So what happened? The country was just sent to timeout, politically speaking. As of this writing, Joe Biden will be the next president, the Democrats will have a very narrow House majority, and control of the Senate will be decided by two runoff elections in Georgia. At a bare minimum Republicans will have 50 Senate seats, meaning that even if Democrats somehow win both runoffs (which I personally think is unlikely), then the Democrats will need practically every single member of their caucus in both the House and Senate to pass all of the far-reaching legislation that has been discussed – and that assumes they can get rid of the filibuster, which with a 50-50 Senate is even more unlikely.
There was never much of a chance court packing or single payer was going to pass in the first place, but now that’s gone, as are most elements of the Green New Deal, statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, and whatever other parade of horribles I have forgotten.
All things considered, this may be the best possible outcome for this country. While we’ve already been living with political stasis for a couple of years, we will have a slightly less polarizing figure at the top – and of course by that I mean Mitch McConnell, who will be the de facto leader of our country for at least two more years. Sound good to you Mitch?
That’s not to say Americans will take advantage of this cooling off period to take a step back and let the better angels of their nature come to the fore. We already have the American Gestapo making lists to deal with Trump’s “collaborators.” I find their efforts equal parts frightening and hilarious – as though White House staff won’t largely be hired by organizations run by those big donors. It’s a closed loop, idiots, and the only thing anyone associated with this is going to accomplish is demonstrating who the real would-be authoritarians are, such as a former third-party presidential candidate who I will spend the rest of my days pretending I did not vote for.
Though Joe Biden will enter office legislatively hamstrung, we shouldn’t act as though there won’t be some consequences to having him occupy the White House instead of Trump. The presidency has grown well beyond the bounds of its constitutional power (meaning we will have to watch as the parties awkwardly switch places on their view of executive overreach). President Biden will get to make appointments many conservatives will not like. This is particularly true when it comes to education, where it’s possible we may see a return to the university kangaroo courts where students accused of sexual misconduct are deprived of due process rights. It may also mean that efforts to use the academic fraud known as the 1619 Project for school curricula will continue apace. It also means that Biden gets to appoint people to the coronavirus task force who doesn’t think people should live past 75. On the other hand, Republican control of the Senate would mean that Biden will be constrained in who he will get to appoint to key posts, including SCOTUS – can anyone say Supreme Court Associate Justice Merrick Garland?
At this point I guess I should address the EINO* in the room. Immediately after voting last Tuesday I felt a twinge of doubt about casting a blank ballot for president. Since then, Donald Trump has absolved me of feeling any doubt whatsoever. While his cheerleading section praises his moxie and fighting spirit – you know he’s the only Republican in American history to fight for election justice to be done (as long as you forget George W Bush in 2000 was a thing) – really what we’re witnessing is little more than a temper tantrum that we all saw coming. We said for weeks that the election night returns would be more favorable to Trump, and that seemingly Trump-tilting states would wind up in the Biden column. Alas, this is just more proof that it’s all rigged.
*Elephant in Name Only.
If, say, Pennsylvania was rigged, it’s one of the most incompetent riggings ever, what with Republicans winning elsewhere in the state. I mean if you’re going to rig the election for Biden, why not other legislative and statewide seats? It’s almost as embarrassingly weak as Trump’s supposed dictatorship. More on that in a moment.
Andy McCarthy – a Trump voter – has done yeomen’s work on all this. He notes that some amount of fraud is inevitable in any election, but actually proving in a court of law that there was enough to swing the election is something else. To say Trump’s team is off to an inauspicious start is understatement.
But before his haters storm the streets – whoops, too late, I guess COVID’s over – to sing “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead,” I wouldn’t expect Donald Trump to be leaving the political scene. I don’t think he will run in 2024, though he will probably play coy enough just to keep the spotlight on him. And we can all expect him to happily tweet away his every “thought” about the Biden administration. And when Twitter finally decides to suspend and/or ban him because he is no longer president, well, he’ll get to make even more news.
Now I know what you’re thinking – the media will ignore him.
Ray Liotta and company, what do you think of that?
If you think the media are going to ignore their beloved cash cow, then I have this bridge on the East River I would like to sell you. Not only is he good for their bottom line, he gets to be the stand-in for the entire Republican party and their ability to portray the GOP as completely unhinged (which is not that difficult to do when his sycophants are all to happy to play the part).
Oh, I’m afraid that Donald Trump will be around for quite some time.
As I alluded to above, though, it’s curious how a dictator, or would-be dictator who threatened the very fabric of democracy has been voted out of office in a (mostly) peaceful election. It’s almost like all the ridiculous hyperbole spewed by the Resistance was in fact just a pile of bullshit.
Shocking I know.
I close on this note. Donald Trump improved on his 2016 vote in every demographic except white men. We know this not just from exit polling, as his vote total increased in several heavily Latino districts. Now, according to some this just means that these Latinos are not really Latino, but for those of who aren’t complete morons, we should recognize that there’s something significant to these results. For all the talk about how Donald Trump was just the president of angry white men, it was minority voting that almost allowed him to win a second term. It would be good for thoughtful critics – and supporters – of Donald Trump to take the time to learn why it is that more minorities voted for Donald Trump than any Republican since Nixon (1960), and what we might be able to discern about the future of American politics and how each party can shape their message.
Right, like that’s gonna happen.