Friday, November 06, 2020

A 2020 Election Thank You

When Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination for President, I had several friends declare that the race was over -- it was impossible that Biden could beat Donald Trump in the general election.

Not "it will be hard". Not "it will be an uphill battle". Not "it depends on how events develop over the next few months". Impossible.

Well, it did turn out to be hard -- perhaps harder than the last batch of polls suggested it would be. But it wasn't impossible. Because Joe Biden is going to be the next President of the United States.

Biden fought hard against an incumbent President and Republican Party who mobilized every tool, trick, and power they had -- legal and not -- to stay in office. It is hard to dislodge incumbent Presidents -- this is only the second time it has occurred in my lifetime -- and while it felt touch-and-go early on Tuesday evening (as we all promptly forgot everything we had told ourselves about the "red mirage"), when all is said and done Biden will have a thumping margin in the popular vote and most likely over 300 electoral votes. A pretty sizable victory, all in all.

So I think we should take the time to thank and to celebrate all the people who worked really hard to make this happen. Not just Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, though them too obviously. But the entire spectrum of the progressive community that came together to make today a reality.

The Black community, and particularly Black women, who have been the soul and the backbone of the Democratic Party for years. That includes great leaders like Stacey Abrams who poured her heart into making Georgia competitive. But it also includes everyday, rank-and-file men and women who did the yeoman's work of canvassing, ballot-counting, organizing, and most importantly, voting. They have displayed a faith in the American promise that the rest of us had no right to expect from them, and the margins they provided in cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia made the difference in this election. Thank you.

Bernie Sanders, who ran in the primary but was always crystal clear that once Joe Biden secured the nomination, he was all-in on supporting him as the only valid option for a presidential ballot. Thank you. And thank you to his supporters in "the squad", for whom Biden obviously wasn't their first choice, but still poured their energies into getting out the vote for him at the top of the ticket and Democrats down the ballot.

Thank you to the Latino and Latinas in Arizona, who organized to turn the land of Joe Arpaio into a state with two Democratic senators and whose electoral votes are in blue column. It was just a few years ago when Arizona was in the news as the nation's leader in grotesque, reactionary anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment. The resilience of the Latino community in Arizona came to full fruition this year, and it is not going to fade anytime soon.

Thank you to the Jewish community, which stayed strong in the face of unprecedented antisemitism and violent threats from White Supremacists emboldened by this administration. We turned out more strongly for Joe Biden than we have for any presidential nominee in decades. We voted our values, and made clear that we are an integral part of America's progressive coalition.

Thank you to Katie Porter, who flipped a GOP-held seat in 2018, shined as an outstanding progressive leader in the House, and held her seat decisively in 2020. And thank you to Lucy McBath, who also flipped a GOP-held seat in 2018, has become a leader in fighting gun violence, and also held her seat by a wide margin this year. Our caucus is stronger with both of you in it.

Thank you to the Muslim community, which turned out strong for Biden, particularly in states like Michigan where it counted the most. Thank you to all the proverbial suburban moms who were rallying against Trumpism from day one. Thanks to all the activists at groups like Indivisible which created a movement and an energy that sustained many of us for these long four years.

And finally, thank you to the Democrats who *didn't* win in 2020. There were some seats that were big upsets in 2018 that we knew would be very hard to hold onto with Trump at the top of the ticket. Doug Jones, Joe Cunningham, and (it appears) Max Rose may not be returning to Congress, but they were great leaders who fought hard for progressive values. We owe them a debt too. Likewise, some challengers ran strong races but ultimately came up short. Some are identified as on the "progressive" wing, like Kara Eastman in Nebraska or Jaime Harrison in South Carolina; some are considered more "establishment", like Theresa Greenfield in Iowa or Dan Feehan in Minnesota. Regardless of where they fall on the party's ideological spectrum, they worked hard to make America better, and deserve our gratitude for trying.

Yes, we can wonder if it could have gone even better. Yes, we can mourn that we didn't get the decisive, overwhelming repudiation of Trumpism that was deserved. But still. Politics remains the long, slow boring through hard boards, and today was a day of progress -- always slower progress than we'd like, but progress nonetheless. And the many, many people who fought hard to make this result happen deserve gratitude and respect. 

This is a post that could go on forever -- there are so many we owe so much to, and I wish I could list every single one of them. But the broad point is this: We knew this would be a contest. We knew nothing was guaranteed. We knew there are no sure-things in politics. But those who said it was impossible were wrong. They were flat wrong. It was possible. We did it, together.

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