The tale of the stolen winner
by Conrad Taler
[This article published in Nov 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.ossietzky.net/22-2020&textfile=5323.]
It is well known that those who trust other people to do bad things are often themselves in a bad skin. Since Donald Trump had learned that Democrats vote more often by letter than Republicans in elections, the President did not miss any opportunity to discredit the so-called postal votes.
At an appearance in Newton, Pennsylvania, a few days before the election, Trump drew a gloomy scenario. His supporters might have to wait several weeks for a result. But then, as soon as the first results were available, he claimed: "We are clearly in the lead, but they are trying to steal the elections. He would have the Supreme Court stop the counting of votes. This was, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, an outrageous demand inasmuch as at that time millions of votes had not even been counted, as if a soccer team was demanding that the game be whistled off in the 70th minute because it had just taken a 2:1 lead.
According to American historian Timothy Snyder, the Supreme Court judges knew that they would be used for an authoritarian takeover by Trump. Even the conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett, who had been appointed shortly before the election at Trump's instigation, knew that she had been nominated "for a coup d'etat", i.e. a coup d'état. Despite the shocking behavior of the leading figure of the free West, not a single government representative in Germany had the courage to criticize the berserker's disregard for democratic ground rules in the White House. They dared to do so only to the Belarusian President Lukashenko.
After all, Johann Wadepuhl, deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU faction in the Bundestag, began to ponder that Trump's confrontational political style had not really deterred one voter. Therein lies an "alarming message". In this constitution, the USA could not fulfil a leadership role in the West. Will this change under Joe Biden? Hardly overnight. The fact that someone like him was able to succeed at all borders on a miracle. The socially deprived have nothing to expect from him. He will not dare to tackle the causes of the growing gap between rich and poor, any more than his predecessors, who like him were all meat from the flesh of the ruling class.
That Trump will give rest is hardly to be expected. Unless, of course, there were more and more Republicans who hoped for a man or woman who would not be said to be unable to speak for a minute without lying, who had neither values nor ideals, who never read a book and knew nothing about music. Remarkably, no one in the Republican leadership, except for his own family, stood by Trump's side as he tried in an incredible and ridiculous way to create the fairy tale of the cheated victor.
To believe that Germany must fill the vacuum created by the loss of prestige of the United States of America under the leadership of Donald Trump would be fatal. That would put the axe to the roots of the European Union.
US elections: Fear and confusion have won
by Kurt Stand
[This article published in Nov 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.ossietzky.net/22-2020&textfile=5324.]
Sleepless nights have become routine in elections - fear mixed with confusion as results come in without a clear picture. This situation reflects a collapse of civil structures under the pressure of repeated attempts to suppress votes. The day after the elections (when this article was written) there is much that we do not know.
We know a few facts. Joe Biden received more votes than Donald Trump. But that doesn't guarantee victory - in the end, it's up to the voters who are nominated in each state to decide. It is already clear that if Trump faces defeat, he will try to reverse the result by complaining and inciting armed supporters. The election will deepen the pre-existing divisions that are visible in families, communities, everyday life and even in the working class. Until these divisions are overcome, we will be unable to address the fundamental economic and social problems that have long been hidden beneath the surface of our country's prosperity and global power.
But all this is not taking place in a vacuum. Trump's success with many is based on his ability to pretend an individual solution to social problems - the "solution" of a gambler and the illusion that everyone has their destiny in their own hands. By making himself the projection screen for the illusion of strength and authority, he gains support precisely from a section of the population that is becoming increasingly powerless due to the instability inherent in neoliberalism - the loss of their sense of belonging, their roots, their future. Trump pretends that he stands for the protection of neighborhoods and families, and he uses this as a pretext for spreading racism and hostility towards immigrants and for clinging to traditional gender roles. Although they themselves are victims of these attacks, during these times of fear, many women, a significant minority of Latinos, and even a small (but larger than in 2016) number of blacks have been persuaded to support Trump.
Trump has been able to gain support for his attacks on political democracy because the substance of democracy has been eroded. Politicians of all persuasions have been unable to preserve jobs, halt the decline of cities and prevent the desertification of the suburbs. Covid-19 has exposed the gaps in the infrastructure of our health care system and the shortcomings of our health insurance system, while the economic lockdown has highlighted the insecurity of families with regard to their income and financial reserves. Trump has no solutions to these problems either, but when apparently all rational answers fail, it opens the door to irrationality. And as the total number of his voters shows, Trump's appearances in the style of a reality TV show, his obvious lies, his appeals to violence find the approval of millions.
Nevertheless, a majority of Americans reject Trump's lies and demagogic failures and see the way out of instability and inequality as strengthening the community, ending state violence and promoting social justice. Despite all efforts to deter and intimidate voters from voting, voter turnout has increased. However, this is due to resistance from below and the activities of grassroots initiatives. In contrast, the Democratic Party's strategy was to play it safe and conduct an anti-trump campaign that was in the line of wealthy Republicans who disagreed with Trump's methods, hoping to persuade Republicans to support the Democrats. This strategy was doomed to failure from the outset, but was endorsed by the Democratic leadership because it did not want to promise any kind of substantial reforms that might have challenged the power of the corporations. As a result, the Democrats were unable to achieve the expected gains in votes.
The situation was saved by the mobilization and organizational work of the grassroots organizations. The number of truly progressive representatives in Congress has grown. Independent organizations working within the Democratic Party but in opposition to its leadership, such as "Our Revolution" or the "Working Families Party" have been strengthened and have successfully pushed through a number of local candidates. The same applies to the "Democratic Socialists of America" (DSA), which will be represented in the parliaments of 14 states in the future.
In the months ahead, the struggle for democratic rights will probably intensify. Numerous groups that have organized street protests and other actions in recent years are determined to defend themselves through mass civil disobedience when Republican-dominated courts or right-wing vigilantes try to wrest the election results from voters. The same is true of the labor movement, whose leaders (unlike members) stand united in opposition to Trump. They have announced actions in case the will of the voters is disregarded. Trade unionists and social justice activists have presented specific programs with concrete demands. On the agenda of those who have worked hardest to defeat Trump are demands for fundamental changes to limit the power of the corporations.
"Those who don't act decisively will exacerbate the tragedy," said singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. In this sense, Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (DSA) summed it up: "No matter what the outcome is, we have to help a policy make a breakthrough that will noticeably improve people's lives and protect their civil and democratic rights.”
If this succeeds, it will not be us, but the powerful and the rich, who will spend sleepless nights in fear and confusion before future elections. In the meantime, we will continue to organize ourselves, no matter who won these elections on November 3.
Kurt Stand lives in the USA.