Well, it took me nine years from the start of this thread, but I did end up expatriating three years ago, so I guess I really did put my money where my mouth is. Frankly, I'm glad we got out. It's insulating us from the worst of it, and will probably continue to do so, assuming we can solve Poe's visa problems.
I am SUBSTANTIALLY less happy about the prospect of possibly voting for Biden than I was about the prospect of voting for Obama, though, and I am not sure I'm going to make the same choice now as I did back then. Obama didn't succeed in a lot of the changes we needed, but he did some stuff that was at least helpful for me, personally, and worked out better than I had expected, overall. However, the system was broken then, and it's more broken now, and we are rapidly reaching the tipping point at which we either institute radical changes or a whole lot of death is going to happen... and Biden does not represent change. At all.
I hope I'm wrong, but I see this coming election shaking out in two main ways, with a bunch of little sub-paths branching out after that.
1) Trump declares that he won.
Regardless of whether or not this is true, it will be challenged, and rightfully so, because of all the attempts to tamper with the vote. There will be open protests, and they will make Trump feel very insecure, which will make him double down on authoritarianism. This will either break Americans into submitting to a hellish mess in which massive numbers are homeless and unemployed, or push enough of them over the edge into open rebellion. Or both. Either way, SOME people will object violently to the authoritarianism, which means armed resistance, and it's all an easy spiral downhill from there. People have a lot less reason to try to protest peacefully if they have no hope of success. I'd give it less than a week, post-election, before the first exchange of fire, to be honest. It might even happen before the election, at this rate. Certainly there's been violence in the other direction, already.
Additionally, if Trump declares that he won, his merry band of followers is going to take it as divine providence. To them, it will be proof that they were right to be hateful, right to back him. They are, officially, winners. And that means they're justified, in their minds, in acting on whatever hateful little urges they have. I would expect a wave of violence, most of it opportunistic, and quite a lot of it hate crimes.
None of this is a good outcome. The best that can be said of it is that it might lead to revolution, and that might, eventually, lead to a new government with better protections against corruption and representatives who, for a while, will be slightly more committed to serving the American people than most of our current batch of opportunistic, immoral garbage. But it will not achieve that before a lot of people die, the world economy is thrown seriously out of whack, and possibly it's sufficiently unstable to ignite other wars in other countries, or even a world war depending on how desperate Trump gets for a distraction.
2) Biden wins, by a wide enough margin so that Trump cannot realistically claim otherwise.
Trump and his followers will still say otherwise, of course, and he may sue, or simply refuse to leave office. He also will have two remaining months in which he and his cronies can attempt to break the system so thoroughly that they can live for years on the profits before anyone will be able to unfuck it. It's already pretty damn bad and will take years of dedicated effort to even come close to fixing it, but there is SO MUCH MORE DAMAGE that can be done in those two months when there's nothing left to lose and plenty of spite to fuel bad decisions. Most of this crop of scum are quite old... they don't need whatever they do to last, because they won't live long enough to see it undone.
Trump's followers will also take this as an excuse for violence, defending the cause and their warped vision of American freedom. It's cute how that happens either way, and by cute I mean a horrifying inevitability.
But enough about the probable actions of Trump and his flock, because they're really a symptom, not the whole problem... what about if Biden manages to get sworn in and get enough control of the situation back so that we can have four more years of politics as usual?
Well, we still won't have healthcare. Won't have job security. Won't have a reliable justice system. People will still be dying of a pandemic, and murdered by cops. People will still be broke and homeless due to skyrocketing evictions. But probably there will at least be some oil poured on troubled international waters, and in a year or so when there are promising treatments and vaccines, the American passport might be useful again, though the American reputation and economy won't have recovered. And even though Biden will not be able to unfuck most of Trump's mess, and frankly is unlikely to actually try to do so since it's just as beneficial to high-level Democrats as it was to Republicans, he will dress it up in prettier paper so it's easier to swallow than the completely unsubtle bricks Trump has been lobbing at our heads for years. It will calm people down, make them feel safe enough and comfortable enough not to rebel, and the situation will continue to erode in a quieter, steadier way. In four years, we'll be faced with choices which will not include Biden, and probably won't include the profoundly necessary systemic changes, either. They may or may not include a dramatic swing either left or right.
So what do I plan to do about it? I don't know, because I don't think either path is good for America, and I think both outcomes would lead to a lot of extra deaths. I don't want either outcome on my conscience, but if I do nothing then the outcome will always be on my conscience no matter what, and if I vote for Biden then America still slides right and I am complicit because I signed off on it. There is no good choice, and part of that is because a lot of us held our noses last election and voted Clinton (myself included) in a vain attempt to prevent exactly everything that has happened the last four years, and now the DNC knows that they can feed us whatever they want and we'll still vote for them if we're scared enough of the alternative.
If I do vote for Biden, I'd be doing it primarily for my own benefit, simply because I am already safe from most of the mess and Biden is likely to address the one thing most likely to directly affect me (international relations), so the outcome would be more comfortable for me personally. It might be worse in the long run, though, because the longer we defer these issues the harder it's going to be to correct them later, and the bigger the mess that inevitable revolution will make. And yes, it's almost certainly inevitable at this point... history has demonstrated that over and over. It's only because America is a comparative infant as a world power that it hasn't experienced a complete failure of state already. We're unprepared for it, as a culture, but it's part of growing up. And by all the hypothetical gods, America NEEDS to grow up.
On the other hand, if I don't vote, my lack of action may end up contributing to a situation that will almost certainly end America as we know it, painfully, messily, and right the hell now. Even if I think that ultimately, that America of my childhood wasn't very great and we'd be way better off in the long run just starting over, it's a hell of a way to go, and I don't really want to have to live through it. There's a good chance that I'll have to, regardless of what I do, though. We all would.
At the moment, though, there also isn't any form of international mail, the best I can do is spend a bunch of money to send a package with my vote, which the board of elections for Ohio might not even accept. My driver's license has also expired, because I wasn't able to find a doctor licensed in the US here in Korea to check my eyes for the documents necessary to renew remotely, and I wasn't able to go back to the US to deal with it in time for obvious reasons. So I have no state ID, and they may not accept my vote regardless. That's another factor in my decision, because if I choose to vote I will have to sacrifice about a tenth of my monthly income to do it. I'd rather not do that for a choice I don't believe in.
Because scary little devil girls have to stick together.