Politics & Media
Nov 09, 2020, 06:26AM

America Just Failed to Get Its Head Together

Glad Biden’s in, but we’re screwed anyway.

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Last time around Donald Trump took just under 46 percent of the vote. This time he’s just under 48 percent. That will probably edge down as more votes get counted here and there. But it’s not going to edge that far. Trump still won a higher percentage than he did before some 85,000 Americans died from his bungling of covid. (The virus death toll is much higher, but that’s because of the disease, not because of Trump. Compare our deaths and population with those of the European Union to estimate the actual harm done by his incompetence.) If a population gets slapped alongside the head by tragedy, it really ought to notice. In America it seems about half of us managed to do that. I think the rest were too busy watching Fox on their giant TV screens. Even brute self-interest is too demanding for them. They’ve sunk into brute fantasy.

That’s my analysis. The rest is what I take from reading the big election recaps in Politico, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. One learns that Trump’s people copied the Obama playbook from 2012 and went in hard for door-to-door canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts. For what it’s worth, an operative says they beat Obama’s figures for volunteers and for contacts with voters. Biden’s campaign didn’t try door-to-door until late, given that Biden was supposed to be the candidate against germ spreading. On the other hand, Trump’s campaign was running low on money by September, having already spent $800 million on various useful and not useful projects (spent it “like a drunken maniac,” says a person unnamed).

Super PACs couldn’t help much since the main super PAC for Trump had proved a dud with the party’s big donors, who considered its personnel to be White House discards. Attempts at starting a new one took a while, in part because the attempts involved feeling out the difficult Steve Bannon to see if he could run it. Bannon wasn’t a donor favorite and neither was Kimberly Guilfoyle, Don Jr.’s combustible girlfriend and the person looking after high-dollar fundraising for the campaign proper. Guilfoyle (“a Tasmanian devil tsunami,” says another unnamed person) reportedly told a gathering that the attendee who bundled the most money would get a lap dance from her; she’s 51. And small donors were a problem because the campaign had been tapping them since the inauguration. By the campaign’s final weeks Trump was wondering if he’d actually have to spend his own money. Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign could drop some $750 million onto the airwaves. That takes a lot of door-knocking to counteract. Even so Trump came close because there are that many Americans ready to vote for disaster.

At least Biden will now be president and Trump won’t. At least my brother was hugely wrong for the second election in a row, having twice predicted landslides for the good guys. At least nuts with guns didn’t show up and start shooting at voter lines. At least the feared post-election chaos has manifested as simple whining and blatting by a chief executive being humored by his lawyers. Or perhaps I should say at most. There was no Blue Wave and no shift of disgusted Republicans toward the Democrats; instead the Democrats peeled off enough Republicans to scrape a win at the top while various Trump enablers in Congress and the Senate got sent back for new terms.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her party’s more moderate members are spatting about who gets the blame for the Democrats’ loss of seats in the House. Mitch McConnell is waiting for angry Republican voters in Georgia to turn out for the runoff elections there and hand him continued control of the Senate; therefore, we must wonder if Biden will be able to appoint any judges or even a cabinet, let alone take actions necessary to save the country from its various messes. In two years the nuts turn out all over the country and we see what hand they deal us. Prediction: America has a lot of corners to turn before it gets anywhere good.

  • The first paragraph's US vs EU comparison is actually the US vs the EU plus the United Kingdom. I forgot to mention them. So the sentence should read: "To estimate the actual harm done by his incompetence, compare our deaths and population with those of the European Union plus Great Britain."

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