The 2020 election was historic. Voter turnout records were smashed: Some 160 million Americans voted — the largest number ever, comprising 67% of eligible voters, the highest turnout rate in 120 years. In Vermont, over 360,000 voters turned out, exceeding the previous record of 327,000 votes cast in 2008. Former Vice President Joe Biden won Vermont with 66% of the vote (up from 56% for Hillary Clinton in 2016), while President Trump received 30% of the Vermont vote, the same proportion as he received in 2016. Nationally, Biden received the highest number of votes ever by a U.S. presidential candidate, topping Barack Obama’s 2008 total, and currently has a 3.5 million vote lead over President Trump.
In Vermont, Republican Gov. Phil Scott was elected to a third term with a stunning 40 percentage-point victory over Democratic nominee David Zuckerman. And in another historic result, Molly Gray was elected as just the fourth woman to hold the office of lieutenant governor.
We discuss the national election results with Stuart Stevens, a former top strategist for George W. Bush’s two presidential campaigns and also a lead strategist for the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. In the 2020 race, Stevens was part of The Lincoln Project, a group of Republican strategists who worked to defeat Trump. Stevens is author of It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump.
We dissect the results of the Vermont election with Anne Galloway, founder and editor of VTDigger, and Xander Landen, VTDigger’s political reporter.
The presidential debate held on Sept. 30 will be remembered as the first time that an American president openly allied with white supremacists. “The remarks addressed to the Proud Boys stood out as a kind of bellwether of something pretty severe and to be taken seriously,” says Lawrence Rosenthal, the founder of the Center for Right Wing Studies at UC Berkeley and author of Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism. “He was giving them orders: Stand down, stand by. He was also giving orders to his army of pollwatchers … a force of intimidation. Trump last night crossed the Rubicon.”
Trump also claimed that former Vice President Joe Biden is a socialist and part of the “radical left.” John Judis, editor-at-large of Talking Points Memo and author of The Socialist Awakening: What’s Different Now About the Left, asserts that Biden “is not in any sense a doctrinaire socialist.” But he adds that Biden, who may be forced by the pandemic to expand national health care and other social welfare programs, might “tend toward policies that put the public first, that put the public interest before profits and that shift the balance of power in America.” Judis also says that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, together with Eugene V. Debs, are the “two great figures in the history of American socialism.”
Lawrence Rosenthal, founder, Center for Right Wing Studies at UC Berkeley; author, Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism
John Judis, editor-at-large, Talking Points Memo; author, The Socialist Awakening: What’s Different Now About the Left