(1) The majority of Americans have had it with Trump. And —
(2) they have also had it with the Siren Song of the far left.
No more crisis mismanagement, tantrums and distemper from the Oval Office, and no more talk of doing away with the police or embracing Socialism, Marxism, or any other sobriquet for dismantling the most promising, if imperfect, economy the world has ever known.
The first lesson has cost Donald Trump the Presidency, possibly by more than 7 to 8 million votes when all remaining ballots are counted. Biden has won 306 electoral votes (assuming there is no coup), the same number of electoral votes won by President Trump in 2016, which Trump trumpeted as a landslide.
The second lesson (rejection of perceived hard-left ideology) has cost the Democrats the Senate and nearly the House of Representatives. A clear majority of Americans have rejected political pandemonium in both the executive and legislative branches of government. Most (but certainly not all) Americans yearn for a return to political sanity.
Trump’s Theater of the Absurd
President Trump and a band of Trump acolytes are conducting themselves horribly in the aftermath of the election. Trump had insisted that every legal vote be counted while, simultaneously, announcing that the definition of a legal vote was a Trump vote and the definition of an illegal vote was a Biden vote. He, outrageously, insisted that all vote counting cease at the end of the day on November 3rd.
While winners of elections have sometimes been projected on the evening of an election, votes are always counted for days after an election, and winners are generally not determined on the evening of an election.
Now, Trump is sending armies of lawyers to contest every battleground-state election he lost with spurious suits that are being dismissed by the courts as groundless as soon as the attorneys present their evidence-anemic cases. One can only speculate what the intended purpose is of the tens of millions of dollars being raised, supposedly, to fight the results of the election.
Given the short shrift the courts are making of the evidence-anemic cases being presented, just what is the intended purpose of the stash of cash being accumulated by Trump and his Katzenjammer crew? Well, a quick glance at the fine print of Trump’s “Official Election Defense Fund” provides rather illuminating answers. According to Reuters, one of the world’s oldest and most respected news organizations, a donor would have to give more than $8,000 to the so-called Election Defense Fund before any money goes to challenging the results of the election. Most of the money will go to “Save America,” a Trump leadership Political Action Committee, set up a week ago, and to the Republican National Committee. Both organizations have substantial leeway to do whatever they want with the funds.
Virtually every credible election authority has dismissed the Trump allegations of election fraud as spurious nonsense including those officials within the Trump Administration charged with responsibility for assuring election integrity, as well as Republican officials responsible for election integrity at the state level.
It seems clear that Trump has no intention of conceding the election, nor is his concession necessary. It is noteworthy, however, that virtually all other losing candidates have had the class and grace to concede when they have lost an election, including Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mitt Romney and George H. W. Bush to name a recent few. Interestingly, John McCain, whose well-earned status as an American hero drove Trump to utter distraction, delivered one of the classiest concession speeches ever accorded to an opponent, Barack Obama, whose class and popularity also drives Trump crazy.
The 45th presidency of the United States ends at noon on January 20th 2021, and the 46th presidency, that of Joseph R. Biden, commences concurrently. At some point there becomes a fine line between contesting an election and attempting to seize power. No one has ever tried to do the latter in America, but autocrats try it all too frequently. Let us beware.
Rejecting the Siren Song of the far left
A civil society cannot endure without well-policed law enforcement. Yes, we all understand that there have been abuses, sometimes deadly, often racially motivated, at the hands of uniformed police officers. Great effort has been made and must be redoubled to rout out miscreants who bring shame to law enforcement. There is no segment of society, however, that cringes more when bad cops do bad things than good cops who work every day doing good things. And the good cops are the norm.
Loud and strident demands to do away with the police, and, make no mistake about it, that is what many in the so-called defund movement are advocating, have freaked out tens of millions of Americans, democrats and republicans alike. The defund movement, which deteriorated into reckless bombast with no place to go, unquestionably cost Democrats millions of votes. Voters who have had it with Trump had no problem voting for Republican legislators at both the federal and state level who they believe, correctly or incorrectly, are more committed to supporting law enforcement.
Laisse-faire capitalism has been dead in America since the end of the robber-baron era at the dawn of the 20th century, and good riddance. For nearly all of the past century Americans have lived with a slowly strengthening but comparatively weak safety net underpinning their daily existence. Compared to the rest of the developed world, including those nations with the most committed market-oriented economies, we provide a much weaker safety net for our citizens.
For instance, in America contributions to social security equal about 6% of GDP. In Germany, which hosts a strong and vibrant market-oriented economy, social security contributions represent 14 percent of GDP. Strengthening the social safety net in America should be on the national agenda for discussion without engendering the predictable tired and worn fears of socialism and Marxism.
Those who advocate a stronger safety net for the American people are quickly saddled with socialist, if not Marxist labels. And, of course, we have always had an assortment of bonafide socialists in the public square, seriously advocating for real economic socialism, i.e. control, if not ownership, of the means of production. The noise makes rational discussion and consideration nearly impossible.
Most Americans believe, or want to believe, in the American dream—that everyone can get ahead and rise to the full level of their potential. Many, perhaps most Americans, and certainly this writer, recoil at the thought of living under a stringent, planned, non-market-oriented economy that they see as the death knell for the American dream. So political campaigns that throw around terms like socialism turn off millions of voters. Here too, millions of voters who have had it with Trump, still tilted toward legislators at all levels of government who they believe will protect them from the imposition of socialism, let alone Marxism.
The message the majority of Americans have decisively sent in this election is that they can reject Trumpism and also reject what they see as political radicalism.
The election and the electorate both performed exceedingly well.