Commentary on National Political Scene: John Marciano

Biden Should Have Won in a Landslide

By John Marciano, Talent

235 million Americans were eligible to vote in this election. The actual vote total is 149 million, as 86 million did not participate. Other than barely beating Trump, Ralph Nader argues, Democrats “had a bad election.” Despite nearly twice the funds as Republicans, they lost “against [a cruel], ignorant, lawbreaking, reality-denying” GOP (Common Dreams, 11/7).  The corporate-led Democrats failed to attract people who favor policies supported by their own base and the public at large. Democrats have to stop blaming everyone else including their progressive wing for the party’s losses, and look in the mirror. They need to stop sabotaging popular political figures like Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic establishment is hostile to those within the party who favor Medicare for All (MFA), despite a 2009 Harvard Medical School study which estimated that 45,000 Americans die each year because they lack health insurance. Both parties are responsible for this neglect. A MFA-type “Government-Run Healthcare Plan” is supported by 87% of Democrats and 72% of all voters. Since Obama took office in 2009 with large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate for his first term, more than 500,000 Americans have died because they did not have that coverage—nearly 200,000 under Trump. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, based on a model of the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1989 and signed in 2006 by then Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, was promoted by the corporate healthcare industry. More Americans should not have to die before the Democrats embrace universal healthcare.

Yet even with this death toll and clear public support, Biden still refuses to support such a program. Conservative Democrats continue to attack MFA even as votes are being counted—ignoring the national support for the “Government-Run Healthcare Plan.” If Biden had supported it, some of those 86 million might have cast ballots. Eligible voters might have also been more likely to support a Green New Deal; a strong and positive response to COVID-19 in league with a vibrant healthcare system; tackling unemployment and deepening inequality; and an end to our obscene military budget and endless wars.

Biden has won a narrow Electoral College (an undemocratic institution that should be abolished) victory with a four-million popular vote edge, and the anticipated “Blue Wave” congressional victories never happened. Trump got more votes than any previous presidential candidate in history—nearly 9 million more than 2016. Ten percent of those 86 million eligible voters who stayed home would have given Biden a strong victory, had he addressed the real needs of Americans on domestic and foreign policy. Instead, voters did not come forward in huge numbers to defeat Trump, even though his brutal, heartless, and criminally negligent policies worsened the pandemic-economic crisis.  

Trump’s record should have ensured an historic landslide. Sixty-two percent of those eligible voted in this election, but the Democrats barely got half of them to reject a divisive and hateful threat to democracy. The fundamental reason is the Democratic establishment’s refusal to embrace and respond to the people’s genuine needs.