balanced – all worker demands aren't justified, employers encouraged to go for long-term employment, and reasonable targets and bonuses for smooth operation of units of workers. Workers then have skin in the game to keep a reasonable efficiency going, the targets and bonuses to be set every year. The left needs to watch for ways to get around the swingeing demands of our free trade agreements. Need bright left-wing lawyers who operate quietly and don't publish all their findings for that.

  6. arkie 6

    Every Democrat Who Backed Medicare for All Won Reelection in 2020

    I think the lesson here is clear.

    • Ad 6.1

      Seriously?

      Some minor resolution among the left is supposed to be the lesson for a very close race against an openly racist and corrupt leader responsible for the deaths of 245,000 people and who has done more to destroy the reputation of the United States than Bush W, Harding and Hoover put together?

      • Stunned Mullet 6.1.1

        Some interesting 2019 commentary on the M4A (healthcare resolution).

        https://www.thirdway.org/memo/will-m4a-doom-democrats-in-the-general

        • Andre 6.1.1.1

          That commentary doesn't really go into one of the key obstacles of shifting from the existing cornucopia of crapulence, where health insurance for fully half of Americans is mostly paid by their employer. Unless the transition is designed and managed extremely well (hah!), shifting that cost burden from private employers onto the government results in a massive windfall to employers and a massive cost increase onto regular taxpayers.

          Biden's actual proposal of adding a public option into Obamacare is actually a very sensible middle ground, leveraging off the strengths and reach of Medicare (and Medicaid) but avoiding the pitfalls of taking everyone out of their existing arrangements.

      • arkie 6.1.2

        Yes, seriously.

        69% of American voters support Medicare for all, the lesson being, that when a politician campaigns on a popular policy they win elections.

        Biden ran on the reputation and 'soul' of the US and explicitly against Trump and he only just scrapped in.

        People want something that materially improves their lives, and unfortunately for 70 million Americans, the 'soul' of the country isn't a big motivator for them.

        • Andre 6.1.2.1

          You don't think that perhaps a relevant factor is that all of those in your list that won are in districts that a week-dead roadkill skunk wearing a blue rosette would win, while all those that lost are in competitive Repug leaning districts?

          • arkie 6.1.2.1.1

            Not my list, and lots of those that lost in 2020 had won their seat in 2018. What happened to their campaigns in those 2 years? It seems they were the ones doing the roadkill skunk impression.

            • Andre 6.1.2.1.1.1

              In 2018 the Combover Con wasn't on the ballot, and it's very common for mid-term elections to go against House Representatives from the incumbent's party. Which is why four of the five losers on your list were first-termers.

              You posted that list with a comment clearly implying endorsement of the contents, but without providing a source. You don't want to own that?

              • arkie

                If you click on the image, it will take you to the source.

                In 2018 Trump wasn't 'on the ballot' but he was still the president, and head of the GOP. That however doesn't really explain why the other 2018 first-termers that actually won reelection in 2020 just happened to support the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

                • Andre

                  The first termers that won re-election are in districts where a week-dead road-kill skunk wearing a blue rosette would win. So they can afford to take positions that excite a particular segment of the base, but are turn-offs to moderate swing voters in competitive districts that actually decide elections.

                  In 2018, when progressives had a good chance to do well everywhere, progressives still lost in competitive House Districts. But moderate Dems running in competitive House districts had much better success.

                  https://www.vox.com/2018/11/7/18071700/progressive-democrats-house-midterm-elections-2018

                  Consider Nebraska's 2nd House District. In 2018, Kara Eastman was one of the progressive left's high hopes and had a good chance given it was a midterm. She lost. 49% to 51%. This year she lost 46% to 51%, even as Biden won the District 52% to 45%.

        • Ad 6.1.2.2

          There's 80% support in the United States for a national mark-wearing mandate, but that didn't make 80% of voters vote for Joe Biden or for Donald Trump.

          https://mcusercontent.com/ca678077bc522bd7bd74bacbf/files/2e108f31-c9fb-4043-a20e-f139b737eff5/HHP_Oct_FINAL_PRESENTATION_10_29_20.pdf

          You should grant voters more intelligence than you do.

          • arkie 6.1.2.2.1

            What? I haven't said anything about the intelligence of voters?

            People are less affected by the 'Soul' of their country than they are by the life-saving effects of affordable medical care.

            • Ad 6.1.2.2.1.1

              They vote on more than one issue. Even your sample of 5 know that.

              • arkie

                Yes, hence why they made appeals to voters on affordable healthcare, rising minimum wages, swift action on climate change etc etc.

                My contention is, and the polling shows, that the ‘Soul’ and reputation of the country isn’t high on voter’s list of issues.

    • joe90 6.2

      I think the lesson here is clear.

      They won safe seats?

      thread

      […]

  7. Ad 7

    The Sanders' organisational and policy support for Biden was outstanding – and enabled the remaining progressives to stay with Biden. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was fully integrated into that shift.

    So AOC can offload on organisational grounds all she wants now that they've won, but it's not hard to imagine what would happen if they had lost and Trump was back.

    Even now, if she so much as mentions socialism once on tv, she should just be thrown out the Congress doors. Trump and COVID will keep expectations about Federal intervention very low for some time, and redistribution just isn't a useful part of the conversation.

    Biden won by his virtue of having the only thing that half of the country wanted: calm and competence and empathy.

    What we must see in the next month is proof that Biden is more than a palimpsest for Harris and key staff to write all over. He's making all the right moves to be more than that.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      palimpsest

      Word of the Week! yes

    • SPC 7.2

      Demonstrate that he will not be a president for the Democrat Party, because he's too all party American to be a Democrat when in office?

      Like Ardern having power, but using it to progress the economy, rather than anything socialist.

    • Stuart Munro 7.3

      Yeah – I wouldn't park any faith in a transformational Harris. She's there as identity politics because the Democrats are too craven to come out with even minimal public interest policy. Yet another lawyer when you need an economist.

      So America will keep trucking down the dysfunctional path of neoliberalism, shedding jobs and grinding the faces of a larger and larger class of heavily armed poor. But the next Trump will be sooo much nicer – it'll be fine.

  8. Andre 8

    It's interesting looking at maps of how the vote shifted from 2016 to 2020.

    https://data.tallahassee.com/presidential-election-results-compare-2016-2020/

    The rotting rage papaya did significantly better in Miami-Dade county, and along the Texas border with Mexico. There's a good chance that was because Repug smears of "socialist" actually stuck with Hispanic voters in those areas. So the lesson is, don't even look like embracing the label socialist, it's a massive turn-off for huge numbers of critical voters, and it won't win any votes.

    Especially since what is being advocated is not actually socialism. It might be an expanded social safety net, it might be ensuring more people get more opportunity, it might even be merely shifting the balance of a mixed economy, or whatever, but it is not actual socialism.

    I have yet to find good data (and I can't be arsed trying to compile it), but I've seen asserted that in general, the surprise of the election was the Ku Klux Clown way overperforming what was expected from polling information, much more so than Biden underperforming. Unlike 2018 polling, which was generally quite accurate. This suggests that there was indeed a lot of hidden support for the Grab'em'fuhrer that survived, actually was energised, by four years of his actual behaviour.

    Since the rufous loofah-faced shitgibbon seems levels beyond any other significant figure (excepting possibly Fuckwit Carlson) in shamelessly saying whatever he feels like in a way that allows the gullible to project their hopes and desires onto his words, I'm not sure there's an actual lesson there for Democrats. Certainly there's no obvious way to combat it, and trying to emulate it would be a yuuuuuge mistake.

  9. Housing affordability in the USA is way better than NZ. Petrol, food, clothing is way cheaper. Drug laws are tending to be more relaxed. Music and culture is fantastic in many places. Their universities have most of world's best and brightest. America still has the potential to lead the world in climate change, high tech, medicine, space exploration, and peace on Earth.

    If only…

  10. bwaghorn 10

    Covid is the only reason Biden won . Trump was voted out Biden wasn't voted in .

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    Because too many people saw their job vanish offshore, their house vanish in the 2008 financial crisis and healthcare vanish out of their rural area before covid struck.

    Trump gave them permission to be angry, to waive a gun around from a pick up and hate the ruling classes. He fed their ability to have a grievance but without providing any solutions. If he provided solutions he would have put money into healthcare rather than corporate tax cuts.

    Labour will create the same problem here unless they stop dissing the valid concerns of the waged employees and those dependent on state support.

    Already from a self selected survey apparently 20% of ACT and Nat voters think that Trump is a good idea.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/who-are-donald-trumps-supporters-in-nz-and-what-do-we-know-about-them/VFLSZUG5J6AQQZKP7M3P4OTYCA/

    • RedBaronCV 12.1

      And didn't Judith and Simon think this was a great idea that we as a country should support? Quick way to get offside with the new administration

  12. Grumpy 13

    Biden now back to 259. RealClearPolitics have removed Pennsylvania. Has not been given to Trump yet but lots of things happening today.

    First working day after the election and the States are doing their own investigations as they always do. Trump's legal challenges still to come.

    • Andre 13.1

      RCP have "removed Pennsylvania"? When did they call it PA for Biden? Coz I've been watching a lot of sites including RCP like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kgRFHaNo-Y and it was always striking that RCP had not called PA.

      As for "lots of things happening today", linky? I've seen nothing, except for Biden steadily increasing his lead as the votes finish getting counted. Now up to about 45,000 vote, or 0.7%, lead in PA.

      • Grumpy 13.1.1

        I think you are correct. I only look at RCP about once a day. However, Trump legal team e.g. Sydney Powell etc. are starting to outline their argument to the public. Give them a chance, its only Monday…..

    • joe90 13.2

      RCP is part of the wingnut 'o' sphere.

      • Grumpy 13.2.1

        Have you read it? My US Democrat friends sing its praises along with 538 for polling data and its news aggregation is the most even anywhere. I particularly like how they "pair" alternative opinions on the same topic together. They don't seem to have an editorial opinion. They are a Equal Opportunity news aggregator (unlike Drudge).

      • ianmac 13.2.2

        Vaccine @ GeoffBennett on Twitter: As Pence claims credit, Pfizer says it did NOT join in the administration's partnership. Pfizer head of vaccine development Dr. Kathrin Jansen told the NY Times: “We were never part of the Warp Speed … We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”

        Mike Pence on Twitter: Thanks to the public-private partnership forged by President Trump announced its Coronavirus Vaccine trial is EFFECTIVE, preventing infection in 90% of its volunteers.

        Can't both be right – can they

        • Andre 13.2.2.1

          Well, no, they can't both be right. But they could both be telling porkies.

          We have just had four years of one of the parties making mouth-noises with zero interest in how those mouth noises related to truth and facts. So we can be very confident he's full of shit in this instance too.

          The other party, well, a bit more digging is needed to form an opinion of her credibility. But it's a reasonable assumption she places some value on her credibility, so it's unwarranted to make an immediate assumption she's full of shit.

  13. Byd0nz 14

    What does the left think about the US election?

    Well, how honest are the ' left' ? The US election should be viewed as a complete farce.

    America needs a communalist revolution and neither the Democrats or Repulicans could ever take that road, so the election should be condemned by the left, or the left is just a poor excuse for status quo capitalism with a bit of a conscious.

  14. Draco T Bastard 15

    The question, then, is how to put structural integrity back at the heart of democracy.

    This assumes that the structural integrity was there in the first place which it actually wasn't. If it had been than what the author describes could not have happened.

    Politicians own the ability to claim a mandate from the people after every election. But that does not mean/should not mean/was not designed to mean they then own the very essence of the concept of governance.

    Except for the fact that that's exactly what it does mean. That's why the ruling party is called The Government and not The People's Administration. And most democracies have that enshrined in law somewhere.

    Politicians do what they want and not necessarily what the people want.

    And that, of course, is why our present democracy doesn't have structural integrity. It has, quite literally, been legislated out of existence by The Government.

  15. Corey Humm 16

    To understand why it's so close you have to for a minute put aside his insanity, bigotry etc.

    It was bringing back jobs. I've been watching 2015 republican establishment figures now suck him up to him label his policies "progressive" and liberal.

    He ran on things that the left used to run on: infrastructure , Getting rid of trade deals like nafta that middle America hates because it stole jobs, opposing the tppa , eminent domain, opposing neocon wars, dismantling neoliberalism and establishment politics , protectionism, tarrifs and yes opposing immigration it might not go over well with academics and urban liberals but it does go over very very well with the working class indeed even in NZ many working class people were excited by the lab/nzf govt wanting to ban foreign ownership and limit immigration. Hell labour the greens and NZf all opposed the tppa at one point.

    The way he talks about companies like say apple pr " apple , who cares about apple they don't make their products here, China benefits from Apple, why don't they bring their factories here" that's actually left wing rhetoric. People do think he brought back jobs, people do want someone challenging china people don't support these trade deals even here.

    It wasn't a rejection of Trumps economic or trade policy it was a rejection of Him, they don't mind these protectionist anti free trade policies but they don't like him that's why I think the GOP which is now the Trump party got seats and senate and governor wins but lost the presidency, alot of people want him gone but still want that kind of politics

    For a hot minute when lab/nzf were elected it looked like they could be the blue print for a left wing alternative with lite nationalism, anti foreign ownership and saying things like "capitalism had failed" but they governed pretty identically to previous govts.

    The lefts challenge will be to find a progressive alternative and to ditch globalism and neoliberalism for internationalism and imho lite nationalism or it needs to think a world post automation post work or it's doomed to have to play by the rules set by the right.

    But so far all the left continues to do is get everyone’s hopes up and then govern round the edges and label minor tweaks huge transformational change and that disappoint just fuels these kinds of angry populist movements

    • Andre 16.1

      That entire third paragraph is a good illustration of how the gullible got suckered by the Fraud from Fifth Avenue. He didn't actually do any of that in any kind of way that helped ordinary people. Which anyone with even a tiny bit of savvy would have predicted from even a cursory look at his backstory of business failures, stiffing contractors, preying on vulnerable people with scams like his university, etc, etc.

      He mouth-noised a lot about being great for the economy, but he wasn't. Not even before he deliberately wrecked the economy by refusing to do his job and take any action against covid. Sure, he didn't manage to break the trends left over by Obama on job creation, economic growth, manufacturing increase by himself (covid helped him with that), but he sure as shit turned around Obama's trend of reducing deficits by blowing out the budget with his massive giveaways to the wealthy. For zero discernible effect on improving things for ordinary people. If someone cared about these things, surely they'd take a few seconds to check actual facts on the matter.

      But if white supremacy, deliberate oppression and cruelty to minorities, stoking division, shafting the people at the bottom to coddle those at the top is your thing, then the choice was obvious. No fact checking or research or thought needed, just listen to Darth Hater and his school of spineless GOP jellyfish. Apparently that's what 70-odd million Americans wanted more of.

  16. Jackel 17

    What lesson should the left take from the US election? If a man is stupid he is bound to be a tory -J S Mill

  17. KSaysHi 18

    As the election was close (at least to start with) then both left and right should be thinking about the Safe Harbour Deadline on Dec 8.

    When there is a dispute remaining about who the winner is, if this is still the case by Dec 8, then Congress becomes involved and makes the determination Dec 14.

    [Please stick to one e-mail address here, thanks]

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