Joe Biden Wins!

United, but for what causes?

W,J. Astore

I’ll admit it: I never saw Joe Biden as president. Not when I remembered his abortive presidential run in 1988, when he lied about his college record and plagiarized speeches of Bobby Kennedy and Neil Kinnock.

He made an effective vice president for Barack Obama, mainly at first because he reassured White America that the Black guy was OK. Being vice president is an “It must have been cold there in my shadow” kind of job, but Joe handled it pretty well, and even catastrophically deferred to Hillary Clinton as Obama’s rightful successor in 2016.

After that debacle, Joe persisted, and in the campaign of 2020 he found a Democratic establishment that loved his pro-business and pro-banking record, his strong support of high military spending and overseas wars, and his past calls for cuts to Social Security as well as his steadfast opposition to Medicare for all. Our kind of Democrat, the owners and donors said, and with a big push from Obama, Biden found himself anointed as the candidate to defeat the Orange Ogre.

But Biden didn’t defeat Trump; Trump defeated Trump. Trump’s response to Covid-19 was so incompetent, so reckless, and so tone-deaf to lives lost that even the usual spin about fake news and alternative facts didn’t work. Indeed, Trump first said the pandemic would magically disappear, then tried to blame it all on China, then said the media was covering it only because it hurt his chances for reelection, then persisted in holding rallies that turned into super-spreader events for the virus.

Despite all of Trump’s flaws, despite all of his lies, he still almost defeated Biden, a stunning achievement when you really think about it. To my mind, the closeness of this election, the narrowness of Biden’s victory, is as much a reflection of the weaknesses of Joe Biden as it is the strength of the Trump cult.

What kind of president can we expect Biden to be? He won’t be anything like Trump, which in some ways is a bad thing. What I mean is this: Trump turned the narrowest of victories over Hillary Clinton into mandate-level deeds. He got the big tax cut Republicans covet. He got to pick three Supreme Court justices and to redefine lower-level courts for a generation. He served his base and made no apologies.

What is the likelihood that Biden adopts a progressive agenda? That he takes no prisoners, that he rides roughshod over Republicans, that he calls them traitors and dictates terms to them? Unlikely indeed. Even if Democrats win a majority in the Senate, which we won’t know until January and runoff elections in Georgia, Biden will likely position himself as a centrist, i.e. a moderate Republican, a man willing to reach across the aisle for bipartisan accord.

It’s likely Biden will even appoint Republicans to his cabinet. I’m betting we’ll see more Republicans in his cabinet than progressive Democrats.

I won’t shed any tears when Trump departs, perhaps into a new self-named media empire. Because for Trump it’s Trump now, Trump tomorrow, Trump forever. Biden, unlike Trump, has at least some experience with public service, and that can’t be a bad thing.

The question is: Which publics will Joe Biden serve with the most passion?

93 thoughts on “Joe Biden Wins!

  1. The question is: Which publics will Joe Biden serve with the most passion?

    With all due respect, Mr. Astore, do you think that this is a real question?

    Best wishes,


    1. I hope it is. Biden is likely to be a one-term president. If he’s not obsessed with reelection, perhaps we might see some boldness in directions that favor regular folk. His record’s not promising, and Joe himself is past his prime, but people aren’t always predictable …

      One thing is certain: We need to keep the pressure on him, however we can.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Job One for Biden admin. is to assert a Science-based approach to the pandemic. This he has promised to do, FWIW (pols’ promises being what they are). We also desperately need more “stimulus” funds for ordinary Joes and Janes. That will run into an immediate roadblock–the same old one, actually–if GOP maintains majority in US Senate.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Having fingered Biden as a corporate tool for the zillionth time, isn’t it time to talk about the real issue in today’s (and yesterday’s, and yesteryear’s) America? You say Trump’s defeat is self-inflicted and despite Biden’s weaknesses (as perceived by progressives). I say the strength at the polling place Trump shows speaks very high-decibel volumes (some kind of audio lingo wordplay there) about how deeply rooted is the RACISM in this society. I have been stressing this from day one of Trump’s first campaign. He got this many votes despite narrowly falling short–okay, metaphorically speaking–of publicly attending a Ku Klux Klan rally? Tweeting support for armed Brownshirts marching on our streets? Really, this is what about half the electorate hankers for? I have never been less proud to be a US citizen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Racism can’t and must not be ignored. But I don’t think all of Trump’s voters are racist. Nor do I think they all want fascism.

      In fact, Democrats would be foolish to think Trump’s voters are mostly racists or fascists or dumbasses etc. It’s so easy to put “these people” into a “basket of deplorables” and write them off, but I think people can be reached, can be moved to change, because history shows us that the right leader with the right message can change society. Nelson Mandela is one example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Granted that today’s Americans are generally appallingly lacking in critical thinking skills and constantly bombarded with disinformation on social media (and Fox “News,” which now has to be considered part of MSM due to their viewership and giant influence), still…the electorate was given a chance to RESOUNDINGLY reject Trumpism. Guess what? They RESOUNDINGLY declined to do so. One cannot examine Trumpism without examining the RACIST content of his campaign themes from day one.


        1. I agree. Racism is part of Trumpism. But the appeal of racism is not uniform among Trump supporters. Some had other compelling reasons (to them) to vote for Trump: the economy, abortion, his Israel policies, his “wall” and anti-immigrant stance, “law and order,” and so on. (Of course some of these have racist components.)

          A story from this campaign is how Trump attracted more Hispanics and Blacks and fewer White males than in 2016. Democrats should focus on how Trump did this and what it means for elections in 2022 and 2024.


          1. Perhaps I haven’t been clear enough: The racist component of Trumpism is so CENTRAL to his doctrine–if we may lend it that somewhat respectable label, given its crudeness–that I don’t see how any voter could look the other way on it! C’mon, let’s get real! As to the claim (in MSM) that up to 20% of African-American males may have voted Republican, I think I’ve figured that out: they are likely “middle class” members of their community, small businesspeople, etc., alarmed by the violence that erupted in the streets after the police murder of George Floyd. “Anarchists running wild in our streets, looters, arsonists!” That GOP appeal would find sympathy among some members of the black community. “People vote their pocketbooks.” Well, if you fear your business might get torched, yeah. Makes sense….Meanwhile, fireworks just erupted on my block in my little bassackwards pro-Trump town. Must be a protest against, not in celebration of, Biden’s win!!


    2. I agree that racism and fascism are big issues, but I don’t think they fully explain what we’re seeing in this country. It’s about hatred of every “other,” whether it’s scientists, women, coastal elites, you name it. It’s libertarianism on steroids—“no one can tell me what to do.” I think it’s also about the Orange One being a man’s man; that is, a caricature of chauvinism, completely disdainful of all the “lessers” and, to him, losers. Then toss in the evangelicals with their single-minded focus on abortion, and you have the mixed bag of Orange supporters, people who voted for him for a range of reactionary reasons.


      1. Donald “Little Hands” Trump! One political commentator opined that Trump came off kind of effeminate in the first “debate”! Hmm.


        1. As I didn’t watch the debates, I can’t comment on the “effeminate” part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that allegation was code for shrill and hysterical. After all, that’s what women are, right. if you’re a red-blooded, uber-macho male….?


  3. From David Sirota, who worked for Bernie Sanders:

    This past week, The Daily Poster exposed how GOP operatives at the Lincoln Project set $67 million of liberals’ money on fire — now the group’s top GOP leader is publicly attacking us, all while they reportedly plan to launch a media empire that will likely try to push Biden to the right.

    Meanwhile, former GOP Gov. John Kasich — who was given a speaking slot at the Democratic convention — is already insisting that Democrats shouldn’t first and foremost deliver results for the majority of voters who elected them, but instead “listen to what the other half of the country has to say.”

    So, it’s already begun. Joe Biden is being told to listen to Trump voters! Do you think anyone ever told Trump to listen to Hillary voters?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What do you think of this possibility: In the next month or so, Clarence Thomas retires from SCOTUS so Trump can appoint a 45 year old conservative nutbag, locking up the court for decades.


    1. I, too, have been pondering ‘Silent Clarence’s age in recent months. He’s well over 80, ain’t he? I have zero doubt that Trump will do just as much damage as possible in these final weeks, the weeks of his Lame Duckism.


  5. I see one possible legislative achievement: the MORE act ~ federal decriminalization of cannabis (which Biden opposes but Harris promised). Other than that I see fierce senate opposition from at least 51 Republicans who will, again, brand Democrats as the do-nothing party except when it comes to legalizing drugs. They will take this message to the mid-terms.

    Biden, I think, will appear more and more confused and frail as we approach that two year mark and that won’t help the Democrats case.


    1. I suspect GOP will, indeed, continue to control Senate. Unless a handful of GOPers become willing to buck their party’s internal discipline (Trump’s absence should make it somewhat easier), we’d have deadlock to the far horizon. Biden would be unable to fill a SCOTUS vacancy. It would not be unprecedented for that court to operate with fewer than 9 members for a while. Which reminds me: the question of Dems expanding number of justices seems to have vanished. Of course, if GOP still controls Senate, it would be a DOA effort anyway.


  6. Wow.., give the guy a chance… A victory for Women, the Gay Community, Minorities, the Environment, Science, the Constitution etc. I think Biden ran a dignified Campaign, and was even good in the Debates. There was no dancing in the Streets when Trump won almost to the day 4 yrs. ago. You could’ve heard a Pin drop in Times Sq… I could go on but you get the gist plus I’m Apolitical…

    Liked by 4 people

      1. As I see it, the difficulty – which has already raised its head elsewhere in this space – lies in seeing this as a victory for the United States as a whole, and going from there. The damage of the past four years or of the past 150 years isn’t going to be swept away the day after J. Biden takes the oath of office. But we have largely become a nation of “special interest” groups, all of whom see themselves as righteous and true, and needing attention right now, and maybe everyone else can get theirs later. Healing the Nation doesn’t appear to be a primary concern.
        (I would say any group who would put their needs/demands/agenda/philosophy ahead of the needs of the country as a whole is, by definition, a special interest group.)
        So, this would be a good time to change the country’s motto from “e pluribus unum” (“out of many, one”) to “Ubi est mea?” (roughly, “Where’s mine?”), as no one appears to believe in the former and the latter is far more representative of the American mindset.
        Congratulations, though, to J. Biden, and best of luck. Onward.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. The motto past few years would properly have been “Trump uber alles”! But “Where’s mine?” is a good substitute for the citizenry overall. Ah yes, the streets here are paved with gold and if you’ve got the personal merit, you’re gonna be a boffo success, kid! Yep, uh-huh.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You’re welcome, TJOSTEEN! I happen to consider The Dead Kennedys the only REAL punk band!! Wow, we do range far and wide on this website, eh?

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Agree strongly with the “where’s mine?” mindset as a problem. This is a problem across the political spectrum. Think about the slogan “Black Lives Matter”. Its a true statement, but it still implies exclusivity and a desire to obtain something for one group instead of other groups. I’m not saying that is the intent of the BLM organizers, but that is what their slogan implies at a gut level. And its a problem.

          Imagine a group of people walking toward you carrying signs that say, “My Life Matters!”
          Now imagine a group of people walking toward you carrying signs that say “Your Life Matters!”

          Which group makes you feel more at ease.

          Now if everyone could carry signs and act like “Your Life Matters!” it would be a different world.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There’s been a lot of chatter about “identity politics.” The fact that, in the eyes of the larger society and especially its Law Enforcement Establishment–which we can bet voted overwhelmingly for Trump–African American lives are “cheap” is undeniable by anyone but a GOP type bigot. [No aspersions being cast at JPA in this, BTW.] I think the slogan “Black Lives Matter,” which I believe arose spontaneously, is pretty brilliant. And ESSENTIAL! And it’s been in the right’s Playbook forever now that you paint any call for improved rights for people of color–indeed, for women, “Queers,” etc., regardless of ethnicity–as an ASSAULT on the privileges of the white working class male. Even if those privileges have been whittled down to point of being about as thick as that white skin! Behold, GOP’s “Southern Strategy” launched on Nixon’s behalf, taken up vigorously by Reagan (“Affirmative action must go!”), etc. Trump, the Hater in Chief, called BLM “a hate group.” The absurdity of this is lost on his base, which just cheers on all his ludicrous pronouncements. This is a long-, long-standing problem in this society, and the right will not let it go away. They’ll keep pouring fuel on the flames.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Tough call here. I tend to agree with JPA that exclusivity is not a positive approach.

            The business journal for which I worked used to create special sections featuring Women of Note, and had annual awards ceremonies for chosen honorees. This practice always struck me as giving back-handed compliments: why is it newsworthy when a woman accomplishes something? Had a reader call once and ask when we were going to have a Men of Nore ceremony, and I told him it was an entirely appropriate question.

            Kind of the same thing that JPA is describing relative to BLM, I think. No one race, gender, ethnicity, or other distinction should be singled out


          3. “All Lives Matter” is true, but too generic. “Your Life Matters” is personal, and it reassures you personally. I am much more able to reach patients who are quite resistant to being helped when they realize that they matter to me personally.

            When you experience the fact that you matter to me, then the world changes for both of us.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. I can understand where the BLM motto came from. It sure didn’t seem as if Black lives mattered. BLM was an affirmation. We matter — too. It wasn’t we matter — you don’t.

            But of course Trump and his fellow travelers seized on the latter translation, willfully forgetting the context of how BLM evolved. Context is everything.

            Our Black brothers and sisters, to channel Cornel West for a moment, are telling us that they matter just like we white people matter, and they deserve the same treatment, especially when they come in contact with authority in the guise of armed police officers.

            Hence I support BLM — and I know they’re not saying they matter more than me, but that we all matter.

            We need to open our hearts.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. I see two sequential processes in racism. The first is to use a marker of difference to distinguish one group of people from the others. That process is “othering”. In American that marker of difference is most consistently color. The second process is to think, speak, or behave towards the “other” in a negative manner.

            One way of combatting racism is to attempt to block the second process. One can have laws, policies, procedures etc. that prevent one group from treating the “other” in a negative manner. This way of combatting racism is what most people who work against racism engage in.

            However, that does not undo the first process which I see as the root of the problem. To undo that process one must move to the state before the “other” was defined as “other”. The end result of this is the “E pluribus unum,” or “Out of many, one”. Both Buddhist and Christian contemplative traditions have methods for developing this.

            I will point out that methods for combatting the second process are easiest to enforce (though still difficult) when negative behaviors are targeted. they are harder to enforce with negative speech, and impossible to do with negative thoughts. Thus unless the first process is being addressed the risk is that the second will arise in thought which will lead to negative speech and negative behavior.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. I encountered an interesting tidbit of info today, I think during Sunday edition of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In exit polls Tuesday, reportedly 90% of respondents said that violence in the streets related to racial issues (my phrase) was a factor in their choice of POTUS candidate, with something like 20% (may have been a bit larger) claiming it was THE decisive factor. There was no breakdown of ethnic identities of those polled, or whether the chief concern was something appearing to be anarchy, or excessive use of force by cops, or violence by the Brownshirts. If I had to guess, I’d guess that seeing coverage of the events in Portland, OR day in/day out was a major contributor to “ordinary citizens” feeling uneasy. I would further guess that it was negative reactions to people protesting the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, etc. that dominated, and led people to vote for Trump in very large numbers, including some black Americans. Fear of “the other” was a foundational plank in Trump’s gameplan for election. His constant demonizing of BLM, of course, just egged these uneasy voters on. Trump’s praise for his Brownshirts, “oddly,” must have bothered people far less, if at all. You see, racism and its adherents never went away in USA. It just receded a bit into the shadows when the Civil Rights Movement was ascendant. The rise of Trumpism brought the haters out of the shadows and into the open–with PRIDE. Lester Maddox, standing in the doorway of his restaurant with an axe handle to repel any potential integrationists, simply morphed into ‘The Proud Boys’ and other groups fomenting hate and violence via social media. Let me take that one step farther: Lester Maddox morphed right into Donald Trump himself, tweeting support for his Brownshirts from the White House, while “on the clock” as POTUS, supposedly representing all of us. You all are free to make like an ostrich and pretend that racism is NOT the primary issue here, but to me it’s blindingly clear that this is our American reality in 2020.


          7. Greg. I agree with you about the prevalence of racism in America. My point is that the root of racism is “othering” and that leads to the behaviors that express racism. People think that they can eliminate racism by focusing on changing behaviors while continuing to “other”. Addressing the behaviors is necessary, but not sufficient as if the root cause is not addressed the behaviors will return.

            I have read materials on how to be an “anti-racist” that actually reinforce “othering”. I think it is a mistake to believe that if we accentuate and reify markers of difference then people can be convinced or coerced into avoiding any behaviors that are negative toward the “other”. I don’t think that will work.

            While we work on reducing racist behaviors we also have to move to the point where we realize that race is an illusion and there is no “other”. I have been with people of all races when they injured. I have been with people of all races when they wept about trauma and loss. Everyone’s blood was red. Everyone’s tears were clear.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. JPA–Regarding your concluding paragraph, anyone of general “good will,” who has vowed to uphold the values Jesus supposedly promulgated, would say “Amen!” The problem is that our reality is so far wide of the mark, with many elements eagerly, enthusiastically promoting the escalation of animosity. Thank goodness we will soon enter a phase wherein the hate is not being promoted from the highest bully pulpit in the land (except, gulp, toward Russians, Chinese, Iranians, etc.). Sales of firearms soared this year, so there are more of them loose in society than ever before. Even if Biden personally wished fervently to address that latter problem, I can’t picture legislation for more sensible regulation passing the divided Congress. So it’s good riddance to Hater-in-Chief Trump, but the arrival of Utopia is nowhere on the horizon.


          9. Greg: Entirely agree that racism remains a grave issue that must be addressed. It is a primary issue, but I don’t think it was the primary issue of the election, when this election had so many “primary” issues: Covid-19, jobs, mortgages and rent, climate change, a “stimulus,” the Supreme Court and issues like abortion, etc.

            And, as important as race is, so too is class and helping workers of all colors to make ends meet. A higher minimum wage and M4A would greatly help here.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. At the risk of seeming like someone perpetually dour, I can’t help but underline the idiocy and gullibility of boobus americanus: Scores of millions voted to continue the reign of the candidate whose mission was to ensure their economic and health conditions would stay rolling downhill vigorously. Because it made them “feel good” to identify with the blowhard bully? Be happy, then, America, as you continue to drop like flies from Covid because, you know, “Wearing a mask is for sissies like Joe Biden!”

            Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t listen to Biden’s address to the nation, but I understand he called for “reconciliation, healing, unity.” Yeah, Joe, you and the GOP leadership are gonna sit around the ol’ campfire, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya”! But really, this has become boilerplate language in these situations. Nothin’ to hear here, folks, move along!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the very few promises Trump ever kept is his current campaign to seek to change outcome of the election via frivolous legal maneuvering. Yep, he assured us he’d pursue this course. And hilariously, it was the GOP ranting about the impeachment process trying to “overturn the people’s will” not very long ago!


  7. I am taking a “devil’s advocate position here.” Just putting a point of view out for exploration.

    Much as we may castigate the Democratic elected officials for not supporting progressive causes, I can’t blame them. Look at the voters. In the Democratic primary the more progressive candidates, Sanders/Warren didn’t get many votes. Sure the party machine was against them, but these were not nobodies. If the Democratic party members wanted a progressive presidential candidate they would have showed up and voted for one. After all, in 2016 Trump had the Republican machine fighting him in the early stages of the primary, but Republican voters showed up for Trump despite that. And his agenda was about as anti-progressive as you could get.

    So the preponderance of the evidence that I see is many Americans may give lip service to progressive values, or tell pollsters they support progressive values, but they don’t vote for candidates who hold progressive values. The only issue that seemed to get bipartisan support was making cannabis legal. So it might be inferred that what the majority of Americans really want is to be stoned.

    Regarding Greg’s statements that Trump’s popularity shows how prevalent racism is in America, I am not so sure. A lot of minority people voted for Trump and I don’t think they are racist. I think something else is going on.

    First, people tend to avoid what makes them uneasy, and if uneasy they choose responses that reduce unease, even if those choices make their lives worse. This tendency (which is somewhat hardwired) is the cause of a lot of dysfunction, from procrastination to risky sexual behavior to addiction.

    Second, uncertainty makes people uneasy, especially in times like these. The past is certain, so a leader who promises to restore the past reduces uncertainty and thus reduces unease. People don’t like unease so the leader who promises to restore the past rather than face the uncertainty of the future gets votes. Note that both candidates did this. Biden promised a return to the recent past and Trump a return to a somewhat more distant past (MAGA). Now the recent past wasn’t that great for many people, so Biden’s appeal was limited. The past that Trump promised a return was extremely attractive to many. It didn’t have much detail but was “great”. Very few Americans know enough about their history to realize how delusional the past he promised was. (The book Lies My Teacher Told Me should be required reading for all Americans.)

    I think another part of Trump’s appeal is that he shows contempt for non-Americans. I think this resonates with a large portion of the electorate (not just white people) who don’t seem to give a damn about what happens to people in other countries as long as it benefits America.

    So rather than racism, I think a large part of Trump’s appeal came from his promise to return people to a glorified past they they did not realize never existed combined with a narcissistic “US first” attitude. That appeal worked across age, class, race, and gender.

    So in the words of the old cartoon character (I think) Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for this thoughtful response.

      I’ve said this before, but one of Trump’s “virtues” is that he’s transparently a con man. He’s a liar, but an open one. You can read him — and even laugh along with some of his whoppers. Whereas a smooth politician like Biden is more of an untransparent politician; you know he lies too, but he’s not as frank; he tries to hide it.

      Also, Trump’s vocabulary was unchallenging — he spoke at roughly the level of a sixth grader. He was easy to understand, and his avowed tastes, e.g. his affection for fast food and “professional” wrestling, made him relatable in a way that Bill Clinton was relatable (in contrast, Hillary always tried way too hard).

      Trump, if he wasn’t so narcissistic, if he wasn’t so motivated by grudges and money-grubbing and so consumed by grievances, had the ability to make America a better place. But then he wouldn’t be Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And what does it say about our society that so many tens of millions voted for that transparent fraud?? I think Biden managed to come off pretty down to Earth in the two “debates,” with his “Oh come on, man!” reactions to Trump’s preposterous lies. You don’t survive “47 years” (by Trump’s count) in politics and not acquire SOME people skills, yes? I could sit down for a beer with Joe Biden, but he’d sure tire quickly of MY political views!


    2. JPA–I don’t think you’re totally off the mark on this, BUT…the American past Trump conjured was one where “colored people knew their place,” and that included having separate drinking fountains, etc. What could Biden/Harris have represented to people made “uneasy” so, uh, easily? Something like progress in race and gender relations, perhaps?? (Not sure I recall Biden saying a thing about the lingering wage gap between men and women.) The horror, the horror! I have no choice but to stick with my thesis on racism as THE prime driver of Trumpism.


    3. Agree with everything but the part about your assertion that Progressives didn’t support Sanders or Warren. On the contrary, they very much did. The pandemic affected the primaries, but Bernie was doing extremely well until the DNC quashed him.


  8. I think the Trump phenomenon is fairly simple: he was the candidate of emotion, specifically of resentment of authority and expertise by a large number of Americans who are respectful only of practical reason, it being superior to book learning. Don’t believe me? Check out the people who make the zillions of (quite good) how-to videos on YouTube.

    Trump tapped what H.L. Mencken called the booboosie to whom ignorance of things intellectual is a source of pride and conspiracies of intellectuals is suspected.

    Trump has been an icon of defiance that leapfrogged the usual process of political ascent to rain down contempt on the elite from the top job. Could anything possibly be more satisfying to the resentful at the bottom? No wonder his rallies have been enthusiastic.

    As for COVID supposedly confounding Trump, I just checked and the total number of confirmed cases in the US to date is about 10 million. That is only 3% of our population, allowing a huge number of people to declare COVID no big deal.

    Now Biden must address the resentful, but can offer no visceral emotional satisfaction as Trump has, empty as that is of solutions to anything.

    But I’m happy! We have just headed off a “Great Leader” in the United States.

    COVID FOOTNOTE: I live in a community where all are masked being very conscientious about it, there is no indoor restaurant seating and the 6 foot rule is scrupulously observed yet the number of cases is surging anyway.


    1. HATE is the only emotion Trump conveys successfully. All too successfully….And this just in: my local NBC TV affiliate reports town of my residence went for Trump 56.5%. Fewer votes for “third” parties this time, so Trump got more votes here than in 2016. Libertarian got 1-something percent, Green Party less than one. And so it goes.


  9. Anyone willing to bet inquiries about a Presidential pardon are already being made? William Barr and the DOJ won’t be able to protect D. Trump – even as a former President – once he’s out of office.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think the jury has rendered a decision on whether POTUS can pardon him-/herself. Would kind of be a precedent. I totally don’t picture Biden asking Feds to pursue anything against The Donald. But I’d love to see Trump forced to keep his “threat” to leave the USA in event of lost election…the real reason would be to try to avoid State of NY tax-cheating charges. Does Israel have an extradition agreement with US? As long as Netanyahu rules, Trump would have a safe harbor over there, treaty or no, I guar-an-damn-tee you that. Hell, I’d love to see his whole wretched family join him in such an…can’t resist!…Exodus!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This article surprises me a bit, Mr. Astore. After just one day (although the fat lady has not sung yet : ), the subtle Biden-apologist tone is interesting. Have the mighty progressives of Bracing Views already started to clamor to the Biden table, hoping to be thrown a bone or some scraps? I do think a Biden presidency in the current political environment will be a like watching a chain saw juggler. Only a matter of time until that big miss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very entertaining comments, sir! I must be turning into a sadist, though, to enjoy seeing people muck it up for themselves! Though upon looking at your post again, I see the modifying phrase “in the current political environment.” Yes, that’s astute. Anyone who thinks the GOP is going to play nice with the Biden admin. is totally delusional.


    2. @tjosteen
      I am sorry but I consider some of your statements in this comment trollish in tone. Based on the comments I have read over the last few months the progressives here advocate their views with consistency and are not for sale. The language you have used in your comment is contemptuous of people who do not deserve your contempt. Please reflect on your tone for future comments. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I can’t win. People attack me for being critical of Joe when my criticisms are based on his known record. And now TJ Osteen says I’m subtly becoming an apologist for Joe. No worries, TJO. Bracing Views is no apologist to those in power!

      I watched the end of Biden’s victory speech last night. I hate to say it, but I miss the talent of Obama. Joe Biden often comes across as angry and confused when he wants to sound determined and clear. He has a tendency to shout. We saw this in the debates as well.

      That said, Joe Biden is not as stuck on himself as Trump was. But who could be?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re definitely spot-on about Obama’s mien and delivery—every speech was an impressive one. That’s what got him where he was. His powerful performance at the 2004 Dem convention was the springboard to the White House.


      2. Head for your bunker, TJOSTEEN!! The “barbarians” have breached the gates of the city! I see Biden off to a good start, setting up a task force to take over the pandemic crisis come January. We definitely can NOT expect him to change his opposition to “Medicare for All,” etc. But a competent team at the White House will be the change the nation, and the world at large, needs. Meanwhile, best of luck to Rudy Giuliani and the other “geniuses” who will try to convince some court–any court, damn it!–that Biden stole the election.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I liked it, but understand your gripes…The Music will definitely be up to better Standards in this Presidency… Kamala coming on to Beyonce’, and the Biden “Coldplay” Sky full of Stars, but I digress. Too bad we’ll never get to know Bo Biden…:/ By all accounts a good guy. Enjoyed seeing the rest of his Bidens Family, and will in the WH much better than the Trumpets Clan! :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trying to remember back to the Dems’ own “debates,” I think it may have been Klobuchar, but could’ve been Kamala Harris, who declared Job One on Day One would be to scrub down every square inch of the WH with bleach! Will Biden order the undoing of the redecoration of interior that Trump undertook? Gosh, he wouldn’t want to look spiteful, huh?! We’ve had enuf of that past four years.


    1. Studio 54 wasn’t in SoHo!! I wonder if there’s any concrete evidence that Trump used to frequent that den of cocaine? Just speculatin’, folks, cut me a little slack!


  12. AOC, speaking truth:

    “It’s really hard for us to turn out nonvoters when they feel like nothing changes for them. When they feel like people don’t see them, or even acknowledge their turnout,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

    “If the party believes after 94% of Detroit went to Biden, after Black organisers just doubled and tripled turnout down in Georgia, after so many people organised Philadelphia, the signal from the Democratic party is the John Kasich won us this election? I mean, I can’t even describe how dangerous that is.”


    1. Oh, dear! Well, AOC is safe (barring assassination threats, which will likely escalate going forward) for another two-year term. Looks like the DNC will fall more out of love with her, though.


  13. Seriously, this happened:

    “I could write jokes for 800 years and I’d never think of something funnier than Trump booking the Four Seasons for his big presser, and it turning out to be the Four Seasons Total Landscaping parking lot between a dildo store and a crematorium,” TV writer Zack Bornstein wrote on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Either of the neighboring businesses would have been truly appropriate! Dildos or crematorium–I gotta call it a toss-up! Of course Trump didn’t book the event personally; one of his terribly competent underlings is gonna take the bullet for this one!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. BTW, I’m not sure if this is of political significance, but a 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook parts of MA and RI Sunday morning. In my locale, I heard something vibrating (some component of my house, I assume) but did not feel anything move underneath. The political earthquake I hanker for would be Mitch McConnell losing control of US Senate. But I have no realistic hope to “feel” that.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. From Michael Tracey’s twitter feed: “I’ll keep saying it. A supermajority of Democratic voters believed that Trump was illegitimately installed into power by Russia. Anyone who helped create that perception has forfeited any standing to complain when huge portions of GOP voters respond in kind to this election.”

    What Michael Tracey says here tracks precisely with what George Orwell wrote in his essay Through a Glass Rosily (1945), which I have quoted before: “The trouble is that if you lie to people, their reaction is all the more violent when the truth leaks out, as it is apt to do in the end.”

    So, yes, the Democrats with their lies about Russia gave President Donald Trump a huge club (“the Truth in this particular instance”) with which to bash in their political brains. Too bad for him and the country that he never stood up for himself other than tweeting away on his cell phone at odd hours of the morning. He thought he could appease the piranhas from the “Intelligence community” and corporate-career Pentagram by offering them little tiny bites out of his ass. Now he has no ass remaining (politically speaking). He deserved firing. He shouldn’t have promised to end needless imperial wars and return working-class jobs to the Rust Belt if he wouldn’t do the work of first gaining control over his own administration. Blaming the corporate media — the same one that helped him win the presidency in the first place — just won’t cut it. Oh yes, and that “virus” thing and the collapsed economy. Just saying . . .

    The Republican party invented scurrilous red-baiting Nixon/McCarthyism and have applied it viciously against the Democratic party for the entirety of my seventy-three years of life on this planet. For their part, the Democratic political establishment since Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy has tried to appease the Republicans by turning against the anti-war, working class, “leftist” base of their own party. So to watch the Democrats over the past four years try and pull this “Russiagate” scam against a “Republican” president seems a bit like trying to teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. A rather pathetic recent example of this follows:

    I hardly ever watch CNN, MSNBC, FOX NOISE (all apparently owned or influenced by Australian billionaire Rupert Murdock) but since I have access to the Internet here in Taiwan, I tuned in to CNN News just to see what sort of media garbage by fellow citizens have to endure back in the continental US. A CNN panel featured former Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Van Jones, who has dark colored skin and purports to speak for “Democrats.” Mr Santorum swore that President Donald Trump had saved the Republic from “socialism,” and Mr Jones countered by protesting — I kid you not — “We did that in our own party.” I translated this for my Taiwanese wife (in my ex-enlisted Navy vernacular while laughing till I thought I would choke):

    I just heard a Republican taking credit for gelding the Democrats and a Democrat responding by proudly swearing that, no, he had castrated himself.

    The corporate Democrats have just got to save the Republicans the time and trouble of neutering them. Mustn’t make the Republicans come out in the open and do their own dirty work. Even better from the Republican point of view, the Democrat has clipped his own shrunken testicles using dull scissors that he purchased with an extortionate PayDay loan courtesy of that former Senator from the Banking and Insurance Industries, Joe Biden.” As Gore Vidal would characterize this Van Jones kind of political eunuch: “Not a hawk or a dove, but a capon” (clipped chicken).

    And now America has a new President-Select, one already busy capitulating to the Republicans — what Republican Senator Mitch McConnell calls “Clintonian backflips in our direction” — even before he publicly swears — with his hand on a barbaric Bronze Age scripture — that his administration derives its authority to govern from an invisible, angry, bearded Jewish man up in the sky somewhere.

    And, by the way, the Russians . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Thanks for the consistently balanced view here, which I have deeply appreciated as a sort of oasis amid the mountain of excrement that passes for media these days. I would have followed your recommendation on the presidential election – Tulsi was the first candidate to whom I ever donated money – but my reliably Democratic State eliminated the write-in option: Bernie was quite popular here.

    But I must point out that these elections, from the point of view of the American oligarchy, which funds them, “shapes” the “issues” through the media that it owns lock, stock and barrel, and fans the flames of conflict, can always be characterized by “heads I win, tails you lose,” and it will continue to laugh all the way to the bank (that it also owns), whatever the outcome. All the while “we the people”, powerless, “cancel” each other in various paroxysms of hatred and high moral dudgeon. I have long wondered at what point the United States would enter a terminal state of dysfunction, now with a gerontocracy like that of the Soviet Union in its last years, oriented exclusively to models of the past. (It was for this reason that I did my doctoral work in history on the Russian revolution: what complex of factors is it that pushes a critical mass of people to that situation in which, in Lenin’s pithy phrase, “the ruling class is no longer competent to rule, and the masses no longer want them”?)

    In this vein, I am sure that the current historical moment in America today, if it could ever be assessed objectively, will have great interest for future historians, if, of course, the human species survives. The written contract between the rulers and the ruled in the United States of America, of course, was enshrined in the agreement among the elites in 1789 that produced the Constitution, including but not limited to the exclusion of black slaves, native Americans, women and a good part of those whose wealth did not “qualify” them to be members of the political class. What was entirely acceptable in those long gone days in terms of the mentalities of the time, however, increasing conflicted with the sensibilities of succeeding generations in an industrialized, mass society, but it nevertheless took the next one hundred and fifty years to get rid of these exclusions even in the juridical sense, though the attitudes of that era persist to this day.

    But the larger, far more significant – but entirely “unwritten” – part of the contract between the rulers and the ruled here, particularly after the closing of the frontier in the 1870s and especially during the era 1945-1971, consisted in the guarantee of those values bound up in what we used to call “the American dream” – in essence a consumer paradise based in, on the one hand, in concepts of unlimited economic growth and expansion of the American economy, and on the other, the growing mobility of goods, capital and persons in the context of a no-holds-barred competition of individuals in a marketplace that is now global. It is not without a certain symbolism that the videos shown of the protest movement in several American cities pictured the revolutionaries carrying off flat-screen TVs, sneakers, and the various detritus of American consumer culture.

    At precisely that moment, when the “American dream” – this most adhesive glue that kept the American polity together – is defunct for most U.S. citizens and the species is conscious (regardless of whether denial is the rule) of the enormous damage done to the environment by consumer culture, “E pluribus unum” has finally been eclipsed by the ethics of “I got mine, fuck you, Jack!” We are thus wholly unprepared and unarmed in the face of the bitter challenges that we are now facing as a society and the obstacles are multiple. (1) Hyper-individualism in this context has long ago replaced any concept of community; “rights” have long ago been decoupled from any obligation to the larger society. (2) “Neo-liberal”-inspired, fully bi-partisan legislation on both the state and federal levels have dismantled, hobbled or underfunded systems of public health, education, transportation, mail delivery, corrections (the list is incomplete), and converted these to “for-profit” enterprises, thereby robbing “we the people” of the instruments necessary to return to policies that benefit Americans of all races and creeds. (3) In contrast, we have witnessed the diversion of enormous sums to the American imperial project that, in the name of “spreading democracy” and other such claptrap (meant for the American public) has foisted mass death and destabilization on black and brown populations of the Middle East and North Africa. (4) The unprecedented corruption of the political system is essentially a bi-partisan legitimization – by all three branches of the Federal government – of bribery on a vast scale that enables the “donor class” to arrogate to itself control over state and federal policy through candidacies for federal and state offices – and thus policy that it “approves”. (5) In practical terms, this system has instituted “de facto” rule by unaccountable, unelected and increasingly politicized bureaucracies of technocratic “experts” – the “revolving door” between government and private sectors provide the grounds for “suitable” recruitment – with trillions of taxpayer funds to play with and a ferocious defense of their access to the public trough.

    As to the Trump phenomenon more particularly, as Anatol Lieven has written in a recent article in Prospect magazine, entitled “How the West Lost” (well worth reading in its entirety): “Those analyzing the connection between Russia and Trump’s administration have looked in the wrong place. The explanation of Trump’s success is not that Putin somehow mesmerized American voters in 2016. It is that populations abandoned by their elites are liable to extreme political responses; and that societies whose economic elites have turned ethics into a joke should not be surprised if their political leaders, too, become scoundrels.” This frame of reference will remain unaltered by the current elections.

    And what is our “collective” response to this hollowing out of American “democracy” and its potentials for change, however incremental, in which we once believed? What is the answer to this expropriation by the American oligarchy of the government “of the people, by the people and for the people?” Well, I guess we know now: culture wars, “identity politics” or the internalization of victimhood as the central element of who we are as individuals, the search for “enemies” (external or internal), censorship of views we don’t like, proposals to compile lists of those who are to be “cancelled” or otherwise ostracized from our high-minded society, the obsession with personalities – Trump, Biden – and the ceaseless demonization by both sides of these personalities – figures in fact insignificant in the course of history or even in their power to effect anything of what is absolutely necessary – rather than a rational assessment of what these individuals stand for as symptoms or markers of our present situation.

    All of this protest has little or nothing to do with the grossly distorted distribution of power and wealth in contemporary American society and will have absolutely no effect on it. Indeed, it is not for nothing that the atmosphere of disunity and conflict is endlessly amplified by the mighty Wurlitzer of the mainstream media (including the internet monopolies), which has gradually – as independent media outlets are closed down, censored, “delisted”, “deplatformed” or otherwise absorbed into giant conglomerates – abandoned any pretense for objectivity in favor of “narratives” approved by the oligarchy that owns them. The aim to “divide and rule” is patent. In this sense, the financing of the BLM movement by corporate America is not surprising: you little people, keep up your “identity politics”, fight it out! But dare to touch the arrangements that have produced and cemented the most unprecedented concentration of wealth and power in U.S. history and you will see an unwavering answer, for which the State has now all the technological tools.

    One of the greatest and most far-seeing Americans that ever lived – and if someone should be added to the statuary at Mount Rushmore, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., is my candidate – was perhaps the only figure in my memory to have regarded racism as inextricably linked with poverty – which I take to mean class – and the historical American addiction to militarism. If we are going to speak about racism (or other “identities”) to the exclusion of its other evil siblings, we are kidding ourselves. We once had an anti-war movement in America that had a profound sense of this fateful linkage. But that was then.

    And this is now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. MILLER makes good points here. I will comment on only two (amazing, I know!), in reverse order of their appearance in the post: 1.) the corporate world is “funding” the Black Lives Matter movement? Really? I’d like to see the evidence. What I see is that the pent-up resentment over the neverending unjustified use of lethal force against members of the black community erupted this year after the George Floyd case. It erupted with such force that some corporations–many marketing sports-related gear–felt it necessary, as a GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICE (Public Relations, ever hear of it?), to run some ads expressing support for the dangerous concept that we should all be respected in our persons regardless of skin color. And FYI, many non-profit organizations also felt compelled to issue statements. This includes the Governing Bodies of several Olympic Sports (officially non-profit entities that frequently are hurting for funds) and even The Planetary Society, co-founded in 1980 by the late Carl Sagan to promote peaceful use of outer space; and 2.) allow me to offer a new version of the “social contract” here in USA: “We, the Ruling Class, seizing the great natural advantages found in setting up shop here on this continent, will allow even the lower-paid proles to attain a living standard that allows the recipients of these wages to feel superior to the vast majority of the workers on the planet. [The gap has narrowed, of course, since the time when one spoke of “the Third World,” and many European and Asian workers now enjoy better conditions than we.] But should you get uppity and challenge our own right to make more in one day than you do in a whole year, just watch what happens! That’s what the cops are there for, after all.”


        1. This article does an excellent job of explaining how corporations buy out causes. The strategy of incrementalism is a death knell for any effort at profound change. Just ask Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich. Working inside the system….doesn’t work.


        2. In interest of fairness, I read the entire article linked to at “The Conversation.” Never heard of the publication; their spelling indicates they are in UK or Canada. (Heck, they could even be in India or Pakistan, reflecting the legacy of that wonderful British Empire!) I think MILLER distorted some facts by implying corporations were directly funding BLM, whereas the article indicates the funds come from private foundations affiliated with some corporations. But there’s a really big problem with all this: to my knowledge, there is no single “monolithic,” centrally run organization called “Black Lives Matter.” Same situation as with “antifa,” which Trump and other rightwing extremists portray as an evil flesh and blood group, whereas it is just a stupid label to hang on a loose-knit, very small “movement.” Yeah, I’m using quotation marks a lot here, I know. I myself am certainly vigorously ANTI-FASCIST, but I don’t belong to any organized group. To oppose Fascism, one needs to understand it. That’s why any semi-organized movement against it is so small in today’s USA, land of (convenient) naivete about politics. Back to BLM, just to stress how NOT organized/monolithic it is, a website purporting to speak for the movement was found to be run by a white guy in Australia! Obviously the Establishment will try to co-opt ANY movement that is seriously seeking fundamental change, call it mere reform even. When thousands of people put their physical wellbeing at risk facing heavily armed cops–including many white folks BTW, showing solidarity with BLM–you know a movement is serious, that the outrage is deeply felt. The deeply entrenched Establishment will count on things calming down, they’ll continue to attempt to co-opt perceived potential leaders, and if all else fails…there’s always the militarized police departments stretching from sea to shining sea.


          1. “I think MILLER distorted some facts by implying corporations were directly funding BLM, whereas the article indicates the funds come from private foundations affiliated with some corporations.”

            Just to reply to this part of your post, Greg, I know you don’t believe that such foundations are not tools of the corporations to which they’re attached. Big business has known for probably more than a century that non-profit foundations are excellent vehicles for 1) promoting their interests and exerting influence; and 2) laundering those pesky excess bottom-line dollars.


    1. Denise, do you remember the end of the Wizard of Oz? We all have to stop, listen, quit shouting at each other and think: who is behind all the hatred, why are they pushing it so hard and how do they benefit. But we are creatures, as a mass, that need leaders to put into words and actions — even in the post-truth era — something that resonates as truth in this respect. I’m quite sure that the current crop of “leaders” whether R or D are quite incapable of this: it’s quite against their interests as representatives of their true constituency: the American oligarchy. And the oligarchy? I just saw somewhere a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paradise” (1920) in which one of the characters, Amory Blaine, holds forth on his view of humanity: ‘’I detest poor people’’, thought Amory suddenly. ‘’I hate them for being poor. Poverty may have been beautiful once, but its rotten now. It is the ugliest thing in the world. It is essentially better to be corrupt and rich than it is to be innocent and poor.’’ He seemed to see again a figure whose significance had once impressed him – a well-dressed young man gazing from a club window on Fifth Avenue and saying something to his companion with a look of profound disgust. Probably thought Amory, what he said was: ‘’My God! Aren’t people horrible!’’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ones who benefit are the puppeteers behind the curtain, the uber-wealthy who are careful to stay out of the news, who quietly call the shots. It’s to their advantage to keep the masses at each other’s throats by manipulating events. They have no party or national loyalties, they merely move chess pieces.


        1. What better example–exemplar, I guess–than soon to be ex-POTUS Donald J. Trump? His campaign appearances must have set new records for most massed US flags providing backdrop to photo-ops. But all he really gives the least hoot about is the further glorification of the Trump Brand. But he is just the loudest, most vulgar of public “Patriots.” The real Ruling Class, from which the likes of Trump are excluded, have no use for actual patriotism either. They’ll make deals with any entity that can increase their profit margins! They’ll ship raw materials to the other side of the globe if having them refined into finished consumer goods saves them a dime per unit on their production costs. Thanks, Mr. “Super Patriot” Nixon, for having made the opening overtures to “Red” China!


          1. They will never let Trump in their club, which is partly why Trump harbors so many grudges and rages against those most helpless. Because he’s a “punch down” kind of guy.

            Liked by 1 person

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