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A week from now is Election Day. How much longer than that until the election tally is decided? No one knows. How much longer than even that until we know who will be President for at least the next four years? No one knows.
So what do we who hate Trump and Trumpism and who would celebrate his exit know?
Votes counted in a few contested states will decide the vote tally and electoral college outcome. If the tally itself doesn’t decide the issue, dissent in myriad forms from street rallies to a national strike, as well as ensuing reactions from all sides, will decide it.
So what can those who hate Trump and want him out of office do?
It is actually incredibly simple.
In contested states, if not everywhere, we can vote for Biden and implicitly or explicitly urge others to do likewise. Or we can vote for some third party candidate and implicitly or explicitly urge others to do likewise. Or we can abstain and implicitly or explicitly urge others to do likewise.
Next, beyond the vote itself, to prepare for the aftermath, we can join with those preparing for worst case results of Trump trying to steal or block the election’s conclusions or refusing to abide by the results of the election (see the Protect the Results Coalition ). Or we can hope for the best but avoid involvement.
Finally, during the aftermath, we can either proceed to battling Biden and, more broadly, also battling for major social changes on the road to major social transformation. Or we can do the same with Trump if his odious presence persists. Or, again, we can watch and hope, but not partake.
So which of these logical possibilities are sensible choices?
When I was 20ish, we had a slogan – you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Another common refrain was, which side are you on?, there being, by implication, only two sides. These made a point, but they did so in a way that tended to derail dialogue, foster ill feelings, and, most important, impede getting as many people as possible on the side of progress.
I admit, it is hard not to resurrect the old sentiment now. It does feel to me like we confront a watershed situation such that choices that don’t foster Trump leaving are incomprehensible – are part of the problem and not any kind of solution. But, in truth, such choices are comprehensible.
I favor voting Biden in contested states to defeat Trump and I have nothing against folks doing so everywhere to make Trump’s resistance to leaving harder, though I can also see reasons to do otherwise in safe states. This is because Biden is undeniably abysmal but Biden would be incalculably better than more Trump.
So why would anyone who passionately hates Trump say, “no, no way, no Biden for me,” even in contested states?
They might still think there really isn’t all that much difference between Biden and Trump so they’d rather not vote for someone they detest. They might still think that giving their vote to Howie Hawkins builds a long-term left project more than avoiding Trump winning another four years – or 12, years as he suggests – clears space for a long term left project. They might feel that voting for Biden legitimates existing institutions rather than subverting them.
These and other arguments have been hashed and rehashed to the point of mind-numbing repetition. And here comes Election Day. And its aftermath.
Like Howie Hawkins writing a “last minute” appeal for activists to vote everywhere for himself because he believes he and the Greens are what humanity needs – I and I am quite sure countless other leftists feel a need to say something, anything, to provoke instead more people voting for Biden even if they are devoutly in favor of social revolution, or if they are stalwart Greens, or if they are conscientious abstainers, and even if they hate him. But is there anything more to say?
Set aside defending the past weeks and months and even years of allegiance to this or to that. Just envision that it is mid November and there are two possible worlds. 1) Votes for Greens and abstentions go up a bit, but at the cost of denying needed votes for Biden so that Trump remains, or 2) Biden wins but Greens get a point or two less votes.
In which world would you want to live and organize for further change? Really, which one?
In which world would you want others to live and organize for further change?
Which world would you want to feel you helped ensure?
Which world would you want to wake up in, over and over?
Would some additional votes in contested states for Hawkins, or for some other candidate, or for no one at all, offset the flesh and blood reality of a triumphant Trump unloading his bile on yourself, on your family, on your friends, on the rest of the country, on all of humanity and on the entire ecosystem for four more years? Can anyone really think that it would?
We on the left all have to work together in the four years ahead. But it will be immensely more productive to do so if we are battling Biden for major gains rather than trying to defend what’s left of democracy and the ecology and social programs and even ourselves and the whole planet against the onslaught that triumphant Trumpism would unleash.
So: Dear Howie, Dear prospective Howie voter, Dear prospective abstainer – do you really, truly, disagree?
What world do you really want to be in after the election is fully resolved?