November 9, 2020 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

The old regime is dying hard

Black Lives Matter is the foundation of a truly new electorate.

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I don’t think I have seen what I saw over the weekend. Americans were dancing in the streets. That’s usually a metaphor, not a literal fact. But after the big news outlets called the race Saturday for Joe Biden, cities around the country spasmed with joy, as if something pent up inside were released all at once. It was like V-E Day. I confess that, despite knowing the inevitable was coming, I felt release, too. I did not know what I could not know until the moment of knowing arrived. And knowing never felt so good!

But V-E Day is probably a wrong comparison. It was more like an democratic uprising, a civic revolution of sorts. A new electorate arose to reject the rot and stink of the past and take the United States in a fresh direction. The president-elect seemed to feel what I’m talking about. During his speech Saturday, he not only said “systemic racism”; he not only thanked Black voters explicitly. When Biden said—“When this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African-American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours”—he actually pounded the podium!

During his victory speech, when he pounded the podium, Joe Biden was pounding with the weight of American history.

Americans tend to be pretty provincial. We don’t usually care about politics beyond our shores. If we did, we might see similarities between the Arab Spring of 2013 and the spring of 2020. That’s when Black Lives Matter merged its energy with anti-Trump energy to protest the murder of George Floyd. Just as freedom fighters pulled down statues of despots in Egypt and other Middle East countries, Americans pulled down statues memorializing the Confederacy and symbols of the old white order. You can’t know until knowing is possible. It’s now possible to say this was our American Spring.

That combined energy was pivotal, according to data scientist Tom Bonier. He said voter registration among Black voters bottomed out by May and June. The reason was the pandemic. Then, on May 25, Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. Protests in his name, Bonier said, “created a huge Democratic voter registration spike.” Far from being a liability, Black Lives Matter—and its proposal to “defund the police”—was an asset among Georgia’s urban Black voters. Bonier added: “The movement had 13-point net favorability in Georgia, and Biden won among those voters by landslide margins.”

Here’s the tip jar! Put something nice in it!

Biden has already won more votes than any candidate. He’s on track, however, to winning as many as 10 million more than Trump. It should now be a plain fact that Black Lives Matter is the foundation of the biggest coalition ever, which is to say, the base of a truly new electorate of a kind that emerges once every 40 or 50 years. When he pounded the podium, Biden was pounding with the weight of history. The last time a political party lost after only four years in the White House was 1980. (That was Jimmy Carter’s one and only term.) That was the last time a truly new electorate emerged to define our politics for decades. The American Spring pulled down more than vestiges of the Confederacy. It pulled down the last of Ronald Reagan’s conservative regime.

Old regimes die hard, though. The president refuses to acknowledge that he’s been deposed. His party is choosing loyalty to him over loyalty to the republic. The head of the US General Services Administration denied Biden the authority he needs to start building a new administration. Ted Cruz, who wants to be president, said the US Supreme Court should overrule voters. Lindsey Graham said Trump should not concede for fear of there never again being another GOP president. Newt Gingrich, who more than anyone represents the old regime’s rot and stink, said the election was “corrupt, stolen” and “financed by people like George Soros.” Trump, meanwhile, is planning more “campaign rallies.” (The campaign is now ended, hence the quotes.)

This is more than an attempt to deny Biden’s legitimacy. It’s an attempt to deny the legitimacy of democracy. It’s frankly treasonous. They may end up walking away from Trump, but the Republicans will never walk away from their impulse to sabotage the republic. They are laying the groundwork for undermining Biden the way they undermined Barack Obama. While the old electorate saw Republican obstruction as legitimate, my hope is this new electorate, the one that will shape the way of things for years to come, does no such thing. My biggest hope is that this electorate sees the nature of the Republican project for what it is—a plot against a renewed America.

John Stoehr

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.


  1. EllTeacher on July 30, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Well said. Americans must not allow Mitch McConnell to obstruct the wishes of the people as manifested by the election of Joe Biden. If Republicans hold the Senate, Demoncrats must play hardball. Here’s how:

    • EllTeacher on July 30, 2021 at 11:23 pm

      And so it begins: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw his support behind President Trump’s legal challenges in the wake of his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, saying Monday that Trump is “100 percent within his right” to pursue recounts and litigation. Trump has produced no evidence of widespread voting fraud.”


  2. Leslie M., Eastern KS on July 30, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    John… not FB-abetting news is news, but the chanters of “electoral fraud” and “illegal votes” today had full range on the platform with no warnings issued, culminating with Barr’s authorization of investigations of allegations of cheating. This is HARD DYING and we seem inept/unable/unwilling to stop it.

    • Leslie M., Eastern KS on July 30, 2021 at 11:23 pm

      *not that FB-abetting news … (kinda need that “not”)

  3. Bern on July 30, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    How quickly they forget 41…

    Also, Trump’s campaign has NOT ended. It never ends this side of death…

    And re: treason – no. The Americans acting to destroy American democracy are not doing so at the direction of or in partnership with foreign enemies – maybe they common cause but these are bog-standard American fascisti. They are acting for the most American reasons, and in support of a subset of fellow Americans. This rot is from the inside, not outside.

    Finally, about ‘news’: Wherever one finds corporations controlling mass media, there one finds the ‘news’ commodified, ie quantified, qualified and pre-vetted specifically to maximize corporate profit and return for shareholders. Such nations have adopted corporate media as the state media by specific and durable edict. Of course it is propaganda; more importantly it is masked to deflect public accounting of itself. And the election fraudulence BS sells papers.

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