He lost fair and square, and by the time you get around to mathing it up, he lost in particularly impressive fashion. The binary nature of American politics thankfully broke through to the kind of people who will waste their votes on Greens or Libertarians or other feats of electoral masturbation, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris brought home a solid win for the idea that the four-year anomaly should not be allowed to continue.
Not that it will help. Anyone surprised at the reluctance of the Republicans to accept defeat hasn’t been paying attention for thirty years. Clinton did not break 50%, so he wasn’t really President. Obama was a secret Muslim born in Kenya so he wasn’t really President. Now, the thrust will be that Joe Biden was the beneficiary of a stolen election by some strange cabal of Democrats, Venezuelans, hackers, and [FILE_NOT_FOUND] and therefore is not really President. It is foundational to the Republican mind that no Democrat can ever legitimately hold power, and thus any cooperation or compromise or normal order of business is unthinkable and to be denied at every turn.
And this is a problem, because the Republicans have an unnatural advantage: they remain viable as a party purely thanks to structural flaws. They have lost every popular vote for President but one in the last three decades, seven of the last eight, but have put two in the Oval Office with fewer votes than their opponents. The last new GOP winner who had the most votes was in 1988. It’s past time for the Electoral College to go, because it has made it possible for a minority of thinly-populated rural states to prop up a party that can’t get more votes than its opponent. And spare me the concern for the intent of the Founders, which was already cast out with the 12th Amendment and further refined with the 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 24th and 26th Amendments. It’s time to stop pretending that the Electoral College is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.
Another thing we have to get our heads around is Congress. If you want to stop things, a President is sufficient. If you actually want to accomplish something, you have to have Congress. At this point, it looks like Joe will take office without control of both houses of Congress – which was bad enough when a minority GOP was dedicated to scorched Earth opposition to Clinton, or to Obama. Only an actual Democratic majority in the Senate will make legislation possible, and only by doing away with the filibuster – and right now, the ongoing orgy of recrimination about how Biden stole the election is there mainly to whip up the GOP and try to ensure they can remain in control by winning both Georgia runoffs. And if they do, prepare for the same problem as ever: the Republicans will sabotage everything the Democrats do to try to bring pandemic and economic relief, then blame them for the failure and win big at the midterms thanks to a dullard populace and a compliant and supine media. (If there’s one lesson from the last four years, it is that the New York Times is only fit to train a puppy on and no longer deserves to be regarded as a valid source of news, let alone any kind of “paper of record.)
And frankly, it’s time for wartime leadership from a new generation. I have nothing against Nancy Pelosi, who has regained control of the chamber twice and made Obamacare happen. She has been a stalwart and deserves to go down in history alongside Rayburn and O’Neill. But she’s 80 years old. The Democrats need leadership that doesn’t remember life before color television. The generational shift is long overdue. No more Boomers. No more Clinton-era loyalists. Skate to where the puck is going, not where it was during Vietnam or Lewinsky. That goes for Congress, it goes for the administration, and quite frankly, it goes for the DNC at this point. And it’s more important than ever, because while this was an existential crisis for America, it may not be the last one. Because the Republican Party is beyond help. They’re in the krokodil stage of their opioid addiction. The much-vaunted “Never Trump” rump faction is so small and ineffective as to be negligible, and the endless furrowed brows of Murkowski and Collins and Romney are no longer pertinent because there are no votes behind them. The Democrats need to act decisively and without appeasement, and only consider the opinion of a Never Trumper who is willing to act on it. Sorrow and concern aren’t worth a fifth of a damn if you follow the party every time anyway.
The Republican Party has become Trump, and Trump has become the Republican Party, and the GOP that built itself on Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan has been reduced to a postmodern religious cult of hate, fraud and make-believe. Only an idiot seeks to meet bullshit halfway, and there is nothing to gain by trying to split the difference with Crazy World. Call it out, cut it off, and shun everyone and anyone who won’t, including the catamites of the Washington press corps. “Come let us reason together” only works with people capable of reason, and the burden of proof is all on the other side now. Start by making the most simple litmus test of all: if you can’t say who won, you don’t get to play. The end.