Tuesday night sucked. Despite the fact that many of us had our expectations properly calibrated for anything from actual civil war to a possible landslide for Joe Biden, the slow march toward an inconclusive race still felt surreal and shocking. Kind of like we’d been there before!
In the midst of it all, Discourse Blog hosted a five-hour livestream with our own Katherine Krueger, Jack Crosbie, and Jack Mirkinson at the helm. We talked with staffers Paul Blest, Sam Grasso, and Rafi Schwartz about what was developing across the country, and with a fantastic lineup of guests about everything from Gossip Girl to the passage of Austin’s Proposition A to dismantling the government.
We also discussed numbers of course—huge thanks to The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel and Texas Monthly’s Chris Hooks for walking us through the races and calming our nerves in the process—but we also talked about the bigger picture. We spoke with Sara Nelson (president of President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA) and writer Kim Kelly about the labor movement, with The New Republic’s Osita Nwanevu about the problem with the Constitution, and with Rhiannon Hamam of the 5-4 Podcast about the problem with the Supreme Court. We also blew off some piping hot steam with the lads from Chapo Trap House.
Even with the impending dread and the familiar realization that things were not looking great, we found unexpected inspiration and vigor through our conversations and from the smaller victories happening across the country. Endless thanks to our guests and everyone who joined us. We could not have done it, or survived election night, without you.
Here are just a few of the amazing convos we had—starting with Sara Nelson. We spoke with Sara about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on workers and the labor movement as a whole. “Eight million people have fallen into fucking poverty during this time,” she said. “This is disgusting, but it’s also what we can organize around.”
We also spoke with writer, activist, and labor expert Kim Kelly about organizing, fighting despair, and how to work outside of the electoral machine. “There’s more to life than voting,” she said.
We ended the night with a vibe check, where Jack, Katherine, and Crosbie talked about the state of the Democratic Party, Biden’s failure as a candidate, the failures of our system more broadly, community organizing, being held hostage by the two party system, and how citizens can actually wield power.
We didn’t know how things would go last night. Like everyone else, we watched the news compulsively in the days leading up to November 3, and made predictions that morphed and oscillated at a breakneck pace. As it all unspooled, we somehow ended up becoming our own counter-programming to the anxiety and despair of Election Night. We watched our feeds, we followed returns, but mostly, we talked to people—and a lot of those conversations were about how to change the system outside of the electoral process. At the end of the night, when things felt most dire, we found ourselves in the unlikely position of having some hope and a sense of purpose. It was like our past selves who planned the damn thing knew that our future selves might need a reminder on where the movements for fundamental change actually live—not in the ballot box but in the streets. It’s something worth remembering as we move forward, no matter what happens next.
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