The Democratic party candidate, Joe Biden has beaten the Republican party incumbent Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020. What can we learn from election result about the United States of America, the world’s greatest imperialist power, in the third decade of the 21st century?
First, the voter turnout. With not all the votes even now yet counted, it seems that about 150m Americans of voting age will have cast their ballots. Given that there were 239m eligible to vote, that means there was about a 62% turnout (VEP).
That’s better than in 2016 at 59% and the best turnout since 1960, but it’s not as high as many media forecasts were claiming on the day of the election. It means that 37% of Americans entitled to vote did not do so. That compares with 31.4% who voted for Biden and 29.6% who voted for Trump. So once again, the No Vote party polled the highest national vote in the US election.
Moreover, there were another 20m voting age Americans excluded from the poll for various nefarious reasons (they had committed a felony or the state administration had refused their registration). So the voting age turnout was just 58%, implying that a sizeable section of America’s working classes did not vote and/or were not allowed to vote. Indeed, the ‘greatest democracy in the world’ has one of the lowest levels of voter participation of the major so-called ‘liberal democracies’.
One large slice of the population that does not exercise its right to vote is young Americans. Less than half — just 43.4% — of eligible Americans under 30 voted in the 2016 presidential election. This was much less than the 71.4% of over-60s who voted. It was even lower in this election.
Trump is saying that the election was rigged and in a way he is right. It is always rigged because the candidate with the majority of votes, let alone just the largest vote, seldom wins. In this election, Trump polled over 71m votes, the highest vote ever for a Republican. But Biden polled 75m votes, the highest vote ever for a president. But that’s because just more people voted in this election than ever before.
In the last eight presidential elections, two elections have been won by a candidate that polled less votes than his main opponent. This is because the winner is the one that receives most ‘electoral college’ votes. And those votes are recorded from each state of the 50-state union. It is the United States of America, a federal union of sovereign states as formed in the American revolution of the 18th century, with each state having its own laws and electoral procedures. So building up huge votes in New York and California, the most populous states, for the Democrat candidate does not guarantee victory when narrow winning margins are achieved in lots of small states by the Republican candidate that add up to a majority in the electoral college.
So in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton polled 3m more votes than Trump overall, but Trump took 306 electoral college votes because he won very narrowly in a series of small to medium size states in the middle West. This time, Biden has polled even more of majority, probably about 4m, but the result appeared close because of the narrow margins in key ‘swing states’. But this time Biden took those states back from Trump and on 6 January when the electoral college meets, he will get 306 electoral votes to win, the same as Trump got in 2016.
Another reason the election result was close is that in the Republican-run states, there has been significant gerrymandering of the voting boundaries, deliberate blocking of voter registration and in this election a desperate attempt to foil massive postal balloting during the COVID pandemic. US ‘democracy’ is a joke. According to the Economist, it is at the bottom of the pile as a ‘liberal democracy’, with only Albania scoring lower!
The reason the turnout was higher this time is partly the intense polarisation in America during the COVID pandemic and the economic collapse; fuelled by Trump’s demagogic tirades. But also the COVID pandemic lockdowns led to a massive increase in postal voting, an easier process for voters than going to the polling centres. There were also significant grassroots campaigns in the big cities to get people registered and voting.
Can we learn anything from the demographics and economic composition of those who did vote? The Votecast survey of voters gives us some clues. According to the survey, male voters (47%) split 46-52 for Trump, but female voters (53%) split 55-45 for Biden. So women voters ensured a Biden victory.
The youth vote, as usual, was low, just 13% of the total vote, but those under 29 years voted 61-36 for Biden. And those aged 30-44 years (23% of the vote) also backed Biden 54-43. Those aged 45-64 (a huge 36% of the vote) went narrowly for Trump 51-48. And those over 65 years (another sizeable chunk of 27%) again narrowly voted for Trump 51-48. So 63% of those who voted were older than 44 years and backed Trump (narrowly); while those under 45 (just 37% of the vote) heavily backed Biden. That was enough to overcome the small majorities for Trump in the older age groups.
What about ethnic groups? Well, the survey found that 74% of the voters were white and they backed Trump 55-43. But all other ethnic groups overwhelmingly backed Biden. Black Americans constituted only 11% of those voting, but they backed Biden 90-8. Hispanic voters were only 10% of the total but they backed Biden 63-35. Asian voters were only 2% of the vote but backed Biden 70-28. This 25% of the voters (and growing in size in each election) so overwhelmingly backed Biden that it was enough to overcome the smaller Trump majority among the white voters.
Much has been made of the supposed increased vote for Trump by black and Hispanic Americans this time compared to 2016. But the evidence for this is dubious and even if true, the shift is tiny. According to the Edison exit poll, there was a fall-off in support by white men for Trump compared to 2016 from 62% to 57% and small rise from white women from 52% to 54%. The supposed rise in support for Trump from black men was 13% to 17% and from black women was from 4% to 8%. But considering that white voters were 75% of the vote and black voters were only 11%, the supposed shift to Trump from black voters is less than half the loss by Trump from white voters. More Hispanic voters backed Trump this time, it is claimed, but still around two-thirds did not.
What about classes and incomes? Well, by level of education, high school leavers (27% of voters) backed Trump 52-46; and those with some qualifications (34% of voters) again backed Trump but narrowly 50-48. College graduates (a sizeable 24% of voters) heavily backed Biden 56-42 and postgraduate voters (some 14%) were even more strongly pro-Biden 58-40. The more educated, the more Biden.
But that did not mean that working class Americans backed Trump more than Biden. Those voters earning $50,000 a year (the median average income) or less backed Biden significantly 53-45, and they were 38% of voters. Those in the middle-income group of $50-99k a year (36% of voters) narrowly backed Trump 50-48, while those earning over $100k a year (25% of voters) actually backed Biden 51-47. The lowest paid Americans, the largest group of voters voted for Biden by a good margin, while the small-business people and middle income earners narrowly backed Trump. The better-off backed Biden (but I suspect that the higher up the income scale, the more votes for Trump, as other surveys show that millionaires heavily backed Trump).
I think we can make an estimate of whether the majority of the white working class backed Biden or not. Using the Vote Cast stats (and assuming they are accurate!), the vote from those earning $99,000 a year or less was 72% of the total vote. Of that 72%, Biden got 37%, while Trump got 35%. If we assume that all the black and hispanic Biden voters are in this group, then I calculate that white workers constituted 52% of the total vote. Of that 52%, Biden got 21% of that vote while Trump got 31%. So the white working class backed Trump over Biden about 60-40.. However, given that more women voted and more voted for Biden, I calculate that a small majority of white working class women voted for Biden over Trump. That means white male working class voters went for Trump by over two to one. Still the working class as a whole showed a small majority (2.5%) for Biden.
So there is a sizeable minority of working-class Americans that backed Trump, mainly in small towns and rural areas. But the majority of working-class Americans rejected Trumpism. The urban areas (65% of votes) heavily backed Biden while the small towns and rural areas heavily backed Trump. It was here that the polarisation in the vote was greatest.
Religion also played a role. Protestant Christian believers and evangelicals (45% of voters) voted heavily for Trump while Catholics (22%) were split 50-50 and muslims, Jews and declared atheists (25% of voters) backed Biden hugely.
What were the main issues of the election? Two stand out: the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of the economy. The pandemic was considered the most important by 41% of voters and those that thought so backed Biden heavily. The economy and jobs were regarded as the most important issue by 28% of voters who heavily backed Trump. Here was another clear cause of polarisation in America: lockdowns to save lives; or no lockdowns and save jobs was how many Americans saw it in 2020.
To sum up, Americans turned out for this election in slightly larger numbers, but the turnout was still way down compared to other ‘liberal democracies’. They voted even more strongly for the Democratic candidate than in 2016, but the constitutional peculiarities of the election system made the result quite close – although, more or less, in line with pollster forecasts. Biden won because America’s ethnic minorities overcame the white majority. Biden won because younger Americans voted for Biden sufficiently to overcome Trump majorities among older voters. Biden won because working class Americans voted for him in sufficient numbers to overcome the votes of the small town business-people and rural areas.
The US election was a mess; mirroring the mess that US imperialism is now in, with the COVID pandemic running riot across America and the economy on its knees with millions unemployed, wages slashed and public services paralysed.
Biden had the backing of the majority of women workers, ethnic minorities, young people and city dwellers. They voted to get rid of Trump: but they may not expect much from Biden and they will be right.
31 thoughts on “US election: women, the young, the working class, the cities and ethnic minorities get rid of Trump”
The Electoral Integrity chart is illegible.
Kind regards, Nèdeem Almahjoub نديم المحجوب Arabic Tutor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) http://middleeastpanorama.blogspot.co.uk/
These are important issues. There are attempts to portray white working class people in the USA as a big part of ‘the problem’ which created Trumpism.
There seem to be slightly differing results from different polling organisations.
CBS, CNN, ABC and NBC (along with its cable sibling MSNBC) are members of the National Election Pool, a consortium using data from Edison Research.
But the Associated Press, a primary source for PBS, NPR and many major newspapers including USA TODAY, has its own VoteCast system.
So (for example) the FT reports different results re income groups from those you show.
By numbers: how the US voted in 2020
They report a swing TOWARDS Trump among households with income above $100,000:
“Voters from wealthy households swung further towards Mr Trump in 2020. Just over half of those whose family income was more than $100,000 a year supported the president, compared with 45 per cent in 2016.
“By contrast, those making family incomes of less than $50,000 voted Democratic by an 11.5-point margin (55 to 43), compared to an 8.2-point Democratic margin in 2016 (50 to 42).”
The NY TImes shows shows the following.
Under $50,000 Trump 42% Biden 57%
$50,000-$100,000. Trump 43% Biden 56%
Over $100,000. Trump 54% Biden 43%
Unless these have been adjusted – but I’ve not seen that.
Thanks Matt, your sources strengthen my conclusion, I think
Apologies re one point in my post. The FT article was supposed to be a link. But it didn’t work
The deelection of Trump was the minimum of political wits that could be expected.
However, Biden’s election does not create the slightest glimmer of hope for anyone. Biden had already announced that he wanted to be the “President of all Americans”. That can only be done if he embraces the right-wing and radical right-wing supporters of Trump. Trump was able to mobilize more voters in 2020 than four years ago. Trump’s shadow will darken Biden’s presidency.
If you want to know how things will go with the USA, take a look at the past world power Great Britain: a society deeply divided into rich and poor, above it a ruling class with the arrogance of a world power, but without the superiority of a world power: intelligence and profitable capital abound.
Wal Buchenberg, Hannover
That’s not more or less how things already go with the USA?
Of course that’s true. The US has been a few miles on the road of decline. A Biden doesn’t change that.
“Jubilant Reaction To Trump Defeat Quickly Soured By News Of Biden Win” (Onion)
This lack of compassion that most republicans share is the enemy to progress that keeps the world constantly at war. What kind of a man or woman in leadership campaigns on division separation and slander? Biden’s message is about destroying the cancerous hate philosophy republicans often espouse. Intelligence is ruling with wisdom, which we clearly see that Trump is deficient in that area. So, America took a vote and decided that Trump gotta go! We chose someone capable of an intelligent conversation who are not always whining. Furthermore, walking in the Light can never be dark, it will be a bright presidency, if Yahwey permits. He will teach the workers of iniquities how to love thy neighbors, and how not to covet thy neighbor’s blessing or property and how to live a long and prosperous life if they so choose.
That is, except if the neighbour is a foreign country which the US imperialist class has decided it needs to plunder in order to extent its decadent life and in the eventuality said country resists the US opts to compassionately give away some of its bombs.
Excuse me Michael, but I think your analysis is completely wrong. Whoever won the American elections was the real big capital, not the peripheral capitalists who supported Trump.
What we see in these false divisions that are presented is the triumph of the media over the less informed and subject to propaganda by the mainstream media.
Wall Street, Citi, Petroleum Industry (Bush and co), ARMAMENT INDUSTRY high-tech companies, that is, all sectors of the wholesale genocide won from the Retail genocides managed to overthrow Trump because he does not have the slightest subtlety in kill a few million people in the third world and turn your back on the Queen of England. Trump is a crude genocide, Binden and his vice president have much more experience in promoting the mass incarceration of 3 million Americans (mainly blacks), but he does not err in the cutlery order.
I know that your analysis comes from a colonialist country that, despite its decadence, still supports the CITI, and however Marxist your analysis is, it is difficult to get rid of 500 years of history.
A problem with the above analysis is that it separately reports percentages for people of color (black, hispanic, asian–voting Biden by 63%-90%) and working class (voting Biden 65%). But I suspect the pro-Biden working class vote is likely mostly composed of people of color, who are virtually all working class in America. The White working class vs. Non-White working class vote is not distinguished in this survey. It is difficult to break out working class, each poll defines it differently, and usually by income level which is incorrect. But it would be necessary to have a statistic for white working class voting for Biden (requiring a definition to verify) vs. how much of it voted for Trump. And to break that out geographically especially by state. That is not available. It likely would show that in many geographic areas White working class Americans aren’t voting by class but by identity, religious, and ideological biases. Nonetheless, this one survey on which Roberts’ depends (and we know how ‘accurate’ polls and surveys are in elections, right?) shows a significant and growing vote for Democrats among younger voters of all ethnicities, while the Reagan generation votes consistently Republican. And of course voting by people of color. But this people of color and youth vs. white and >44 yrs is the main divide in American voting. Conclusion: many white working class Americans, especially in ‘red’ states, still don’t vote by their class consciousness. They vote by ethnic and ideological identification–i.e. by racist prejudices–although the youth are likely less inclined so increasingly.
I’d say your conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow.
A working class person in the natural gas industry is voting for their perceived class consciousness if they vote Republican. Republicans reduce regulation and have offered subsidies to fossil fuel companies; Democrats would publicly prefer to move away from fossil fuels altogether. Their coworkers, friends, and families face uncertain futures if that industry is diminished – promises of retraining that never materializes, new industries that they’re not suited for, jobs that pay less, etc.
A member of the working class in a rural missile manufacturing facility for a defense contractor may likewise be voting for their perceived class consciousness if they vote Republican. While there is no actual difference in militarism between the parties, there is a perceived gap. There perception that If a Democrat wins and cuts the military budget, all of those good paying skilled labor jobs will go away! is perfectly rational based on the information they have at hand.
Likewise, older members of the working class may remember Clinton signing NAFTA and being the originator of changing trade relations with China. Is it necessarily clear to them that voting for Democrats is in their class interest?
The Democrats in the United States certainly are not doing the work necessary to promote working class solidarity and they fail to deliver materially when in office. I personally wouldn’t tell a working class American that either party is working in their interest in any broad sense, as it would be a lie.
Likewise, changing demographics in the US is something the Democrats have long counted on to change their electoral fortunes. However, losing significant ground among ethnic minorities in this election should be sounding alarm bells for Democrats. They have long counted on racial identity to drive votes while failing to deliver on anything materially. In particular it should be alarming in this election cycle with the countless articles about Trump being a racist that theoretically would suppress the willingness to break with identity to cast a Trump vote.
“A working class person in the natural gas industry is voting for their perceived class consciousness if they vote Republican”. I believe to characterize this as a form of *working class* consciousness is conceptually wrong. In reality this is an individual wage earner voting their perception of their bosses’ class consciousness, that is, as effectively a bourgeois wage laborer, and not as a self-perceived member of a working class even “in itself”, much less “for itself”. In the USA this has sometimes been called “job consciousness” and has always been a key lever for the manipulation of individual workers by the capitalists.
Now if such workers were members of a union, and therefore acting as an organized section class in itself (but not for itself), because class is a *collective* concept, and if that *union* took the decision to endorse Trump *and* delivered their members’ votes, then the above quote would ring true to the extent indicate here.
Some very good points Jack – and your recent analysis has been terrific. I think we can make an estimate of whether the majority of the white working class backed Biden or not. Using the Vote Cast stats (and assuming they are accurate!), then I work out that 37% of Biden’s vote came from those earning $99,000 a year or less while Trump got 35%. If we assume that all the black and hispanic Biden voters are in this group, then I calculate that white workers constituted 52% of the total vote. Of that 52%, Biden got 21% of that vote while Trump got 31%. So the white working class backed Trump over Biden about 60-40.. However, given that more women voted and more voted for Biden, I calculate that a small majority of white working class women voted for Biden over Trump. That means white male working class voters went for Trump by over two to one. Still the working class as a whole showed a small majority (2.5%) for Biden.
Your comment about the last eight elections stating that the winner did not have the most votes is incorrect. You only have to go back to Obama and 2012. There are other examples where the winner of the electoral college did not receive the greatest number of votes, but they are relatively rare.
Correct. There are five presidential elections in US history when the candidate who got the most votes didn’t win—1824,1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. (Prior to 1824, the popular vote was not recorded.) Still, the Electoral College is a highly undemocratic institution that should be abolished.
Yes james I have corrected what meant on my Facebook site.
useful data Michael…thx.
Hello Mr Roberts,
very good report. Just a recommendation. It would be a good idea to include a figure and a short analysis about the companies which have financially supported the candidates. This would be a sign of the policy it will be followed.
The voter turnout data needs to be contextualized. Women could only vote from 1920 and save for certain areas during Reconstruction most Blacks could not vote until after the 1965 Civil Rights Act. Native Americans were also long denied the franchise. The high turnouts in the 19th century were mostly white property owning men protecting their privilege. We saw in South Africa and we see in Israel the same voting patterns in similarly Apartheid regimes. The comparison with other advanced capitalist countries can therefore be seen differently. After a long period of voter suppression, in this election a better than ever participation rate might herald a real change in American voting behaviour. People realizing that it matters; not quite as much as elsewhere, but nevertheless a distinct improvement.
Yes that’s true. But the US voter turnout in the modern era is still low for a ‘liberal democracy’.
“College graduates (a sizeable 24% of voters) heavily backed Biden 56-42 and postgraduate voters (some 14%) were even more strongly pro-Biden 56-42”
there must be a typing error i suppose?
Whoops! Another mistake! Postgraduate ratio was 58-40. I have corrected. Thanks for spotting.
as always, thanks for your articles!
I fear that the analyses presented here are too general. To understand why this is so, we need to take a step back. As a result of globalisation and 2008, countries have split into two, the metropolitan areas (generally on the seaboard) and the hinterland. Today the top 500 metropolitan areas produce the majority of global GDP and there share is growing. In the United States this cleavage takes the form of the metropolitan Blue States (Democratic) and the Red States (Republican hinterland). In the current election, as in 2016, “President Donald Trump carried 2,497 counties across the country that together generate 29% of the American economy, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.” “President-elect Joe Biden won 477 counties that together generate 70% of U.S. GDP.” “Republicans represent a far greater number of smaller counties with less-educated, more-homogenous workforces that, on average, tend to rely on manufacturing, agriculture and mining.” It should be added that these are more rural constituencies with smaller towns etc. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/10/election-2020-democrats-republicans-economy.html
On closer examination we also find that since 2008 Median incomes in Red states has fallen from $55,000 to $53,000 now, while in Blue states, despite having been lower in 2008 at $54,000 it has now risen to $61,000. So Blue States are going forward on aggregate, Red States are going backwards. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/09/10/america-has-two-economies-and-theyre-diverging-fast/
What we need to verify is whether there was a difference in voting patterns between these two blocks and in particular how it applies to workers earning under $50,000, who happen to be the largest voting segment with 36% of all votes. In his article Michael relates that 53% (barely a majority) of these workers backed Biden as against 45% for Trump. What we don’t know if this was true for the Red States. It looks likely given the size of the Trump vote, that a majority of these workers may have voted for him in the Red States.
Why is this important. In my dogfight with Anti-capital on my website I hypothesized that Pelosi had overplayed her hand with the second financial relief bill (TARP 2). I felt her all or nothing approach to this bill hurt the Democrats more than the Republicans, particularly in the Red States. Two reasons lead me to this conclusion. Firstly, the opinion poll by Politico just prior to the election, which found that twice as many voters held the Democrats in Congress responsible for the failure to deliver this relief compared to the Republicans (page 330 of the survey). https://assets.morningconsult.com/wp-uploads/2020/10/28063320/2010142_crosstabs_POLITICO_RVs_v1.pdf
Secondly, the unexpected loss of seats in the lower house of Congress by Democrats leaving them with a much reduced margin. This tactical ineptitude could explain the 2 to 3% loss of votes for Biden and the Democrats relative to pre-election day opinion polls.
In Britain, the same divide exists. It is called the North South divide. Brexit cannot be understood without understanding the same global trends imposed by globalisation and 2008. This is what underscores Prime Minister Johnsons repeated ambitions (sic) of “levelling up” the country and why he, unlike the obstructive Congress, has provided repeated rounds of pandemic financial support even if it has meant painful U-turns. He knows that without this largesse, votes for his party would tumble in the North.
So, if anyone has aggregated voting patterns by income in the Red States, please let us know. This is a global question not only a US question. Truly important.
We need a bit more context here: : In a discussion about the accuracy and purpose of the GOP alt-right charges against Biden re nepotism in the Ukraine, I pointed out that the accusations had been investigated by a US Senate committee under the control of the Republicans and explicitly organized to support Trump’s candidacy. That committee could find zero evidence of any such nepotism, any manipulation of bipartisan supported US policy in the Ukraine, in the period 2014-2016. Ucanbe replied “Trump supporters …. are not interested in the forensic interpretation of facts and processes, but when they are struggling to put food on the table, it pains them to see a VP’s son getting an underserved but lucrative job.”
The facts are that those making below 50,000 a year preferred Biden, as did those making below 99,999 a year, but that those making 100,000 a year or more preferred Trump.
That got us to this: Because the less than 500 counties that voted for Biden in the US account for almost 70% of GDP, and the more than 2000 counties that voted for Trump account for around 30% of US GDP, ucanbe concluded that in those 2000 + counties, manufacturing, agriculture, mining accounted for a larger portion of the output, the poor, and the workers in those 2000 supported Trump.
The 2000+ counties are predominantly rural, with small towns, declining populations, shrinking tax bases, and disappearing services in education, healthcare etc. This has been a “long trend” after WW2, but was greatly accelerated under Reagan when the agricultural capital investment boon of the late 70s with coincident assumption of debt by rural producers was brought to a brutal halt by the Volcker double-dip recession, which resulted in numerous farm foreclosures, the expansion of larger farm and agro-business production centers, etc. This was followed by 1) the shutdown, consolidation, and reduction in railroad facilities in many small towns, which provided a significant amount of employment, not just year round for some, but seasonally for smaller farmers who made a majority of their annual income from non-farm sources and 2) the shutdown, lockout, decertification, of the rural based meat and food processing plants, meat packing workers and their union. These processors underwent a “reorganization” and then reopened utilizing in the main, immigrant or female, labor at lower rates of compensation. These devastating blows more or less squeezed the life out of rural counties, eliminated small towns, forced schools and hospitals to close and local medical practitioners to abandon the towns, and led to the next two great waves that swept rural American 1) the expansion of Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart type stores and 2) the “meth-amphetaminization” of the countryside (to be followed up with opioids and fentanyl).
The response politically in these rural areas was the growth of a politics of resentment and ultra-right groups. This very well explained in the book Broken Heartland by Osha Davidson.
In short, it’s a classic pulverizing of the small producer, the petty bourgeois, driving them into the arms of those wielding the wrecking ball.
The reduced GDP of the rural counties has everything to do with their overall lack of development and nothing to do with the concentration of workers in those counties, voting for Trump out of misguided anger, much less any overreach by Nancy Pelosi.
The easy way to figure that out? Here’s another fun fact: “Support for President Trump increased in 2020 in many of the U.S. counties that lost lives at the highest rate to COVID-19, according to an NPR analysis.” In fact those hardest hit by the virus had the highest proportion of votes going to Trump. Clearly this is the result of overreach on the part of Doctor Fauci.
“Much has been made of the supposed increased vote for Trump by black and Hispanic Americans this time compared to 2016. But the evidence for this is dubious and even if true, the shift is tiny. ”
This is not decidedly not the point here though.
All you need(ed) to do was to look at the primaries. Biden was chosen by the Democratic establishment as the Black vote guarantee. Most importantly, his victory in South Carolina was what sealed his nomination as that was the key point where the party sabotaged the Sanders campaign with the forced dropouts and endorsements. Shamelessly Warren dropped out and did not endorse Sanders despite being closer to him than Biden on every issue.
The point then was that Biden would be Obama 2.0 and looking at the South Carolina result the argument was then that this time around they could take the minority vote for granted, you see this time the name recognition and the appeal to the right wing conservatives would work.
And we see how that turned out and why I disagree with your point, the margins may be tiny by they were definitely NOT supposed to be tiny, let alone show any sort of swing to the right. We can easily point out that COVID was what lost Trump the election, without it or if Trump was actually competent handling it, Biden would have a much tougher time, maybe probably not even likely to win. The Democratic party strategy did not work and this should be a bright neon sign along with nuclear alarm sirens.
A Trump 2.0 that is actually competent will have a serious chance of taking back the presidency and while us socialists shouldn’t care either way(socialism/communism will not come any closer during any sort of Democratic presidency including Sanders the disgraced imperialist), the reality is even a year of massive civil unrest and violent protests and nothing going in favor of Trump other than the propaganda around the economy “well being” and the stock market, Trump along the far right and the Republicans increased their share of the minority vote.
This is alarming and should be a key historical point in the decade(s) to come.
Of course it should also go without saying that once again Sanders would have easily won with bigger margins, just like in 2016 the Democratic party would rather lose than risk even small political concessions. Considering all these points yes this election should be seen as a disaster for the Democratic party not as any sort of victory.
Hi Michael and all. To speak about how the working class and the white working class voted using as threesholds the income income <$50k, <$99k does not make sense, when around 40$ of workforce has per hour wage at $10 or $12. As well, in a context of 8 months of essential workers strikes, and some pieces of traditional workers of traditional industry sectors, the pandemic and the George Floyd revolts (animated by a multietnic young proletariat) the analysis about where it is the complex composition and new recomposing of the working class must be seen from the real polarization process (workers are fighting on the streets). The vote is secondary.
Anyway Michael thanks to summarize from multiple charts, good work
Three notes on the US election:
1) Jack Rasmus has it right, and we need to drop bourgeois media concoctions such as the racist “white working class”, as well as the seldom heard “black working class”, “female working class”, etc., ad nauseum ad absurdum. I would define a working class “in itself” minimally as having achieved a trade union level of organization, “for itself” as a working class political party. By this measurement US workers generally are not even a class “in itself”, and that means they are but a mass of individual wage laborers. The are individually sucked into the bipartisan system’s divide and rule game of “IdPol” patty-cake, voting the “identities” assigned by the bipartisan system through their capitalist commercial media bullhorns. That is as true for a “black worker” as it is for a “white worker”. The exception is if they vote along the lines of their union endorsements.
2) The 2020 election was a unfavorable result for the Left and socialists, in the balance. The Republicans, now a party irreversibly committed to savage reactionary politics with or without Trump, “held their ground” despite having at their head an utterly frivolous, incompetent Nero who, like the Roman original, is much more at home in the performance arts than in politics. However our Nero has crystalized a solid reactionary bloc dominant in that party, to which all of its politicians must adapt. The door is wide open for a serious, competent Federalist Society/Opus Dei/New Nationalist/American Greatness authoritarian of the Cotton/Hawley/Barr/Pompeo stripe to take command, if they can figure out how to dispose of Trump. They can make “multicultural” appeals to the mass of atomized individuals, as suggested by Marco Rubio. What’s to stop a future Executive from simply issuing checks with his name on it without Congressional authorization? “So, go impeach me” would be the shrug off. The Executive controls the Treasury who issues the bonds to finance expenditures. We have arrived at the Caesar moment in the Late Roman Republic, except that Nero showed up first instead as “man of the hour”. How American, how Louis Bonaparte! But Marx also lived to see a Bismarck overthrow the latter.
The balance in the Democrats, on the other hand, has shifted to the Left, as a result of the failure of the conservative Democrat “swing district” strategy promoted by Senator Schumer. Ironically, it was the “swinging” metro suburbs that provided the narrow margins for Biden in key states, as Georgia shows, and apparently a margin within that margin split their tickets. Biden had no coattails. Progressive Democrats made gains, however, and the combination spells trouble for the conservative Democrat strategy of counterbalancing their Left co-optation with conservative expansion in the swing districts. However, the same result will encourage the Left to stick their head further in the noose of that party, in pursuit of the Holy Grail of electoral apparatus “capture”, “dirty break” being but hopium for the DSA left. But as in “Dune”, public office *is* the party apparatus in the USA’s state-party system (in contrast to China’s party-state), and that will require the Left to win the majority of those offices to attain Superdelegate-hood. Our American Caesar will have arrived long before that event.
3) A “theoretical” historical point: The fundamental framework of the US political regime is that of late 18th century British Republicanism. It was the culmination of a British Whig Republican political tradition launched in the English Revolution of the 17th century. This was a political current based upon a very narrow electorate extending at most to middling property owners. As the Putney Debates show, both gentry and Levellers agreed on one point: that wage laborers were servile labor to be excluded from the franchise. The 1787 constitution was therefore voted on by an effective electorate numbering in the single digits as percentage of the total adult population, including as we should, enslaved Black people and women. The historically British-American Whig bourgeoisie, knowing from experience in the Revolutionary War with their dependence upon propertyless foot soldiers, and further from prospective future dependence upon the same as settlers in the territories seized from the indigenous peoples for land speculation, that the franchise would inevitably extend to these, in reaction deliberately imposed a bulwark against that prospect, whose fundamental institution is the US Senate, and supporting institutions the Executive and the Supreme Court. The intent of this design was the manufacture and reproduction of an *effective* “Whig electorate” restricted to the same single digits. And so they have! But woe is the ruling class who, seeing the need for decisive action, finds the Executive and Senate in perpetual deadlock!
A reactionary authoritarian Caesar to align the swinging metro suburbs will be the regime solution.