US Election 2020 : Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop.

                  by David Parmer / Tokyo

Seven days after November 2, Election Day 2020, the United States presidential election has been called: Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have won, Donald Trump has lost.

The drama of the counting of the votes took 5 days. The dynamic was not very difficult to understand: Trump voters voted in person and were counted early. Biden voters mostly mailed in their ballots.

These were two different approaches to the election and to dealing with the COVID pandemic.

Initially, Donald Trump had a significant lead the first night due to the in-person votes, but as time passed, the mail-in ballots were counted and Biden took the lead and kept it until his eventual victory. (270+ electoral votes).

For some time before the election Donald Trump was already claiming voter fraud without any proof. When the election came he increased his rhetoric, again without any proof. The Trump campaign filed lawsuits in several states claiming irregularities in the voting process. The lawsuits are ongoing.

As of November 8, 2020 there are 73 days until Mr. Biden is sworn in as President of the United States. Until then, Donald Trump will still be president. The question is what will Mr. Trump do during those 73 days and how will he conduct himself?

Donald Trump really has only two courses of action before his term of office ends.

The first course of action is what might be called “scorched earth.” He will fire up his base of voters, and in rally after rally claim the election results are bogus and that Biden is not the legitimate winner. He will incite his most radical followers to action, perhaps even violence. His army of lawyers will file lawsuit after lawsuit. He will not invite Joe Biden to the White House as a courtesy and he will not concede that he has lost the election. Perhaps he will even refuse to attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. He will take every opportunity to be small, vindictive, petty, and mean.

The second course of action is for Donald Trump to act “presidential.” That is to concede the election, and attend the swearing in of the new president and vice-president. He could also cooperate in a smooth transition of power from Republicans to Democrats.

Would Donald Trump do this willingly? Probably not; it is just not in his DNA. However, there is a good chance that the elders of the Republican party will have a sit down with the president and explain the facts: that it is in his self interest to make a smooth transition, and if he pursues a “scorched earth” policy, he will do irreparable damage to the Republican party (which has enabled and sheltered him) for decades to come. More importantly for Trump he will damage his own reputation and legacy in the eyes of History.

Another compelling reason, also linked to his self-interest, is that if he fails to concede and fights on he will damage the Trump brand and the futures of his sons and daughter. Also, if he acts as much as statesman and president as he can in those 73 days, he will be able to be seen as an elder statesman and have great influence over those who practice his kind of politics both in the United States and around the world.

Of course, Trump could also do some kind of middle ground between the two extremes; acknowledge the transition but continue his bogus claims of election fraud right up until the end. This, however, would entail walking a fine line, and fine lines are not what Donald Trump does. 

With the mercurial Donald Trump it is hard to predict which course he will choose. There seems to be little doubt that in 70-some days he will vacate the White House. The question is how will he do it?

What do you think will happen? Please let us know.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via flickr







US Election 2020 Who’s Who – Kamala Harris.

                        by David Parmer / Tokyo

On December 3, 2019 Senator Kamala Harris dropped out of the US 2020 presidential race. Funding and low polling and organizational problems were the reasons given for this. Harris had put up a good showing, and 2020 was over for her. Or was it? Or is it?

Kamala Harris, senator from California seems to be back in the 2020 presidential mix, this time not as a possible president, but as a possible vice president.

The race for the 2020 Democratic nomination saw the fortunes of former Vice President Joe Biden take a nosedive in the early days, and then come back strong after South Carolina. From former frontrunner to frontrunner again, Biden was back! And his momentum has been carrying him forward ever since.

Biden’s rivals, like Kamala herself in December, have been dropping out of the race lately. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Amy Klobuchar are all gone, and soon it looks like Bernie Sanders will see the handwriting on the wall. Where does this leave Senator Kamala Harris? It leaves her as a top contender for Biden’s running mate as vice presidential candidate.

Harris as a prime choice for VP makes an awful lot of sense. She is smart and talented and has real government experience. Before she was a senator from California she was the state’s attorney general, i.e. the head of the state’s legal system. Before that she was a tough prosecutor.

Candidate Harris had a healthcare reform plan in place, had a record of being tough on crime was for sensible immigration but against Trump’s wall and wanted to lower middle class taxes. Nothing radical here. And that is just one thing to recommend her: her agenda was Democratic, but nothing radical.

What VP Biden brings to the 2020 race is “electability” and that is something the Senator Bernie Sanders lacks. The mainstream US media seems determined by sheer force of will to deprive Biden of the concept of “electability.” However the Democratic voters by choosing Biden over Sanders are joining the Biden camp and not the Sanders camp. It is as if the American people, if not the media, realize the absolute importance of electing a Democrat and ending the disastrous presidency of Donald Trump.

And that is why Biden is leading. Now, how does Kamala Harris figure in to all this?

Vice President Biden has two “musts.” He must show himself to be the embodiment of electability and he must unite the Democratic Party. Biden could easily do this with Kamala Harris as his running mate. While there is much excitement among the older generation over Biden, Harris would bring in women, young people, blacks and Latinos, and former Berni and Elizabeth and Pete supporters.

Will this come to pass? The odds are heavily in favor of Harris, but nothing is decided yet. Whether VP Biden has made his decision or not we don’t know. We will just have to wait and see, but one way or another Kamala Harris will be playing on the bigger stage for a long time to come.

Photo: Kamala Harris by Lorie Shaull via flickr