Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The test

Today (Tuesday in the USA) is Election Day. Will the country’s four-year nightmare end? Will it return to kindness and compassion? Is there a future for the USA’s democracy? Or, will it all come crashing down as the USA is destroyed? No one knows. No one.

The video above sums up why I support Joe Biden. Sure, there was no way that the Republican candidate could ever have gotten my support—my disdain for him is decades old. But after the utter, complete, and total disaster that the past four years have been, I went out of my way to vote this year, even though Illinois is thoroughly Blue, so, in that sense, it didn’t matter. But I needed to add my voice to the millions rejecting the corruption, lies, and creeping authoritarianism of the current regime, because lives really do—and literally—depend on it.

I know some people don’t like Joe Biden, for whatever reason. I know that that for Democrats it’s often because he isn’t Left enough. Some Centre-Right people may hesitate because they think he's too Left. I couldn’t possibly care less about any of that.

The truth is, we’re electing a president, not a saint. We’re electing a human, not a demigod. Which means there’s no such thing as a “perfect” candidate or president, and there never will be. Elections are choices only ever between who’s actually on the ballot, fullstop. The mythical “perfect” candidate isn’t in the mix, nor is someone’s idea of a “better” candidate. It’s always that way in a two-party system.

I voted for Joe Biden, not just against the Republican candidate. As I’ve said many times before, there have been plenty of times I was actually voting against a candidate—even here in New Zealand. Not this year, and not in either country’s election. There’s too much at stake.

Today the New Zealand Herald published an article about two Americans living in New Zealand. I know the Democrat through Facebook, and today I’ll meet her in person for the first time when I stop in at an election event here in Hamilton. That much I AM looking forward to, even though the election itself terrifies me.

However, I noticed something odd in that article, something aside from the fact that the supporter of the Republican candidate didn’t want to be named, although I think that’s telling. It was the glaring illogic of what he said.

He claimed his candidate would have “quite a decisive win” because “traditionally the Democrats vote by mail and the Republicans vote on the day." Logically, of course, the winner would be whoever gets the most votes, no matter if they’re cast by mail or in person. He goes on to absurdly say that “because the Democrats don't have a huge lead over Trump right now, once the voting day comes in, all those Trump voters go and vote on that day. That's just going to propel him right ahead.”

That’s just plain stupid, even by the logic of his own reckons. There’s been massive voter turnout already, and in many places votes cast reached two-thirds of the total votes cast in 2016 well before Election Day (and that no doubt includes plenty of Republican votes). Overall, Democrats begin with more voters than Republicans have, and the Republican candidate has been nothing but unpopular during his entire time occupying the White House. But somehow Republicans’ Election Day votes are supposed to magically change everything? Seriously? So, what’s he on about?

He’s just following his leader.

For months and months the Republican candidate has been attacking the US election process, and mail voting in particular—never mind that’s how HE votes! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. More recently, he’s been demanding that the winner be whoever is leading on Election Day, even though that’s never happened in US history. There are reasons for all that.

The Republican candidate knows that, in fact, Democrats do tend to vote early, often by mail, and that in many states some or all of those votes won’t be counted on Election Day. He also knows that most Republicans do tend to vote on Election Day (we’ll see if that’s still true in the middle of a pandemic).

The Republican candidate knows that because of all this, he may very well have a narrow lead on election night, so he’ll declare “victory” and then he’ll send in his “army of lawyers”, as he put it, to try to prevent any votes being counted after Election Day. He knows that the Republican Supreme Court will rule in his favour—he said he’s depending on them. In that way, the Republicans could steal the election.

THAT is what the anonymous Republican in the article was alluding to, whether he knew it or not, and it’s what the Republican candidate has been promising for months: If they can’t win the election, if they can’t get more votes than Joe Biden, then they’ll steal it. Hopefully, the US republic still has enough strength in it to fight off such an attack against democracy itself, or maybe Biden will win by a big enough margin to put it out of reach of the Republican candidate’s “army of lawyers”.

In any case, we may well not know the end of the story for days or even weeks, but one way or another it’ll be done by early January.

The only way to change anything is to vote the Republican out of office, and the only way to do that is to vote for Joe Biden. In my case, it was definitely a vote FOR Joe every bit as much as it was a vote for change, but that doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is getting that man out. Democracy absolutely can do that—if it survives this test.

This post is based on, and synthesised from, various comments I made on Facebook over the past 24 hours.

This is the 5000th published post on this blog.


Roger Owen Green said...

5000! Congrats. I have no great idea. My backup blog says 55412, and my main blog says 5900 something. But, for some reason, some of my posts duplicated when I shifted to WP in 2010. So probably the former.

And you wrote about POLITICS? You NEVER write about politics!

Arthur Schenck said...

I'm actually most surprised I made it to 5000—which make sit as good a point as any to resume talking about politics.

In the old days, posts about US politics in particular got more pageloads than any other. I stopped when Nigel died because I just didn't feel like doing them, but in more recent times I've been thinking about returning to the topic(s), and the "closing argument" video seemed as good a place as any.