Don’t Lose sight of the Lessons of the 2020 Election in Light of the 2021 Insurrection

5 min readJan 14, 2021


It is important not to lose sight of the 2020 election in the aftermath of the 2021 Trump insurrection (see my prior post). A clear majority of Americans do not support Trump but they also do not share the same vision of the future as the Democratic party.

Biden won, not because he was beloved, not for his vision and not because he inspired us. He won in large part because he is NOT Trump. The public split their vote, electing Biden, but in many ways, not the Democratic party. While the Senate split, giving the VP tie breaker to the Democrats, Republicans gained in the House, and dominated the state legislatures. Americans, in large part, see Pelosi and the Democrats as having moved too far to the left. Virginia’s Rep. Spanberger, frustrated at Democratic losses in the House, echoed this: “We need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again.”

Some argue that Democrats remained stuck in their echo chambers, propelled by mainstream and social media, thinking that they were listening to the public, but actually were listening largely to themselves. Those on the far left talked about transgender bathrooms and privilege, but never seemed to hear the voices of 42 million Americans who earn under $12 an hour and continually ask, “how am I privileged and what do I care about public bathrooms?” This is not to diminish the bigotry that those who are transgender face or those ethnic minorities face. I believe we must protect the rights of all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

For years, it has become apparent the Democrats abandoned the working class. Not only the White working class, but Latino working class, African-American working class — all the working class. President-Elect Biden made this argument before the 2020 primaries as well. In the 2020 election Hispanics and African Americans supported Trump in greater numbers than in 2016, while White men showed Trump less support. The working class public asked, “where is the respect for someone who worked in the coal mines or factories their whole life?” When Democrats propose that someone who was laid off at 50 become a computer programmer or learn new skills, it only adds insult to injury.

The Democrats talk a lot about student loan forgiveness, and while few deny the predatory loan process is in desperate need of reform, they neglect to consider they’re asking people who live paycheck-to-paycheck to pay for others to succeed. The government’s money come from taxes and those come from people who work.

The Democrats reliance on identity politics plays to the winning hand of White Nationalists and Trumpsters, who’s only path to victory in a continually diversifying America, is to exploit institutional rules and structural inequalities and fracture groups through social divisions by playing on emotionally charged ideological values. Democrats must take this opportunity and victory to speak to all Americans, stop blaming people, and offer real solutions to address the real issues of jobs, immigration, health care, education, and security, not from an ultra left-wing perspective, but from the view of the average American, who is neither entirely liberal or conservative. Many have argued that the Democrats have become the party that promotes the interests of the ultra-rich and ultra-poor, but not the middle class.

Most Americans believe in fair play; they oppose corruption and fake schools. They also believe people should pay their debts. Most Americans do not believe in an open border and do not want to pay taxes for benefits to non-citizens. But they do not want immigrant families separated either, and have compassion for those facing hardship. Most Americans believe racial injustice is a serious issue that must be addressed. But they also do not believe in de-funding police. They want police reform, transparency, accountability, and justice for those the police wrongfully harm. Most Americans believe in racial equality and support the right to protest; they do not support riots, looting or criminal behavior.

If there is any evidence that shows the Democrats, in some ways, have moved too far left, it is from California, the most progressive state in the country. Voters rejected all the far-left referendum. They rejected affirmative action; they rejected younger voting age; they rejected ending bail; they rejected expanding employment benefits.

70 million Americans, the overwhelming majority of who are neither racist nor sexist, choose to put up with a sexist, racist, corrupt, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, habitual liar, if it meant, in their mind, not suffering from the Democratic vision, not being blamed for others past mistakes, not being left out and not listened to. That and tens of millions more who voted Republican down ballot should tell the Democratic party that there is much work to do. All of these people are not racists, sexists, corrupt, or ignorant. I suspect very few are. Rather, all people want to be treated fairly, they want good schools for their children, they want justice for all people, they want access to health care, they want good jobs, and the ability to own a home. They don’t want to be blamed; they want to be empowered.

Years of misinformation from Trumpsters and his psychophants have left us a fractured distrustful America. Biden has inherited a wounded country. Fair or not, the task at hand for Biden and the Democratic Party is to heal the country and that means reasoned, pragmatic and centrist polices.

The Republicans lost the presidency because of their support for Trump, racism, and sexism; they gained or won in almost every other election. If Democrats ignore the 2020 election in the aftermath of the 2021 insurrection, and cannot move past the failed leadership of Pelosi and the far-left wing of the Democratic party, populists and Trumpists could easily return in 2022 and 2024. Although Trump’s insurrection and disrespect for Democracy make this less likely, a few mistakes could put the country right back into madness. Americans spoke loudly and clearly in 2020. They want our government to start listening, and offer leadership and vision that is representative of the general public.

Standard Disclaimer: The analyses, thoughts, suggestions, or experiences here reflect my own and not those of the US government, Penn State, or any organization I currently work for, have in the past, or will in the future.




Pete Hatemi has 30+ years of experience in the areas of defense, technology, counter-terrorism, psychological training, and higher education.