It is Friday evening, three days after election Tuesday, and although the outcome seems inexorably clear, there is much about this denouement that is unsettling. Not that Trump has been defeated. At that half the nation rejoices, the other half laments—and invents conspiracy theories as is their wont. Rather, it is that although this election was a personal loss for Trump, it was not a rejection of the goals and policies he espoused, at least not among his supporters. And even though it is a personal victory for Biden, it is not a ringing endorsement of his policies or even a faint-hearted applause for the Democratic Party’s policies.
As I wrote a few days before the election, this has been a triumph for American Democracy. A nation wracked with fatigue from the Covid-19 virus crisis has rallied to express the will of the majority. And this time, the will of the majority of voters will coincide with the majority of electors in the electoral college.
There are at least four significant facts about this election that we should note.
First, the single most important fact about this election is that Donald Trump got more votes this time than he did in 2016. As of this writing, some 7.5 million more than in 2016. Those who call this a rejection of Trump the man are right, but those who call this a rejection of Trump the politician, are dead wrong.
Second, as I wrote just before the election, it was not prudent to extrapolate that a massive turnout of early voters portended a massively larger overall turnout than in previous elections. As of now, Biden has almost 74,700,000 votes and Trump 70.5 million. Biden has almost 9 million more votes than Hillary Clinton did. Yet, we are still at an abysmal 66% of eligible voters turnout rate with a total of 158.8 million out of 247 million potential votes*.
And that total of 145 million votes between Biden and Trump is only 7 million more than the total between Trump and Clinton in 2016.
To carry on the muse, as I wrote before the election, Trump made a strategic error in attacking mail-in votes and relying solely on election-day turnout. Who knows if things would have turned out differently had he exhorted his supporters to vote by mail.
Third, this election result reflects more a demographic shift than love for Biden or hate or Trump. Given that Trump got 7.5 million more votes, the only conclusion we can draw is that even more Americans fell under his spell in 2020 than in 2016. Further, given that the press and pollsters were projecting that suburban women, African-Americans, and Hispanics were disaffected with Trump—and who in his right mind believes the press or pollsters?—either Trump gained a lot more new supporters, or the press and pollsters were wrong.
That this election is no endorsement of Biden or Democratic Party socialist adventures to come is clear from the erosion of the Democratic Party’s numbers in the House of Representatives, the strong edge that Republicans continue to hold at the state level, and only a slim possibility that the Democrats can gain control of the Senate.
It is more likely a reflection that Hispanics and African Americans care about their own economic welfare and personal security more than the Democrats realize.
Fourth, the nation has come to realize that when there is gridlock in Washington and the clowns in the legislature cannot get any laws passed, the country, left alone, prospers.
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