Jim Hartman: Biden wins: A “blue wave” mirage
It took until Saturday , but Joe Biden was declared the presidential winner by media outlets in his closely fought race with President Trump.
However, the expected “blue wave” landslide for Democrats — a sweep widely predicted by pollsters, politicians, pundits and the press — never materialized. It was a mirage.
When all the votes are counted, Biden will win a solid, but narrow, victory. His expected 306 electoral votes will equal the number Trump won in 2016. Biden’s popular vote margin exceeds 4.5 million and grows. His win in Nevada nears 3%.
In defeat, Trump proved that his conservative, populist movement driven by rural voters can also attract Latino voters — demonstrated in Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.
Joe Biden won the election, but he had no coattails. He has no mandate beyond addressing COVID-19 —and not being Donald J. Trump. The other results look like a defeat for the Democratic Party and especially for the progressive agenda.
In the battle for the U.S. Senate, Republicans pulled off what a few weeks ago looked nearly impossible. They likely keep their majority, surviving an enormous flood of Democratic money.
Democratic candidates raised a whopping $626 million in the 14 most highly competitive Senate races, vastly overshadowing Republican collections of $386 million in the same contests, according to FEC filings.
Polling reported Republicans at risk of losing up to 10 of their Senate incumbents— but only two were defeated. Outspent nearly 3-1 and never once leading in the polls, Maine’s independent moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins won in a 9-point blowout.
Right now Democrats have 48 Senate seats and Republicans have 50. Both Georgia Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have been forced into Jan. 5 runoff elections with Democrat opponents. If Loeffler and Perdue win, Republicans will hold the Senate (52-48) and America will have the check and balance of divided government.
While Democrats predicted that Republicans would lose as many as 20 House seats, it didn’t happen. Instead, Republicans have gained a minimum of 6 seats and may win up to 12. No House Republican incumbent lost for re-election.
After the election, Democratic lawmakers expressed frustration with party leaders, including 80 year- old Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Moderate Democrats complained that being labeled socialists and blowback from “defund the police” rhetoric undercut their electability.
As a result, there is now little ability for Democrats to enact a far left agenda in 2021. They can not end the legislative filibuster, pack the courts, ban fracking, dramatically expand Obamacare, implement the Green New Deal, increase taxes, or other progressive goals.
Democrats also failed in their campaign to take control of state legislative chambers last Tuesday. They failed to flip any of the GOP legislative chambers they targeted, and Republicans expanded their majorities in some statehouses.
The Nevada Assembly Republican caucus modestly increased from 13 to 16, thereby becoming no longer a super-minority on tax vote issues.
After the election, President Trump claimed victory and charged that it was being stolen. There are a variety of unsubstantiated assertions of fraud being widely circulated. Trump has every right to demand recounts if state votes are close, and go to the courts for relief if there is evidence of fraud. Regarding fraud, the Trump campaign will have to prove it to prevail in court.
Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush’s political strategist, throws cold water on claims of widespread voter fraud. Rove concedes “some hanky-panky always goes on…but stealing hundreds of thousand of votes would require a conspiracy on the scale of a James Bond movie. That isn’t going to happen.”
Republicans should congratulate President-elect Biden on his victory and pledge to work co-operatively with him — something too few Democrats were willing to do with Donald Trump in 2016.
Now more than ever, we need to come together as Americans.
Jim Hartman is an attorney residing in Genoa. His email address is email@example.com.