Signing Off – Biden is the President-elect

Joe Biden is officially the president-elect and Kamala Harris is officially the VP-elect! This is extraordinary news and a huge relief for tens of millions of Americans, though the next two months will be volatile and perilous.

In the short term, Trump seems likely to destroy as many of our agencies as he can, firing anybody who might be competent and useful to the Biden administration and making it much harder for Biden to nominate agency heads who will fight for a sane and progressive agenda. Trump will also continue to poison the election results as much as possible, at the very least to bolster a faux narrative of fraud and self-pitying grievance that could propel another run for the presidency in 2024, or perhaps even to try to invalidate the election by messing with the electoral college process as it attempts to certify the outcome in December.

In the longer term, we have to face the fact that 70 million people voted for a vile, unethical, divisive, sadistic, lying autocrat. They won’t go away, nor will right-wing media outlets like Fox, Breitbart, One America, InfoWars, YouTube and Facebook–all of whom will continue to sell hatred, fear and division for the sake of greed. As long as these engines of dishonesty continue to churn out lies, some 30% of our nation will live in a dangerous bubble of distortion and fantasy. The more that bubble embraces “eliminationist rhetoric” like “liberals are evil and unAmerican and should be removed from our nation” the closer we will get to Rwanda or Pol Pot’s Cambodia. As president-elect Biden said in his victory speech the other night, we have to fight against this kind of dangerous demonization or it will devour us and destroy or democracy.

Now that Antonio Delgado is being sent back to Washington and Joe Biden is the president-elect (regardless of what Typhoid Trump says) I’m fulfilling my promise to the founder of this group and discontinuing this blog.  It’s been an exhausting journey but the blog has allowed me to serve my neighbors and district throughout a crucial struggle. It’s also allowed my to vent my political fears and frustrations. Hopefully, this blog has been a source of information and motivation to you.  Hard to believe I’ve been doing it almost every day of every week for over two-and-a-half years, but fortunately the latest (and final?) chapter of the Trump political catastrophe has been a triumphant one.  I want to thank all of the readers, especially those who gave me suggestions, comments or encouragement.  And I especially want to thank Melanie W for starting this Indivisible group and welcoming me into its ranks. It’s meant a lot to me. I also want to thank all of the activists who devoted untold hours, dollars and pieces of their soul to elect Antonio Delgado and remove Trump from office. Activism can be a repetitive, time-consuming and thankless endeavor, but it’s vital to our democracy and the causes we hold dear. I’ll continue to be active on our two Facebook pages and will probably post commentary there in the future because if there’s one lesson we should take from the Trump catastrophe, it’s that we simply cannot afford to be complacent about politics, neither local nor national.  I’m certainly not going to be engaged on an hourly basis for a while—I need my life back.  But I’m committed to staying informed and connected to our community of activists, because every election cycle will be a battle we can no longer afford to lose, whether it’s for healthcare, equality, education, the social safety net, or climate. I urge all of you to remain active as we approach and enter the post-Trump era because Trumpism is far from vanquished and our political leaders will need us in 2022 and beyond. 

Best wishes to all of you.

Keep resisting Trumpism and keep working to vote Blue candidates into office. 

Election Day Plus Three – Close To A Win

As of this writing it looks likely that Joe Biden will win Nevada and Pennsylvania, and it also looks possible that he will win GEORGIA, where he’s behind by only 600 votes with a few thousand still to be counted. Arizona remains too close to call. The voting story of this election is clear. Many Democrats voted by mail and many Republicans voted on Election Day. The Election Day votes posted automatically whereas the mailed-in votes had to be opened, reviewed for authenticity, and then scanned, a process that takes a long time, especially when a state (like Pennsylvania) isn’t allowed to process mail votes when received but must wait until election day to begin. So Trump got off to an early lead in states like PA and now Joe Biden has been catching up as the legitimate and legal mail-in votes are counted. In fact, it’s quite possible that news agencies will call PA for Biden in the wee hours (which would mean game over for Trump–in a normal world). Joe is on the verge of winning between 279 and 306 electoral votes.

Sadly but predictably, Trump held a short presser last night and spewed a damaging torrent of outright lies and distortions, saying that he won all the legal votes and if he loses it will be because the democrats cheated. But even Fox News wasn’t agreeing with his lies, instead reporting the actual results as they came in. In fact, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post tweeted a story titled: “Downcast Trump makes baseless election fraud claims in White House address.” A broad range of political commentators and public figures voiced their outrage at Trump’s blatantly Fascist stance, including Stephen Colbert, who choked up in rage and grief when describing Trump’s disgusting desecration of our most cherished institution, voting. And let’s be very clear about one thing: Trump is advocating Fascism. We need to start using that word, because that’s what this is. From Merriam-Webster:

Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

The huge and disturbing question remaining is, will Trump’s cult of supporters grudgingly accept the clear results of the election when all of the major news agencies report them, or will they act out against our election system or….? Trump’s extreme comments were profoundly unAmerican and damaging to our institutions and traditions, but that’s sadly what we’ve come to expect from him. The extreme fringe is undeterred. Newt Gingrich seemed last night to call for insurrection by suggesting that AG Bill Barr should send federal agents to PA to arrest election workers. And Leader McConnell refused to comment on Trump’s presser, giving his consent through silence. But other Republican leaders like Mitt Romney reiterated that “counting every vote is at the heart of our democracy…Have faith in democracy, our Constitution, and in the American people.” Trump continued his tirade long after midnight on Twitter, beseeching the Supreme Court to step in and throw out 600k ballots in PA, which he deems were not “legal.” This is now his big word, “legal,” as in “election day votes are legal but mail in votes are not legal.” Trump is increasingly frantic and isolated, lashing out and destroying the legitimacy of any institution in his way. We need Republicans to abandon the Trumptanic and uphold the Constitution–but their fealty to it remains in doubt.

Our best hope is that Biden can win in enough states to pad his victory and make it legally impossible for Trump to change the result, while at the same time demonstrating to Trump supporters that this election, like every other election in 230 years, was conducted properly with both Republican and Democratic representatives overseeing every ballot counted.

We should see a winner declared soon. Stay calm, stay confident, and push for every ballot to be counted.

Have a nice weekend.

Election Day Plus Two – Making Progress

As mail-in ballots continued to be counted in swing states yesterday, a more optimistic picture began to emerge for Joe Biden. The “Blue Wall” states of Wisconsin and Michigan were awarded to Biden, two states Trump narrowly won in 2016. Nevada will likely go to Biden (though all the networks are saying it’s too early to award) and Arizona is hanging by a thread in Biden’s column with a few hundred thousand drop-box votes to be counted. If Biden can hold onto Arizona, it will give him the magic 270 votes WITHOUT needing Pennsylvania or Georgia, even though Biden is on track to win Pennsylvania by a decisive margin when all the mail-in votes are counted (still considered too early to award), and Biden has an amazing 50/50 chance of winning Georgia (it will probably come down to a few thousand votes either way). Trump said NOTHING in public yesterday and rumors were circulating that he’s sulking because he knows the end of his presidency is probably approaching. BUT nothing is done until it’s done.

Democrats will have work to do. There will be plenty of legal challenges to confront and vanquish. And activists we will have to beat back the bogus Trump lie that the election was somehow stolen from him because states counted their mail-in ballots. It’s an insane position to take, but Trump and his cult are taking it. A group of armed cultists surrounded the Maricopa County election commission HQ last night and raised as stink because they were scared election officials were “stealing” the election from Trump. Fun civics fact: election results are supervised by and counted by members of BOTH parties so they can keep an eye on each other and nobody can steal anything. But civics has never been the Trump cult’s strong suit. Instead, the protesters started the evening chanting “stop the vote” and ended the evening chanting “count the vote!” Turns out, in NV and AZ Trump needs more ballots counted to give him a chance to catch up, whereas in PA and GA, he wants to shut down ballot-counting while he’s still ahead. Now imagine Trump lawyers in different state courts arguing these opposing positions AT THE SAME TIME. Idiocy.

As long as Trump sticks to the full-blown authoritarian fiction that he was on track to win BIG but somehow the mean Democrats found ballots in trashcans somewhere and stole the election from him and his angry supporters, we will have a mess on our hands. Trump’s supporters won’t know the truth, they will only know the lies they hear from Trump and Fox, so their outrage is going to boil over. Let’s hope and pray it doesn’t kill anybody.

Expect to see Biden’s cumulative vote total in Pennsylvania top Trump’s sometime today. And expect the Trumpublicans to have a hissy fit. Also expect more results from Arizona and Georgia, which could further pad Biden’s victory. I’m cautiously optimistic for the first time since the polls closed.

Keep resisting Trump and keep pushing for all the ballots to be counted.

Election Day Plus One – Nail Biter

It’s been a depressing and concerning 24 hours in the presidential election. As of this writing, no clear winner has yet emerged, but the early optimism Democrats held for a blue wave has been dashed. The most optimistic scenario is for an extremely narrow Biden victory, marked by legal challenges from Trump in razor thin states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won Florida, Texas, and has a solid lead in North Carolina, and has leads in three of the other swing states thanks to (predicted) election day votes, with mail-in votes still in the early stages of being counted. One bright spot was Arizona, which Biden seemed to have flipped from Trump’s 2016 win. Another possible bright spot was Georgia, which was too close to call last night with some Atlanta votes yet to be counted. The NY Times gave Biden a slight edge in probability of winning Georgia. And in the wee hours of the morning, Biden pulled ahead in Wisconsin by 20k votes. To summarize, only a narrow path to victory remains for Joe Biden, who will need to win two of these four states: PA, GA, MI and WI, three of which he trails, but all of which have outstanding mail-in/absentee ballots. This is exactly the scenario that many observers predicted, where Trump takes an early lead in the rust belt due to election-day ballots and Biden’s tally creeps up as mail-in votes are slowly counted.

Not surprisingly, Trump held a late-night presser and claimed victory, saying he had won states that were still very much up in the air. His plan to try to disqualify mail-in votes in places like PA rests on sowing doubt about the legitimacy of votes counted after election day, which is absurd. The crucial point is that ALL votes must be counted, including absentee and mail-in ballots, and all voters must have their votes respected. To Trump, “stealing the election” equals counting all the votes. Disgraceful.

It also seems unlikely that the Democrats will win control of the Senate. They picked up two seats, in AZ and CO, but they need three if Biden wins or four if Biden loses, and that seems increasingly distant.

One bright spot, it seems that Antonio Delgado will likely retain his House seat. He leads with all precincts reporting, but mail in votes still need to be counted, which will probably not hurt his lead of close to 7,500 votes. Sadly, Sue Serino beat Karen Smythe to retain her State Senate seat, and it’s depressing to note that despite Joe Biden winning New York State by a wide margin, Dutchess County cast more votes for Trump than Biden.

We’ll learn a lot more about the presidential race during the course of the day. Joe Biden tweeted late last night, “Keep the faith, guys. We’re gonna win this.”

Election Day – A Day For Action

Here we are. If you haven’t voted yet, for God’s sake, please vote today. The polls are open in New York State from 6am to 9pm. Every vote matters. Local elections are sometimes decided by a single vote.

If you’ve already voted, or are about to vote, there are a number of additional actions you can take today to motivate others to get off the couch and vote for our great Democratic candidates. Here’s an excellent list from our friends at Hudson Valley Strong:

Call your friends and family. Make sure nobody is thinking of sitting this one out, or thinking of staying home because their vote won’t count, or skipping the election because they’re in a safe district or a blue state. If each of us can find one person who wouldn’t otherwise vote and get them to the polls, it will make a huge difference.

This may be our last chance to rid the White House of an authoritarian liar whose ambition is to become a dictator. So many important things are hanging in the balance:

  • Affordable healthcare
  • A competent response to Covid
  • A response to climate change
  • An environmental policy that protects the environment
  • An active role in international affairs
  • An unbiased Justice Department
  • Respect for ALL our citizens
  • A fairer tax code
  • A real immigration and asylum policy
  • A commander in chief who reads his briefings
  • A commander in chief who doesn’t constantly lie, and so much more…

Keep working all the way to the finish line and hopefully we can all contribute to a win for Biden and our local Democrats. This is the day we’ve been fighting for.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office TODAY!”