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Afternoon Pages: November 7th, 2020

My life right now.




It's nice to have a little bit of certainty.

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Holy hell that's a large font.

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And to highlight my bad timing skills. Or Firefox being really laggy on my computer.


I think there's some important caveats to note:

  • Without the Senate, there won't be a whole lot that'll get done. There's enough to be fixed for four year's of work, sure, but they'll just get reversed with the next Donald Trump (Tom Cotton or Josh Hawley are my betting favorites to continue Trumpism, and maybe go in an even more extreme direction). You'll need Congress in order to pass laws that are much more resilient to being chipped away.

    I can't believe the ACA is still standing after all these years, but if you think about it, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was only repealed in 1864, after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862. It was easier to go to civil war than it was to repeal that law. So maybe it shouldn't be that surprising.

    I donated $100 each to Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, because both races are close enough to go to runoff (thank you Stacey Abrams) and those races will decide control for the U.S. Senate. Mitch McConnell has already declared he will blockade anything Biden does, and I don't want to hear about him again for four years, so money toss. I don't know what Warnock's chances are because he's a black man running against a reasonably hot blonde (even though she can't even be corrupt correctly), but Ossoff seems competitive. We'll see what happens.

  • No presidential candidate has a mandate. The country is almost as evenly divided as it was four years ago. Races are being decided on margins of tens of thousands of votes in multiple states. Philadelphia had armed miltiamen patrolling near polling stations and bomb threats called in to slow the count. No matter which side had won the presidency, the other would be implacably hostile towards it. That doesn't bode well for the Union.

    I think voting rights and urban/rural partnership initiatives could help lower the temperature and create more jobs in small to mid-size cities, and I think the party in power should communicate more about its initiatives. People shamed President Trump for sending that letter with the one-time direct payment stimulus, but honestly I thought it was refreshing to hear directly from the government, even if it was a bit campaign-y. I hope Biden writes to people about green jobs and stuff he's doing, because people only tune in to certain sources in the media while the mail arrives for mostly everybody. Great way to check whether the USPS is still working, too.

  • Turnout has to be an active process. You can't just blare out “a wildfire burned down your city and the POTUS is refusing to send assistance” and expect people to vote for the other party. Maybe in saner times you can, but the path that works is shown in Georgia, where Abrams went door to door registering hundreds of thousands of people to turn out for the vote. It's like counter-insurgency operations, you can't just go in with air support, you have to have boots on the ground and make sure the locals support you.

Biden is in an extremely weak position coming into POTUS. He has to run a disparate coalition, held together by the singular hatred of the current POTUS. The current POTUS by contrast can call upon a cult, the unthinking greedy, and foreign interests in order to execute policy. There's a very real chance Biden will just warm the seat until a red tide comes in 2022 and 2024.

I don't know what the next four years are going to bring, but I think I'd like to get more involved, and go to town halls and demand answers from representatives and stuff. I'm personally skeptical of myself wielding any sort of power beyond deciding what bagels to get for a meeting, but I think people will easily forget “the year that will never be forgotten” and it'll take people who remember applying consistent pressure over decades in order to effect policy correctly.

I think we've have had precious little to celebrate on the federal front over the past four years. And I don't begrudge people from celebrating. But we have 125,000 coronavirus cases yesterday, up from 80,000 last Friday, with a 50% positivity rate in some cities and states, and Trump cult members praying over election results in Nevada (that have already been written down) in front of the polling station. And now with Biden's victory, Democrats have lost their biggest (and perhaps only) reason to turn out for elections at all. So while others may celebrate Joe Biden's win, I'm not celebrating until the next Donald Trump loses. I might be waiting a while. A very very very long while.