The presidential election hasn’t even been definitively called and the circular firing squad is already forming. One could call it 1984 and 1988 in reverse. After those defeats, moderate and conservative Democrats turned on Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis for being too liberal.
In 2020, some are turning on Joe Biden for being too moderate. A reminder that Team Biden worked closely with the Sanders and Warren people to produce the most progressive platform in party history. I, too, am disappointed in the result but there was a big turnout, which theoretically should have resulted in a blue tsunami instead of a close presidential race and disappointment down the ballot. As I said yesterday, we’re a Fifty-Fifty Nation.
I’m convinced that COVID is the primary reason for our electoral issues. Not using it as a club to beat the Impeached Insult Comedian with, that was the right thing to do. I’m referring to the severe impact the pandemic has had on the country and how we vote. Two of COVID’S effects are to the Democrats credit and one was out of our control.
We’ll do the sub-header thing today.
Canvassing: Since Democrats believe that COVID is real and easily transmissible, our GOTV efforts focused on early voting and mail-in ballots. In 2008 and 2012, waves of Democratic canvassers hit the streets in the last week before the election. That didn’t happen this year because of COVID. That’s to the Democrats’ credit: we don’t want people spreading or catching the virus via canvassing.
Republicans were not similarly inhibited in their canvassing or campaigning. President* Pennywise held a series of super-spreader rallies and GOP door knockers hit the streets. This is to their discredit, but it helped them at the polls. Freedom, man.
COVID Denialism: The central theme of the closing days of the Trump campaign was COVID denialism. Since *everyone* is tired of the pandemic, it was an easy sell with the science-hating GOP base. Freedom, man.
Joe Biden told the painful truth about the pandemic. That was the only responsible course of action but it probably cost the Democrats votes. I’d rather lose votes than lives.
The Count: States with long experience of mail-in ballots obviously handled the count with more aplomb than states new to the process. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, Democrats attempted to pass legislation to allow the sorting and counting of mail-in ballots on election day. Under the influence of Team Trump, Republican leges rebuffed these sensible attempts. Once again, this is to their discredit.
It’s hardly an original observation to say that 2020 was a weird election. America has held presidential elections during wartime in 1864, 1916, 1944, 1968, and 2004. The 2020 election posed a more immediate problem: voting safely because of a public health menace. Most of us did the best we could with a terrible situation. The Republicans chose to pretend it was no big deal whereas Democrats acknowledged how bad the situation was as records were set on the COVID front nearly every day before and after the election.
Democrats have gotten used to cleaning up Republican messes. The post-Trump mess is the biggest by far. It’s complicated by the likelihood that the GOP will continue to hold the senate. The Senate elections were both disappointing and weird: some excellent candidates were recruited but lost close races. They were swamped by the enthusiasm on both sides this time around. That’s a rare occurrence.
Here’s the deal: Democrats have done the right thing regarding the pandemic. It may have cost us at the ballot box, but our candidates told the truth instead of peddling lies and fantasies like Republicans. This is an explanation, not an excuse.
It’s extremely difficult to defeat an incumbent president for re-election. It’s only happened four time since 1912. It’s slowly happening as I write this. While many chased white whales, Team Biden focused on rebuilding the blue wall. The 2020 campaign has also transformed Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina into battleground states. It’s time to break up with Florida and Ohio. The former will always be close but it’s a heartbreaker for Democrats.
Democrats should hold our heads up high and celebrate the fact that Donald Trump’s shitshow presidency* is about to become a sideshow, not the main event. That’s a tremendous accomplishment. We should follow Johnny Mercer’s sage advice and Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive. Mister In-Between can go fuck himself.
The last word goes to the late Johnny Mercer from the new swing state of Georgia: