Joe Biden has won the Presidency. While a win is a win, as King Pyrrhus of Epirus found out, victories in the short run can come at too high a cost. Even after winning battles against the Romans, the price was so high that he had to abandon the war in the longer run. The Democrats may suffer the same fate.
If ever a party had everything in their favor going into an election, it was the Democrats. The Covid-19 epidemic turned Trump’s robust economy into a depression. While it is unlikely any President would’ve handled the pandemic correctly, the Democrats had the support of almost all media in branding the President’s actions as inadequate. Worse, a Fall wave of new cases was raging during the voting. The worst of it was in the upper Midwest swing states.
The President never had a high favorable rating. His abrasive and narcissistic personality appealed to many but turned off others. This is especially true of women. Covid-19 also is more problematic for women.
Adding to their advantages, the Democrats had an enormous amount of money. Call it Trump “derangement syndrome,” or simply some people just hate the President; they contributed heavily to defeat him. Wealthy Business people often contribute heavier to the party they think will be in power. Crony capitalism or close to it. Apparently, virtue shaming by the left also contributed to Democratic business support. Just look at the actions of the NFL and the NBA. Highly publicized black deaths at the hands of the police resulted in protests and riots. No business or anyone else, for that matter, wants to be labeled as racist.
Feeding into all this was consistent polling almost across the board, showing Trump trailing by double digits. None except for a few “outliers” showed it anywhere near close. This could only feed into a bandwagon effect. Businesses looking for friendlier relations with government entities knew where to send their contributions. It couldn’t help but depress Trump supporters.
Never in history has the vast majority of the press gone to such lengths to protect a Presidential candidate. One newspaper published a story about Hunter Biden’s computer and its contents. The rest of the media failed to even asked Joe Biden or his son to deny the particulars were true. In fact, Biden was hardly asked any tough questions. He could give his prepared speeches and then go back to his basement. Now that’s a friendly press.
On day one of Biden’s Presidency, he will be a lame-duck. At 78, he won’t run for reelection 4 years hence. He might not even make it through this term. This makes for a weak presidency. It doesn’t bode well for his plan. With the election so close and low democrat results all the way down the ballot, he has no mandate. Even if he had something of a plan, a likely Republican Senate control would make it a dead letter.
So you have a weak president that has another problem; he is still Joe Biden. As President, he will have to appear in public in other than scripted situations. Given the nation’s low opinion many have of the 4th estate, can the press continue to lob softball s to Biden? Can CNN and MSNBC fill their days with pro-Biden drivel? Someone will ask him if he denies it’s Hunter Biden’s laptop and what’s on it is real.
Given his history, the more Biden talks, the more likely he will add to his gaffe library. Can SNL ignore funny gifts from Biden when they don’t have Trump anymore? As one who is up in years, I know you don’t get quicker with age.
The biggest single reason Biden won was COVID-19. Maybe his only claim to any mandate was to “fix” the pandemic. The problem with this is by inaugural day, it is likely vaccines will have already started to be distributed. The fruit of Trump’s warp speed Biden can’t claim any part of their development. Better treatments like the ones helping Trump bounce back from the coronavirus will be much more widely available. Again all developed and pushed forward under Trump. Better treatments could actually lower the incidence of death. At that point, all Biden can say is “me too”‘ That has been his COVID-19 Plan all along. This is a thin broth.
The press will try to give Biden credit, but after their out-in-the-open bias, who will believe them. That’s the problem. Once you lose your integrity, people stop listening. Half the country just turns away when you mention the New York Times or the Washington Post as your source of information. Many news outlets are seen as in the tank for the Democrats; they have lost their ability to influence beyond the left’s true-believers.
Virtue, once lost, is hard to impossible to regain. They can try to be seen as even-handed, but that would mean taking Biden and the Democrats to the task. To the extent they try, it will hurt the Democrats. Probably, most will just continue as the propaganda arm of the party. In either case, The Democrats have lost a significant arrow in their quiver.
Another arrow lost probably for a long time, if not forever, is mainstream media polling. It is hard to diminish the role of polling in this election. I’m looking at the cover of the right-leaning 10/20 edition of the Washington Examiner. It headlined, “Are The Wheels Coming Off?” It showed Trump, Mitch McConnell, and an Elephant in a car with wheels coming off. This dour outlook was based on the poll numbers. In the same issue, Fred Barnes insinuated Trump needed a Hail Mary. “A late leap forward in a presidential race in which he trails Biden by 10 percentage points in credible polls.” Wow, how depressing is that. This couldn’t help but suppress wider enthusiasm and donations.
The major polls were wrong in the ’16 election, but they assured us they had fixed the problems and the current results were on the money. They even attacked lesser-known pollsters predicting a close election. The claim was they used terrible methods. Trafalgar Group, which called the ’16 election pretty right-on especially, was singled out. The election showed who did the job. It will take several election cycles, at least for major media polling, to regain any credibility. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me. Don’t even mention a poll to me, except maybe if it’s from Trafalgar. To half the country, the wildly off polls could only have been a tactic to depress Republican effort. They can never be allowed to do it ever again. If you’re the only excuse is you are incompetent at your job, you’re lost. You can only misuse your polls so man times.
The biggest problem the Democrats have is Donald Trump will leave the office. He was the rallying point for the Democrat’s diverse winning coalition. We are already seeing the fissures. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) didn’t waste any time blasting the party’s left-wing. She even called for banning the word “socialist.” She claimed policies such as defunding the police cost Democrats House seats. She’s right, but the progressives have strong institutional support in the media, bureaucracy, and academia. If it isn’t the progressive agenda, do the Democrats even have a program?
Donald Trump may be gone, but some of the things he set in motion will go on. Even while Democrats consistently labeled Trump as a racist, he actually reached out to minorities, especially blacks, with programs and legislation. Neighborhood investments and criminal justice reform were real actions. School choice is viewed by minority communities as a way to move ahead. Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos were out front in support. Many in minority communities want more police to protect them and their property, not less. This lead to Trump and Republicans gaining black and Hispanic voters. Attractive minority candidates will only keep this trend in motion. Working-class minorities may find they have more in common with working-class whites than coastal elites.
Instead of rolling over for mainstream media like Romney and McCain, Trump confronted and attacked the press over their bias. This proved very successful with at least half the country. With press bias on full display in the election, Republicans will continue to confront and call out the press.
Where President Obama could try to circumvent Congress with executive orders and regulatory actions, Biden may find the courts much less supportive. With Trump’s army appointees on the bench plus a substantial conservative majority on the Supreme Court, this avenue could face a roadblocks.
Of course, Biden, Democrats, and media will blame Trump for any woes. With a robust recovery already occurring and vaccines possibly being distributed by January, any backtracking after Biden takes over will be hard to attribute to Trump. With only a thin majority in the house and a strong history of losing seats in the first midterm election, donors may switch sides. A lame-duck with a hostile congress may find himself in a lonely place. Maybe Biden will find the Presidency is no place for old men.