Elections can make a difference, even in the US

As I have said so many times before, the US is a one-party state. The party is a pro-war, pro-oligarchy party with two factions that are labeled Democrat and Republican that differ on mostly social issues. But having said that, it would be a mistake to assume that there is no difference between the two and that elections do not matter. There is a world of difference from Trump being elected in November and Joe Biden winning, as we can see by what happened immediately after Biden was sworn in when he unveiled a whole raft of executive orders and legislative proposals that set in motion polices that all headed in a positive direction.

Joe Biden has marked the start of his presidency by signing a flurry of executive orders on a suite of issues, including Covid-19, the environment, immigration and ethics.

Some of the executive actions undo significant actions from Donald Trump’s administration, including halting the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, and ending the declaration of a national emergency used to justify funding construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.

He also signed an order allowing the United States to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and end the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census data used to determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.

The president also moved quickly to address Covid-19, signing orders to mandate mask wearing and social distancing in federal buildings and lands and to create a position of a Covid-19 response coordinator.

In other moves, Biden also revoked the permit granted for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and instructed all executive agencies to review executive actions that were “damaging to the environment, [or] unsupported by the best available science”. Biden also ordered all executive branch employees to sign an ethics pledge and placed limits on their ability to lobby the government while he is in office. The new president also ordered federal agencies to review equity in their existing policies and come up with a plan in 200 days to address inequality in them.

On his first day in office, Biden signed 17 executive actions – 15 will be executive orders.

To appreciate the difference that this election makes, if Trump had won, it is hard to say what he would have done on his first day because he was clearly not interested in governing as such and more interested in feeding the prejudices of himself and his cult following. He had clearly run out steam long before the end of his term. But none of the above Biden actions would have been taken. Instead we would have been treated to gloating and boasting and dog whistles to his cult as he would have seen re-election as an endorsement of his hateful rhetoric and policies that harmed the poor and people of color and other marginalized groups

The funny thing is that Biden’s policies will likely benefit Trump’s cult members as well because most of them belong to the poor to middle class demographic whose conditions Biden’s policies seek to improve. But that does not seem important to them. They crave the pandering of their white identity-based grievances that Trump was always willing to provide and so they will fight tooth and nail against Biden even as their lot improves because of him.


  1. johnson catman says

    Lyndon B. Johnson once said:

    If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

    This is, in essence, what The Orange Toddler-Tyrant promoted in his cult. He apparently thought it was a plan of action instead of the call to action against inequality.

  2. Who Cares says

    About Trump and governing.
    According to CNN Trump did not have a plan for vaccine distribution and there was no indication that there was ever going to be one, Bidens team had to do that themselves.

  3. Mano Singham says

    Who Cares,

    Who would have guessed that Trump would have no plan for dealing with the most serious crisis of his presidency?

  4. sonofrojblake says

    “halting the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries”

    Wouldn’t it be better to extend the ban to everywhere else until covid is under control?

  5. sonofrojblake says

    “Who would have guessed that Trump would have no plan for dealing with the most serious crisis of his presidency?”

    Who would have guessed that even after that crisis, the election would be so damned CLOSE? Can anyone argue with a straight face that Biden would not have been trounced if 2020 had been anything like the previous 3 years?

    He almost didn’t *need * a plan. The UK’s “leaders” don’t have one (for covid or Brexit) , and they’re still bafflingly not hanging from lampposts. Indeed, if there were an election this year (don’t bet against it) I’d vote Labour but put my money on the Tories.

  6. Who Cares says

    @Mano Singham(#3):
    What crisis? You mean the conspiracy to use this fake kung flu virus that can’t kill a chicken to tank the economy so that Trump wouldn’t be reelected? (note: my rendition of Trumps argument against a plan).
    The man cannot admit he is/was wrong without someone metaphorically putting a gun to his head (and then you get that dead voice reading up the hostage ransom note written by someone else performance using a teleprompter). Trump said there was no pandemic so there is no pandemic and if there is no pandemic there is no need for a plan. It is amazing how much the US did manage to do despite Trump going beyond full Republican on the reality based community and declaring war on said community.

  7. blf says

    sonofrojblake@4, The Muslim ban is bigotry; the Covid-19 ban is not. Ending the bigoted ban, and extending the already-existing Covid-19 ban to apply to whereever prudent — which has nothing to do with the prevailing religion, skin colour, or indeed anything other than the virus — can both be done.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    @blf,7: I get that, I do. It just struck me as a bit tone deaf to say “hey, we’re lifting these travel restrictions” in the current context.

  9. blf says

    sonofrojblake@9, “It just struck me as a bit tone deaf to say ‘hey, we’re lifting these travel restrictions’ in the current context.”

    Conflating Muslim ban with pandemic (Covid-19) ban is “tone deaf?” What part of observing Islamic rituals or being raised in such a culture RELEVANT to the pandemic ? Why is a Covid-19 ban inadequate for any pandemic threat from any locale ?

  10. mnb0 says

    “Biden’s policies will likely benefit Trump’s cult members as well”
    First see, then believe. None of the examples you gave does this. However news travels fast in our days, I already was aware of them plus a few more, which actually accomplish something.
    Well, nice window dressing. The next awful Republican president will turn them back as easily. I’ll wait for structural change, which probably will happen on the day that Easter and Pentecost are celebrated on the same day.
    In the meantime drone strikes against Yemenite civilians go on. Enjoy your own version of MAGA for the time being. My prediction is that the USA in 2024 will be worse off (both internally and externally) than in 2016. That’s the USA since 2000: two steps forward, three steps backward.
    And nothing is done about it.

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