The pounding headache in human form which is Donald Trump will cease to be the President of the United States next January. The mild sedative who will replace him, Joe Biden, will bring blessed relief, to start. This isn’t where to go for numbers, but let’s take it as only a matter of time.
It’s worth a rundown of some consequences of that change. Let’s take a spin through the future.
Good news! We might still have a future to spin through- Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement took effect the day after the election. Biden has already said that rejoining it will be one of his first actions in office. This was probably the most consequential matter which was in the balance in this election, being a question of whether or not any effort would be made to avoid the extinction of humanity.
Sowing Done. Time to Reap
Consequences. It’s not a very popular idea amongst the very old people who run the Democratic Party. Biden has run on the slogan that he will be a uniter of all Americans, a worthy idea akin to offering to emulsify oil and water.
When Obama took power, one of his most consequential decisions was to cancel the investigation and prosecution of those who promoted an illegal policy of torture in the Bush Administration, on the basis that it would be divisive.
That sent the signal that no behaviour by people in power would ever face consequences in the event that you lost power. That policy gave the Trump campaign free rein, in the belief they would never face the consequences of their actions.
Biden will have to decide whether to let the defeated taste the consequences of their actions when they had the whip hand. Personally, I hope that those responsible for the policy of child separations and encagement have it follow them to their graves, but everyone will have their favourites.
Game rigged, new rules needed
The US system’s democratic flaws have been starkly laid bare throughout these years. There are two parties, and only one of them can muster a majority of support from citizens. Democrats have now won the popular vote in seven of the last eight elections, something no party has done before in U.S. history.
As a result, the Republican party must constantly act to suppress votes, voting and whole classes of voters, gerrymander to reduce the impact of votes which are cast, and cling to the electoral college system which gives the same power to New York as to the Nevada.
Biden is a four year President. With a Senate and a House in his control, he could have simply burned that system to the ground, resetting the entire political basis of his country, and forcing both parties to value all of the votes, not just the ones in ‘swing states’.
There is a wafer thin chance it could happen in January, as the last two seats are filled. If it does, it will be due to the Black women and men of Georgia voting to save their country and perhaps, for some of them, their lives.
Democracy, still magic
There will be lots of time for to look at the new problems that Trump’s legacy of cruelty and lies has left us. But let’s take just a second to enjoy the votes falling softly all over the United States, burying an administration which never recognised that they could be ended. Deep drifts of ordinary voters’ expressions of opinion, smothering a voice that thought it was always entitled to be heard, demanding they stop counting because he never really believed they counted for anything.
“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”