Published On: Sat, Nov 14th, 2020

We should celebrate Trump’s defeat and learn from it

THE population in the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries wanted Donald Trump gone.  

That includes the population of the United States, which is a source of great rejoicing.

Trump was defeated fair and square at the polls and Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. 

Trump tried to run on a “law and order” ticket, threatening the black and Latino communities and other ethnic minority groups in the country with the full force of the repressive parts of the state apparatus.  

In effect it was an attempt at creating a civil war atmosphere where various far-right and white supremacist groups acted above and outside the law, supplementing the activities of the police, National Guard and other federal agencies in intimidating and attacking whole communities, and the Black Lives Matter movement in particular. 
 
The fact that this strategy failed spectacularly is a cause for rejoicing in itself.  

An early examination of the exit polls suggests that it was black people who came out in droves for Biden, along with Latino voters — excluding the Cuban exiles in Florida.  

In places like Arizona it seems to be the votes of the daughters and sons of immigrants that were decisive, as well as the vote from the indigenous communities of the Native American tribes.  

This is justice against a president who caged migrant children, who broke up literally hundreds of families and who stole native land and allowed fracking to take place on it. 

The character of the new team is important, as character is important in politics, even in the institutional juggernaut of a presidential administration. 

The first is that Biden is a conciliator. So the challenge for the Biden presidency is if he is able to achieve anything positive beyond undoing some of the most toxic elements of the Trump legacy.

The second part of his character many will have seen. When asked by a reporter whether he had a word for the BBC he replied: “Yes, I’m Irish.” 

Our own government has backed the wrong horse in the US. Its plans to rip up the Withdrawal Agreement, the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and international law now lie in tatters.  

For all those who support peace in Ireland and the GFA, let us sincerely hope so.  

It is utterly reckless and foolish for the British government to persist with its terrible Internal Market Bill, which rips up all those agreements, especially as it is now clear that Trump has been dumped. 

The third issue of character is the first woman and first woman of colour as the vice-president in Kamala Harris.  

This is another important step forward in terms of representation but we shall have to see whether it represents a genuine step forward in terms of policy.

Very strikingly, the elections show a deeply divided nation.  

We are kidding ourselves if we think that 70 million votes mean that Trump or Trumpism is going to just fade away.  

In one form or another, it is here to stay, and that is deeply worrying.  

The exit polls show the overwhelming majority of Democrat voters placed the issue of racism and racial inequality high on their agenda and the reason for their vote.  

By contrast, Trump voters placed the economy and their own economic wellbeing first.

The task for the new White House team will be to actually address the issues of racial inequality as well as offering a real improvement in living standards for the poor, for workers and for the majority of ordinary people.  

Both will be needed, to build on the Democrat base and make inroads into the Trump base.  

A failure to move ahead on both could lead to a terrible backlash.

There is a myth that Biden’s economic policy was not radical. It is widely promoted by opponents of Corbynism.  

It cannot be known in advance whether the new team can or will implement it.  

But we should be absolutely clear, the Biden-Harris economic platform was a radical one, especially in US terms.

That economic plan is centred on massive investment to tackle climate change and create green jobs and prosperity (by lowering energy costs), major infrastructure spending, big new spending on health and education and support for a federally mandated minimum wage of $ 15 an hour. 

This may not be quite Corbynism, but is not completely contrary to it either.  

No-one can justifiably claim that dropping all our radical economic policies is emulating the Biden path to victory, but I’m sure some will try.

There is, too, a myth in the US that it was association with the radicals, the socialists and Black Lives Matter that cost the Democrats the landslide they were hoping for and some of the opinion polls suggested.  

It is surely true that a decent opposition should expect a landslide versus someone like Trump.  

Yet all the Democratic Congressional candidates who supported Medicare for All got elected. And all those Democrats who rejected it were themselves rejected.

A similar pattern was evident among the Democratic Party candidates who supported the Green New Deal and those who did not.  

In addition, “down the ballot” votes on the minimum wage, on paid family leave, the progressive positions were won.

The exit polls also show massive support for Black Lives Matter, 58 per cent versus 36 per cent.  

If the Democrats had captured all of that support, they would have had a landslide. 

BLM did not harm them — on the contrary they could have benefited from closer association with it.

Here, the government will have some painful adjustments to make to a Biden presidency, as Dominic Cummings has just discovered. 

All this while in the middle of the pandemic and an economic slump that they helped to create.

The clear lesson for the labour movement here is that unity of working people and all the victims of racism and other forms of discrimination is needed for victory, and radical policies that make a difference to their lives are the key to that unity.  

That’s how to defeat the Trumps of this world.

Diane Abbott is Labour MP Hackney North and Stoke Newington. She served as shadow home secretary from 2016 to 2020.

Features The task for the new White House team will be to actually address the issues of racial inequality and living standards for the poor and for workers, writes DIANE ABBOTT

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

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people gather in Black Lives Matter Plaza to celebrate President-elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States
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