Joe Biden is almost certainly going to be the next president of the United States. The Biden-Harris ticket received the most votes of any ticket in American history, and he is expected to win the popular vote by somewhere between two to five points. Biden is currently leading in enough states to give him 306 Electoral College votes, more than the 304 Donald Trump received in 2016, which Trump called “historic.” Biden is likely to win, even if he ends up losing a state or two where he is currently leading. And if state legislatures had simply given their states the resources to count ballots as they were received, this would have been evident since Tuesday night.
Still, this drawn-out nail-biter victory isn’t the one many of us had imagined. Biden did not meet the predictions of preelection polls, whether because the polling industry is trash or because he “underperformed.” Moreover, Democrats appear to have been unable to take back control of the United States Senate, at least for the moment (runoffs in Georgia could change the calculus), and Democrats lost a few seats in the House.
All of this has given some people a case of the sads. At least 68 million Americans voted for the racist, misogynist president, which is more people than voted for him last time, before they’d seen him bungle the response to the coronavirus, which has led to the deaths of 230,000 people. Some people wanted more of a “repudiation” of Trump and Trumpism, and instead we got another razor-thin election in which a couple of hundred thousand votes spread over a few states could have changed the results. As Virginia Democrat Gerald Connolly lamented, “The Trump coalition is more stubborn and resilient and capable than maybe we anticipated.… The country is even more polarized and divided.”
The thing is, while the Trump coalition is every bit as stubborn, racist, and vile as we’d feared, the idea that “the country” is “deeply divided” is ludicrous. White people are divided. White people can’t stand together to reject white supremacy. Black people repudiated Trump just fine. We’d also launch him into the sun, if you’d let us—free of charge. A happy quirk of Republicans’ forcing some states to wait to count mail-in ballots is that it showed the impact of Black voters living in cities. Trump was winning Wisconsin until Milwaukee reported. He was winning Michigan until Detroit came in. He was winning Pennsylvania until Philadelphia showed out. And the last time Georgia had to withstand something as righteous as what Stacey Abrams has mobilized down there, William Tecumseh Sherman was marching through.
Black people won this election for the Democrats, and nonwhite voters across this country also rejected President Trump. Trump did well with Cuban-Americans in Florida (as Republicans usually do), and with some Latinx voters in South Texas. But overall, he lost Latinx voters: He lost Puerto Rican Americans in Florida, and Mexican Americans in Arizona. He lost with the AAPI community. He lost the Muslim community. He lost the Jewish community. And he lost with the LGBTQ community. That rejection should be respected, and celebrated. Trump is the first president to lose a reelection bid since 1992, and he lost it because a coalition of basically everybody other than white cis-hetero Christians overwhelmingly united and turned out against him. We saved America. You’re welcome.
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I’m sorry more white people didn’t join our America (and thankful for the ones who did) by rejecting the bigotry, misogyny, and incompetence of Trump and the GOP, but I refuse to allow their ghoulishness to ruin my good time. Commitment to white supremacy will eventually kill this country, just as ideologies of racial superiority have killed every nation-state that hung onto them for too long.
But not today. Thanks to the rest of us, white America has a few more years to get over itself. Today, we have provided white people with additional time to look introspectively at their own communities, figure out how they’ve gone so horribly wrong, and come up with a plan and message to convince fellow whites to stop voting against their own interests in the name of continued racial dominance. I’ve got an elegy to write. It’s titled: Hillbilly, heal thyself.
But what we’re not going to do is ask people of color, Black people specifically, who have delivered this country from evil, to mollify or mitigate their demands for justice just because it might spook some of the white voters who have consistently embraced the very dystopia Trump championed.
I’ve heard some talking heads suggest that strident calls of racial justice in the face of police brutality “hurt” white Democrats in swing districts. Political guru James Carville said on MSNBC that the “police stuff” was “unhelpful.” When asked about Democratic “underperformance,” former senator Claire McCaskill said, “Around cultural issues, the Republican Party, I think, very adroitly adopted cultural issues as part of their main theme. Whether you’re talking guns or issues surrounding the right to abortion in this country or things like gay marriage and the right for transexuals and other people who we as a party have tried to look after and make sure that they’re treated fairly.” She later apologized for using the term “transexual.”
On a post-election conference call, Virginia Representative Abby Spanberger, who narrowly won reelection, called the House Democrats campaign a “failure” and lashed out at the party’s embrace of the protests inspired by the death of George Floyd. Reports indicate the call basically turned into a centrist freak-out session in which vulnerable Democrats blamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “the Squad” for their problems or losses.
I would like to invite these Democrats to either take all the seats, or go jump in a lake. I’m sorry if pointing out the terrorism suffered by Black people at the hands of the police makes it harder for Democrats to win in Richmond, Va. But Black people were not put on this earth to make life easier for Representative Spanberger. She’s free to send whatever message to her district she thinks works best: In fact, we need candidates like Spanberger who can win in purple districts like the one she represents. But she cannot dictate the national message of a party that would not exist without the blood, sweat, and bodies of Black people.
Moderate white Democrats need to understand, immediately, that they’re part of a party that is simply not competitive nationally or even in most statewide races without people of color. Democratic candidates in states that don’t have a lot of people of color in them lose. Democratic candidates that fail to connect with voters of color in states where those voters are numerous lose. Democrats whose only message is based on changing the minds of Trump voters lose—unless Black people suck it up and save them anyway.
White Democrats have been rejected by the majority of white people in this country. When given the choice between Trump (or some know-nothing Trump-wannabe) and a well-meaning white person with solid policies grounded in science and compassion, white people consistently and overwhelmingly choose the Trump-stan. That’s gotta sting. It frustrates white Democrats to be so harshly rejected by their skinfolk.
But there’s nothing for it now. The way forward for the Democratic Party is through the vision and leadership of minority communities, most especially the Black women leaders among our ranks. The quicker moderate white Democrats realize that, the more successful the party will be. The quicker they realize Stacey Abrams is the future, the less time they’ll spend getting their lunch money stolen by Mitch McConnell.
Donald Trump was repudiated in this election. White Democrats have to decide if they want to be on the team that did that, or if they want to continue losing.
I hope they figure it out soon. Black people have two senatorial runoffs to win in Georgia, if white moderates would just fall in line instead of getting in the way.