Joe Biden and Kamala Harris swooned as a drone swarm spelled out “BIDEN” in the shape of the continental United States, lighting up the night sky above Wilmington, Delaware on Nov. 8. Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars” blared as supporters cheered. Biden spoke of national unity and being a president for all Americans. It seemed almost like a return to regularly-scheduled programming: back to the type of generic commander-in-chief from the movies with his practiced turns of phrase, comforting gestures and grand rhetoric.
The Biden-Harris victory rally was accompanied by celebrations of many Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans, Independents and neoconservatives, all of them busy cheering on the impending departure of the “Cheeto King”. Former US National Security Adviser and Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration Condoleezza Rice — who previously motivated support for America’s military mission in Iraq by claiming that a lack of action would result in nuclear attacks on American cities — called for “respect” and “empathy” in celebration of Biden’s win.
A ‘Win for the World?’
The Biden-Harris win was supposedly a “win for the world.” (Insert “arc of justice” phraseology, smirking European self-righteousness and other overblown silliness here). No more mean tweets or largely rudderless, erratic leadership characterized as “authoritarianism”: the world is saved. There’s even support for Biden from former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Tik Tok users posted about how different it was to watch Biden’s typical speech after “four years of fascism.” No word on why anyone would feel safe to express such views in a truly fascist system, especially if the handover of executive power has not yet taken place. It’s almost like the Trump administration is just enough fascism to be scary and super bad and show that you’re an incredible person for opposing it but not quite enough to actually result in you being shoved you in an unmarked van and disappeared for dissident speech. Interesting.
Voter Fraud Allegations
Overly credulous support for allegations of widespread voter fraud have been just as disquieting as smug certainty that there was no voter fraud. It’s clear that at least some voter fraud against Trump and the Republican party did take place. Although it seems accurate that Trump is drawing out the situation in order to leverage political capital and hang on to an illusory hope of still winning in the courts, it is true that he could still end up victorious in Arizona and Georgia. Some kind of miracle recount comeback in Pennsylvania (despite some claims of mass fraud) and Wisconsin seems like pie-in-the-sky, but the Trump team’s attempt isn’t as completely insane as some pundits have asserted.
The idea that controversy is purely imaginary is somewhat presumptuous, and — even despite that — the millions of Americans who still believe the election was stolen and will continue to believe that regardless of what transpires in the coming weeks presents a major roadblock to Biden’s supposed “unity” and healing. Should Trump concede? At this point the chance of actually overturning the election look miniscule, so yes he should. Will he? Likely not for some time yet, and don’t hold your breath to see Trump at Biden’s inauguration, either.
What’s Next in America?
The Civil War touted by many is nowhere to be found. Gun stocks have even been falling because of the lack of all-out chaos some were predicting. It’s been a bathetic outcome so far. Stop the Steal rallies have been largely harmless, despite some incidents. What would have happened if Trump had won is a far different story, and one can only imagine suburbanite BLM activists boosting the antifa and left-activist hardliners in intensifying the chaos that already swept the nation after the death of George Floyd.
The 242,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 are undoubtedly the main reason Trump lost the election. Although 96% of those who have died also had underlying health conditions, officials have been alarmed at the surge in excess deaths caused by the comorbidity of the coronavirus and caution that most of the 96% likely would not have died without contracting coronavirus.
Trump owns the grassroots of the GOP despite his loss. Record high voter turnout shows that Americans are engaged and energized by the electoral process, and record high minority votes for Trump also show that Democratic narratives about the president fell flat for many Hispanic, Black and other minority voters. Politics increasingly seems to be equally or as much about generalized class and cultural confrontation as specific policy beliefs.
Conservatives Have an Opportunity
The Biden Administration won’t have carte blanche. With Mitch McConnell still heading up the Senate Biden is going to have to compromise on many core legislative proposals. His plan to create “millions” of jobs with green and renewable energy projects could pay off, but Biden’s continuing flip-flopping on the bizarre “Green New Deal” calls into question exactly what his mass projects would entail and how they would affect fair competition with existing industries.
Conservatives also have an opportunity to push back on everything from critical race theory to overwrought woke dictates in education and other sectors that are likely to come from the Biden administration. The new president will be in a largely awkward position where it’s near impossible to pass meaningful leftist legislation but his base wants results and eventually tires of repeating that Harris is the first woman of color female vice-president. As Biden attempts to satiate its foaming-at-the-mouth hard-left base by giving them socially-left-wing cotton candy while as much as possible avoiding any real systemic economic or corporate reform this will present a growing field of opportunities for conservatives to push back institutionally and legislatively.
The Future of the GOP
There is no reason to believe the GOP will remain fundamentally united following this defeat. It is increasingly likely that partisan politics will continue on a trajectory of inter-partisan politics, with the Trump and national populist wing of the Republican party splitting off and forming its own media empire, platform and candidates and the establishment “polite” wing of the GOP currying favor at the Biden administration and trying to carve out a new slice of the electorate that’s not fully liberal on all issues but shies away from the red meat of full-on Trumpism.
As stated, Trump now owns the activist base of the GOP and Reaganism is not coming back at the grassroots level. Trump has re-appealed to minority, working class and forgotten voters who had drifted from the GOP and his legacy could ostensibly be used to build a national populist coalition of socially conservative and economically populist voters who disagree with establishment Republican and Democratic cosmopolitanism and economic free market dogma.
Despite losing, the fact that there was no “Blue Wave” is promising for the Republican party once midterms and 2024 roll around.
The Future of the Democrats
By gaining power the Democrats have been able to temporarily patch over their own fractured party, at least for now. The idea that the American center and left has truly formed a grand coalition is, of course, pure fantasy. The far left still wants “Death to America” and to think they will be assuaged by a Biden-Harris administration is absurd.
Nonetheless, the Democrats will likely be able to keep the corporate train rolling despite clashes that are likely to continue to occur in the future in places like Portland. Presumably some mix of identity politics, coronavirus panic measures and papered-over neoliberalism with occasional nods to environmentalism and pro-abortion rhetoric will manage to satiate their activist left base and allow them to continue sidestepping actual positive reforms for the working class. Essentially the Democrat’s win means they can now fake it for four years, whereas the broken Republican party no longer has that luxury.
The longer-term view, however, is one in which the Democratic party increasingly starts losing immigrants, minorities and social democrats who are no longer satisfied by woke rhetoric or agree with the Democrats on some issues but find their compliance with foreign military adventurism and strident intolerance of socially conservative views off-putting.
The Big Tent concept of American politics is barely holding together. Look for hyper-partisan politics to increasingly become inter-partisan politics, with surging numbers of voters disillusioned with both major political parties. The Sanders and Trump voters have burned their memberships at the Donkey & Elephant Country Club and there’s not much chance of getting them to rejoin.