Defeating Trump: It's Just Arithmetic
- by Steve Garone, Member, Wayland Democratic Town Committee
This blog is one of a series to be published by members of the Wayland Democratic Town Committees and guest contributors.
The coalition – if you can call it that – that is on board with making sure that the occupant of the White House starting January 21st, 2021 is NOT Donald Trump, is diverse to say the least. From Republicans who, despite their party affiliation, understand the threat to our democracy, to staunch progressives who yearned for another candidate and are not entirely happy with Joe Biden’s past record and current positions, and everyone in between, citizens are ready to maximize the power of their vote to achieve the goal of defeating Trump.
The question is: Are there enough of us? We know that Trump supporters are committed to keeping him in power, and are enthusiastic about doing what is needed to make that happen. Sadly, though, there are segments on the side of democracy who have not yet, or will not, cast a vote for the Biden/Harris ticket. Yet, if one really wants to hand Trump an electoral defeat, there is no more powerful way to do so with a vote than to cast that vote for Biden/Harris. It’s not politics, and it’s not arguable unless one lives in a universe where the rules of arithmetic to not hold: If you don’t vote for the only person who can beat Trump, the net effect is that you are helping Trump win.
Take, for instance, the case of John Bolton, who has publicly stated both his opposition to Trump and his view of the threat to our country if Trump wins, and his intent to not vote for either Trump or Biden. Just how committed is he to defeating Trump with this view? The logic simply doesn’t work.
Discussions of this issue is often met with anger and resentment. Many voters resist having to “settle”, opting for voting for a third-party candidate, not voting at all, or writing in the candidate they wanted. These feelings are understandable – voting is a cherished right, and using it in a way that makes the voter feel good about their choice is a right every American has. At the same time, every voter should think about the ultimate outcome, what they want that outcome to be based on what can actually happen, and the share of responsibility for the outcome that their vote represents.
These considerations are particularly important this year. We are dealing with an incumbent president who has committed himself to any result that does not result in his reelection, and every legal and other avenue at his disposal to make that happen. Challenges to a Biden victory become much harder if the victory is a big one. Every vote is needed. It will be difficult for many, but two truths hold: (1) If Trump wins, our connection to democracy will erode much further, setting back any liberal or progressive agenda back much further than has already occurred, and (2) voting machines don’t care about how tightly one has to hold one’s nose when they vote – they just count.