The US Election: Key Takeaways So Far

By Jack Street

Trumpism is Alive and Well

I want to preface this article by saying that I understand that it will rain on many people’s parades.

By most accounts, this election was going to be a swift and firm repudiation of Donald Trump and his brand of populism that has reigned supreme for the past 4 years. The reality is anything but. The red mirage (early counted votes going mainly to Trump) scared the pants off Biden supporters who believed he had a chance of winning Florida and Texas and, although this will go down as a Biden win, it has been way too close for comfort.

Trump has presided over the deaths of at least 200,000 Americans, not instituted any kind of economic support for those that have been most impacted, put in place a supreme court justice in Amy Coney Barrett who threatens women’s rights, and has governed not for the people he promised but the vested interests he said he would destroy. This election should have been a walkover, even when taking into account how difficult it is to unseat an incumbent President.

However, it has been anything but. If Covid wasn’t a factor, we would currently be looking at a MAJOR Trump landslide victory. That is completely unacceptable. Sitting back and shouting ‘Trump Bad’ and ‘I wear a mask’ for the last 6 months is not a good strategy to win an election. Clearly, Covid has not scared the US people enough to want Trump out and Biden attempting to win over the ‘Never Trumper’ Republicans in order to win big was a terrible strategy.

Now, I fully understand those that would rather a wet flannel be President of the United States than Trump, but those of us on the left have got to demand more from our candidates if we never want to see a Trump-like figure again. I know that Biden is likely going to win, but this must be a stark message to the Democratic party. They have to change their ways and actually offer up an effective alternative if they are to once and for all defeat the misery of Right-wing Populism.

Voter Demographics Look Bad for Biden

This election sparked the highest voter turnout since 1900, it seemed in the days previous to the election that this meant the Democrats and Joe Biden were going to win a dramatic landslide victory. What we can see now is that pro-Trump Election Day voter turnout was hugely underestimated and Trump gained in places that no other Republican could have. For example, Trump won in Zapata county in Texas by 52-47 which he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Furthermore, the Republican candidate for the Senate lost the vote in Zapata by 10 points. Voters there, who are 95% Hispanic, chose Donald Trump as their president.

However, there was an incredible early voter turnout for Joe Biden. Two-thirds of voters voted based on their opinion of Donald Trump and because of the lack of policy substance from both candidates, voters were forced to vote based on the ‘culture war’. These early voters have saved Biden and his lack of policy towards the two-thirds of Americans without a college degree was severely damaging for him.

Furthermore, Trump swung voters his way in minority communities: +11.5 in majority Hispanic precincts, +2 in majority Black communities and +13 in Cuban neighbourhoods. This was incredibly noticeable in Florida and Texas - Joe Biden lost Florida by a larger margin than Obama won it in 2008. Biden’s messaging also didn’t register anywhere near enough with white communities for him to win big.

Let me be crystal clear, voters are not to blame for this being as close as it is, it is purely down to awful campaigning. Minority communities are not monoliths. One of the biggest mistakes that has been made is the assumption that voters would come Biden’s way because of Trump, that is simply not the case.

There must be a reckoning in the Democratic party over what they stand for and how they campaign. This could easily have been a Trump victory.

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