The Trump presidency is coming to an end. Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to have won the election after pulling ahead in Pennsylvania, giving him more than the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris will make history as the first female vice president, as well as the first African American, Indian American and Asian American elected to the office. Although President Trump has so far refused to concede as his campaign files a slew of lawsuits challenging the results in several states, plans are already underway to shape the next administration and prepare for the next four years. We speak with Bree Newsome Bass, an artist, antiracist activist and housing rights advocate in North Carolina, and professor Eddie Glaude, chair of Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies, and get reaction from Indian American Congressmember Ro Khanna of California.
More from this Interview
- Part 1: The End of Trump? Biden & Harris Claim Victory in Historic Election, Vowing to Heal Divided Nation
- Part 2: Ro Khanna: Progressives Helped Biden Win. We Can’t Stop Push for Green New Deal & Medicare for All
- Part 3: Bree Newsome & Prof. Eddie Glaude: The Black Lives Matter Movement Helped the Democrats Defeat Trump
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
The Trump presidency is coming to an end. On Saturday, every major news network called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, after they won the key battleground state of Pennsylvania. Harris will become the first woman vice president, as well as the first African American vice president, Indian American and Asian American elected to the office. According to the Associated Press, the Biden-Harris ticket has now secured 290 electoral votes, well over the 270 needed to win the White House. Georgia and North Carolina remain too close to call.
President Trump has refused to concede the race and is continuing to file a slew of lawsuits alleging voter fraud. But the Trump campaign has offered no evidence of actual fraud being committed. Shortly before the race was called, Trump sent out a tweet in all caps reading, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” In fact, Biden’s lead in the popular vote is now up to over four-and-a-half million and growing. Trump got the news of his loss while playing golf.
On Saturday night, Joe Biden addressed supporters in Wilmington, Delaware.
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN: The Bible tells us, “To everything there is a season” — a time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow, and a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America.
Now this campaign is over. What is the will of the people? What is our mandate? I believe it’s this: Americans have called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time — the battle to control the virus; the battle to build prosperity; the battle to secure your family’s healthcare; the battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country; and the battle to save our planet by getting climate under control; the battle to restore decency, defend democracy and give everybody in this country a fair shot. That’s all they’re asking for: a fair shot.
AMY GOODMAN: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also spoke Saturday. She spoke of being the daughter of immigrants.
VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today: my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment, but she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. And so I am thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women — who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight, women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often — too often — overlooked but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Kamala Harris, vice president-elect, and, before that, Joe Biden, president-elect of the United States.
We begin our show with two guests: professor Eddie Glaude, chair of Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies, his recent article for Time magazine, “Joe Biden Must Help the Nation Truly Understand the Depth of Our Collective Loss,” professor Glaude’s latest book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own; also with us, Bree Newsome Bass, artist, antiracist activist, housing rights activist in North Carolina. She made national headlines in 2015 when she scaled the 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina state Capitol to remove the Confederate flag shortly after the massacre of eight African American parishioners and their pastor by a white supremacist at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Bree, we’re going to begin with you. As we ended that last clip with Kamala Harris, I could only think about that metaphor of you scaling the flag, saying, “You come against me with hatred. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!” as Kamala Harris ascended the stage. Talk about your reaction.
BREE NEWSOME BASS: Yes, I mean, it is undoubtedly a historic moment, right? I also see a lot of historical parallels right now. You know, I am repeatedly saying that I think that the central conflict in the United States is and has always been this tension between the ideology of white supremacy and this concept of having a multiracial democracy where everyone is allowed to participate in it. And I think that tension is continuing to play out today.
You know, of course, we just had the election of the first woman vice president, Black vice president, a woman of South Asian descent, a descendent of immigrants, I mean. And so, on one hand, you have what kind of like represents again this concept of multiracial democracy. On the other hand, you have — or on the other side, you have a blatant white nationalist movement. And then, somewhere there in the middle is this constant conversation around unifying the nation and trying to, like, heal that divide, which I frankly think is an ideological divide that cannot be unified. I think that part of the reason why this tension is ongoing and is unresolved is because those two things cannot coexist. And so, even while you have, on one side, the extension of the hand and this language around healing the nation and reaching across the aisle and unifying, the other side has still not even conceded the race. The other side is refusing to acknowledge the election results.
And I think it’s important to recognize, as well, that the entire Trump era was in many ways a backlash — right? — to this very concept of having a multiracial democracy, to the election of Obama and what that represented in terms of the shifting demographics. And I think that this election, again, is kind of like another echo of that, where Biden and Harris, they were elected because of this multiracial coalition, essentially, that formed among the voting base. And that’s why we are where we are. And so, while of course it is a very historic moment and you see people celebrating all across the nation, that central conflict has yet to be resolved, just as this election, really, in many ways, has yet to be resolved.
AMY GOODMAN: And, Professor Eddie Glaude — and feel free to channel James Baldwin, if you’d like, which I think you can’t help but do — if you can talk about what your feelings were on Saturday as you watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ascend the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, what this all means?
EDDIE GLAUDE: Well, you know, my initial reaction was, thank God we’re going to see the back of Donald Trump’s head, that the disaster of the last four years, at least embodied in the Trump administration — Stephen Miller, Betsy DeVos, William Barr, the whole gaggle of folk, Giuliani, the children — all of those folk will be behind us soon, and, of course, the symbolic significance of Kamala Harris as the first Black vice president, the first Black [vice] president of South Asian descent and Caribbean descent and the like. I was thinking about the National Council of Negro Women. I was thinking about the Atlanta washerwomen strike of 1881. I was thinking about the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery, who were the backbone of the Montgomery bus boycott. I was thinking about Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer. All of these folk are the wind behind Kamala Harris’s back that make her possible. But she’s a symbolic — also the symbolic importance of her, of course.
But we must understand that yesterday was a day, and the day before was a day, of celebration. Today is the day for the hard work. The country is deeply divided, as Bree said. And we have to get about the work of responding to the problems we face as a nation at scale, and not returning back to some sense of normalcy, which in some ways laid the foundation for the disaster that was and is Trumpism.
AMY GOODMAN: I also wanted to bring in Ro Khanna from Northern California, congressmember, who himself is Indian American, like Kamala Harris. And first I wanted to get your overall response when the results were announced on Saturday, though they haven’t been certified yet.
REP. RO KHANNA: It was an emotional moment. It was a proud moment. I was speaking with my mother and father and brother, and to see someone, a woman of Indian origin, of African African origin, ascend to the vice presidency is something that many of us thought unimaginable growing up.
And I think it highlights the extraordinary nature of the American project. I mean, we’re trying to become a multiracial, multiethnic democracy. Canada is about 87% white. England is about 87% white. Australia is 86% white. We’re 60% white. It’s a very difficult thing. And this is a step in the right direction.