December 2020 - Page 15


Ray of light

Bill Nelles finds some cause for optimism at the end of a bleak year
Mimomy / iStock


writing at the end of the most horrible year in our lives . It ’ s not just COVID that ’ s made it so bad but the pathetic role of Trump who has completely failed to give any lead and put partisan politics before the nation ’ s health .
2020 has been a year in which one of the few bright lights was the possibility of removing Trump from his post and repairing the criminal damage he has wrought to the political process .
I am a deeply blue Democrat . In 1972 , supporting George McGovern against Nixon , I watched Watergate unfold and never forgot its lessons . However , Nixon was almost honourable compared to Trump . The framers of the Constitution assumed a certain level of honourable conduct , not rampant narcissistic sociopathy . And then Senate republicans did their work and forced his resignation rather than impeachment . Not so in 2019 .
As results started to come in , it was 4 am in the UK . Trump ’ s advice to his supporters to vote in person was as impressive to see as it was
disconcerting . Voter suppression in some Republican-controlled states meant mail-in ballots could not be counted when they came in , but only on and after the day of the election . So the early results favoured Trump . He ’ d told his base not to trust voting by mail , because he had also nobbled that .
I went to bed about midnight feeling dejected and appalled that so many Americans could still vote Trump . But by the next morning , the big city and mail-in votes for Democrats had gradually crept up , eventually taking Biden to the winner ’ s post with the same number of electoral votes as Trump had gained in 2016 . More than two weeks have now passed but Trump still won ’ t concede , telling his base to reject the verdict as fraudulent and corrupt .
What is now being called the ‘ clown coup ’ is moving forward as Trump and his surrogates have abandoned using lower courts and instead try to use Republican legislatures in key states to change the election results by casting enough doubt on the votes to
‘ The one really wonderful election result came from the State of Oregon ... electors voted yes on Measure 110 to decriminalise the possession of all drugs within their state .’
allow the legislature in each state to ‘ determine ’ the electoral college voters instead of the people ’ s voice .
Not a scintilla of evidence exists , of course , that any fraud took place . All votes are counted and scrutinised by both parties and Biden is millions of votes ahead in the popular vote ( which means little in the US ) but
crucially past the winning 270 votes in the Electoral College . Meanwhile , Ms Emily Murphy , administrator of the General Services Administration , refuses to ‘ ascertain ’ the result and release funds for the transition to President-elect Biden .
However , the one really wonderful election result came from the State of Oregon . States often have propositions ( mini referendums ) on their ballot to enable people to vote to determine controversial issues . This is how marijuana legalisation was achieved in most US states . This year , Oregon electors voted yes on Measure 110 to decriminalise the possession of all drugs within their state ( see news , page 4 ). The vote was 52 per cent to 48 per cent , ( I know I ’ ve heard that margin somewhere before !). This is a shining example of the positive side of US politics . But there is some push back , and I ’ ll write more in my next column . In the meantime , have a safe and careful holiday .
Bill Nelles is an advocate and activist , now in Canada . He founded The ( Methadone ) Alliance in the UK