I don’t have anything positive or reasonable to say about the election because I’m not a journalist — so I don’t have to be objective — and I’m not an optimist — so I don’t have to put a happy face on anything.
I let myself hope yesterday and that’s so not in my character. I don’t even know where it came from! I was actually LESS hopeful during the 2016 election, and when Trump won, I was largely unaffected. I assumed Clinton would win, because all y’all’s polls kept telling me so, but when she didn’t, I said “whelp, that’s just White America being the White America I always knew they were” and I left it at that. I went about my Wednesday after the election like nothing ever happened.
I don’t know where this hope came from last night!
There were no upsets or surprises. Republicans were leading in the polls in every race they won, and they had been leading the entire campaign. At no point did Gillum, O’Rourke, or Abrams have a lead over their Republican competition. At no point did the Senate map look favorable for a Democratic takeover in any way whatsoever.
So I don’t know where this hope came from!
Still, I am absolutely crushed. Even though the election played out exactly the way it was going to from the start, I actually let myself hope for a surprise victory, a referendum on hate and bigotry and Trump that would prove to me that this idea of a better America was attainable. I’m tired of seeing them win, even though I thought I’d grown out of this infantile notion that Good Triumphs Over Evil or the vague universal notion of karma. You don’t reap what you sow, not in the way we’d like to believe. You plant seeds, and either they grow or they don’t, and it has nothing to do with how “good” you are, only how good you are at watering the seeds.
The United States is founded on bad seeds and there is more than enough water for each and every one of them. I wanted a surprise victory the way they got their surprise victory in 2016, but we haven’t planted enough of those seeds to counterbalance the harvest of hate the GOP is currently reaping.
I can’t speak for everyone in my age bracket, but for me, I knew logically that this wasn’t a great country for most of my life. I could see it in the statistics, in the rhetoric, in the “democratic” process, but I became an adult during the Obama administration. I got to vote for a Black man with a Muslim name TWICE and he won TWICE on a platform of hope. I was wearing these rose-colored glasses for my entree into political engagement. 2016 took them off and 2018 stepped on them. I grew up a queer Black atheist in the rural South, so at no point in my life did I ever feel like this country was for me or that I was welcome here. I always felt like I was barely clinging to the American ladder, holding on to one of those lower rungs by my fingertips, but under Obama, I felt like I had a whole palm on it! It was like I too could feel proud to be an American. I didn’t have to be a Straight White Christian to feel comfortable in the US because this Black man with big ears and a Muslim name was the PRESIDENT!! and he got elected twice. Now I’m back to my fingertips, growing out my nails for extra traction so I don’t slip off completely.
We picked up the House seats we knew we would, and we lost the Senate and governors’ races we knew we would, but I wanted America to surprise me. I wanted to know that blatant lies and racism and bigotry and misogyny and VIOLENCE! were all so abhorrent, that people would be so enraged at what’s happening in the country, they’d overcome the voter suppression and misinformation to send a firm message to the Republican party that we refuse to accept this as the new norm. But Conservatives still outvoted us. They said “we like where the country is going” and I don’t know how to process that right now because I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I can’t physically drag people to the polls. If what they’re seeing isn’t enough to get them off the couch, I don’t know what I’m supposed to DO to convince them that the only way to correct course is an enormously massive and unprecedented turnout so we can fix the easy problems immediately and set to work on the big ones. We need to redraw voting districts fairly and a federal voting holiday and automatic registration when you turn 18 and paper printouts of voting confirmation so people have faith in their vote. These are things we can fix immediately if we take control and wield that power the way Republicans have.
But that’s in the future. Today, right now, in this moment, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do in order to feel good about this country or what I’m supposed to say to myself to feel like we have any hope in 2020.
Now that you’ve gotten this far, go read some balanced reporting about how difficult it is to flip the House when the economy is strong (we did that), about the number of women joining Congress, about Ohio and Michigan and what those races say about Trump’s (possibly diminishing) strength in the Midwest, about felons in Florida getting the right the vote, about subpoenas and investigations into this administration, about potential prospects for 2020 now that the race has basically kicked off, about energized young people all over the country ready to buckle down and do even better next time. Go read all those things because giving up is obviously not an option.
(If you wanna take a couple of weeks off that’s fine though. I’ma finally bust through some of this Netflix queue I’ve stacked up.)
GOP lawmakers don’t want metal detectors at the Capitol.
People broke into your job with weapons, but you don’t want metal detectors?
Louie Gohmert just walked around the magnetometer.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 13, 2021
“You can’t stop me; I’m on my way to a vote,” he said as he passed the cops.
For members of Congress to enter the floor of the U.S. House, we now have to go through intense security measures, on top of the security we already go through. These new provisions include searches and being wanded like criminals. We now live in Pelosi’s communist America!— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) January 13, 2021
Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican, told me that the situation is “untenable” because it “impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job.” These are the lines pic.twitter.com/Z6WP9ZXmC0— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 13, 2021
Rep. Rodney Davis told Mullin not to shout at Capitol Police, and he said: “This is not their fault, they’re doing their job.”— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 13, 2021
But Davis, who is the top Republican on House Admin, told me: “I’m pissed” that the mags have gone up without any consultation.
Republicans don’t believe the election was “free and fair”
In that case, I hope they just stop voting.
Three days after every major media outlet called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has shown no signs of conceding as he continues to push baseless claims of widespread fraud. The campaign he is waging against the integrity of the election, which first took root months ago, has had a major impact on how Republicans perceive the results, according to new Morning Consult polling.
This latest survey, conducted Nov. 6-9, 2020 among 1,987 registered voters nationwide, is part of an ongoing research project to gauge the level of trust Americans have in their electoral system. Results will be updated on this page weekly.
(cont. Morning Consult)
This was absolutely the goal of the Trump administration from the start. The writing was on the wall — he was going to lose this election bigly and he needed to make his supporters doubt the results, so they all cast a shadow on mail-in votes. They knew the largest share of mail-in votes would be Democrats because Democrats have not rejected COVID science and are more likely to avoid crowds. Sending in your ballot from the safety of your home makes sense to someone who believes the coronavirus pandemic is a real thing. Then the GOP prevented those ballots from being counted until after all of the same day ballots in places like Pennsylvania, so Trump declared victory on the day, and his supporters watched it slip away as these sketchy mail-in ballots were counted.
That’s the one-two punch. Mail-in ballots have more fraud, and I won before the fraudulent ballots started being counted.
So now we have an entire political party undermining the foundation of our democracy, by following behind this orange baby man throwing a tantrum because he hates losing, and they’re all but ensuring lower turnout for the next election cycle among their base. If 7 out of 10 people on your side of the aisle believe the election is rigged, how many of them are going to sit out next time because their vote doesn’t matter anyway? If just 1 of every ten says “why waste the time?” the GOP loses by an even wider margin.
Fine with me! I especially hope Republicans in Georgia have lost faith in the voting process so they don’t turn out for the Senate runoffs in a few weeks. I know plenty of Lazy Liberals who’ve sat on the couch on election day because we keep seeing these races stolen from us due to gerrymandering and voter restrictions and polling site closures. A big chunk of us have said “why waste the time?” and it has cost us every time. A little pessimism on the other side is music to my ears.
Also, it’s important to note that whichever party loses the White House has less trust in the election. It happens every time. Strangely enough, the only recent election where faith in the election was about equal for Democrats and Republicans was Bush v. Gore back in 2000, where the election hinged on less than 600 votes in Florida (as opposed to tens of thousands of votes in multiple states for Biden this go ’round).
This is the share of voters who said the election was free and fair, going back to Bush vs. Clinton.
It’s interesting that the trust gap of the 90s doubled once Barack Obama was elected, and it has doubled again now that the sitting President has spent the past few days telling his base over and over that the results weren’t fair. The Republican Party is circling the drain and I would love for this distrust in the voting process to be the final nail in their coffin. They can’t win if they don’t even show up.
Donald Trump’s ego would love nothing more than to see his supporters rise up and fight for him, so he will fan the flames for as long as they will believe his lies. I can’t think of a bigger indictment of his fabrications than Fox News refusing to give them more airtime:
Fox News has left the chat. pic.twitter.com/SwW9cq9bJI— The Recount (@therecount) November 9, 2020
I guess Rusty and Carole will have to get all their conspiracy theories straight from the source now.
2020 Election Firsts
The last four years have been hard, and these “firsts” show that we are in fact still moving in the right direction.
You know where this is going to end up (but not for the reason you think!) and I just wanted to highlight some other “firsts” from last week’s election. On the one hand, it’s 2020, so having “the first” of anything when it comes to representation is tiring. On the other hand, it’s 2020, and the last four years have been hard, and these “firsts” show that we are in fact still moving in the right direction.
Oklahoma has never had a Muslim elected to their State Legislature. The US has never had a non-binary person elected to any State Legislature. Until Mauree Turner.
Being a queer Black Muslim activist in Oklahoma comes with a lot of hurdles just to be seen and heard, but during the course of their activism and organizing behind other politicians, Turner was being encouraged to just run for office themself. They ran on a platform of inclusion and defeated their challenger with 71% of the vote.
If at first you don’t succeed, keep at it until you do. That’s what Cori Bush did.
Cori Bush ran for Senate in 2016, but was defeated in the primary. She ran for the House in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District (St. Louis mostly) in 2018, but was defeated in the primary. When she ran again this year and upset incumbent Lacy Clay in the primary, it ended the Clay Family’s hold on that seat which began with Lacy’s father Bill Clay back in 1968. Bush got her start in politics after the Ferguson protests where she served as a triage nurse and organizer. With her win in the general, she’s the first Black Woman elected to Congress from Missouri.
In 2012, Sarah McBride became the first openly trans woman to work in the White House. In 2016, she addressed the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first transgender American to address a major political party. Now, she has another first.
After winning her State Senate race in Delaware, Sarah McBride is the first trans person elected to a state Senate in the US. As a campaign staffer in Delaware, McBride previously worked on Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden’s campaign before coming out as trans during her last week as student body president of American University. A flurry of media coverage followed and the Biden Family continued to express their support, culminating in a position at the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Mondaire Jones won his House race to become the first openly gay Black Congressman.
Jones was running in a solidly Democratic district just north of NYC without a strong challenger in the primary. He easily pulled ahead of his challengers back in June during the primary for a seat that had been held by the same woman for thirty years. Jones has the support of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but I’m most excited to see him working with another of his high-profile supporters — AOC.
Another openly gay first, this time the first openly gay Afro-Latino in Congress.
Ritchie Torres will also be representing New York alongside Mondaire Jones when Congress seats its new class. His primary challenger was a notorious homophobe by the name of Rubén Díaz Senior, not to be confused with his more popular and more liberal son, Rubén Díaz Junior, who is the Bronx borough president. The ballots during that primary didn’t specify Junior or Senior, which I’m sure was an intentional “oversight” by the father’s campaign to capitalize on his son’s popularity, but in the end, Torres pulled it off and defeated his Republican challenger in the general last week. Torres said during his campaign that he wants to tackle the affordable housing crisis, expand the Supreme Court, and make Puerto Rico a state. He’s got big dreams and a bright future.
Madame Vice-President Elect will be the first female Vice President, the first Black VP, and the first Asian VP.**
There’s not much to add that hasn’t already been breathlessly covered everywhere for the past few days, but! She’s also the first Vice President who doesn’t share a last name with their spouse, which hadn’t occurred to me until last night, but I think it’s really awesome!
Full Disclosure: I hate when women feel pressured to change their last names after they get married, but I especially hate it when they have a career. You have papers and interviews and titles associated with one name, so why change that because of an outdated tradition that stems from ownership? Kamala Harris married Douglas Emhoff, and she’s still Kamala Harris. I was watching a documentary about Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election and it bummed me out that she felt she had no choice but to change her last name when Bill lost his reelection for Arkansas governor. She had kept her name and her job and she was too “independent” as a Southern wife, so she changed herself to help her husband appeal to voters, and that included taking Clinton as her last name. Forty years after that, I’m really excited that a woman has finally gotten to the White House and she kept hers.
**Kamala Harris is the first woman of color, but she’s not the first non-white VP. Hoover’s Vice President Charles Curtis was 3/8ths Native American.
Let’s retire the roast for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
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