The red wave, feared to be a Category 4 storm, lost steam, but left some debris on the shore. Feels more like a flooded basement or a polluted, overflowing backwater, depending on where you live.

The foot soldiers for electoral democracy turned out bigtime in Minnesota, with remarkable results. All four top leadership positions were retained by incumbent DFLers. The most vulnerable office of Attorney General has been ably managed by Keith Ellison, who rose quickly from state representative to US legislator to his current position. Ellison’s office was asked to take over the prosecution of Derek Chauvin and the three other cops accused of abetting the murder of George Floyd. Less flashy but with significant results, his office has overseen successful prosecution of wage theft and illegal sale of arms by big box stores.

Ellison is a black Muslim, which by default of racism and religious intolerance makes him a person of interest in a state that is, outside the more diverse Twin Cities, largely white and Christian. His support of the amendment to restructure the police department also cost him many a vote. But with a strong base in the Twin Cities, which accounts for 60% of state population, he squeaked through, defeating a young hedge fund lawyer (who has never been in a courtroom) by a mere 21,000 votes, a 1% margin.

The picture looks bleaker in other states although not nearly as bad as anyone feared, except perhaps in New York where DFL powerbrokers who failed to fight for better redistricting maps and fought off progressive challengers left the gate open for several hard right victors who will take their seats at the House next January.

Minnesota now enjoys a trifecta of DFL dominance, Governor, Senate and Legislature. A more modest version of this scenario looks likely at the federal level, once run off and contested races are determined.

So, why worry?

Democrats are almost unanimously in support of continuing and escalating the war in Ukraine and remain hawkish on China, although that position softened in the last few days. They continue to operate out of a cold war mentality, blind to the approaching end of unipolar global hegemony. Assuming they don’t provoke a nuclear war, there’s still the other wave – rapidly approaching climate catastrophe, which cannot be authentically tackled by a party funded by big oil, big plastic, big cars, big guns, big tech and big consumption.

Whether Biden, or Trump, runs again is immaterial to this grim scenario. We’re in for it – climate refugees fleeing the global south as northern countries with increasingly authoritarian leaders try ruthlessly to protect their borders. Fires, floods and drought in the US and unimaginable suffering from the same, only worse, worldwide.

The task will be to hold the liberal foot to the fire, demanding faster curbs on fossil fuel industries and sane foreign policy. We’ll need to look at our own habits – driving, flying, buying. This will be the hardest part.

After the collective wiping of the brow, as we turn attention back to our own spheres – making a living, making art, tending families, friends and community… the call to live more lightly on the planet, to make noise and make trouble is as urgent and clear as it was the day before the election.