So here we are. One week before Election Day. The fate of the next four years will be decided this Tuesday. Once again, we hear the same old tropes: “This is the most important election in history,” and, “The future of the nation in your hands.” We have an endless stream of “get out the vote” movements, whether from pop culture, sports, social media, or a random ad on a YouTube video. There’s early voting, mail-in voting, absentee voting, and it’s hard to remember, but you are allowed to vote on Election Day itself. Regardless of how you choose to get your information or entertainment, you are being told to vote.
But what happens on November 4? The election will be over, and the country is going to have to decide what happens next. This week, I’d like to discuss what we can expect based on who wins the 2020 presidential election. Now before we dig in, it’s important to note that the further down the ballot you go, the more likely you will be voting in an election that affects you. Local elections will play a far greater role in your day-to-day life, so it’s important to know who and what you’re voting for down ballot. Even when it comes to the future of the country as a whole, control of the Senate and the House of Representatives possibly plays a much greater role in determining the direction of the country. However, for the purposes of this discussion, we will be focusing on the presidential race.
If Donald Trump Wins
This is fairly easy to predict. In order to predict what will happen if President Trump retains, we need only look to the reactions of the country over the past four years. Immediately after the 2016 Trump victory, we saw major changes in everyday life. Firstly, the social media companies began looking deep into their own algorithms to see if they were at fault for the President’s victory. Major changes in the way information was allowed to be shared were made. This persisted over the course of the four years to the point two weeks ago, when certain journalistic stories were allowed to be shared while others weren’t - the only difference being who would be hurt by them.
Additionally, we saw the launch of many new organizations and programs. The Women’s March came into existence the day after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017 as a protest against him. This was followed shortly thereafter by rise of the #Metoo movement (even though it had been around since 2006). Likewise, The New York Times began it’s The Daily podcast in January of 2017. In fact, according to a New York Magazine article from January of this year, The Daily “is the first news product generated by and for the Trump era.” Both of these institutions were actually created first and foremost to battle against the Trump administration. And they weren’t alone. Just preform a search in your favorite podcast app for “Trump” and see how many media items are out there strictly to battle against the president. And of course, there’s the Lincoln Project, which deserves its own deep dive.
So what can we expect should it happen again? There is no question that the Left fully believes that the only reason they couldn’t win in 2016 was their inability to message correctly. That’s why all these movements were created. Should Trump prevail again, I can’t see it being taken it lightly. There would be nobody to blame. Remember, they have been messaging to remove the President from office since January 22, 2016. There have been endless predictions of his downfall, an impeachment attempt, and completely fabricated stories about him just because they wanted him out of office. There are still people out there who claim Hillary Clinton won the election. This time around, they did everything right. They nominated the least objectionable candidate, who has served under a popular president in Democratic circles. They nominated a woman of color to be his vice-presidential pick. The world is in the midst of a global pandemic that crushed any economic momentum the Trump administration built. The Democrats have not let their candidate answer any difficult questions since August. They have been messaging on this for four years. The conditions for a clear and decisive victory have never been more perfect.
If they lose, all hell will break loose.
There will be riots; I think we all know that’s a given. There will be calls for recounts. There will be calls for the abolishment of the electoral college (because there is no way he wins the popular vote). Adding new states, packing the courts, and even abolishing the Senate will all be talking points for the next four years. And of course, there will be those who take the outcome as proof that America is racist. Social media companies will again be scrutinized for their role, despite the moves they made over the past four years. You could even see a situation where they over-correct for this, and create policies that drive away half of the country from their various platforms.
If Joe Biden Wins
This one is a little more difficult. We don’t have anything to go on. We have seen the Left’s response to a Trump victory already. We could assume that it will be the same thing, just on an exponential level. Trump hasn’t lost before, so we don’t have a precedent to go on. However, there are a few obvious things.
Firstly, TrumpTV is going to be a thing. Donald Trump was working on this before he won in 2016. This was supposed to be the next news network. There is no way Donald Trump, who thinks the media has treated him grossly unfairly over the last six years, wouldn’t create something to combat his perceived injustice. The irony here is that there was so much new media created in response to Trump, and we will see this the other way. It just goes to show you how similar both sides actually are.
But what about his supporters? Will there be riots and protests with the news of a Biden win? I don’t think so - but the reason is not what you expect. The riots over the last year have been primarily in cities across the country. Cities are dominated by the Left. A swell of anger in cities is not likely to appear should Biden win. The rural areas are dominated by the Right. The fact that there is so much space between neighbors makes rioting less likely. It’s just a matter of where the anger is concentrated. When it’s on the Right, the anger is spread out. Those on the Right are not geographically set up to riot. Sure, there are smaller factions that may try to make trouble, but law enforcement won’t have a problem with them, especially since their superiors won’t have a problem telling them to put them down.
The big question on everyone’s mind is the peaceful transfer of power. Will the Trump administration vacate the White House peacefully? The answer is yes - mostly. I don’t think the Trumps will squat in the residence while their staff maintain their space in the West Wing, but you will almost definitely see a lot of unprofessionalism. Back in 2000, there were reports of small infractions from the Clinton administration. For example, all of the “W”s were popped out of the White House keyboards. You can expect a whole lot of that should Joe Biden win. Keys will go missing. Files will disappear. I would be concerned that certain important projects would handed over with missing pieces. Things like that will most certainly happen. But yes, there will be a peaceful transfer of power.
You’ll notice that in this entire piece, I never mentioned policies. For that, we will have to wait for next week, as there are too many variables to consider. Next week, we’ll dive into what we can expect once the 2020 election has been decided (which I hope will be next week).
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.