Farewell to the Tango Bollock
I treated the election as a lockdown chance to party. Sleep-deprived I sat up circled by a water, beer, whiskey, tea and sip, sip, sip, sipped and stared for a week at pneumatic CNN, at the universe of votes and John King at the magic wall. What if… what if… we’re doing some what-ifs. Wisconsin flips and Cuomo looks confused. He’s fired up, he keeps having to walk himself back from arguments offending interview guests. Georgia flips and it feels like it’s happening. Biden Urges Patience, As Trump Threatens Lawsuits.
Day of voting closes early evening in America so results shows hit the TV prime time. This huge convoluted race, dragging on for days, sorting millions of votes into two teams: red or blue. It feels far more like election as spectacle than true representative democracy, as historic fates of nations keep being decided by near 50–50 splits. The promise of democracy is one person one vote. Lumping votes into electoral colleges (or, in the UK, FPTP constituencies) breaks this promise. These systems are a corruption of democracy (1). A choice of one would be a dictatorship; the next-least-democratic thing is a choice of two.
No one with supreme ambitions to be ruler should be allowed. Trump, for one administrative term, has acted as a stress-test for the institutions of American democracy. He telegraphed for months that he would try to steal the election. And even though people expected it, now he did it. As ever, we can hold a mirror up to his projection: it’s a set up! They’re trying to rig an election! Trump Vows to Fight for Election Integrity. Republicans Caught Conspiring to Commit Election Fraud. They’re proving fraud by doing fraud. If it happened in another country they’d call it a coup. MAGA folks don’t see that this result, this Biden win, represents America defeating meddling by its adversaries, by defeating the chaos candidate. MAGA folks can lower their truck flags to half-mast. They might not ever concede the race. It illustrates the loss of consensus reality, but history goes around in cycles and the present is not outside of history.
Eventually, Biden won convincingly, and it was meaningful. If the race was closer, Republican retaliation could have threatened the democratic process, but it wasn’t, so they couldn’t. Flawed and corrupted though the system is, Biden-Harris was a win for America, for the love of humanity (2), a vital step away from the cliff edge. Biden ran and won on the message of bringing a divided country together. Could he have won without the context of the pandemic? Will we be able to preempt and prevent the next coup? The next Donald Trump is not likely to be so stupid. Are individuals not looking hard enough, or is it impossible for individuals to see the direction of travel? Are each of us reactive to the collective as it morphs itself? And how long did the good news last? Two days? But I was choked at cities erupting in spontaneous cheers. It was good news. Where is the apocalypse now?
— — — — —
(1) George Monbiot
(2) LaTosha Brown