It now appears very likely that Mr. Trump will lose in Tuesday’s election.
The pollsters, chastened by 2016, have reportedly cleaned up their act sufficiently so that their estimates have become more reliable again.
In light of a likely Trump loss, I want to take a moment to comfort my Trump-supporting friends.
Over the past several months of the vying campaigns it’s seemed that the main argument for continuing Trump’s presidency has been the threat of imminent socialism or communism from a newly elected Democratic or left-of-center presidency and congress.
I want to assure you that this is a fantasy, it’s not going to happen. The U.S. has resisted and rejected state socialism ever since it burst on the scene in Russia in 1917. It did not fall into socialism’s embrace in the post-World War I years, when political disillusionment owing to the senseless slaughter of so many was rife across the western world. Even more tellingly, it did not turn to socialism in the decade-long throes of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The political climate even became rather too imbued with anti-communism during the “Red Scare” period in the 1950s. And the U.S. did not copy the well-advertised attractions of the welfare state as they were promoted, for example, in Scandinavia and Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. The fall of the Soviet Union, at the end of 1991, certainly didn’t enhance communism’s allure for Americans.
Moreover, the two great arguably socialist innovations in American political life — Social Security and Medicare/ACA — have remained contested turf in our society. Trump ran in part on repealing the Affordable Care Act, and the U.S. Congress has allowed Social Security’s ultimate fate to become imperiled by its unwillingness to step up and make modest structural changes.
A new Democratic administration will not take away America’s privately owned firearms, poison its schoolchildren with a new-old ideas, or ban fundamentalist Christianity in favor of soulless secular humanism. The new Democratic hegemony, on the contrary, promises the return of a sensible mildness and inclusiveness in our political life.
I am a Democrat – by now, an “Idaho Democrat.” I don’t want to pack the U.S. Supreme Court or even do away with the Electoral College.
Our system of government is not a “direct democracy” but instead a “representative democracy.” This means that we pick some among us to go to D.C. and take care of our collective business for their term of office. After we’ve elected them we may have little control over what they actually do. The only tangible control we have is throwing them out at the next election.
Mr. Trump has well earned being thrown out. Beyond that, even some of my Trump-supporting friends have confided that he’s hardly a good example to our children or a good fit for the presidency. (Others of course may not share those views.) For my part – I readily confess – I cannot fathom why even a single thoughtful American would have cast a vote for him in 2016, and far less a vote in 2020. But surely that speaks to my limitations as a student of American politics, too.
Still, I wanted to send this message to you. The sun will still come up if and when a Democrat becomes the U.S. president again. Rabid Leninists are not going to be roaming our streets imposing with iron fists a new political order. Big billboards showing a smiling Chairman Mao are not going to be pasted up.
Calm yourselves, my friends. It might even be interesting and useful for a new political right to emerge from the ashes of Trumpism.