November 7, 2020

There is dancing in the streets of America! Horns honking! People celebrating!  World leaders are congratulating Joe Biden and reaching out to him to work together.  Today Joe Biden won the election by over 4 million popular votes and won in the Electoral College. Pennsylvania was the state that put Biden over 270. The current count is 279 Biden to 214 Trump with a few more states to go, but the result is certain. Biden received the largest number of votes ever cast in the history of presidential elections-74 million votes. Trump may never concede but that is irrelevant. He has lost the election and Biden will be this nation’s 46th president and Kamala Harris the nation’s first Black and Asian and woman vice president.

What Did the Election Tell Us?

The good news is that today Americans effectively rose up to RID our country of Trump. Biden won the presidency because Americans pulled together, got active, formed groups to reach out to voters, send millions of postcards, make millions of calls to get out the vote, and work hard to save our country from Trump. Trump helped. He was more hated by more Americans than any other president in the history of our country.

But it matters that Republicans in down ballot races won far more races than had been anticipated. Polls were significantly wrong. (I think Trump voters are not shy so much as embarrassed and guilty about deciding to vote for Trump knowing how detestable he is, but not wanting to be harassed for their choice). State legislatures did not flip blue in Texas or other purple leaning states and that means gerrymandering will help Republicans keep their grip on power. The cast of Republican characters whose goal in life is to block progress will be back for another season of gridlock in Washington DC. Mitch McConnell will be in the catbird seat once again preventing every expansive, progressive idea Biden wants to implement.  Lindsay Graham. Susan Collins. Joni Ernst. And a host of other Republicans have won in the House and Senate and in state houses across the country.

Half of us feel relief, but this was not the big blue wave Democrats dreamed of.

What Trump Leaves Behind

Just as an abusive parent leaves his emotional mark on every child he raises, Donald Trump is leaving emotional scars on our nation.

For the past four years Trump has divided our country into people he loves and people he hates. Like a bad father, he has been mistreating, gaslighting, insulting and abusing his unloved children. But he has also been damaging, brainwashing and egging on his favored children to fight with, insult and put down their rejected outcast “siblings”.

Who are Trump’s favored children? We all know who they are. They are the white people, white supremacists, the Proud Boys, QAnon, Fox News hosts, wealthy sycophants who join Mar A Lago, and GOP members who play golf with him and suck up to him. Trump has been their sugar daddy. THEY could kill someone on 5th Avenue and he would Tweet that they were good people who didn’t deserve to be called murderers.

We also know who Trump does not love: people of color, the Black Lives Matter marchers, immigrants, the libs, the snowflakes, the coastal elites, anyone living in a blue state, uppity women and anyone who criticizes him. To them Trump has been their sadistic, abusive daddy.

To Trump’s paranoid mind, if you criticize him you deserve to be punished. He has done his best to get back and get even with groups and people who are not nice enough to him in his estimation.

  • California shouldn’t get any federal money after having devastating wildfires. Puerto Rico only gets money after Hurricane Maria right before the election so they will vote for him.
  • Fauci deserves to be fired after the election because he warned people that Trump’s approach to the pandemic was dangerous to their health and possibly to their survival.
  • He planned to fire Chris Wray, head of the FBI, after the election for saying that the most dangerous groups in our country are not Antifa, as Trump claims, but the white supremacists and conspiracy mongers that Trump coddles.

When it came to Trump, if you didn’t love your abusing father enough, you got whacked and sent to the woodshed.

But here’s the crazy part- even those people who have been Trump’s favorites have been emotionally abused by him. They have been rewarded for being bigots, for harboring hate in their hearts and for being a revenge squad for him attacking Americans who made the mistake of being born with a darker color of skin or who said something critical about Trump. Trump has used his followers as his personal goon squad to harass and threaten other Americans. With Trump as president, a Muslim, a black woman, a teenage Hispanic boy, an Asian- all were targeted for racial derision and attack by other Americans in their trips to Walmart or birdwatching while black with the encouragement of Trump.

Trump’s crew of unhinged syncophants are still out there. They have included Steve Bannon, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Rudy Guiliani and many others who are trying to continue to  stir the pot of hate.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s Twitter account was suspended on Thursday, not long after he called for the execution of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray in a new episode of his online talk show “War Room.” The episode of “War Room” was also pulled from YouTube.

The GOP did not stand up to Trump and did not get rebuked for failing to do so in this election. What Trump is leaving in his wake is a divided, emotionally drained nation. Thanks to him, rural voters will still resent Americans living in blue cities and suburbs. And the feeling is mutual for the people in blue cities and suburbs who are shocked and dismayed by the number of people who were willing to sign up for another 4 years of Trump’s reality tv horror show.

So Trump is out but Republicans maintain a lot of power.

Why did this happen? Here is a theory

In my opinion, ultra right wing conservatives, who are extremely powerful and have extraordinary amounts of money to use to stay in power, decided to let the voters do the dirty work Republicans dared not do: kick Trump out because he was uncontrollable and, frankly, insane. They aren’t stupid.

They are also not under his control or directly affected by Trump’s rabid base because they are not elected officials from red states. I believe these power brokers abandoned Trump near the end of his campaign for reelection. They pulled their donor dollars out of his campaign near the end, and instead, poured money into Senate and down ballot races. They did this to make sure Republicans would still control the Senate and establish a firewall against progressive change. They did this so that Biden would be checkmated when he tried to implement a more liberal agenda such as a public health insurance option or higher taxes on the wealthy.

  • With Trump out, Wall Street will have greater stability, which is generally good for business.
  • With Trump out, the ultra conservatives will exert control over the Republican lawmakers in DC without a Trump tantrum derailing their efforts.
  • With Trump out Rupert Murdoch can return to a more symbiotic relationship with Republican power brokers without Trump getting in the way.

Democrats hoping for liberal and progressive policies may continue to be frustrated. Much will depend on the skills of Joe Biden as a deal maker. He loves the Senate and knows how it works. He and Mitch McConnell have worked together before and that might be the secret sauce to get deals done. Progressives’ hopes may depend on those skills now. This outcome is what the ultra conservative right wing probably planned for and executed well. They got what they wanted. Including Amy Coney Barrett. Trump is out, but Republicans still exert control in Congress with a bigger minority in the House, a tenuous majority in the Senate, control of red state legislatures, and a baked in conservative ideology in our federal courts.

Democrats, on the other hand, ever starry-eyed, hopeful and uncoordinated, threw millions of dollars at races that turned out to be wild goose chases and pipe dreams, such as trying to beat Mitch McConnell with Amy McGrath and Lindsay Graham with Jaime Harrison.  (Although I think some of the funds spent to elevate Harrison was well spent because he is going to be a contender in the future.) At least some of that 200 million dollars would have been better spent understanding the deep seated fears of Latinos in Miami-Dade that caused them to believe Biden is a socialist when he is not.

Some of that money could have been better used funding micro-targeted messaging that would convince sectors of the electorate to be more openminded about progressive ideas. Instead of trying for a direct hit on Mitch McConnell by trying to defeat him at the polls with a Democratic candidate funded with small dollar donations, the Dems should have unseated McConnell by microtargeting the electorate voting for Senators that could add up to a Democratic led Senate. Perhaps that can still be done in Georgia in the upcoming Senate run off races.

 American Bridge PAC Has a Winning Approach to Change Minds

The approach of American Bridge should be replicated across the country. What American Bridge did was decide to try to change some of the minds of people living in the key Rust Belt states- Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. They gambled on the idea that moving some of the electorate away from Trump would result in a Biden win in the Rust Belt. They were right. Through social media (which is the right place to hunt for Trump supporters who had had a change of heart) they reached out to find people who had changed their minds about Trump after voting for him in 2016. They found people who had decided for personal reasons to reject him.

Then a team of videographers went to the homes of handpicked voters and filmed the personal stories of these people. They created compelling personal stories that were run as ads locally and on social media. Local people speaking to their neighbors and other local folks about what caused them to change their minds in well done, quality pieces where real people speak from their hearts- THAT is the way to change minds! Not out of state money from blue zones flooding red zones to elect a Jon Ossof or a Jaime Harrison or Amy McGrath, which runs the risk of turning off the local electorate and could have the unintended consequence of hardening hearts against voting for a candidate supported by the so-called coastal elites.  No amount of outside money can convince people to change their minds the way a heartfelt personal story of a neighbor giving other neighbors permission to change their minds can. American Bridge understands that.

Democrats should use the American Bridge PAC approach across the country to micro-target areas of the country where even slight alterations of thinking by persuadable local people can be amplified to help move the needle in a more progressive direction. In Georgia, for example, the American Bridge approach could be used in concert with Stacey Abrams’ on the ground knowhow to help affect the run off Senate races in Georgia that will take place on January 5th. If those two Senate seats in Georgia are won by Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossof,  Democrats would be empowered in the Senate and Mitch would be removed as the leader. That would result in a better chance to implement the initiatives our country needs such as infrastructure, support for Americans affected by the pandemic, affordable health care and more.

There are also other effective programs to mobilize voters in Georgia. The best one I just learned about is Block Power, which was developed by a professor at Howard University. It incentivizes black voters to recruit and turn out their low propensity voter-friends and for those friends to recruit other friends and those friends to recruit others etc. creating rapid explosive growth of an electorate most likely to vote Democratic.

What have we learned? 

  • Starting with the good news-the most important thing did happen: the country rose up in huge numbers, standing in the rain and in long lines for hours to have the satisfaction of kicking their abusive daddy out of the White House.
  • Trump is on his way out, but he will try at every turn to derail and attack a Biden presidency. He will rile up his base from the sidelines once he gets evicted from the White House. He will constantly heckle Biden. He is not done messing with our country.
  • The GOP did not experience a bloodbath or a rebuke. They may not have learned a lesson about being less allied with white supremacists and more open to a multicultural United States. We will have to see about that.
  • Trump supporters are not just a small cult. We have the evidence now that there are millions upon millions of Americans who love Trump for being Trump and wanted to sign up for four more years.  He is the leader they love for some of the same reasons he is an abuser. His toxic masculinity, bullying, and white supremacy are selling points, not a problem for these people. The authoritarian leader is often the leader of choice when people feel fearful. Americans have a lot they feel fearful about these days.
  • In 2024 Trump will most likely try for a comeback unless he is in prison. Cyrus Vance I am looking at you.
  • Trump is leaving behind a continuing stalemate in this country with people in rural red zones pissed off at the libtards in blue cities and suburbs and those people in blue zones equally pissed off with the dolts in red zones.  If you thought Americans were better than this, smarter than this, and kinder than this, think again. We have learned that we are a country full of people who can be co-opted to carry out the will of an abusive leader if they have been convinced that it fulfills their needs. We COULD become Nazi Germany and we are NOT exceptional.
  • Republican voices need to reject, repudiate Trump now that his presidency is over. We are seeing that start to happen. Fox News, Wall Street Journal (both owned by Rupert Murdoch) are pulling away from Trump.  Laura Ingraham is urging Trump to concede with grace and she talking about the Trump presidency in the past tense. Voter fraud claims are being rejected by some Republicans.
  • Democracy held. Thank goodness.

It will take time for Americans to work through the emotional trauma we have endured, the anxiety, uncertainty, fear and high threat level many of us have been feeling every day because of Trump. We will eventually be able to stop nervously checking our newsfeeds for what the hell Trump has done NOW!? We the people will have to work through post traumatic stress disorder from this horrible, nasty, no good president.

But in the final analysis, Biden is already speaking up as a force for calm and unification. Biden is already working to present his plans for the country to control the virus and reverse many Trump executive orders.

He and Kamala Harris had a victory rally in Delaware that felt like we were celebrating the end of a war, the end of a nightmare. Harris elevated all the women who elevated her. Biden sounded like a real president: a man we can believe in who will tell us the truth, work with scientists to control the pandemic and get our country going in the right direction. Joe Biden is the daddy we all need now, even Trump voters, whether they believe it or not.

Let the healing begin!

 

 

 

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