If Biden Wins, We Need to Act as though Trump is Still President
Poll after poll has been predicting that Trump will lose to Biden in the November 2020 election. From pundits to the public, people are speaking as though it’s a done deal, like Trump is as good as beaten and it’s now just a matter of waiting for it to be made official. If polls were infallible, and if the predictive abilities of pundits or the majority of the public could be trusted, Turd would never have become president in the first place. Polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would beat Trump in a landslide in 2016, and virtually all the pundits and most people in general treated it like a certainty. Clinton herself was so certain she’d be given the election that she failed to campaign in key locations, or do anything to challenge voter disenfranchisement, thus handing them to Turd. Given the astounding weaknesses of Biden as a candidate, and his truly pathetic campaign, we may be in store for a repeat and another four years of Deranged Turd killing the world and wrecking anything positive about this country.
Don’t be stupid. Don’t get cocky.
This is not a done deal, and there’s no justification for surety that Trump will be out of power come January 2021.
I don’t want that. No sane and/or decent and/or intelligent person who values life and/or decency and/or justice wants that. I can’t say I want Biden to be president either, but this is the sinking ship we’re stuck in, barring a full-scale peoples’ revolution. For DT to lose the 2020 election and be thrown out of office is the most positive of my wishes for him.
But, if he does in fact lose, and doesn’t impose national martial law and declare himself emperor in order to cling to power indefinitely (a scenario we can’t rule out), we need to continue behaving as though he is still president. Even if Biden wins, and manages to preside over a lackluster milquetoast four years in office, we need to act throughout that time as though it is still DT in office.
Many horrible things have transpired during the Turd presidency. He and his regime are among the worst, most destructive, incompetent, cruel, disgusting, pathetic, and evil people ever to hold political power. But there has been a positive side to his presidency. The activism that has arisen under the reign of DT has been beautiful and awe inspiring. From the Women’s marches, to the immigrant rights activism, to the #MeToo movement, to the Black Lives Matter protests against systemic racist police violence, to radical grassroots and often indigenous-led movements challenging the corporate causes of the climate catastrophe, our country has seen an unprecedented rise of grassroots activism and political engagement. If DT deserves credit for anything, it has been as the inspiration for the uprising of the citizenry. None of the problems people have protested and spoken up against in the past four years have been caused at their inception by Trump. Sexism, racism, xenophobia, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and actions, white Christian hetero cis male chauvanism are systemic ills which plagued us long before Trump. But he’s provided the figurehead. He is the foil, the villain with which all these crimes are (not unjustly) associated. Thanks to his outlandish behavior, his despicable words and actions, and the perverse fascination with him that the media has been pivotal in fostering, we’ve had a proud representative of injustice and a constant target for righteous anger.
Humans are highly adaptive creatures. Sometimes to our detriment. Americans also happen to be, on average, a particularly stupid and impressionable breed of humanity. Through time and relativity, we accept and grow accustomed to virtually anything, and even turn negatives to positives. Twelve years after the end of George W Bush’s presidency, people act as though he was a good president and a good person when he was demonstrably neither. Bush was a monster, a major violator of Constitutional rights and civil liberties, a war criminal, a callous racist, an enemy of working people and a friend to the obscenely wealthy, to major polluters and other destructive industries, he bloated military and policing budgets, starved needy communities through huge cuts to social spending, all while driving us into deep national debt. The rehabilitation of Bush and the rewriting of his time in office, not even that long after the fact, is a disgrace and so is anyone who’s participated in it. There may come a time, a decade or more from now, when we have an actual competent fascist with an ideology extending beyond narrow self interest, and those among us who harken back with fondness to the Bush years will be doing the same for Trump. Under the brutal white supremacist dictatorships of president Tucker Carlson or president Stephen Miller, there will doubtless be memory-deficient liberals going on about how much better and simpler things were in the Trump years.
Putting a Democrat in office again will not cure systemic ills. Especially not a Democrat like Biden, who might as well be a Republican. He’s not that different from Bush. If anything, there’s a troubling trend of regression under Democratic presidencies. Progressive protests have been far more prevalent under Republican presidents, like Bush and Trump, but not because of evident substantive improvement under Democrats. Both Clinton and Obama started or escalated foreign wars. Both of them enacted mercilessly cruel policies against migrants and undocumented immigrants. Clinton is largely responsible for the expansion and militarization of policing and the prison industrial complex. Obama oversaw a justice department that prosecuted more journalists and whistleblowers than any predecessor, and supported and defended the intelligence community’s mass surveillance programs, both cases being gross Constitutional violations. Every president of the modern era is arguably guilty of war crimes, and crimes against nature, against life, for their support of extractive industries, putting short-term financial gain over the survival of our species and all life on Earth.
Yet the majority of those calling themselves liberals, or of the left, talk about those Democratic administrations as the good times. Sure, it’s preferable to have a leader who doesn’t say the stupidest shit you’ve ever heard every time they open their mouth. There was some progress made for a handful of progressive causes during those administrations. But it’s not as though people weren’t starving, the police weren’t killing innocent people daily, our military wasn’t bombing innocent people overseas, our water and air weren't being poisoned and our planet bled dry, or like true freedom and justice and democracy existed and were strong during those years. Yet the protests were far fewer, activism and engagement lesser.
Democratic presidents act as placaters to the left. It’s only the radicals, the socialists and anarchists and what have you, who really keep actively engaged under Democratic administrations. The rest, the wishy washy mostly white liberals get complacent. They figure, Things aren’t perfect, but our guy’s in power. When inciting incidents for an uprising arise, nothing quells them faster than a Democratic president visiting a Black church, singing a passable rendition of Amazing Grace, or inviting a dumbass bum racist cop and the esteemed Harvard professor he profiled and abused to the White House for a beer. Granted, those examples are all of the Obama era (not that plenty of other Democrats haven’t pandered in Black churches before), and Biden has none of Obama’s positive attributes, let alone his skin color. In keeping with the tactics of the previous pandering Democratic cracker to run the country, maybe Biden would go on the Wendy Williams show and play the harmonica, because Arsenio Hall hasn’t had a show in years and Biden is clearly not a sax man.
The point being that Democrats don’t lead progressive movements, they lead them to fizzle. They act like they’re on the side of justice, only to slow-pedal, force one-sided compromises, and promote the illusion of change and improvement. Republican presidents, particularly one as caustic and revolting as Deranged Turd, amp up the opposition. Rather than trying to solve issues, he always acts to make them worse. In doing so, he inspires more people to speak out and act, where before they’d have kept quiet and stayed sitting on the fence. Where a Democrat would blather about unity and common ground and working across the aisle, he has forced people to pick a side and accept the reality of the struggle.
That is perhaps the greatest danger of a Biden presidency, that people will be lulled into complacency, become comfortable again, stop caring and stop fighting. Few people are dumb and deluded enough to encourage voting for Biden on his own merits; the argument is typically one of pragmatism: If you don’t vote for Biden, you’re making it easier for Trump to win again. The argument has even been made, by no less than the genius Noam Chomsky, that Biden is essentially an empty vessel, that despite his right-wing record, it will be possible to sway and push him into fulfilling the agendas of progressive causes once in office. Whether or not there’s truth in that, that scenario will require the strong and sustained efforts of progressive activists all throughout the Biden presidency. Neither part of that hypothetical, Biden suddenly proving super-malleable ideologically and willing to work meaningfully for progressive causes, or grassroots progressive activism keeping up steam and maintaining pressure under the sedative presence of a Democratic president, is borne out by historical evidence, but, we have to hope. And more than hope, we have to act.
In the event that DT leaves office, we cannot act as though that solves anything. We cannot conflate him as the figurehead or symptom that he is with the systemic ills that plague us. All the fire and passion that we’ve witnessed and/or played a role in must be maintained. We cannot act as though ousting DT is a solution in itself or that it solves anything beyond the excising of a superficial tumor. The cancer that produced DT will still be there after he’s gone and the fight to cure it must go on.