Americans have spoken: they want Trump out of office,

but they don't want Biden to govern

Aractus 05, November, 2020

Both candidates have made history

The vote count is not yet complete for 2020 US presidential elections, but at this stage it looks like Trump has increased his vote by over 8 million compared to 2016. Yes Mr. President, that is “huge”. With a total vote likely to be around 71 million, that is higher than any other presidential candidate has ever received prior to 2020 – the record for the highest vote was previously set by Barrack Obama in 2008 with 69½ million votes. An incredible vote for the Donald, and a record. However, it’s not the highest in history. There is a presidential candidate with an even huger vote, and that is Joe Biden who will likely finish with around 74 million votes.

Is the American system broken?

While it’s unclear right now what the ultimate result will be, the people have spoken and they’ve spoken forcefully. The Republicans are making small gains in the House, the Republicans will almost certainly hold the Senate. Yet the people have spoken clearly about the president: they are sick of the Donald, and they want him out of the White House.

‘Mini’ Mike Bloomberg warned in January of this year that if Biden wins he would probably be a lame duck president. He then went on to blow $1 billion in a futile campaign to beat ‘Sleepy Joe’ and become the nominee. Yes one fucking billion US dollars. The Donald quite justifiably mocked him for it, even asserting that the true cost of his campaign was $1 billion around six weeks before the campaign’s official filings proved this.

Well Mr. Bloomberg, if Biden wins it looks like you are right. He will face a deadlocked Congress with a hostile Senate and be unable to implement the policy agenda that people endorsed by his candidacy. How on earth is this fair and democratic? Well there is one way to possibly interpret this – the voters want the Donald out of office, but they do not want to let ‘Sleepy’ old Joe Biden govern either.

In other parliamentary democracies this kind of gridlock isn’t a massive problem. I’ll explain the solution in a moment, but first an example as given by Antony Green just yesterday, and you’re in for a real treat because it involves one of the most entertaining political episodes of recent times: Brexit. In 2016 people of the UK were given a referendum to ask whether they wanted Brexit or not, and they voted “yes”. The prime minister then resigned and the government promoted an anti-Brexit person to be prime minister, who then went to the polls in a “snap” general election the following year seeking to increase her majority to get through her hardly-Brexit “vision”. She was given a good old fashion British spanking and returned with a minority government. This produced a gridlocked parliament where no progress on Brexit could be made. She was forced to resign and in a leadership contest a pro-Brexit competitor took over as prime minister. He promptly reformed the party’s Brexit policy to be much more pro-Brexit, he kicked out anyone who disagreed, and finally with the minority government inherited and gridlocked parliament he sought to break the deadlock by going to the people in a general election. The electorate rewarded him by returning the government with a thumping eighty seat majority, which as the Donald would say is huge. This also helped the opposition party, they were able to use this opportunity to get rid of the dead-eyed socialist who was in charge and put in someone a little bit more sensible. This demonstrates the solution as to how to break the deadlock in a democracy – reform your policy agenda to reflect what the people want and go back to the polls. It don’t get no simpler than that. Here in Australia the government held an early “double dissolution” election in 2016 to break the gridlock between the House and the Senate, and the government was indeed returned.

This means that the people want policy reform from Joe Biden, and extension the Democrats, before they’re ready to let them govern. The problem is Biden doesn’t have this option. US federal politics is strictly governed by fixed-term appointments. When they have an election it doesn’t even take immediate effect, the election they’ve just had won’t change the president until 20 January 2021 which is more than enough time for the Donald to ram through as much of his outstanding agenda as he can. They’ve no option to say “I am a lame duck unable to govern and need to go back to the polls”.

Worse still though, it’s not in the Republican’s political interests to compromise and let Joe Biden govern. They can most likely wait out four years, all the while the Donald will be tweeting “Sleepy Joe isn’t doing anything – 47 years, now 48, … now 51 years”, after which time he’ll start tweeting “When is sleepy Joe going to start doing what he said he was going to do 4 years ago?” and the narrative will be that the lame duck president got nothing done just like in his previous 47 years. The people will have had enough and elect whatever generic Republican candidate is presented, perhaps Kanye West.

Lessons must be learned

The narrative that the Donald is an illegitimate joke candidate and an aberration of US presidential politics has been proven wrong. The false-narrative that Biden was the man who could unite the US has also been proven wrong. He didn’t win by taking the high ground, he won (the popular vote at least at this stage) by lowering himself to Trump’s standards and then getting into the gutter with him. He didn’t ever call the Trump voters a basket of irredeemable deplorables, as Hillary did in 2016, but he showed no intention of understanding them either. The US media painted a picture where Trump 2016 voters were dissenting to the Democrats and Biden because of how appalled they are at Trump – what alternate reality are they living in? There is no universe in which Trump loses a significant chunk on his base and yet increases his vote by eight million (est.). That doesn’t happen. That isn’t reality. An incumbent president does not increase his vote by 8 million if his voters are abandoning him for the other side. Almost half of voters have voted in favour of 4 more years. No wonder Trump feels like the “fake news” media have been lying and promoting a false reality for 4 years.

Yes he’s obnoxious. But that does not excuse the media treating him the way they have for four years. Even here in Australia you could see the bias – I’ll give a couple of examples. During yesterday’s coverage, the host Ellen Fanning would accuse other panellists of “normalising this presidency”. Later when Trump claimed he had “won” Pennsylvania during his 2AM speech, she was aggrieved and asked Antony Green to “fact check”. Like the true professional that he is he said “well we’ll have to wait for the returning officer”. Then she pressed him by asking “but it hasn’t been called yet, how can he say that he’s won?” And Antony said something along the lines of “well it’d be like me saying that he’s won or lost a State. It’s just an opinion, we’re getting out data from the Associated Press and Fox News and they don’t have any official capacity to call a State either, it’s just what we do because the media likes to call a state before the official result has been declared”. Well done Antony for actually standing up for the candidate’s right to claim they’ve won a state ahead of the media if they choose to. Would anyone have bat an eye had he said “we’ve won Alaska”? For goodness sake ABC pained California blue before a single vote was even counted with Antony declaring “it’s a safe state so we’re giving it to the Democrats now before we even have any votes – they won’t do that in the US because it could affect their votes, but we’re not in the US so we can do what we like”. He did that right in front of Fanning, and she wasn’t grumbling then.

The pollsters were badly, badly wrong again. Just as I said they would be. And yet today, on the news, Spearsy talked to a pollster and asked him “how did the pollsters get it so wrong again” and the pollster said “well I don’t think we did get it wrong …”. Now this was an American pollster, but if one of the most respected Australian political journalists asks you how you got something “wrong”, you’d better believe you got it wrong. The pollster talking like a politician to one of our very best political journalists? What a fucking joke.

More importantly though, the Democrats obviously did not learn the lessons from 2016 at all. This is not a resounding vote of confidence in Joe Biden, it’s a vote that says they want to get rid of Trump for good, but don’t want to let Biden have any Congressional power to achieve his agenda.

Joe Biden is not the man who can unite the country

In 2008 John McCain ran a respectful campaign and refused to tell his supporters that Obama was dangerous and that they should be afraid of an Obama presidency. The result was that he lost the presidential election.

In 2016 Trump saw this as a critical political mistake, and ran squarely on a platform of deriding his competitor ‘Crooked Hillary’ as corrupt and unfit for office. Unsurprisingly that was a message that resonated.

The US has never been united. Stan Grant has some excellent analysis on this. Obama couldn’t unite the country – Black Live Matter started under his presidency. He set the stage for Trump. That’s not me making that claim, I’m using Stan Grant’s analysis. Biden didn’t reach out to Trump voters and win them over the way that the media fraudulently claimed was happening.

What the 2020 election has exposed is that US presidential and federal politics is extremely divided and partisan. If Biden wins then he’s elected as a lame duck, exactly as Mike Bloomberg said in January. There was no resounding endorsement of the Biden-Harris agenda. He won’t be there to govern, just to sit there in a de-facto caretaker period (that’s just a polite way of saying “lame duck”) for four years until presumably there’s someone better worth voting for in 2024, well at least that’s what the voters are hoping for.

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