So…..What Now?

Hi! How you all doing? In case you aren’t sure what happened yesterday, Joe Biden won. No, this won’t be official for a couple of days. Yes, there will be controversy for a couple of weeks at a minimum. But we’re done here. Biden will win Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Combined with the Second Congressional District in Nebraska, that gets him to 270.

There will be a recount in Wisconsin. That won’t change the results. There will be litigation to stop the counting of ballots that arrive after Election Day in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The problem for Donald Trump is that Biden will be ahead in Nevada based on ballots that arrived by Election Day and it doesn’t matter who wins Pennsylvania or North Carolina.

Aesthetically, it’s cleaner for Biden if he wins Pennsylvania (where the odds are in his favor), Georgia (which looks like a toss-up at worst), and North Carolina (where Trump is still favored, but not safe.) This would bring him to 320ish Electoral Votes (pending what happens with a Congressional District in Maine.) That’s more than the 306 Trump won in 2016. We don’t know where the national popular vote margin will wind up once California finishes counting sometime in mid-2023, but at a minimum, Biden won by 4%.

Democrats and Never Trumpers are disappointed. It’s still not official. Way more of their fellow citizens voted for a poor caricature of a despot than they would have expected. It’s still a divided country. The next few weeks will be messy. Have I mentioned that speech last night was an abomination? It was also a concession speech. No candidate, even one like Trump, gives that speech if they think they won. As unconventional as everything 2020 is, the winner gave a victory speech and the loser a concession, though on the surface both appeared as something different.

Mitch McConnell will likely continue to lead the Senate in January. Susan Collins (ME) and Thom Tillis (NC) both apparently survived. Collins is at 50.84% with about 95% of the vote in. Should she dip below 50%, ranked choice voting takes effect, and the second choice candidate of the people who voted for a third party candidate get reapportioned. To lose, Collins would need to get less than 10% of those second choice votes. I don’t see that happening. Tillis is running ahead of Trump, who is still ahead of Biden. Even if that gap is made up, and Democrat and sexter Cal Cunningham wins, Democrats would need to win both run-off elections in Georgia to get to a 50/50 spit, with Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker.

Plan on divided government for our divided country.

Democrats were projected to add to their House majority. It shrunk. As is usually the case, moderates were the casualties. This will put Speaker Pelosi in an awkward position. As it was, she balanced precariously between the representatives who won in purple/reddish districts in 2018 and the AOC wing. Now the balance is gone, but her need to keep from tilting too far left is even more clear. The smaller majority is now in easy range of turning into a minority with a normal negative midterm for the incumbent party in 2022.

The GOP Senate will prevent Biden from doing anything particularly bold. You can argue this is something he secretly hoped for, but either way, a Democratic president isn’t going to get a Green New Deal, or college debt forgiveness, or extra Supreme Court justices, or anything on the target list passed in this environment. The left is going to be frustrated beyond recognition. This while you can make a solid case that Florida and Texas were lost because the Biden campaign did a poor job making the case to various Latino voter groups that a Democratic win wouldn’t usher in socialism.

This is where we are. You can argue it’s terrible, because not that much was resolved. Conflict is assured. Or you can be optimistic and say that an a country that still hasn’t agreed on a path forward, at least we’ll get to take a bit of a pause.

Half empty. Half full. The choice is yours.

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