Biden won! Hooray! Now let us dive into the little details of the 2020 Election Week.
A very small minority of Republicans split their tickets — So, although President-elect Joe Biden will be President in 2021 it’s not looking like he is going to have a supportive Congress like many past Presidents have had in their first two years in office. Democrats also lost seats in the House, only had a net gain of one Senate seat and they needed three to take control of the Senate. This means that there were Republicans in several states that voted for Biden and then Republicans down the rest of the their ballots. I say this because while Biden lost Texas (by closer than I ever would have imagined), MJ Hegar, the Democrat running for Senate in Texas lost by a lot more. Bien won Maine, but the Republican Senator kept her seat there. It looks like Biden will win Georgia, but both Republican Senate candidates got more votes than their Democratic counterparts.
Biden winning the Presidency is a big deal — A lot of this article is going to sound negative as Biden’s legislative agenda is DOA, but the Presidency is a very powerful office and as Trump and Obama have shown, there is a lot President’s can do through Executive Order. Biden can reimplement all of Obama’s climate regulations, rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, renormalize relations with Cuba, put the Iran Nuclear Deal back into effect, slow down deportations, and stop the sabotage of Obamacare. It’s also a huge sigh of relief for those who believe character matters.
Conservatives need to stop suppressing the vote — Republicans are going to maintain control of the Senate which will hamstring Biden’s agenda. There will be no Green New Deal, no expansion of Obamacare, and no democracy reform items like statehood for Puerto Rico and DC. They maintained control of the Senate for the simple fact that there are more red states than blue states. They won nearly all of their toss-up races despite the massive spike in voter turnout and Biden winning more votes than any other Presidential candidate in history. They talk about voter fraud as if it is rampant when these accusations are unsubstantiated, hearsay, and conspiratorial which is why they need to enact stricter voting rules which mostly slow down votes of minorities and young people. Voter turnout was extremely high this year and they won a lot of elections anyway. Voter fraud is a myth currently being spread by Republicans who are sounding an awful lot like Democrats did in 2016 and I do not mean that as a compliment. Biden won, get over it. Facts don’t care about your feelings.
Progressives need to stop burning money on lost causes — I get it, people want to donate to candidates who we like and agree with or candidates who are up against evil people like Mitch McConnell or Lindsey Graham. I get it, progressives want more AOC’s and less Joe Manchin’s in the Democratic Party, but here’s the thing. Most states do not have the tilt of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district. She won handily in a very liberal district and her primary opponent was complacent. You can’t run a progressive Democrat in a conservative state and expect them to win no matter how much money they have.
Money in politics is an overrated issue — Money does not determine the outcome of elections, it helps, but it cannot overcome intense political polarization. Steve Bullock ran five points ahead of Biden in Montana because he was a moderate candidate who people wanted to have a beer with. Jaime Harrison raised $100 million for his Senate race in South Carolina and he lost badly. Donate to the moderate Senate candidates who can actually win in 2022, not people running for Congress who have no shot. Just because you want a Democrat to represent you, doesn’t mean that voting or volunteering for them is going to overcome polarization. Remember, power begets power. Let’s win the midterms, focus on eliminating the electoral college, neutralizing Republicans’ advantage in the Senate, and then you can start donating $100 million dollars to Jaime Harrison type candidates again.
Gerrymandering is about to get retrenched — Republicans hold trifectas in multiple states and gerrymandering loses its efficacy over time. People move, die, change their minds, so the extreme partisan redistricting done in 2010 isn’t as good as it once was. It is about to get worse again. Democrats control more Governor’s mansions in key states so they have some veto power there, but Republicans picked up three trifectas. Michigan also enacted an independent redistricting commission in 2018 so it will get more balanced there. Overall though, 2022 does not look good for Democrats keeping the House of Representatives, much less the Senate.
Polls suck — Pollsters across the board gave Biden very good chances to win. 538 had him winning in 90% of scenarios. Some pollsters had him winning Florida. One pollster said he would win Wisconsin by 17 points. He’s winning all of the swing states by thin margins and there were no coattails for those in down ballot races. The one thing to remember is that pollsters guess what a candidate’s margin of victory will look like within the poll’s margin of error, but even if you take the margin of error into account, the polls were still pretty bad.
The US Senate is still (barely) up for grabs — it looks like Democrats gained two seats in Arizona and Colorado, but lost one in Alabama. This puts the current control of the Senate at 48–52. A 50–50 split would make Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote. Georgia has what are colloquially referred to as “jungle primaries” where there can be multiple candidates for Senate, but the winning candidate needs more than 50% of the vote in order to win outright. If it’s less than that, then it goes to a runoff election in January. Neither sitting Republican Senator of Georgia received more than 50% of the vote meaning both are heading to a runoff. It looks like Biden is going to win Georgia so it’s unlikely but not impossible for them both to win and give Biden a supportive Senate.