What should us Brits make of the American Elections?

Thanks Joe Biden and all the people who flocked to support rational and reasonable Blue candidates earlier this week. It has put a spring in the step of so many people

Well, the first thing is obvious. The red wave was a bit of a ripple. The big loser was Trump and some of the crackpot candidates like Dr Oz that he gathered around him and then endorsed.

This setback for the Republicans is partly echoed in other parts of the World such as Brazil where the far right has been pushed back albeit by slender margins.

I feared for the democratic process globally after Trump got elected as his exposure emboldened the far right nationally. He gave them justification for using his tricks of lies slander, racism, sexism and abuse of power. “Look” they would say, “If the Leader of the Free World can do this why not me?” Over the past two years more and more has been exposed about Trump’s illegal activities. More and more has been exposed by the Committee on the January 6 attempted insurrection and the way that basically stupid and nasty people were manipulated by the elite to try and subvert democracy.

So am I smug about all this. In a word “No!” In practice we have our own mini-me Trumps in office in the UK. It is quite clear that Johnson has lied to Parliament. It is quite clear that the Tories are pursuing a racist and vile agenda over immigration. They only reason that do not build a Trumpian wall is that it would be very difficult to do so where the barrier is the sea!

They too want to subvert democracy. They have made it harder for very mobile people, especially the young, to register to vote. They are making it compulsory to have photo identification to vote from next May with more than 3 million people not having such identification. There will be huge problems at polling stations next year when people just turn up as usual but have no ID with them. Most will just go home.

So, there are two ways in which the Democrats almost stemming the tide in America will help us.

Firstly, it will make politicians think again about trying to ape Trump. (Is it possible to ape an ape!?)

Young people in the USA have been empowered by things like the attacks on women’s control of their own bodies, lawlessness in a public space way and lawlessness by lawmakers in a private and commercial way. Trump has clearly been pilfering not only the State but his own supporters. They have been empowered in Brazil and are increasingly being empowered here as well.

Secondly, it is important to us because whether the USA is the Leader of the free world is debatable, they are certainly the most vital component of democratic forces globally. The UK has always worked closely with the USA, well since the War of Independence anyway. We need to stand together with other leading democratic nations in Europe and elsewhere to keep our Countries safe, to encourage mutually supportive trade routes and to champion democracy throughout the World.

Most of us, including many Tories felt much safer when Trump went out and Biden went in. We have only to look at the Ukraine situation to realise how we need to stand together and work together on issues of international safety. Safety for us and safety for those who we need to support who stand between us and dark forces like Russia.

This has also brought up the problems of climate change linked to our consumption of fossil fuels. It has raised issues of how to feed people, especially in the developing world. Quite simply the ‘West’ needs to stand together and that is more likely if America has an outward looking and bold leader and not an inward looking, wall building idea of American exceptionalism as portrayed by Trump and MAGA.

Those are the hard issues but we need to be aware of the soft issues as well. The Biden administration and the armies of young people who have turn out have made a very clear moral stand. Pussy Grabbers are not welcome. Laws must be obeyed. Money and the amount you have available is not the most important fact in personal or national development. Greed rarely pays (please get Trump for the various charges that are being bandied about for him and his motley crew!)

Morality, decency and community values have been put back right at the centre of political debate where they belong. Various petitions and constitutional amendments have made clear than a woman’s body belongs to that woman and not some heavy-handed man or system.

So, for most of the World the USA has become once again a decent partner to the rest of us. If it was a person, it would be person we would not mind our son or daughter marrying!!

So, my thanks go out to Joe and Kamala and all the young people who stood in line as they queued for hours to vote. You have given me and so many of us a feeling. You have given us hope that we can also push back a Party that thinks that law keeping and taxpaying is only for the little people. That thinks that the colour of a person’s skis matters although in this class-ridden country it’s a person’s call that is more important than anything.

Let the people of the progressive free world stand together. Let us provide support and solace to our fellow travellers who do not live in such a system. Let us work together on all the global issues where we know only united action will work irrespective of national boundaries.

So, thank you to everyone in America who held back the tide. As I write there are still seats to be settled and control of both houses hangs in the balance. But if the Republicans do get very slim majorities, they will not be able to sweep through with their appalling agenda. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the equally important election in 2 years’ time and hope that the dreaded Trump has been weakened by his manifest failures this week.


About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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