No. You Can’t Have a Pony: Biden, Trump and the Single Issue Election
Donald Trump isn’t just an idiot — he’s a magical idiot. Beyond being just a yawning chasm of ignorance, he’s actually a sucking vortex of idiocy that literally bends cognitive space-time for simply coming near him. As republican strategist Rick Wilson put it — everything Trump touches dies. Literally an entire new branch of the military was formed for fighting in space after Trump probably watched 20 minutes of Independence Day on his phone while taking a shit. We have now spent three of the longest years in human history watching the daily chaos created by the brain farts of one of the world’s least self-aware people being placed in the most powerful job on the planet.
So it should come as no surprise that the 2020 presidential election wouldn’t be spared being turned into the lowest and basest of our national impulses, and quite frankly, you haven’t seen SHIT yet. By September of this dark year, your very eyeballs will bleed in disbelief at how utterly stupid this process is going to become. But that’s OK. This is America. We were born for this. No one civilization does dumb better than us.
As of this writing, we are now at about the halfway mark of the 2020 Democratic primary, and in an unmistakeable and resounding manner, the American body politic that doesn’t own a dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf or at least multiple Facebook profiles to counteract being repeatedly tossed in Facebook jail for violating community standards has made it clear. For better or worse, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is the blunt instrument with which they intend to dislodge this dollar store autocrat from the levers of power.
In a rational, evidence based world — it would be an obvious no-brainer how we got here. The greatest common denominator of a large group usually isn’t great. It’s how you end up at Applebee’s.
More specifically, white people simply had no idea how well black people know them. Black folks have always had to bear the worst parts of white people’s bad political instincts. It’s largely what makes them the most pragmatic voters in in the American electorate. After watching White America chase it’s own tail for three years in the wake of Trump — they figured out what should have been blindingly clear to anyone not driving a Subaru with a “Keep Tahoe Blue” sticker on it — More semi-engaged white people across the country could be coerced into pulling a lever for Joe Biden than they could for Bernie Sanders. The End. Its no more complicated than that. So from the South Carolina primary on — black voters have overwhelmingly crystalized this vote around Biden, for a bunch of reasons that deserve another article all together.
There is no twenty six dimensional chess being played by ANYONE. No one’s even playing checkers here. At best, we’re doing best 2 out of 3 on a coin toss. Welcome to 21st century American politics. Welcome to the single issue campaign. The sum totality of every one of our policy debates has been reduced to being handed a misspelled, handwritten 2nd grade note from Donald Trump that reads “Do you like me?” with crudely drawn “yes” and “no” boxes. I told you he made everything stupid.
The fact of the matter is that we are in a unique moment in American political history. Seldom has such a large swath of the electorate unanimously agreed on what the Single Most Important Thing is. Exit poll after exit poll has indicated the same thing with alarming consistency this cycle — removing Donald Trump is the most important issue to everyone showing up to vote by almost a whopping 70%. This, in a primary where we are seeing record breaking primary turnouts. In American politics — you can’t usually get any selected group of people to agree on what day of the week it is at that clip. It has outperformed the second place finisher “electing someone who agrees with my views” by almost DOUBLE in some cases.
Despite how much we would love it not to be — this ISN’T going to be a policy election. If it was, Elizabeth Warren would be measuring the Oval Office drapes right now. Quite simply — the American people are fucking exhausted from waking up every day to the intellectual and moral gore of the Trump presidency. It’s hard to have a nuanced policy conversation on student loan repayment when the sitting President of the United States is shoving still-nursing babies into desert concentration camps while he ships the parents on one way trips to places they’ve never been with no method of reconnecting them at any later date. Trying to concentrate on anything beyond defeating Trump right now is like arguing about how to best reupholster the couch while the living room is actively on fire. Unless you want to end up hunting feral dogs for food with a sharpened broomstick in a couple years, then it’s time to keep your eyes on the prize. There is only one issue this election. That’s it.
Waking up today to the ocean of butthurt progressives on social media was a completely predictable event, and so long as we arent going to be fucking idiots about it — an entirely survivable one. To people who, in their lifetime, have only paid attention to the sturm und drang of politics in the reductive mirror maze of social media, the fucking sky is falling. They are absolutely POSITIVE that somehow the person who is racking up massive voter turnout in the most reliable voting demographics in state after state somehow can’t beat an impeached president that 60 percent of the country would crawl over broken glass to vote against. To these folks, most of whom I agree with on about 99% of everything else — we are going to lose in November because the least reliable voting bloc (once again) failed to come out and vote for the person who is the most popular in their timeline. You need to not listen to those people right now, and if at all applicable, try to stop being one. Console yourself that you aren't necessarily wrong, but it’s time to take one for Team Civilzation.
That’s how fucked up social media is. We have spent so long in these intensely tailored confirmation bias silos that observable reality in an evidence based world simply doesn’t count for much anymore. If you want in on a little secret — that’s the first step in building an authoritarian strong man government — get as much of the electorate to simply give up on the notion of objective reality. Everyone needs to quit doing that for a minute if you don’t want to see what it feels like to live in Italy in 1926.
By every observable measure — assuming we can avoid some horrible convention floor fight and as few people as possible can avoid getting their hair wrapped in the spokes because their fantasy candidate didn’t make the playoffs — Trump is the most beatable president in the history of the republic.
No one person has sustained such horrible approval numbers for so long. His absolute bone headed hubris has prevented him from expanding his base by a single voter over three years, and instead has embarked on one political suicide mission after another on a DAILY basis.
To be clear — we need to have A LOT of important policy conversations about JUST ABOUT FUCKING EVERYTHING. Bernie wasn’t wrong — the oligarchs have taken over the system and it absolutely is rigged against you in a shocking number of ways. Late capitalism is absolutely destroying the world in front of our very eyes. These are all true things.
But not everyone is hip to that yet — especially in the states that are going to decide whether or not Trump is going to remain in office. We’re talking about places that don’t sort their garbage or ask you what your pronouns are. Finding out all this time that capitalism itself is what is destroying them is going to be some hard shit to come to terms with. It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s definitely not happening this cycle. We need to at least agree to circle back to that shit later.
It’s time to come to terms with the fact that no one is getting a pony. At least not now. We aren’t even going to have what passes for a dignified election by any objective standard. Do you think Trump and The MAGAts give a fuck about policy? HELL NO they don’t. Most of them (Trump included) couldn’t even tell you how a bill becomes a law if you hooked them up by the nipples to a car battery and tortured them in a CIA black site for a whole summer. Trump and his people are going to run this election like the world’s shittiest elimination reality game show you’ve ever seen and the only way to win is to play it on their turf. Sorry. This is why we can’t have nice things.
There is no way that Donald Trump can win this election — but the democrats can ABSOLUTELY LOSE IT, so sack the fuck up. This is a single issue election, and if you can actually stay focused on THAT ONE THING — we will win it — and then, we can all move on to the next level where we can actually have grown up debates on actual policy. We can elect solid progressives on the state and local level only AFTER we stop the rapid descent into fascism. Let’s not get over our skis here, my people.
Sorry. We don’t get to drag race the car out of the ditch this go round. But try not to fuck this one up. We won’t get another chance at this.