So, here we are. The day after and, much like 2000, with a strong sense of what the end will be but delayed closure on the race. There is plenty of reason to believe when the ballots are crunched and the lawyers’ last shots are fired that there will be a President Biden. That is not the end I wanted – or am even still continuing to hope for – but even if that end comes, I find some solace in two telling aspects of the results we can see.
As I made clear in my earlier piece expressing my endorsement of Mr. Trump, there were aspects of him I was deeply uncomfortable with, almost all of which returns to a single matter: his crass, often seemingly uncaring speech.
In that piece, I argued that while that speech was bad, it wasn’t representative of what the President actually does. I also argued that what the President offers in his portfolio of accomplishments was closer to what even those of us who cringe at the president want than what his challenger offers.
I think the way the votes broke last night affirms both of my points.
Minority voting for the President increased last night from over four years ago, something that you would not expect for the alleged racist pundits would tell you the President’s tweets betray him to be. In some places, the shift was substantial enough to cause serious angst amongst the Left today.
What happened? I think the tighter vote in general, and the minority shifts in specific, speak to the fact that while pundits and activists hang on every potential offense they can take from @realDonaldTrump, that’s not how normal people think. The impact of those offenses (real or perceived) was sizably less impactful for people who were experiencing real benefit from the President’s policies.
Though the President probably did not help his case by boastfully asserting he did more for African-Americans than any president other than “maybe” President Lincoln, he did accomplish more for minorities through efforts such as criminal justice reform than any recent president. Would you rather a president who sounds sympathetic about wrongful incarceration or someone who actually makes steps to fix it?
Likewise, while the pundits would have you believe the President is a foaming anti-Semite, that was and is absurd. To reach that conclusion, they not only ignored his clear affection for his Jewish daughter and son-in-law (whom the anti-Trumpers raged over for having — wait for it — too much influence on the president), they somehow overlooked that anti-Semites do not spend their time increasing cooperation with Israel. Anti-Semites do not achieve groundbreaking peace accords between Israel and surrounding Muslim countries.
Much of the misunderstanding of the President is, of course, his own fault. Had he had the discipline to control his Twitter finger (and especially his retweeting habits), maybe he would have fared even better. Certainly, only a small amount of votes will prove his undoing if things continue to go the way it appears.
Be that as it may, I find solace in seeing every day, normal Americans recognized the difference between Trump’s rhetoric and actions far more than the media was apparently capable of. It gives me hope that at least some people can see through the partisan rhetoric; maybe a less divisively spoken, conservative-leaning populist could do even more good down the road.
I find even more solace in the indications that while voters may have chosen Mr. Biden, they also appear to have chosen a GOP-controlled Senate. Voters who wanted a president who felt “more normal” meant just that and thus wanted insurance of normalcy – deadlock, even – rather than just trusting that Biden could resist the left wing of his party. They clearly did not hand that left wing a mandate to pull their candidate further leftward.
Assuming the GOP holds the Senate, Supreme Court court packing, the biggest threat of a Biden presidency, appears off the table. The biggest, socialist-leaning efforts that Ms. Harris and other Democrats may have yanked the formerly centrist Biden towards will also likely need to be moderated into genuine centrist policies. A President Biden will have to govern from the center if he has any hope of getting moderate GOP senators to break off in his favor on his agenda.
In other words, whatever Biden and those around him may have wanted, it appears the people said they want something more like 1990’s Bill Clinton 2.0 and not Bernie Sanders Light. In a way, that is just another avenue to what the best of Trumpism has been aiming for all along: a rewind away from the progressive agenda of the Obama-Biden years.
A Trump loss of the sort that may be developing right now need not be the death knell for care for the unborn, support for Israel, opposition to globalist policies with China or other such policies the President used his term to work significantly on.
That’s some solace for me, and anyone else who wasn’t dreaming of a socialist revolution, in the days to come, no matter who the president is.
E. Ryan Haffner writes on politics for Open for Business.