Four Years of Trump
Four years of Trump did not convince 71 million people to vote for Joe Biden. 230,000 deaths, families separated at the border, children being held in cages, horror stories coming from those detention facilities, stripping rights from people, blatant white supremacy, racism, misogyny, courting conspiracy theories, disintegrating foreign relations, massive corruption, and open contempt for the processes of democracy and half his constituency — this was not enough to bring these people to the side of an experienced, white, male, dignified, presidential, moderate Democrat.
We can not win them over through love, when they hold nothing for us but disdain. We should not return their disdain, we should simply allow them to throw their temper tantrums and pity parties and we should get to work. We can show compassion, we can attempt to work with them in the ways they have refused to since Mitch McConnell took over the Senate, but our priority can not be to worry about them right now. They don’t want our help, but there are people who do. There are people who are begging for it, and have been for decades.
So here’s what we can do — we can take the lives of people who showed up, who turned out, the backbone of this party, and we can make their lives better with liberal policies. We can listen to the organizers on the ground, to the Democratic representatives of the people, and we can work tirelessly to improve their situation. What will this accomplish?
It will accomplish improving people’s lives. That’s the reason we want these offices — to make a difference, to progress, to fight for the constituents who DID vote for you instead of trying to appease the ones that didn’t. You know what else this will accomplish? It will accomplish the same things that democratic, progressive policies always have — it will make everyone’s lives better. Like the ACA, which Republicans fought tooth and nail to oppose, and now is too popular for even Trump to remove. Like Roe v. Wade, which has overwhelming popular support. Imagine trying to reverse gay marriage, made law only five years ago.
Everyone will benefit, but if we can learn one thing from Republican politicians, it is how to fight for the people who elected you. Those Republicans pushed regressive and harmful policies for years to cheering and adulation from their base. Let’s have our politicians do the same and democratic, forward thinking, people focused ideology will prevail. It will show people how it makes their lives better.
All of us middle class white people were raised on this fantasy of civility politics, of reaching out across the aisle. Checks and balances! Bi-partisanship! Compromise! We dreamed that this election day would be us throwing open our arms and welcoming back the misguided folks who threw their lot in with the wrong guy four years ago. We were so sure that “decent” people like us would reject Trumpism for the sake of democracy, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of 230,000 dead Americans. And they didn’t.
We can’t continue to believe this narrative, because the evidence shows it’s not the case. Trump picked up more voters since 2016 and there are some college educated white moderates who crossed over, but repudiation of Trump seems to be the exception, not the rule. The right and right-center continues to reject us and we continue to pine after them, like a heartbroken suitor who refuses to see that they just aren’t into us. And guess what? Our weak capitulation to their rejection of us isn’t helping.
Instead, we need to dance with the ones who brung us. These are the groups that voted for Biden over Trump: The working class (demos under 100,000K voted Biden), the LGBT community, YOUNG PEOPLE, union members(!!), Black Americans, Latino Americans (despite the news that unexpected communities of Latino men broke for Trump, they still overwhelmingly voted Biden), Asian Americans, Native Americans, first time voters and city dwellers. We have to, have to, have to serve these populations first. These are the people who deserve our attention. The only way to convince other groups is to make meaningful change for the groups who need it the most. Otherwise, even if they had come over, what would keep them here next time the Republicans run someone who is halfway decent?
Republicans are not the party of the working class. They are the party of the wealthy suburbs, people who already have their material comforts seen to and still feel entitled to more. People who want a bigger and bigger piece of the pie, no matter what it costs anyone else. This is not the foundation of America. This is not reaching out a helping hand. This is getting a hand up and turning around and withdrawing that hand. This is greed, selfishness, and tribalism. Achieving a level of wealth and trying to slam the door behind you. Getting yours and making sure there is none left for anyone else. It is fear based, it is scarcity based and we need to reject it. It is the death of the American dream.
We can’t govern to our opponents’ fear, because we need to govern to our supporters’ hope. If we are confident in our policies, and I am, the most important thing is enacting them, and using the power we have to help the people who need it the most. 71 million people still voted for a man who I find repugnant and vile. A man who openly detested his opponents and large swaths of his supporters, who alienated our allies around the world and who convinced his followers that a deadly pandemic was not worth worrying about, plunging us into what looks to be 2 years of Covid purgatory and hundreds of thousands of deaths, a man who spat on every ideal that our country has ever stood for and disgraced us to the world.
Yes, this is a win. We have won. But I think that we can all agree that it would’ve felt a lot better not to increase our margin by 2 million over 2016, but by 10 million. The fact that Republicans didn’t recognize this term as the disastrous chapter in America that it was is telling. The fact that after even this atrocious presidency we’re still coming down to a tepid win needs to teach us something. We can’t govern from fear, because if we govern from fear we can not help our people. And if we can’t help our people, then why should anyone vote for us anyway?
Here are some pieces of media I thought were very interesting.
Watch this ABC news clip from Yvette Simpson: https://www.tiktok.com/@kimcrawfordonline/video/6892444474601901318
This New York times article about how Biden flipped Pennsylvania. Spoiler alert: black voters.
This excerpt from this interview with AOC:
This graph of voter turnout in Georgia demonstrating the support of young black voters: