Behind the delay in the US election results
7 November 2020
There is no legitimate reason for the continued delay in announcing the results of the 2020 elections and the victory of Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden.
Biden has a lead of more than four million in the popular vote, and he is on track to win in the Electoral College by a wide margin. In Pennsylvania, Biden currently leads by over 28,000 votes, and his lead is increasing steadily as more mail-in ballots from predominantly Democratic areas of the state are counted. Victory in that state alone would give him the necessary votes in the Electoral College.
No major networks, however, have declared for Biden. Biden, while saying in a speech last night that “the numbers tell a clear story,” has also not declared victory, even though Trump, who clearly lost, has.
The one publication that has called Pennsylvania and the election for Biden is Vox, and its explanation clearly outlines the reasons, available to all the other networks. Drew McCoy, president of Vox’s election-calling partner, the Decision Desk, explained on Friday morning: “The race is over, as far as our call is concerned, because of the vote totals coming out of Philadelphia.” He added: “It became pretty obvious that as the remaining votes across the state and in Philadelphia are counted, Biden’s lead will continue to grow.” McCoy said that when the final vote is in, Biden will have won the state by “probably in the 1 to 2 percent range,” far above levels that would require a recount.
The delay in announcing the election results is a calculated political decision, which can benefit only the extreme right. There are currently intense discussions behind the scenes over how to resolve the unprecedented political crisis in the United States and the makeup of any future Biden administration, with the Republicans extracting concessions on personnel.
Trump, meanwhile, is intensifying his own conspiracies to remain in power. He told his campaign staff Friday that he will refuse to concede the election, no matter how the vote turns out. His aim is to create a “stab in the back” narrative that will create the best conditions for the development of a fascistic movement, whether or not he is president.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania to throw out ballots, is seeking a recount in Wisconsin and is planning on taking its case to the Supreme Court, which now includes Trump’s most recent nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Trump has selected long-time political conspirator David Bossie, who served as chief investigator for the House committee investigating the Whitewater affair during the Clinton administration, to lead his legal battle.
Trump and his allies are speaking the language of civil war. On Thursday, longtime Trump crony Stephen Bannon called for the heads of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray to be put on pikes and displayed outside of the White House “as a warning.”
If the situation were reversed, there is no doubt that the Republicans would have already declared victory and the Democrats would have conceded. In 2000, the Democrats capitulated to the intervention of the Supreme Court to decide the election for George W. Bush by halting the recount in Florida, where Bush had a lead of only 537 votes. In his concession speech, Gore called on all Americans “to unite behind our next president” before disappearing from the political scene.
In the 2016 elections, Clinton conceded to Trump in the early morning hours following Election Day. At the time of the concession, the major networks had not even called results in the major battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump’s ultimate majority in these states was extremely narrow—in Michigan, 10,000 votes, in Wisconsin, 20,000 and in Pennsylvania, less than 40,000.
Now, as Trump intensifies his conspiracy to remain in office, the Democrats are crawling on their hands and knees while spouting bromides and soporifics about “patience” and the need to “lower the temperature” and “keep the faith.”
In his brief remarks on Friday, Biden made no reference to Trump or his conspiracies. He again repeated his statement that “we may be opponents, but we are not enemies” and that his responsibility “will be to represent the whole nation.” Within the context of bourgeois politics, this means a de facto national unity government with the Republicans. Biden has a close relationship with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he reportedly held discussions yesterday afternoon.
Another figure in the behind-the-scenes negotiations is Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. On Friday morning, Graham declared his support for Trump’s efforts to steal the election, personally donating $500,000 to the legal campaign to overturn the vote in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada.
Later the same day, Graham said that he would work with a Biden administration, under certain conditions. “When it comes to finding common ground, I will do that,” Graham told reporters. “The vice president deserves a cabinet. I’ll give him my input about who I could vote for as secretary of state, attorney general…” In other words, the Republicans are demanding veto power over the composition of a future Biden administration.
The Democrats' response to the post-election crisis is in line with the entire framework of its opposition to Trump over the past four years. Following Obama’s statement about the 2016 election being an intramural scrimmage between two sides on the same team, the Democrats worked with Trump on all the essential elements of domestic policy. They have worked to subordinate mass popular opposition to Trump to the anti-Russia campaign of powerful factions of the military and intelligence agencies.
During the election campaign, the Democrats did everything they could to cover up the coup plotting of Trump and his incitement of fascistic violence, even when it involved efforts to overthrow Democratic Party-run states and execute Democratic governors.
The response of the Democrats is determined by the class interests they represent. The Democrats are a party of Wall Street and the military. Their greatest fear is doing or saying anything that will encourage popular unrest. The conflict within the ruling class is to be worked out behind closed doors and on the most right-wing basis possible.
The entire focus of the Democratic Party under a future Biden administration will be on attacking the left. Only days after the election, Democrats are already advancing the line that the presidential election was close and they lost ground in the House because they were seen as too far to the left.
Representative Abigail Spanberger, one of the leading Democrats drawn from the CIA, angrily denounced socialism in a conference call involving Democratic representatives on Wednesday. “We need to not ever use the words socialist or socialism ever again, she declared. "It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that.” The Democrats had to get “back to the basics,” Spanberger insisted, meaning they have to focus on the issues of concern to the military and intelligence agencies.
Any legislation proposed by the Democrats under a Biden administration will be cleared with the Republicans. Politico reported on Friday, “The still-uncertain election result is forcing a top-to-bottom reevaluation of what policies and which Cabinet appointees will be able to win the necessary Republican support. Democrats worry they won’t be able to deliver on broad goals like comprehensive immigration reform, voting rights, and action on climate change--and even more immediate targets, like passing a multi-trillion coronavirus relief package, will require more compromise than many in the party wanted.”
In other words, a Biden administration will be a government of brutal austerity. This is not surprising. It has been the Democrats’ intention throughout. In the course of the campaign, the Democrats offered no program to address either the coronavirus pandemic or the massive social crisis produced by the policies of the ruling class.
During the election campaign, there was much talk from pseudo-left groups around the Democratic Party that a Biden victory would create “space” for the implementation of social reform. Biden has not even been announced the winner, and these claims are already being exposed as a political fraud.
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