A great relief

Like most other people, I have been in a state of anxiety for the last of couple of weeks due to the US presidential election. When there wasn’t a decisive result on election night, it didn’t exactly help my anxiety. When my brother called me a couple of hours ago, and told me that the news media have called the election for Biden/Harris, it lifted a considerable weight of my chest.

The pattern of the election results followed what was expected, the first few releases of counted votes would bring Trump strongly in front, but as more populated areas, and especially the mail-in votes, got counted Biden would surge, and take the lead.

What we hadn’t expected, was how long it would take for the surge to overtake Trump’s lead, and thus how long time it would take before the election could be called, and by how slim margins.

Biden currently set to get 306 votes in the electoral college, but some of them will be won with razor thin margins – in Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, Biden is leading with less than 1% of the votes. These numbers are expected to increase, but not into huge margins.

A few thoughts:

First of all, thank you to everyone who fought so hard for Biden to win. It could have been easy to become complaisant after the polls showed Biden well ahead, but people didn’t stop up, but instead fought to get people registered and interested in voting.

As an outsider, it is incredible to me that the margin of victory is so small – especially as it looks like Biden got at least 4 million votes more than Trump, which in a normal democracy would leave little doubt about the results. I guess the US presidential election system shows its ugly side once again.

I see a lot of people claim that the razor thin victory was because it was Biden, and not someone more progressive, like e.g. Bernie Sanders. It is very hard to say anything meaningful about such a claim, but I think it is important to point out how large Trump’s support was. As it stands right now, he is the candidate who got the second most votes ever in the US presidential election, only beaten by Biden. He got a million more votes than Obama in 2008, and more than 8 million more votes now than he got in 2016.

I really have a hard time seeing anyone matching Trump’s results, and I find it impressive how much better Biden did. I think any other Democratic candidate would have failed.

This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t rather have had a different, more progressive president, but I think such a candidate wouldn’t have had broad appeal, which was necessary to win this election.

Speaking of necessary for winning, it is important that the Democrats fight voters suppression. Stacey Abrams did this in Georgia, with such great results, that the state might turn blue (fingers crossed) and that the two senate races are going into run-offs.

And speaking of the Georgia run-offs – these two elections are extremely important for the Democrats effort to take over the Senate. Put simply, the Democrats needs to win both of these races in order to take the majority in the Senate, which is the only way that Biden and the Democrats can introduce any progressive ideas.



  1. Some Old Programmer says

    (Pedantic point, I believe the Dems need to pick up both seats in order to tie up the Senate 50-50, leaving the balance of power to the President of the Senate to break a tie–the US Vice President)

  2. Nomad says

    The thing about whether a more progressive candidate would have gotten more or less votes is that the pattern in the house is that some centrist democrats lost their seats while notoriously leftist “the squad” retained theirs.

    It’s at least suggestive that this habit of going with milquetoast centrists to try to strip votes away from Republicans isn’t working.

    I mean, we saw what happened in this election, Biden and Harris were either called “far left” anyway, or they were just said to he puppets of the far left. The charge that they were socialists lost them votes among Cuban Americans. The Overton window is always to the right of anyone the Democrats nominate.

    If it’s a foregone conclusion that even right wing Democrats will be portrayed as fire breathing leftists, as PZ reported happening in his neck of the woods, maybe trying to pander to the right isn’t the best approach. I’m not certain of this, mind you, perhaps fence sitters would be even more scared of a genuine progressive candidate.

    But being told that I’ll vote for the center right candidate and like it again and again while the right invents a whole alternate reality backstory about them to make them into a boogie man is getting old. Watching the hostility that the Democratic party has shown to AOC suggests that it’s not even about pragmatism, but about outright opposition to progressive candidates.

  3. Ichthyic says

    “some centrist democrats lost their seats while notoriously leftist “the squad” retained theirs.”

    pretty sure it was even more stark than that. the squad gained several new members.