By SEAN QUINTAL
“This process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” –Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was no fan of democracy; he generally favored an elected monarch, and he feared the masses having too much power. But even Hamilton could foresee that, at least occasionally, the presidency might fall to an unqualified actor. And if that were to happen, the electoral process itself was to impose some moral certainty, to rein in such an ominous threat as would be presented by a trespasser who was not eminently endowed with requisite qualifications.
This month, faced with another grave threat, the American people responded with moral certainty. Even with a potentially deadly virus crackling in the air around them, Americans stood in line for hours to cast a vote, starting weeks before Election Day. Millions voted by mail for the first time. And just as in the spring, when we hailed our heroic frontline healthcare workers, this fall we saw the heroism of election workers all across the nation, their quiet resolve visible in the eyes above their masks. They stood in spartan and cavernous rooms, working tirelessly for days on end, to ensure that millions of their fellow citizens’ votes were handled with scrupulous integrity.
In an historic display of democratic resolve, with turnout not seen in more than a century, the American people overwhelmingly rejected Donald Trump. Joe Biden received more votes than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history. By the time all the votes in California and New York are tabulated, somewhere around 80 million Americans will have condemned Trump to the sad list of presidents — only four in the last 100 years — who were so ineffective they failed to earn a second term from voters. In what must be the most stinging rebuke to his deformed psyche, Donald Trump will now and forever be known as a loser.
In typical fashion, Trump is petulantly whining about being treated unfairly, and making baseless claims of election impropriety. But Americans no longer need care about Trump’s pathetic self-pity. On Jan. 20, 2021, Donald Trump will again be just another dyspeptic old crank on Twitter. And as a private citizen, Trump might wish to recall his claims of being a “law and order” president. Because once he can no longer hide from prosecution in the White House, he should think about getting his affairs in order, because he will soon have to face the law.
Meanwhile, here in San Diego County, voters also overwhelmingly chose Democratic candidates to represent them, and to assume the levers of local governance. Five of the region’s six U.S. congressional seats are held by Democrats, as are five of seven State Assembly seats. For the first time in 30 years, the County Board of Supervisors will have a Democratic majority. In the City of San Diego, voters chose Democrat Todd Gloria as mayor, and expanded the City Council’s Democratic majority to eight of the nine seats; one of those is Raul Campillo, who flipped the previously-Republican District 7. As of this writing, the top two vote-getters in the La Mesa City Council race are two Democrats, our own Colin Parent and Jack Shu.
The Democratic leaders who succeeded this month can bank on solid support from the community. SD County Democratic Party Chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy points out that Democratic voter registration has grown by 14%, and that its growth is four times that of Republican registration. The emboldened Democratic leaders intend to achieve genuine progress on the most important issues confronting the region.
At both the county and municipal level, Democratic office holders have avowed to immediately address the crisis in homelessness and housing, to provide greater resources for behavioral, mental and drug treatment services, to implement a regional transportation strategy, and to take coordinated action to mitigate the slow-rolling devastation already being experienced due to climate change. In the City of San Diego, voters approved a measure to create a Police Review Board, an action already endorsed by the La Mesa City Council. These are the priorities of elected officials who heard the voice of the people, and who intend to answer that call.
So in two weeks, at our Thanksgiving tables, as Americans and as San Diegans, we can raise a glass in gratitude. To give thanks for a return to truth and decency in the White House and to express appreciation for the prospects of good local government. And speaking of the holidays, we hope you might join us for our December meeting. It’s a holiday party on Zoom, with entertainment and an opportunity to contribute to local charities. We’ll be collecting socks, toiletries, canned goods and other staples for folks who are in the greatest need this holiday season. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., preceded by a half hour of freestyle conversation starting at 6:30 pm. Zoom details at www.lmfdems.com/links.
— Sean Quintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.