ALTHOUGH the outcome is not yet known, the Democratic Party has fallen well short of its much-hyped expectations in the US presidential election.
Republicans look certain to keep control of the Senate, though with a reduced majority. Democratic nominee Joe Biden can still narrowly capture the White House, but the Republican Senate will be a roadblock to the sweeping changes in social and energy policies his party planned.
The polls predicted a landslide for the ageing Biden and his Left-wing running mate Kamala Harris. Trump has prematurely declared victory after a stronger showing than the polls and his media enemies predicted, and the ultimate victor will be decided in court.
But even if the final counts in the remaining battleground states evict Trump after a single term, it will be a squeak for Biden. Not winning the Senate will make his triumph pyrrhic.
Democratic threats to revolutionise government by packing the Supreme Court, ending the Senate filibuster that required 60 votes to pass legislation instead of a straight majority of 50, and plans to create two states to reinforce the Democratic advantage in Senate elections are so much ash – until the 2022 mid-term elections or later.
It is doubtful whether with this balance of forces, Biden will find it possible to keep his promises to rejoin the Paris climate accord or reinstate the jewel in the crown of Obama’s second term which was the nuclear deal with Iran that Trump scrapped.
Biden in the White House will motivate Republicans to turn out in force in the 2022 mid-terms to strengthen their numbers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, where Democrats are expected to retain control, in order to neuter a Biden presidency.
All told, it turned out to be not a bad night for the Republican party even if Trump suffers the humiliation of defeat. Never-Trumpers will be quietly satisfied that their party keeps a powerful foothold in Washington while ridding themselves of an embarrassing outsider whom they always resented.
A Biden victory would ensure that the Washington swamp would close over the Russiagate hoax that pursued Trump for four years and protect the perpetrators in the Obama administration, the FBI and the intelligence services from being held accountable.
Special prosecutor John Durham is pursuing a criminal investigation into the hoax but it may be delivered to an attorney general appointed by Biden who will have the power to accept or reject his findings.
Biden would also be able to bury his personal problem – his family’s involvement in a pay-to-play scandal involving Ukraine and China when he was vice president that erupted late in the election campaign.
Because the liberal MSM refused to cover the story, it’s not even clear how many Americans are more than vaguely aware of the details.
However, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, Trump is not yet a beaten man. He outperformed all expectations and a few thousand votes in Georgia and Pennsylvania could confirm him in the White House for four more years.
Although Democrats tried to blame him for the effects of the Covid pandemic, exit polls showed that the economy remained the biggest single issue for voters, and 56 per cent said during the campaign that they were better off now than under Obama and Biden. ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ is an epithet that still works its magic.
If Trump does prevail, the opposite applies to the future of the Russiagate and Biden scandals. Trump will pursue at least the former until he gets to the bottom of what was an attempted coup against him by the Obama government and ensure that its actors are revealed and punished.
One question is whether the strong Republican vote in a record turnout of the electorate was for Trump personally or for the Republican party. The answer will have a bearing on the prospects for Vice President Mike Pence’s chances of winning the Republican nomination in 2024 and the presidency itself.
Even with the White House in Biden’s hands, the Democrats face a difficult post-mortem on the reasons why their hoped-for landslide never happened. The pursuit of identity politics and the excesses of the social justice movement, including sustained rioting and looting in Democrat-controlled cities over the last six months, hasn’t enlarged their base.
New York academic Mark Lilla wrote at Unherd that the party, in concentrating on some more extreme groups in the population at the expense of others, had cut itself off from important voting constituencies. https://unherd.com/2020/11/when-will-my-fellow-liberals-learn/ He suggested the party professionals had let themselves be too influenced by the cultural Left in the media, the universities and Hollywood whose values do not resonate in middle America.
There are still serious doubts about Biden: whether at a frail 78 he would be able to see out a full term and how active a president he is capable of being.
The result of the Trump-Biden duel is still in the balance but it would appear that even if Trump loses, Republicans as a whole are still in the game and will remain so if they can hang on to Trump’s voters without the man himself.