U.S. Election Results

Disputed Election Deepening Discontent with Whole Set-Up

U.S. presidential elections are supposed to help "lower the temperature," as Biden puts it, on the disputes among the ruling factions. They are also supposed to provide the presidency and institutions with their democratic veneer -- the appearance that whoever is elected has "the consent of the governed." In the absence of this democratic veneer, the fact that the people are kept out of government cannot be kept hidden.

The results of the current election, however, in no way restore the credibility of the U.S. democratic system. The continued dispute, especially the potential for Supreme Court intervention and possible use of the military against the people, has only deepened the anger among the people.

Trump's lawsuits in Pennsylvania could go to the Supreme Court, as could others which are attempting to block the certification of the vote in Michigan and Pennsylvania. An intervention by the Supreme Court could impact other states and possibly call into question enough of Biden's Electoral College votes to send the dispute to the House of Representatives.

Any of these results would be met with resistance among the people. It is perhaps in anticipation of this that Trump fired his Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and replaced him with Christopher Miller. Esper was among those who challenged Trump's threats to use the military against demonstrators. It is expected that Miller, another Army man, would support and implement such action. How the top military brass, active-duty soldiers and National Guard would respond, however, given the dispute, is not predictable.

The strength of resistance is such that unions representing 600,000 members are calling for a general strike if Trump disputes or discredits the election results and refuses to concede. These include 70,000 workers in Rochester, New York; 60,000 in Western Massachusetts; hundreds of thousands across the Midwest; the 200,000-member labour council in Seattle, and the 50,000-member Association of Flight Attendants.

November 7, 2020. Workers from UNITE-HERE participate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania march.

In addition, 100 African American clergy members, representing tens of thousands of people, signed an online pledge that calls for a general strike if Trump "attempts a coup or refuses to respect the legitimate result of the election." The pledge emphasized, "We will need many different tactics -- protests, occupations of state capitals, strikes -- but fundamentally it will all require unity, courage, preparation, and discipline." 

As people across the country stand ready to have their voices heard, additional actions are also planned for December 1, which is when most states should have certified their vote. The battles for equality, justice and accountability, ongoing since May, also continue.

The stand being taken is not simply one directed at Trump and his efforts to dispute and discredit the election. It is reflective of the growing demand among the people to have a say beyond a vote. Workers especially are bringing forward that they have a role to play in the political life of the country and in defining a democracy that serves their interests, not those of the rich. The dysfunctional nature of the existing set up is being widely debated. So too is the demand that it is the people who need control and are fit to govern and decide, not the rich.

No doubt many voted for Biden, though the estimated 80 million eligible voters who did not vote still surpasses his 75 million, which is only about 25 per cent of the eligible vote. It is also widely acknowledged that the choices given for President invariably represent the rich and serve them. Indeed the lack of representation at any level that is of, by and for working people is part of the debates at this time, a debate a general strike would only strengthen.

It is a significant problem for Trump and Biden that the election remains in dispute and particularly the potential for Supreme Court intervention, military intervention or Congress deciding the outcome. The democracy's lack of credibility and legitimacy requires ever greater reliance on the police powers of the executive, which only serves to further deepen the contradictions between the rulers and the people over the question of Who Decides? The people's striving for a modern people's democracy which serves them is the order of the day.

(Photos: VOR, Philly We Rise.)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 44 - November 14, 2020

Article Link:
U.S. Election Results: Disputed Election Deepening Discontent with Whole Set-Up - Kathleen Chandler


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