As someone who very much hoped Biden would win the election I must admit I find myself more concerned than ever with the direction the US is headed. I am concerned not because Biden won, but rather in winning I better realized how unhealthy things really are (I knew it was bad, but it is actually way worse).
I have spent the last couple weeks focused on consuming as much right-wing media as I could find and doing my own research in order really try and understand where the right is coming from. I am now convinced that most people in the center and left have no clue how to turn our country around. I say this not because progressive and/or centrist ideas are not preferable to what we have been witnessing but because these ideas simply will not be able to take root in the current environment.
Close to 70% of the voting eligible population participated in this election, which is amazing and about as good of a sample of the true will of the people as we are likely to achieve in the near to medium term. Furthermore, I have no reason to assume that had we achieved 100% participation that this would have favored Biden, in truth I suspect the opposite may be true. In other words even with the most verbose voting in US history at best you can say the left-center had a pyrrhic victory and at worst a victory that will cost the war.
There seems to be two theories in circulation among those who want to see Trump (and to a lessor degree the right) lose power.
1) We need to focus on policies where we can find common ground and that are not universally rejected by the right in order to lower the temperature (while still pushing enough progressive policies to avoid an internal rebellion).
2) The left should push progressive policies with every bit as much aggression as Trump and the GOP did (i.e. anything goes, they are the enemy and deserve no quarter).
Neither of these approaches will be successful.
Lets start with 2) since its the easiest to see how this would fail:
This approach will not only fail due to the reality that even if democrat's win the senate, they still won't have enough votes to pull off a strong progressive agenda; but more importantly it will rile up the opposition even more, pushing many more voters into the rights camp. Ceding even more power to the right will only result in further loses 2 years from now. This kind of strategy only works when your side has overwhelming support and you can afford to lose some of that support in the short term to gain in the long term (once the policies prove successful and people buy into them).
The issue with 1) is harder to see without really understanding what the other side wants. I say "other side" but in reality its not at all that simple. Take for example that Biden won while almost all other competitive democrat's races were lost. Add to this the fact that Trump greatly increased his number of supporters overall in the 4 years he was in office. This tells us that Biden only won because a small percentage of the right's supporters were willing to vote Biden over Trump due his personal qualities, even though they on the whole would prefer the right's agenda (which itself has been radical long before Trump).
When it comes to 1) it is also critical to fully understand and accept that Trump DID NOT create the vast majority of the radical and conspiratorial thinking on display by the right; much of it has been dominant in the GOP for decades and what is new hasn't come from Trump. What changed is Trump made it safe to speak it out in the open. To be sure Trump did bring more people into the GOP and far right, but this is more due to Trump being a better salesmen than that hey was selling something new.
So what does the right actually want? First and for most they want the other side to stripped of all power. Sure they can list a hundred "liberal" agendas they want to thwart but make no mistake, any agenda that a "leftist" might support is and must be thwarted. I see the left continuing to try and make reason based arguments on things like how socialism is different than communism, or how BLM does not mean other lives don't matter etc... but this fails to understand what the argument is really about... its not about issues, its not about coming up with winning arguments, it is 100% about belief and feelings.
The right has over decades developed a fairly complex, robust and always evolving "theory" of the left. This theory is centered on the idea that the left is destructive, manipulative, insidious, hedonistic and short sighted. Now the right is not monolithic group, no more than the left-to-center is. However, make no mistake there is a larger group of hard core believers in the "evilness" of the left than there is any group of people on the left-center (perhaps as many as 60 million). This hard core group would reject their own policy agendas if it meant their opponents would lose even a little power in the long term.
Sadly I don't see a straight forward way to solve this problem and I suspect things will need to get worse before they get better. One thing I am certain of is this cycle must be broken. We on the "left" have sadly played into the "rights" hands, in that we have allowed them to make us a nameless monolithic "other" that must be defeated at all costs.