If one lesson is learned from the 2020 election, it is that President Donald Trump’s toxic populism sells well among Americans. After four years of Trump, Democrats and their nominee Joe Biden pinned their hopes on, if nothing else, a return to decency – to ‘make politics boring again.’
But when the returns started rolling in on Tuesday night, echoes of Trump’s 2016 upset over Democrat Hillary Clinton reverberated through the political world.
Although a Biden victory is still possible, the fact that Trump managed to not only match, but add millions of votes to his 2016 coalition was not something Americans on the left were anticipating.
As an optimanxious country clung to its radios and screens late Tuesday evening, CNN commentator Van Jones made an emotional attempt at verbalizing what many on the left are feeling:
I think a lot of Democrats are hurt tonight. I think there’s a lot of hurt out there. There’s the moral victory and there’s the political victory and they’re not the same thing. The political victory still may come. But I think for people who saw babies being snatched away from their mothers at the border, people sending their kids into schools where the n-word is now being used against them, for people seeing this wave of intolerance, they wanted a moral victory tonight. We wanted to see a repudiation of this direction for the country. And the fact that it’s this close I think is — it hurts. It just hurts.
Jones said that he believes that “people got their hopes up looking at those polls” which showed Biden stomping Trump, adding that a political victory “is still possible” because many states – that are slightly favored toward Biden – have not finished tallying their votes.
“But I gotta be honest tonight,” Jones said. “I think people… there were people who were hoping for a big repudiation, and that has not yet come. And a lot of people are hurt and scared tonight in the Democratic party.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.