by Barbara Nimri Aziz Nov 5, 2020
It’s a strange post-election feeling, one shared by many Americans, and perhaps many people worldwide. President Trump is on his way out. However many lawsuits are filed to claim the Biden-Harris team may have won by fraud or deceit; however many claims and threats Trump and his lawyers make, I’m confident he and his White House cronies will soon be no more. Some dignity will be restored to the office of the US presidency and the quixotic character of federal policies will end.
However, as some skeptics have already written, we shouldn’t expect the Biden administration to make really deep changes and correct the flaws in our democratic system that Trump’s behavior exposed. During his election campaign Biden was clear that he doesn’t support Medicare-for-all. Nor does Biden embrace the Green New Deal. He proudly, emphatically declared he’s not a socialist. Although he never defined his position on the political spectrum there’s hardly a doubt that both Biden and his partner Harris are Centrists. They may even be somewhat right of center. We know Joe Biden is an old friend of Wall Street (the Corporate establishment), a relationship that is sure to continue. The financial establishment assured that bond with generous funding of the Democratic National Election Committees to support its candidates nationwide in this election cycle (with nearly $800 million available).
We should not expect the new administration to seriously explore fundamental faults in the US Constitution, for example: distortions and inequalities in the Electoral College or the management of the US Supreme Court that fails to ensure it is beyond political manipulation. Professional political commentators as well as regular citizens and foreign observers could not ignore flaws in American democracy so embarrassingly exposed by Trump’s impudence and selfishness.
Look how quickly those apparent flaws were marginalized as Biden applauded America for its restoration of democracy. His thin margin of victory seems to give him a license to declare that our democracy is now reassured and reaffirmed. (Forget about reform.)
With his election secured, Biden may see no need for reforming the system itself.
When excitement over the Biden-Harris win subsides we’ll see that the “blue wave” is really a myth. The White House may be in the hands of elected Democratcs. But the Senate is not. Just as a Senate in the hands of Republicans thwarted Barack Obama’s attempts at reform and assigning progressives to key posts, this Republican-led Senate can block Biden appointees and reject laws passed by the House of Representatives. Democrats still hold a majority in the House but they’ll be weaker in ways that will significantly affect our daily lives in the coming four years, since successful Republican candidates ousted several Democratic Congress-people in the Nov. 3 election.
Then there are state legislatures. There too, across the country, Democrats have lost significantly.
Finally we have new Democratic Cabinet. As yet, not one name of a “progressive” winner has been announced despite public demands against more ‘corporate’ appointees.
So let’s savor the victory these few weeks before its limits become clear.