Five Predictions for the U.S. Election
It is going to be a great night for American democracy.
It is a humbling time to be in this country. Not for a hundred years have such a large percentage of people voted. They have voted in a time of a mass pandemic. They have voted when their society is under immense strain. They are voting when all their media and most of their journalists are telling them nose-stretching lies about the candidates.
So in the midst of all the angry noise, hyperbole and media bombast here are five predictions.
1) There will be no civil war.
I have been to civil war zones around the world – Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and south-eastern Turkey. Heck! I worked in Bombay during the worst days of Shiv Sena and their anti-Muslim pogroms. Modern-day America is nothing to those places. Indeed, if American commentators were to look at the cities, towns and villages of New England that are full of disproportionately large monuments to the more than a million Americans killed and wounded in the civil war in the 19th century, they would understand the immense forces that are needed to drive a society into civil war. This country is far from that kind of violence.
That is not to say that there will not be isolated violence. But the conflict will not be anything like a civil war and will end relatively quickly.
2) There will be more votes for Trump than the pollsters predicted.
Most of the media establishment has put out the idea that no decent human being would vote for Donald Trump. What this means is that there is a small percentage of voters who support Trump but will never declare it to anyone – not their friends, not their families and definitely not the pollsters.
This is why no one – except the media partisans – are declaring victory for either side. Most of the political and media establishment knows that there are secret Trump voters. In strongly Democratic states – like California or New York, with their large populations – these shy Trump voters can be ignored. But what no one knows is how many there are in the key political swing states like Philadelphia, Florida or Michigan.
3) Donald Trump will not turn the White House into a dystopian dictatorship.
Trump is not Hitler or Mussolini, nor he is a secret agent run by Vladimir Putin. If you listen to CNN, NPR or the Washington Post, you might think the current incumbent of the White House is pure evil – he is not.
4) Joe Biden will not turn the White House into an American-style Kremlin.
Biden is not a socialist, or a communist, nor is he even Bernie Sanders in disguise. The Trump supporters on Fox News and other right-wing outlets have been hooting that a “Vote for Biden is a vote for Communism”. Biden’s policies are close to Trump’s stances on most issues.
In short, there are few policy differences between the men (their stance on Covid-19 excepted). Nor is either candidate a threat to American democracy. They may not be very good candidates, but they are not evil men.
5) This is not the most important election in our lifetimes.
Don’t people like Kamala Harris or the editorial staff of Fox News or the New York Times remember four years ago? When the choice between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump was portrayed in the same apocalyptic terms? Or 2008, when the choice was, for the first time, a black man going to the White House? Or the 2000 election between George W. Bush versus Al Gore: a choice that arguably gave us 9/11 and the beginnings of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan?
Here is what this election is about – the next four years. In 2024, there will be another massive election. If both candidates continue their rhetoric, there will be little action taken to protect the environment (during the second – face to face – debate both candidates were arguing for fracking), there will be little meaningful action on the epidemic that has killed almost a million Americans and was not only utterly preventable but deliberately caused by the pharmaceutical industry – the opioid crisis. There will be little checking of the growing power and wealth of the 1% billionaire class and their enablers. There will still be no credible public health care. There will be few public transportation systems. It will continue to be a country run by plutocrat grifters who grind down the average person.
However, let us forget that – because today hundreds of millions of Americans who believe fervently in democracy will be voting in difficult times. It is their passion and their faith in humanity that gives us hope for the future – not the candidates that they will be voting for.