At least the Russians seem to be off the hook this time.
It looks like the Americans have only themselves to blame for this election shocker. Well half of them at least.
Electing a dangerous imbecile to the presidency against overwhelming odds once is barely plausible. Doing it again after he’d already been exposed as a traitor would be stretching the genre so far even John le Carre would balk.
(Not that I’m totally ruling out the Manchurian candidate theory this time, nor presumably will the mainstream media once they finish their time in the stocks along with the pollsters).
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Still, as we await the finale of this bizarre political thriller, it’s worth noting a few positives. For example, the actual vote on the day seemed to go remarkably well, with the minimum of interference. I mean from their own side.
Sure, the president tried to disenfranchise every opponent he could imagine ahead of time, from the entire Black community to former felons, and tried to prevent people voting every which way right down to removing the actual post boxes. And then there was the risk of death courtesy of the pandemic, of course.
Yet the Americans came out in record numbers — including for the president.
The most extraordinary statistic for Australians to digest as they look down smugly at the electoral college mess is that Joe Biden has gotten more votes in this election than any other candidate in the history of America.
You would think those 70 million votes would guarantee you victory, but let’s at least take heart that an estimated 67% of registered voters did their democratic duty.
We might not find that so incredible here in a country that regularly hits over 90%. But we have to make it compulsory to get there. The Americans managed their figure without being forced into it.
Despite fears of everything from voter intimidation to machine failure, each state reported that things ran smoothly. The main issues were things like a broken water pipe flooding a polling booth in one county. But no votes were harmed, they assured us.
What happened after the polls closed is a whole other ugly story, with Trump questioning the validity of the count and threatening to undermine the democratic process. Not to mention the Russians, who are presumably still keeping a close watch. The final chapter has not been written yet.
As for the bewildered Australian reaction to it all, there have been a few comments that prove Trump lies spread far and wide, swallowed not just be rednecks but by our own political, corporate and media elite.
Take Alexander Downer’s comments to the AFR this week that he would vote for Trump because Biden was “elderly and weak and past his best”. This from an unemployed 69 year old whose jobs all came from political connections.
There are those like the septuagenarian company directors I encountered who claimed to abhor Trump but thought Biden was bad or worse because he was “senile”. They didn’t see the irony as they clung to their own board seats well past their use-by date.
There are those Jewish Australians who are quick to denounce anti-Semitism but who don’t seem to have a problem with a neo-Nazi sympathiser as leader of the free world.
And then there are those Australians who ponder naively “How can the Americans vote for Trump? He’s a joke. An embarrassment. Don’t they know the whole world is laughing at them?”
The answer, quite simply, is that most of them couldn’t give a toss what the rest of the world thinks. Never have. Never will. They barely care what their next-door neighbour thinks about them.
Shy Trump voters my arse. They are out and proud and more deplorable than ever.
What is your main takeaway from the fraught 2020 US presidential election? Let us know your thoughts by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name to be considered for publication in Crikey’sYour Say section