Here are some initial Election Week thoughts:
In 2008, Barack Obama won 69,498,516 votes—the most any presidential candidate has ever received. That mark was not exceeded until this week, when his former vice president, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., smashed the record, capturing some 73.5 million votes as of this writing. When all the votes are counted in California and New York, he’ll wind up pushing 80,000,000.
Because of the clunky, racist, anti-democratic, antediluvian Electoral College, it took three days and more than a little drama to determine the winner of this election. But the popular vote was never in doubt. Make no mistake: this is a mandate, a resounding repudiation of Donald John Trump. This is the most voters in U.S. history shouting, in unison, “You’re fired!”
We didn’t get the quick knockout we wanted on Election Night, which the polls, and the media, had led us (all of us, including the Trump campaign itself!) to expect. But three agonizing days later, we got the right result. Trump is toast. Joe and Kamala are in, Donald and Mike are out. “America did stand up and throw that motherfucker out of office,” as Lincoln’s Bible so eloquently put it.
When Biden places his hand on the Bible on January 20, he can rest assured that the will of the American people is with him. And he should govern accordingly. By then, we will be suffering through the Second Wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Death will have come to more families, including MAGA ones. Perhaps by then, even the staunchest Trump supporters will be ready to listen to a new voice.
On September 11, I wrote a piece called “Red Dawn: Election Night of the Living Dead,” in which I laid out the “red mirage” scenario that the Biden campaign, I was told, was worried about:
In an eerie reboot of 2000, one suck-ass network after another, mistakenly believing that this election will behave exactly like its predecessors, calls the swings states for Trump on election night. Wolf Blitzer seems positively turned on by the outcome (as he also seemed four years ago when Hillary “lost”). Joe doesn’t concede, but Trump declares victory, bullying Fox News and Breitbart and OAN to call the election for him. Your MAGA uncle gloats on Facebook, although you know better than to go on Facebook. Libs appear owned, once and for all….
But AP knows it’s too close to call…..Because there are hundreds of thousands if not millions more absentee/mail-in ballots this year, overwhelmingly for Biden, and this has skewed the usual methodology. And by the end of Wednesday, or maybe Thursday, or maybe even Friday, it’s clear that what seemed, on election night, to be a red wave gushing from the elevators like in The Shining, is, in fact, a BLUE TSUNAMI IN DISGUISE. Remember when the 49ers celebrated in the end zone after going up 10 late in the game, but the Chiefs won the Super Bowl? The mail-in ballots are Patrick Mahomes in the fourth quarter.
Two months later, on the morning of Election Day, I wrote a more optimistic piece, suggesting a blowout was in order:
Are we really to believe that all these voters flocking to the polls are this determined because they want four more years of this asshole? Even Barack Obama had a drop off of five percent in his second election; do we really think Trump will receive more votes than the 62,984,828 he got in 2016? That Joe won’t best Hillary’s 65,853,514 in epic fashion, and easily exceed the 69,498,516 that Obama earned in 2008 (the most popular votes ever)? Put another way: do we really think Trump will break the popular vote record? Or that his Electoral College tally will enable him to cobble together a photo-finish victory? Even in our clunky, antediluvian system, there is a correlation between popular and electoral votes.
The actual outcome was somewhere in between. Biden did break the popular vote record, as predicted…but so did Trump. There was a red mirage, but not enough of one for any news organization to call the election for the president early. I watched the returns on CNN, where the indefatigable Jon King took great pains to reiterate, over and over again, that it was going to take time to count all the votes, that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, that we should be patient—that Wolf Blitzer should chillax. Last night, after the president’s lie-a-palooza press conference—necessary because Twitter blocked all his bullshit tweets—both King and Blitzer took shots at him, condemning what they called an attack on our democracy. At last, the media was covering Trump as he should always have been covered. It was glorious to behold.
For all the bluster of the Bernie bros, this election was won by Black voters, and Black women in particular. It is poetic justice that the votes that pushed Biden over the hump in Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania were from Detroit, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. The sooner we can replace Tom Perez with Stacey Abrams at the DNC, the better.
With all the (still on-going) drama of the vote-counting, the media has neglected one of the most important stories: Seventy-nine individuals have served as either president or vice president of the United States. The eightieth, Kamala Harris, will be the first woman—the first, one hopes, of many. Let January 2021 mark the beginning of a Golden Age of women in power in this country.
Unfortunately, the Blue Wave did not extend down ballot, as we’d been led to believe. Republicans voted a straight Republican ticket—except for the guy at the top, on whom they exclusively vented their rage. The Senate (likely) remains in the sickly, purple, 78-year-old hands of Mitch McConnell. While this limits Biden’s ability to implement the sweeping changes the Democrats may have been hoping for—court expansion, for example—the new administration will still wield enormous power.
Right off the bat, the United States stops cozying up to dictators and re-embraces our NATO allies. Xi, Putin, and Erdogan move to the end of the line. We re-enter the Paris Accords. We fix the Iran treaty. We rebuild the State Department. Diplomacy once again rules the day. The Pax Americana, that wonderful historical anomaly, is preserved.
After four years of foundering, we will have a functional federal government. On Day One, we will get a national mask mandate. The coronavirus response will be managed by a competent team that does not actively support passive genocide. Bill Barr will be replaced by someone who is not a corrupt underworld property. The FBI and CIA become de-politicized. Indictments drop. Heads roll.
I don’t buy that McConnell will stymie confirmation votes for four years. When it comes time to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice, Biden needs to do what Obama should have done four years ago (and which I wrote even at the time): Announce that the Senate has 90 days to vote on the nominee, and if the vote is not held, he will assume that the nominee has been approved, and order her to the Court. Qui tacet consentire videtur, motherfuckers. The Constitution mandates the Senate to vote on nominees; it’s not supposed to just sit on stuff indefinitely. This is the most important governing body in the world, not the DMV. Neither political party should tolerate obstruction through inaction ever again.
One thing the President can do without the Senate is name a Special Prosecutor. We need to have an independent Trump Crimes Commission, as Glenn Kirschner has called for:
I’d also like to see a bipartisan Covid-19 Commission, like the 9/11 Commission, that investigates the government’s response to the pandemic. Why did Trump/ Pence/ Kushner not listen to the experts? Is the Vanity Fair reporting about Kushner’s sinister motives accurate? Did they really seek out a Blue State Genocide? Did the Fox News talking heads coordinate messaging they knew was disinformation? How many Trump associates profited off of this misery? We need to know the truth.
When I did my tarot card spread on Election Day, I visualized drawing the Chariot as the third (i.e., future) card, because the Chariot represents victory. Instead, I got Justice. The cards, as usual, were right. Under Biden/Harris, Justice is exactly what we’re going to get. And I’m here for it.
Speaking of tarot, one last thing: It is my spiritual practice to pick a single tarot card every day. Today I drew the Four of Wands—the “Four Sticks” of Led Zeppelin discography and my own publishing company’s name. You know what Four of Wands means?
It has been an agonizing, traumatic, harrowing four years. The dark cloud has hovered over our heads without relent. Joy has been in short supply. Misery abounds. Today, the sun shines in. Today, the happy tears flow. Today, we have catharsis.
Revel in this historic moment, my friends. We deserve it.
We have prevailed.