‘Tumultuous’ Transition of Presidential Power Another Act in Electoral Farce Theater

Cover photo: Associated Press

By Mike Talavera

This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, when asked whether there would be a smooth transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, said, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” This response, along with President Donald Trump’s comments that the election was stolen from him, have been condemned by Democrats who accuse Trump of gesturing towards the overthrow of democracy. The squabble over the election’s aftermath does not pose any real threat to bourgeois democracy but is meant to further legitimize it.

As of now, over 72 million votes have been counted for Trump compared to over 77 million for Biden, which electoral cretins have applauded as the highest totals in history. But these were not the only broken records: nearly $14 billion was spent on this year’s election, double the amount spent during the 2016 presidential election. Trump did not lose only in terms of votes. More importantly, Biden out raised him by over $300 million.

It is the imperialist class that pumps this money into the electoral campaigns so that candidates can more effectively make false promises to address the valid grievances of the people. Biden opportunistically decries Black oppression while Trump bemoans the plight of the US worker. They are both swindlers not chosen by the people but chosen to deceive them.

Calls to “count every vote” and “stop the steal” are a continuation of this farce, slogans meant to stretch the distraction of elections for as long as possible as the overproduction crisis in the country worsens. Trump’s plan to stall the transition to the Biden administration is an electoral maneuver to rally his base for a 2024 campaign, whereas Biden’s team can blame their inevitable failures next year on Trump’s post-election tantrum.

Trump is not the first president to cry foul after losing an election during a time of economic turmoil. During the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover similarly continued lobbying against President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt even after he had lost, putting strain on the transition of power. FDR had run on the New Deal platform, which attacked the economic crisis by creating jobs through government programs but in so doing clamped down on class struggle through measures like banning strikes. This job creation was not done in the interests of the workers but in service of the ruling class, and any economic plans implemented by Biden’s team will be equally as reactionary.

The Biden administration, when it eventually does take power, faces problems it cannot solve: another impending economic downturn in what is only the beginning of the New Depression, a health crisis that is rapidly expanding, among many others. And so Democrats conjure up the spectre of a Trump coup as a scapegoat, but the likelihood of such a takeover is remote. There is no great divide among the US ruling class that would favor conditions for a coup, not to mention that Trump is unpopular among the military, with one August poll showing that the majority of service members surveyed found him unfavorable.

Trump’s recent firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, which led to a shuffling of the Pentagon’s leadership, is believed to be in part because of Esper’s opposition to pulling troops out of Afghanistan, troops that Biden has pledged to maintain. Biden does not represent the will of the people in his insistence to maintain US military personnel in the Middle East but the will of US imperialism.  

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