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If Biden wins, then what?

Written By: - Date published: 11:29 am, November 7th, 2020 - 39 comments
Categories: covid-19, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, uncategorized, us politics - Tags:

I hope that I am not tempting fate by saying this but a Biden presidency seems almost inevitable.  Biden is ahead narrowly in Pennsylvania and Georgia with the momentum of postal votes behind him.  He is also ahead in Nevada and Arizona although by very slim margins and the trend of the late votes in Arizona being against him.  Trump may really regret insulting Arizona’s favourite son John McCain, presuming that he is capable of expressing regret.

The way things are looking Biden could win the presidency by a similar margin that Trump won it in 2016, 304 electoral college votes to 227.  He is also currently ahead of Trump by over 4 million votes in total.  This will increase as California has only tallied 77% of its total vote.

Georgia’s margin is razor thin, currently 4,263 votes out of nearly 4.9 million votes in total.  Never let anyone say to you that voting does not matter.  An Auckland work acquaintance who is originally from Georgia and was determined to vote for change will be one of those votes.

Trump has responded with all of the magnanimity and panache that has been associated with his time as President as well the way that he conducts himself in business.  From Russell Berman in the Atlantic:

President Donald Trump tonight raised the threat of a constitutional crisis to a new level. He issued an extraordinary series of baseless charges about the election he is on the verge of losing—that Democrats were stealing the vote, that the media had deliberately released “phony polls” to suppress Republican turnout, that “corrupt” officials in Detroit and Philadelphia were finding Democratic ballots to whittle away his supposed lead.

They were shocking things for a sitting president to say. He promised “a lot of litigation” and held out hope that the Supreme Court, now with a 6–3 conservative majority thanks to his appointments, would save him. But despite his fighting words, his body language betrayed a far different tone. He read from a prepared statement on his lectern, barely looking up at the cameras, his voice a flat monotone devoid of the verve he deploys to whip thousands of people into a frenzy at his rallies. The president’s most devout loyalists respond best to his energy, to the high-decibel passion, and occasionally indignant anger, that he brings to the stump. This speech contained none of that. Trump is a showman who prizes presentation above everything else, who watches his interviews with the sound off, who critiques appearances with precision, who famously mocks his opponents as “sleepy” and “low energy.” When Trump goes back to watch his performance tonight, he’ll see a salesman who wasn’t selling.

The media response to his speech is something that I have never seen.  A broad withering condemnation of what he said, evey by Murdoch owned press outlets.  Again from the Atlantic:

On Fox News, John Roberts described Trump’s remarks as the words of a man who was losing and trying to hold on to power. Even the loyal New York Post described the president as “downcast” and his charges as “baseless.” The talkers on CNN were even more withering: Jake Tapper deemed the appearance a disgrace. “We knew the president wasn’t going to lose gracefully, if he lost,” he told viewers. “But frankly, watching him flail like this is just pathetic.” Trump’s lone nominal defender on the network, former Senator Rick Santorum, said the president’s accusations were without merit and “dangerous.” Anderson Cooper likened the president to “an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun.”

Trump will not go quietly.  A large team of lawyers are fanning through states without a decisive margin and arraying a variety of arguments which basically involve arguing that some votes should be counted and others should not be counted depending on the perceived benefit to Trump.  There is no commitment to all valid votes being counted and the American people have their say, just a willingness to rort the rules for personal advantage, something that Trump has done all of his life.  And the arguments are getting extreme with lawyers fretting about observers being able to get close to vote counters in Covid ravaged America.

The Georgian result, should it hold, is particularly significant and two people, Stacey Abrams and Greg Palast deserve praise for ensuring that in a state where voting manipulation has been rife actually came through.

I wrote this two years in a post about voter suppression and about Abram’s unsuccessful Governor’s bid in Georgia where she almost pulled off an exceptional upset:

But one example really struck a nerve with me. The example was the Georgian governor’s race where the Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams, a black woman, looks like she may have only just fallen short in her attempt to become the first black governor in a state whose history was mired in slavery and where the force of the Voting Rights Act was required to force that state to begrudgingly start to respect that most basic of human rights.

The Republican candidate, Brian Kemp, proudly billed himself as a Trump conservative. He was Georgia’s secretary of state and even though he was a candidate and had so much hanging on the result he continued to oversee the elections in that state. So much for independent and impartial oversight.

Here is the kicker. For the past few years Abrams has been busy doing her best to make sure that as many people as possible could exercise their democratic rights, and for many years Kemp has been doing his best to make sure they couldn’t.

My post details all of the shenanigans that Kemp tried, including disenfranchising half a million Georgians including the 92 year old cousin of Martin Luther King who was involved in the original movement to gain the vote back in the 1960s.

Greg Palast also deserves praise.  He is an investigative journalist who has highlighted the use of roll purges particularly in Georgia and took Kemp to Court over his actions.

Of course purging of roles is not the only thing that occurs.  There is also the disproportionately long waits in black areas for the chance to vote.  And a myriad of other steps taken to favour the right as much as possible.

With New Zealand having recently completed its election process efficiently and comprehensively it is hard to imagine why America can’t.  But this bias appears to be a feature, not a bug.

Presuming Biden gets there how America handles the transition will be important.  Trump has riled up a large proportion of the population.  It is almost impossible to understand how so many Americans could have voted for him but clearly they are loyal and many of them believe the damndest of things.

I do not think it to be an overstatement to say that how America handles the next couple of months will determine its future.  With Don Trump junior tweeting about “total war” and Steve Bannon about having Anthony Fauci’s head on a stake we are at a very delicate stage in terms of the rhetoric being used.

And the really sad thing is that the whole election campaign has been one super Covid spreader event.  Overnight the US had 122,000 new reported infections, smashing the previous record of 100,000.  And the seven day rolling average trend line is going one way.

Hang in there America.  This is going to get rough.

39 comments on “If Biden wins, then what? ”

  1. froggleblocks 1

    Trump actually won 306 electoral votes in 2016, just there were 2 'faithless electors' that didn't vote for him on the day.

    Biden is currently on track to get 306.

  2. Maude Vini 2

    I am a NZer who has had journo training and I have watched with some fascination and horror the demographics of elections 2020. I think a few politicians have been influenced by the brash loud brazeness of Trumpism. No doubt he leaned heavily on charisma but a great deal of Americans have had enough. My daughter and family live there but why I took a keen interest was because the influence that trumpism had on NZers. The message was long as you loud enough tell them what they wanna hear.Throw in some misinformation lie lie lie! They will swallow it! Putty!! Thank God for the sane ones! All they want is Healthcare during the Panemic! Employment to pay their bills! Equals okay! They will get there! As my mother used to say! Even if its rocky just don't discount the ones who wanna make their communities and countries work.

    • RosieLee 2.1

      Charisma? YMBJ! He is an odious man and he has totally lost the plot. Ordinary Americans deserve better than this. I am just waiting for karma.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Biden, though an improvement on Trump, will likely pursue trade policies like the TPPA, which offer negligible benefits to New Zealand, but significant costs.

    Malpass has a Polyanna view on Trump's internal economic policies, but the Democrats have been irresponsible ineffectual globalising neolibs, and will doubtless waste no time in doubling down on the stupid.

    • Phillip ure 3.1

      I didn't think his musings were 'pollyanna'ish…those rust belt areas did see that uplift in employment etc….and industries also profited from the tarrifs he slapped on chinese goods…(aluminium et all)..which also created more employment…these are facts..not guesses..and of course many of those policies were also bernie-policies…(tarrifs etc..)..funny that..!

      • joe90 3.1.1

        Yup, retaliatory tariffs on US agriculture exports and an economy saddled with higher raw material prices is winning in tRump land.

        /

        Perhaps notably for the election, a Reuters analysis of 17 prominent counties in the five battleground states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin showed the limits of Trump’s controversial tax and trade policies in generating jobs where he promised them. All 17 of the counties had a voting age population greater than 100,000 people as of 2016, supported Obama in the 2012 election, and voted for Trump in 2016.

        In 13 of those counties, all in the Rust Belt region, private job growth lagged the rest of the country. Employment actually shrank in five of them. Of the four with faster job growth than the rest of the country, two were in Florida, one was in Pennsylvania and one was in Wisconsin.

        https://uk.reuters.com/article/usa-election-economy/the-rust-belt-boom-that-wasnt-heartland-job-growth-lagged-under-trump-idUSKBN27C1AX

        While the tariffs failed to boost overall steel employment, economists say they created higher costs for major steel consumers – killing jobs at companies including Detroit-based automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. Nationally, steel and aluminum tariffs resulted in at least 75,000 job losses in metal-using industries by the end of last year, according to an analysis by Lydia Cox, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Harvard University, and Kadee Russ, an economics professor at the University of California, Davis. In all, they estimated, the trade war had caused a net loss of 175,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs by mid-2019.

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-steel-insight/trump-steel-tariffs-bring-job-losses-to-swing-state-michigan-idUKKBN26U161

        • woodart 3.1.1.1

          not only that, but tariffs effectively put the price up on chinese made consumerables, hitting voters in their pockets,(not chinese pockets, despite trumps assertions).

  4. Ad 4

    Even with a Biden-Harris White House, Democrats don't have an operating majority in the Senate.

    So his achievements will – just like our government – need to concentrate on COVID19 recovery.

    If he has a running start and a favourable wind he could have a go at reversing those egregious corporate tax cuts that Trump put in.

    Then securing Obmacare.

    Then get some watery version of the Green New Deal going.

    Then carve off 2 Senate seats in the mid-terms.

    Then in his 3rd year, step down and let Harris feel the weight of the reins before having a crack at the election in 2024.

    Ambition needs to stay real, real low beyond that.

    • froggleblocks 4.1

      There's going to be 2 run-offs on 6th January for both of Georgia's senate seats.

      If Democrats won both, they would have a majority in the senate.

  5. Reality 5

    If Biden wins it will be a spectacle watching how Trump is actually physically removed from the White House. The tantrum toddler may barricade himself in behind locked doors.

  6. barry 6

    Don't forget the proud boys standing by for after the court efforts fail.

    It is going to be hard for Biden to make any change with the senate against him and a significant portion of the population radicalised. At least the president will no longer be pouring petrol on the various fires.

    What will be nice is a return to administrators who are experts, instead of people that are pushing a pro-development, pro-fossil fuel, pro-trump barrow. There might be a change of approach to dealing with Covid-19, but it is probably already too late to make much difference this (northern) winter.

    Internationally the stance won't change much. The USA will still be a bully. Biden will return to international institutions like WHO, but they will very much want to control them. It will be a bit more consistent without Trump and Pompeo running it, which may make them more effective and pernicious.

    NZ will have a harder job to stay on the sidelines. We need to keep both the USA and China happy. We can't afford to be like Australia and antagonise China to try to keep the USA happy.

  7. Macro 7

  8. Brendan 8

    Nat voter here.

    While the Democrats will enjoy not having Trump in the top job, they have a major problem.

    A huge number of people hate their guts. Gun sales will go through the roof. The coming prosecutions of Trump and co will embolden the base. And it looks as if they will not hold the senate. So forget about putting their favorite justice on the Supreme Court, when the next one quits.

    At the end the big prize will be – No Donald J Trump, rather than doing things which even the NZ Nat party think are normal – e.g. universal healthcare for all, affordable university and raising the minimum wage.

    Perhaps they should try and do more work at State Level?

    • aom 8.1

      "Perhaps they should try and do more work at State Level?"

      Since Trump has appointed almost a quarter of the Federal judges, mainly sycophants and of questionable qualification if the last Supreme Court appointments might suggest, the State level bases seem to have been polluted beyond functionality.

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Of course the USA must try to present a face of a just and authoritive society. So even if Trump is a crook you cannot afford the World to think of a President as anything but honest and credible. So no trial. Mind you Trump might pardon all his family and close aides. And even his drunken lawyer.

        • mac1 8.1.1.1

          "you cannot afford the World to think of a President as anything but honest and credible."

          The world thinks that of Trump now. Witness the headline of the Irish Daily Mirror- "A liar and a cheat to the bitter end."

          Headline in a friendly country about the President of the United States. Astounding.

          • ianmac 8.1.1.1.1

            Oh No! It was all just a misunderstanding. President Trump, (Note he will for the rest of his life be addressed as President Trump.) is a good man who works hard to make America great again, and while he is at it he will make the Trump empire so much richer. What is there not to admire there!

            • mac1 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, ianmac, if the referee had stopped counting points for Canterbury at zero, like Trump wanted the vote count stopped, Canterbury would still have drawn with our Tasman Makos!

          • weka 8.1.1.1.2

            notice all the MSM using the term 'lies' now too (although not as brash as the IDM). Pity they weren't doing that the past three years.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          Of course the USA must try to present a face of a just and authoritive society.

          They've actually never been that.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      A huge number of people hate their guts. Gun sales will go through the roof. The coming prosecutions of Trump and co will embolden the base.

      So, you're predicting that the US RWNJs are going to start a civil war?

  9. alwyn 9

    You propose that "The coming prosecutions of Trump and co will embolden the base"

    There will be no prosecution of Donald Trump.

    Not now, not ever.

    There are important things for Biden to do but trying to prosecute Trump isn't one of them. Look at Nixon when he went. Did Ford allow any prosecution of Nixon to be undertaken. Of course he didn't. He pardoned him so that the whole Watergate shambles could be put behind them and Nixon could simply become part of history.. Trying to prosecute Trump would be just like trying to prosecute Nixon. It would tear the Country apart for nothing. Biden is going to simply ignore Trump from the moment he takes office.

    • woodart 9.1

      yes, to prosecute trump would focus on the whole corrupt american electoral system.

      • Phillip ure 9.1.1

        It is not down to biden to prosecute trump…there is already a snowdrift of indictments…at both federal and state levels…

    • Brendan 9.2

      There is a lot to be said about not talking about future ex-President Trump upon the coming to office of a new President.

      If nothing else for simply being polite – as they say if you have nothing good to say about someone say nothing at all.

    • Tricledrown 9.3

      Alwynger Trump won't be prosecuted by Congress but the US tax service, State and Federal Police ,25 plus Women are prosecuting the pussy grabbing predator for sexual harrassment abuse and rape.Also RICO over his connections to Mafia in the US and Russia.

      Trump loves lawyers and litigation ,

  10. weka 10

    I think it is also reasonable to consider that the whole Trumpkopf thing is a distraction. The main narrative at the moment is that he is having a meltdown, that people are stepping back from supporting him, and that people are happy to just mock while the count is finished. I tend to the view that it is this simple, but I'm still getting reminders that in the time between now and handing over to Biden, much damage can be done. Even if he is a fool having a meltdown, this doesn't preclude other agenda. eg the law suits look so ridiculous that I've been assuming they are to create discord. Or maybe both (desperation and discord).

  11. Jackel 11

    Even stupid (Americans) people have a limit on how much ineptitude they will put up with.

  12. DS 12

    Trump will almost certainly try again in 2024.

    • aom 12.1

      From a new country of residence or the inside of a prison cell? Not likely. That doesn't preclude his inept off-spring or their equally compromised partners from steppingup to the plate on his behalf though.

  13. Macro 13

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