What An Ugly Show
All hail America’s voters. After an excruciating election, they appear to have edged out of power the man who wanted to be king, Donald Trump, and put into the White House an amiable, old pol who appears likely to soon be replaced by his vice-presidential running mate, half-Jamaican, half-Indian Kamala Harris.
This week’s election should have produced a landslide for Joe Biden and the democrats. Trump had so much against him – his shocking denial of the deadly Covid epidemic; overt hatred for Islam and total subservience to Israel’s far right; overt anti-black and Hispanic racism; a financial mess created by his ill-considered tax cut; boorish behavior; medical quackery worthy of 19th century snake oil salesmen; threats to use nuclear weapons – the list goes on an on.
But many Americans ignored all this bad mogambo in the hope Trump would keep the stock market on fire. Religion also played a key role: some 90% of so-called born-again Christian fundamentalists, misled by Fox News and powerful Protestant churches, promoted bad boy Trump as some sort of Christian savior or a reincarnation of rulers of Biblical Israel.
Trump’s fulminations against Iran led his chief paymaster, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, to fork over another $75 million to Trump on top of a hefty, $100 million donation, plus millions more from hedge fund moguls tied to Israel’s rightwing Likud Party while the media screamed about alleged Russian interference.
In spite of all this, ‘Sleepy Joe Biden,’ as Trump disparaged him, won the national vote. The US Postal Service, heavily sabotaged by the Trump minions, still managed to function and deliver the winning votes. Interfering with the mail is a federal crime. Those guilty should be prosecuted.
The United States emerged from this long, ugly electoral battle shaken, wounded and much diminished. Its standing as the world champion of democracy has been debased by an election characterized by yahoos in pickup trucks, welfare recipients and looters.
Trump’s lies and false accusations at the end of the vote confirmed his unfitness for the presidency. Let us hope the world does not conflate the United States with Trump’s boorish, unethical behavior.
States of little or no importance stole the limelight from big, significant states like my own New York and California. The election showed without a doubt that the antique system of the electoral college must be replaced or even better, junked.
What might Trump do? A new TV series of course. The political figure closest to Trump was Italy’s bombastic fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Copying the Duce, Trump might launch a mass march on Washington to seize power. Given Trump’s potent showing in the election, an attempted coup is not unthinkable.
This election also leaves key Trump allies cast adrift. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his most important supporter after casino king Adelson. Brazil’s fool of a president, Jair Bolsonaro, looks orphaned by Trump’s defeat. India’s Narendra Modi will miss Trump’s backing of ever-increasing Indian immigration to the US and ignoring of rising repression in Kashmir. Biden may be forced to face China’s brutal treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. The beastly Saudi regime will lose its most influential patron when Trump goes.
One hopes new president Biden will quickly rejoin the sensible Paris climate accords and the important nuclear control deal with Iran. Four years ago, candidate Trump promised to end America’s festering little colonial wars in Afghanistan, Africa and the Mideast. He never did. Now Biden has the chance to end these ill-starred, trillion-dollar misadventures with the stroke of a pen, recalling Founding Father Ben Franklin’s golden dictum, ‘no good war; no bad peace.’