For all of the catastrophic low points of Donald Trump’s time in office — praising murderous Nazis in Charlottesville, happily tossing paper towel rolls in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, promoting bleach injection as COVID protection — the most unbearable aspect off his presidency on a daily basis has been his unending assault on our ability to have a sustained thought.
Like a car alarm blaring day and night, Trump’s alternating sirens of fear and hate, ignorance and cruelty — broadcast across all of our screens and intruding into almost every conversation with family and friends — has made it impossible to focus on anything beyond just stopping this awful noise.
So it’s understandable that for many progressives in these final days of Trump’s first, and hopefully only, term, voting him out is the one and only priority. We may recognize that our present crisis has roots in the racism, inequality, and failing healthcare systems that came long before 2016, but it feels like we can only take those issues on after Nov. 3, because if Trump wins, there’s no telling what chaos and tyranny might ensue.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming clearer by the day that even if Trump doesn’t win, there’s no telling what chaos and tyranny might ensue. The false claims coming from the White House about voter fraud have ensured that millions of Republicans — including heavily armed white nationalists — will view any result other than a Trump reelection as illegitimate.
What this means is that the old activist adage about voting one day and organizing on the other 364 needs to be updated. Even on Election Day itself, we need to be prepared to do much more than vote in order to defend our democratic rights.
But even if Trump is defeated and forced to concede, the current dynamic of a two-party system — where one party has ceded the wheel to a motley crew of zealots and cranks, while the other remains tightly controlled by bipartisan centrists — cannot resolve the multiple crises we face.
For starters, it’s not idle speculation to assume that Republicans will try to sabotage a Biden presidency with the less dramatic but perhaps more destructive tactic of sabotaging an economic recovery. In case they lose control of the Senate, they will be aided by an even more reactionary Supreme Court…