And just like that, after four years of lies, gaslighting and hate, we have chosen to turn the page on the Trump administration. By choosing President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, we have chosen hope and compassion. That being said, this is not the end of Trumpism.
Smelling the political winds, former Republican presidential candidates like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, probable future Republican Presidential candidates Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton and Republican Senate boogeymen Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have adopted and accepted Trump’s brand of incoherence and bravado. It has substantiated the political ideology that excites their Republican base (Trump may have lost, but it was not the blowout rebuke that Democrats hoped for). It’s also convenient.
Lying is a very convenient short-term political strategy. Republicans cannot lose an election when they are all “rigged” by Democrats, and they don’t have to hold themselves accountable for their actions when negative reports can be dismissed as “fake news.” They don’t have to deliver for everyday Americans when they are crusading against (falsely labeled) socialists.
But something’s gotta give. Despite the relatively close race, something gave. Americans braved the coronavirus, intimidation and overt attempts at voter suppression to vote in record numbers for Joe Biden. They trusted Biden and Harris to bring in new light to our dark country.
I, too, trust Biden and Harris. I trust them to steer our nation in the direction of progress, reason and empathy. They are less representative of some fictional perfect past, but of a future of possibilities. Namely, the possibility to create a country that leads the world in justice — racial, economic and social.
Our Senate has stalled progress for years, beyond the ascension of Trump. It has functioned as the chief roadblock for change on behalf of the American people. It massively serves smaller states and, by extension, Republican voters — leading to the near-disenfranchisement of voters from populous states like California and New York.
In fact, it is no hot take that divisions across political lines within the Senate and the House have enabled a long-term stalemate characterized by power grabs and the conspicuous pushing of partisan agendas. At this point, in order for any meaningful, substantive change to be made, it will be necessary for the Democratic Party to secure not only the presidency but also both a House and Senate majority — the latter of which has previously felt out of reach but presents a viable opportunity for a turn in representation as I write this.
This cycle was perhaps the Democrats best shot at retaking the Senate, but unfortunately Senate candidates fell short in states like Maine, North Carolina and South Carolina. As the projected Senate stands, Democrats need two more seats to ensure a majority (with the VP-elect Harris serving as a tiebreaker).
Those two seats will run through Georgia — a new battleground state for Democrats. Democratic candidates Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff each advanced to a January runoff in their respective races against Senator Kelly Loeffler and Senator David Perdue (each of whom are more interested in fighting Trump’s battles than serving Georgians).
Both represent broad visions of a future where the government serves working families. They want to make the American Dream a reality and understand that blind timidness and deference will not serve that desire. In order to preserve and sustain the hope instilled by Biden and Harris’ historic win, it is absolutely critical that we get behind Warnock and Ossoff to the fullest extent. Civic engagement shouldn’t stop at the presidency and securing a Senate majority could mean the difference between a presidency plagued by stagnancy and one defined by progress, innovative policy and unified growth.
We cannot achieve our goals without bold and decisive action. Democrats have a mandate from the American people for just this type of action. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows it. Senate minority (at least until the Georgia runoffs) leader Chuck Schumer knows it. And I believe that President-elect Joe Biden knows it. The road ahead is long, but we are on the right path.
Michael Mikail is a senior writing about race, culture and politics. His column, “As It Were,” ran every other Wednesday.