This is not the outcome Democrats expected.
Despite many bold predictions of a rout in which Democrats gained (or re-
gained) Trumpian red territory of 2016, as of early Wednesday only one
state — Arizona — had flipped from red to blue. Six states remain
outstanding: Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and
Assuming North Carolina and Georgia have slipped away from Biden — Georgia
is not out of reach for him — and that Nevada remains blue, the best-case
scenario for the former vice president is a 290-electoral vote victory.
That’s more than George W. Bush achieved in his two successful campaigns
(271 in 2000 and 286 in 2004), but fewer than Barack Obama (365 in 2008
and 332 in 2012) and Donald Trump (304 in 2016).
A win, of course, is a win. But if Biden is victorious, it will be under
radically curtailed circumstances from what Democrats had assumed.
There are few hints in the 2020 results of a realignment akin to what
Ronald Reagan achieved when he made Jimmy Carter a one-term president in
1980 and ushered in the era of modern conservatism. There is no sense that
Biden has reformed and re-invented the Democratic Party to be more
competitive the way Bill Clinton did in 1992, when he defeated George H.W.
Bush. There aren’t yet hints that Biden has assembled a new coalition the
way that Obama did in 2008.
Biden lost ground with Black voters and Latinos, though he gained some
ground with white voters. Realignments are generally built around concrete
ideas and specific policy platforms. But this campaign was always a
referendum on Trump, rather than an affirmative endorsement of Biden and
his agenda. That dynamic already cut against Biden claiming a strong
positive mandate. He needed a crushing rejection of Trump to strengthen
He also needed the Senate.
But Democrats may fail to realize widespread predictions of re-taking the
chamber. That would mean whoever prevails in the presidential race, Mitch
McConnell might remain in charge of the upper chamber, retaining his role
as arguably the most consequential politician in Washington. In that case
Biden would be the first president in 32 years to come into office without
control of Congress, another dynamic that would weaken claims of a
The Democrats’ anti-filibuster movement and its interest in expanding the
Supreme Court and the Senate, or any other process reforms to maximize a
new Democratic president’s power and influence, would be placed on pause.
A President Biden’s agenda would be defined by his ability to win over the
entire Senate Democratic caucus, from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin, and
then as many as 10 Republicans. Ultimately, Biden would have to deal with
McConnell, who would undoubtedly reprise the role he played in the Obama
era when he had no incentive to help Obama rack up legislative
Final results that fall short of a massive rejection of Trump, as seems
likely, would fail to trigger the repudiation of Trumpism in the
Republican Party that many Democrats — and a minority of Republicans — had
hoped for. As John Harris argues, whatever the final numbers, Trump’s
appeal to half the country has proven to be durable. Even a narrow Biden
victory would generate a larger debate about Trump’s harm to Republicans,
but the full-scale de-Trumpification of the GOP required a landslide.
To be sure, presidents who have won narrow victories have been able to
turn them into consequential presidencies. Bill Clinton, a popular vote
plurality victor, passed much of his first term agenda and comfortably won
reelection. Circumstances can always intervene. George W. Bush, the lowest
electoral vote winner in modern history, vastly expanded executive branch
powers after 9/11 on his way to reelection.
But this is not the scenario many Democrats hoped and prepared for. They
wanted a landslide that ended before midnight on Election Day, one that
unambiguously crushed Trump and Trumpism, swept in a Democratic Senate,
and showed a large majority for the Biden agenda.
Some of these goals could become more real as the final numbers post. But
instead, at least for now, Democrats have an unsettled outcome, a real
possibility of a second Trump term, and in that vacuum of uncertainty a
president who immediately began sowing doubts about the final results, in
a speech in the East Room at 2:30 a.m., and making threats to
In fairness, a lot of Biden advisers tried to tamp down expectations. A
senior Biden adviser told me last week that the “path of least resistance”
for a Biden victory was through Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the
single electoral vote from Nebraska-2, a combination that wouldn’t require
North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, or even Pennsylvania. It would be just
enough for 270 electoral votes.
On Wednesday morning that appeared to be one of the more likely paths for
Biden to become president: a bare victory, but victory nonetheless.
No collusion - Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III, March 2019.
Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump
Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.
Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp. Obama sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood
queer liberal democrat donors.
President Trump has boosted the economy, reduced illegal immigration,
appointed dozens of judges and created jobs.
Senile loser and NAMBLA supporter Nancy Pelosi got "Trumped" on February
5, 2020. "President Trump, Not Guilty."