The Winner Takes It All

Losing sucks.

Even though many outlets have yet to make it official, it seems pretty obvious that Joe Biden has defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. That’s really it. That’s the article.

What I’m most interested in isn’t the final results, because if I’m being honest I didn’t truly care who won. I mean, yeah, if I had to choose between the two I would certainly prefer Biden over Trump, but that’s like preferring Keystone Light to Natural Light. Both beers taste like shit and I would rather have neither, but if that’s all I’ve got to choose from then I’ll choose the one that sucks just a little bit less.

Instead, what I’m focused on is the reaction to the election. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Hillary Clinton and the cesspool of the Democratic Party apparatus was claiming that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, and was thus responsible for why Hillary lost. For three years the Democrats and their frontmen on MSNBC and CNN were banging the drum — consistently and at high volume — that Donald Trump was in cahoots with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. Sure, some of Trump’s goons got indicted. Others went to jail. But it didn’t have anything to do with tampering with the election. It was mostly white collar crime, getting caught taking kickbacks here and there from people they weren’t supposed to.

Still, the damage was done. Nowadays it’s fucking impossible to convince any garden variety liberal — i.e. an MSNBC or CNN viewer — that Russia wasn’t responsible for why Hillary Clinton took a big fat L in 2016. On and on the Rachel Maddow’s and Chuck Todd’s and Lawrence O’Donnell’s and Anderson Cooper’s of the world told half the country that Russia was a real thing. They got out their veritable chalkboards and drew lines and connected dots Glenn Beck-style to poison the brains of people who didn’t want to accept the truth. They just wanted Hillary to win, and couldn’t fathom the idea of Trump being President. They convinced themselves so hard of this that it became their reality.

The facts, as they tend to be, were a lot less interesting. In 2016 there was a direct correlation between the states that swung the election — Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — and the places that were hit hardest by former President Bill Clinton’s free trade agreement, NAFTA. It was, after all, thanks to NAFTA in the mid-90’s that good union jobs in the so-called Rust Belt were outsourced to countries like China and Mexico, where billionaires and big businesses could pay foreign labor pennies on the dollar. Since then, in many ways the working class (or middle class, if you want to call it that) has never recovered. Hundreds of thousands of workers in those states never recovered.

Most liberals weren’t willing to accept that truth in 2016, because most of them couldn’t get beyond the idea that Trump was worse than Hillary. So they wondered: Why would people vote for Trump? Their answer was to rationalize some Russia conspiracy theory. Their answer was that 63 million Americans were racist, or sexist, or whatever. Their answer was whatever they needed it to be to make it make sense.

But they never addressed the real issue.

And, as a whole, the Democratic Party refused to address the real issue. In the aftermath of the 2016 election and in the subsequent years since, they refused to bend on policies that helped workers. They didn’t give in to Medicare For All, even though 90% of Democrats and something like half of Republicans support it. They didn’t give in to raising the minimum wage or expanding Social Security, which also have broad popular support. They didn’t have any interest in free college or even something as simple as legalizing marijuana, and Party leadership openly mocked the idea of a Green New Deal. The Democratic Party for the last four years (and well back to the Obama and Clinton years) has basically told Americans to go fuck themselves, because Donald Trump (or whoever the GOP candidate was in a given year) is the boogyman and you are a bad person if you don’t vote against him.

Now we fast-forward to 2020 and “the most important election of our lifetime.” Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden. That really happened. But now many (or most) Republican voters and Trump lovers who were shitting on the Russia conspiracy are getting behind a conspiracy of their own. That conspiracy? It’s called voter fraud, something that is a myth and always has been.

Again, we are witnessing the mind of people who can’t accept that their candidate is a loser. To their credit, the Republicans didn’t go off and blame another country to increase tensions. Instead they are blaming their own country. ‘Merica. They are saying a bunch of dead people voted; they are saying sharpies are the issue; they are saying technology is the problem. It has to be one of those things or some combination of all three. It just can’t be that their candidate lost. That’s impossible.

This is the same party that has been using all manner of tricks to purge voter rolls, to keep former convicted felons from voting, who gerrymanders districts… who use everything at their disposal to keep people from voting. In a Democracy, they want the fewest amount of people to vote as possible. If it was up to them the only people who would have a vote would be homeowners.

This is for a simple and obvious reason: when voter turnout is high the Democrats always win. When it’s low, the Republicans win. The craziest aspect of this 2020 election is that Donald Trump actually received four million votes more than he did in 2016. And this time around he is still going to lose the popular vote by something like five million.

If you are a Trump supporter you can play the conspiracy game and that’s cool. But consider, objectively if you can, what a bad four-year run Trump had. He campaigned in 2016 that he was going to replace Obamacare with a bigger, better healthcare plan, and he failed. He said he was going to bring American jobs back, and he just continued outsourcing them. He said he was going to build a beautiful wall that Mexico was going to pay for, and then he built a makeshift fence that won’t keep anyone out and American tax dollars paid for it.

That all goes without mentioning the more recent and arguably most egregious fuck-up, his handling of COVID. Without COVID I think Trump probably wins the 2020 election over Biden, but it certainly didn’t help Trump’s cause that millions of Americans are unemployed with nothing better to do than vote by mail. You add all these things together, and you are looking at perhaps the most memorable Presidential term in United States history, but it will be remembered more for the personality of the President than anything he actually accomplished.

Even Trump’s own supporters, or conservatives in general, can’t pinpoint anything tangible he did to positively impact their lives. Instead they talk about intangibles, like “he was patriotic,” or “he supports police,” or “he defends the 2nd Amendment,” or “he brought the Bible back to the White House.” The only people Trump helped in the White House were the billionaires (via a massive tax break), the big banks (via easing regulations), and the military industrial complex. He didn’t help me, and he didn’t help you.

Like I said, losing sucks. I get it. I hate that feeling, too. As a Bernie Sanders supporter I had to go through that crushing feeling twice, both in 2016 and in 2020. And both times I felt like Bernie got cheated, the first by a tilted Primary against Hillary Clinton and the DNC and the second by the Democratic Party consolidating behind Joe Biden once Bernie had won the first three Primary states. 2016 felt like a legit rigging, and 2020 was more or less expected. It seemed obvious to any Bernie supporter that the Party and media were working against him.

But that’s the perspective of a loser. We all know what it feels like. It’s what Democrats went through in 2016 when Hillary lost to Trump because of “Russia,” and it’s what Republicans went through in 2020 because of “voter fraud” and “sharpies.” One way or another anyone who’s had a rooting interest in politics over the last five years has been burned by their candidate losing. It’s not easy to accept, but like most things you’ll get over it.

I guess what I’m saying is we’re all in the same boat. Even though both sides feel like America is about to go through dramatic changes when Trump is replaced by Biden — for Democrats the world is about to be a magical place again, for Republicans it’s about to be a socialist hellscape — you can bet your bottom dollar that the rich will keep on getting richer, the poor will keep on getting poorer, and you and I will continue to have significantly more in common than the divisions the mainstream media, be it Fox News or MSNBC or CNN, keeps telling us we should have.

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