At last, no more endless analyses of the inevitable, with every morning’s news update showing another percentage point closer to a decision; it’s like ground hog day in journalism. It’s done, Joe Biden wins and Trump is out, even if he doesn’t know or admit it; so goes the greater of two evils. Now all we have to do is bear four years of what hopefully is the lesser of two evils. So where are we?
Is this really what we are celebrating in the streets about? Did we actually vote out a president we didn’t want in order to get a president we didn’t want? Did I actually see crowds without masks, packed together and sharing bottles of champagne? Where are the Fauci fanatics? What exactly are we celebrating? In a way it is understandable; four years of the egregious behavior of a delusional authoritarian is at an end, but what are we getting now?
Still, good riddance to the “reality” (there’s an oxymoron somewhere in that) show host, and let’s hope that what we now have is just not something that looks better than Trump but actually is. We sorely need that, but my suspicion is we may not get it. Biden is like a pain killer; numbs but doesn’t cure. So while you’re numb, what happens?
Biden, if nothing else, is a clever politician that has found a way to stay in the game for 50 years. Assuming he means what he says about his mandate for cooperation with a reach across the aisle, especially if the Senate Republican, that will be a disappointment to the AOC camp of progressives more interested in some sort of purge. An administration forced to fight two fronts, one being the Republicans, the other a faction in their own party, will mean more gridlock, although at least that will mean the government will do less harm.
As far as Biden’s vows to fight COVID more aggressively, he recently stepped in a little problem he may not easily get off his shoe; he had discussed mandatory lock-downs, but was advised that doing so could enrage Americans more than gain him any support. While a V shape recovery is unlikely as we will have a slow slog out of this mess, further restrictions on Americans being able to have a livelihood will only fuel a deepening resentment that could mean a mid-term flip in the House. So Biden back-peddles and calls it a presidential “urging”; that may have a hollow ring to it, but better that than some draconian dictate. Again, Biden is a survivor and he understands that a 3.4% edge in the popular vote that just managed to flip some key states is hardly mandate territory.
So it all comes down to the Senate. North Carolina and Alaska have provided two more Republican Senators; if Georgia provides one more Republican senator in the January runoffs, Biden will not have a Democratic Senate. However, while the Washington Post ran a very good article showing how the numbers add up in favor of both Republicans, we’re talking about a state that flipped Democratic, which hasn’t happened since 1992, so nothing is a given; if both runoffs go Democratic, we’ll have a split, but with Harris you get the tie-breaker going Democratic, but that also makes for a chaotic situation.
The Georgia senate run-offs have become so critical that you have Schumer of NY calling for a migration of Democrats to Georgia before the December 7th cut-off date to register to vote in order to stack the outcome, something the Georgia constitution does not permit. How is it that the Democrats rage against Trump calling the presidential election fraudulent but then advocate fraud?
The news now is more about the vaccine than voting, and it has been good news, although the famous Greenspan “irrational exuberance” seems to be back in the markets. The talk about more stimulus will likely play a lot but with unemployment falling, the likelihood of a vaccine next year, a surging market, irrational as it may be, more helicopter money may not happen, or at least be a lot less than Madame Pelosi wants.
Biden is proceeding with his transition team, and well he should as there is likely little to come from the Trump challenges. True, a state judge has found that the Pennsylvania Secretary of State violated the law with the voting extensions, and some other irregularities have been noted, but likely there’s not enough to change that state’s outcome, or even if there were, that alone will not give Trump a win.
Biden will have little fuel to fire up his thinning edge in the House now that it’s apparent that SCOTUS looks like it’s going with the severability doctrine that will keep the ACA in place, sans the mandate. The abortion issue is likely to become a back page as the mood in the court is to avoid challenging precedent. The same goes for gun control, another issue with little play politically.
What’s increasingly becoming more of an issue is stimulus, and its hangover problem with debt, something we have so much of already that the dollar is falling daily against other major currencies to the point that it may lose its reserve status. In fact, what Biden is facing is something every president dreads – empty pockets and a dead locked Congress. With all that he promised during the campaign regarding huge spending programs, it is increasingly likely he will be a very frustrated president given that the Fed has nearly exhausted its abilities monetarily (other than dangerously exposing itself with QE purchases of more corporate debt), the burden for more stimulus lies with fiscal machinations at a time where only taxation and printing presses are at his disposal. The former adds to a midterm issue, and the latter to potential Carter like stagflation.
So we seem to be exactly where our enemies would want us, broke, weak, disoriented and disunited; that situation may very well present Biden with some international crises. Hopefully, he will not play into the call for some stupid military adventure like Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq; the last thing this country needs is to get involved in some foreign intervention that would bleed an already hemorrhaging nation.
What we need is leadership away from the bungling of the past and a return to the principles of our Republic, relieving Americans of the burdens of a warfare and welfare state that has jeopardized the future prosperity of our children and grandchildren. The problem is we needed this years ago, but we can’t change the past. Will Joe Biden be the leader to get us back to having a future? We will soon find out.