At this writing two days after the election, Joe Biden appears to be six electoral votes away from winning the presidency.
The Trump campaign has requested a recount in Wisconsin. Republicans are suing in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada to demand the right to observe vote counts and challenge absentee and COVID-related mail-in ballots.
Recounts rarely change the outcome of an election, and never do so when the margin is significant, which it is in Wisconsin. The filing is a doomed Hail Mary pass—a delaying tactic at best. Trump’s fading hopes remain, as I have written previously, with the obscure 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution. If legal challenges prevent another state from certifying its results to the electoral college by the December 14th deadline, the incoming House of Representatives votes by state delegation for the new president. Most states are Republican so Trump would win.
With Biden a single state away from legitimately declaring victory, however, the one to focus on appears to be Nevada. Of the states still in light-blue or light-red play, it’s the only one leaning toward Biden, by 0.6%. If Trump can reverse that trend, possibly by disqualifying Democratic votes, he may remain in the White House. But Trump’s legal challenges in Nevada, though technically still alive, face long odds.
So the wind is at Biden’s back, even if it feels more like a mild breeze. Which makes it a good time to consider what a Biden presidency could/will look like.
Few presidents in American history have entered the White House as politically impotent as Joe Biden. No Democrat since and including Andrew Jackson has ever been elected without Democratic control of both houses of Congress, as Biden will face GOP control of the Senate. (The most recent Republican to face congressional opposition on day one was Ronald Reagan in 1981.)
Biden’s inverse coattails made history: Democrats lost five seats in the House. They had expected to pick up 15.
After months of smugly predicting a blue wave landslide, Democrats can’t possibly argue that they enjoy a national mandate for significant change. This margin is too tight and too similar to the electoral college map four years ago. They are already arguing that Biden won more votes than any other candidate in history. But Republicans were energized too. Trump won the second highest. Could the Democratic Party’s endlessly fruitless search for anti-Republican Republican swing voters finally be finished?
Biden’s advisers have to be obsessing over the words of former House speaker John Boehner in 2010: “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” “It” was President Obama’s agenda. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell added at the time: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell is even more of an obstructionist today. And now he’s the majority leader.
Even if Joe Biden were predisposed to a bold agenda, which progressives have a good reason to doubt, McConnell will block the crap out of it. Unlike Obama, who had a Democratic supermajority in the Senate, Biden will have a valid excuse to accomplish nothing. If I were him, I’d sleep in every day.
And that’s assuming that he is able to function in the first place. All the Democratic denials in the world can’t hide the possible president-elect’s worsening dementia. At a recent campaign event Biden introduced his granddaughter as if she were his dead son: “This is my son, Beau Biden, who a lot of you helped elect to the senate in Delaware.” Wrong gender, wrong generation, wrong sentience. He tried to correct himself. “This is my granddaughter, Natalie.”
Actually, Natalie is a different granddaughter. His son Beau died five years ago. Beau never even ran for the Senate. This is dementia, not “stuttering.” It’s sad. It’s also scary. As commander-in-chief, Biden can single-handedly launch a nuclear attack.
Biden’s defenders point to evidence that Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s, but there was zero evidence of the disease when he took office in 1981. Woodrow Wilson suffered cognitive decline after a stroke, but that was toward the end of his second term. Biden will be the first president to begin his first term with clear signs of dementia.
An old joke goes: I want to die like my grandfather, in my sleep. Not screaming like the passengers in his car. Joe Biden is about to drive the country off a cliff and he may not even know it.
Impotence, dementia and gridlock. This is exactly the opposite of the strong leadership we require during a medical and economic crisis of staggering proportions. The best way to avoid collapse is for Biden to step down and hand the reins to Kamala Harris.
(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)
Let’s stipulate Harris would provide “strong” leadership.
So, please, Ted, lay out what you think a Harris presidency would look like!
Let’s keep in mind the possibility of undisputed “strong” leadership … in an “unhelpful” direction.
And all this because Hillary Clinton gimmicked the 2016 Democratic Primaries.
If Trump loses (meaning he isn’t able to steal the election back), the Republicans will start pulling every single solitary dirty trick they can. I look forward to the next four years of, um, Biden (the first six weeks) and then biz-friendly husk Harris continuously whining to the press, Twitter, etc., that the Republicans are blocking all the things the dems are trying to do. The midterms — and they’ll be here in a snap — will be a bloodbath for the dems.
Here’s a phrase to start learning for 2024: “Half-term Harris.” It’s what the Republicans will use as they reclaim the presidency, along with both houses of Congress and the 7-2 Supreme Court. I hope everyone likes being forced to pray out loud.
Addendum: I see that Trump’s side has filed suit in federal court to stop the vote in Pennsylvania. As it’s Federal, can’t that go to the Supreme Court?
Looks like the political racket (flim flam) so corrupt it needs two aliases is beginning its new combination Corporate Fascist Kabuki Theater-Punch and Judy Show season. Where is a Eugene Debs when one needs one?
In the words of old George Carlin, bless him, “we do not have choices, we have owners.”
When the Democrats put up Secretary Clinton, many figured the two main candidate were both terrible and voted 3rd party to try to send a message. Republicans won, so they didn’t get that message, and the Democrats concluded that St Hillary was the very best candidate for president the US has ever had, while Trump was the absolute worst, so everyone who did not vote for St Hillary early and often was utterly Deplorable.
This time, they only implied that about everyone who didn’t vote for St Joe, they didn’t come right out and say it, and anyway, St Joe won, so they’ll figure they got it right: an old, white man as head of the ticket, to step down and put the first Indian into the Oval Office, while Joe will be her kemosabe.
I hate to crush everyone’s vibe, but:
First, the election is held in January. When the Electors vote. If you celebrate before Trump is out of office, you have not been paying attention.
Second, whither Trump? Trump is facing arrest, trial, and prison. Can you imagine what could come out during deposition? Why would burn-my-bridges Trump NOT blab? Nixon killed a whole lot more people, and they let him helicopter off into the sunset. Trace the paths. What is the fallout if Trump goes to trial? And if he doesn’t? Either way, there’ll be a lot of antagonism from either side.
If Trump is able to win a Supreme Court fight (several states are going to recounts. Trump’s people will try every angle to get the election into the House), he’ll win LEGALLY via the 12th Amendment. Everyone on the left will be furious, and even a few on the right, but it kicks the whole mess four years down the road of whether a former president is or is not above the law. And, as we learned in 2000, when you mistreat the left, especially centrists, they accept it.
Biden’s weak. All his centrism won’t help the sick and unemployed, and they will desert him by the midterms if he can’t come through with substantial and IMMEDIATE help. People are riding the euphoria of Trump-is-gone right now, but that won’t last for a week after the Inauguration. By the midterms, Biden’ll be as despised as Trump ever was.
More from Ted “always the happiest thoughts” Rall.
You didn’t talk about the Whitest House, that motherf–k will have to be soaked in disinfectant before Biden can even walk through the front door! He might have to wear an ex-NASA spacesuit to work in the oval Office in the first few weeks! Turtle Mitch can be gotten rid of, just have a sick COVID sufferer breathe on him and the hillbilly is dead. Have the same guy breathe on everybody in the GOP Senate, we’ll be free of the idiot elephants.
In this connexion, the New York Times has published an interesting interview with Ms Ocasio-Cortez….
It was a great article. Know what everyone’s starting to realize? It’s all about to go straight into the dumpster. Getting out now might be the only way to save face. With the single low-probability event that the dems win both run-offs in Georgia and thus gain barely-there control of the Senate, Biden’s got no path to victory. He won the popular vote, and that’s the last success he’ll enjoy. Sad.
We still don’t know if Mitch will lead the Senate next year. There is an election in January, and the same people who gave Georgia to Biden will probably give the Senate to Schumer. It was 48 – 48, but I guess now it’s 48 – 50, and if the Democrats get those 2 votes, they plan to add a bunch of judges to the SCOTUS and a bunch of Senators to the Senate. And then no more isolationists who waste four years without the US military spreading Democracy as every president from Reagan to Obama did.