Bruce Thornton, Sitting in Limbo.
Despite the Associated Press announcing Joe Biden’s victory, we’re still not done with the election. Several legal challenges from the Trump campaign and the Republicans are still in play, especially given the copious evidence of electoral fraud and skullduggery. We may yet see the AP’s announcement turn into “Dewey Beats Truman.”
As of now, we’re still facing three possible outcomes: Donald Trump wins and the GOP holds on to the Senate; Biden does win and the Democrats retake the Senate; Biden wins but the Republicans keep the Senate.
The first scenario is the best for all who believe in the Constitution’s limited and balanced government, unalienable rights at home, and a well-armed military that abroad puts our country’s interests and security ahead of various bankrupt globalist utopias.
In his first term Trump made progress on both fronts: at home revitalizing the economy with tax-cuts, pushing back on regulatory tyranny, defending the Bill of Rights, appointing originalist federal judges, and challenging the illiberal, leftist identity politics that has targeted much of the Bill of Rights in its efforts to complete the transformation of the U.S. from a republic of limited federal powers into a technocratic tyranny of “experts” who know better than the citizens do what is good for them and the country
Abroad, he has put America first, calling out free-riding allies all too happy to cozy up to China and Iran. He has exposed the failure of multi-national global institutions that have winked at China’s gaming of the “rules-based international order” to aggrandize its global reach and power, and weaken the U.S. He’s rejected the two egregious Potemkin multinational agreements, the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Accords, the former of which endangered our own and our regional allies’ security, the latter our economic strength. And both comprised empty promises, feckless bribes, and soothing diplo-babble that will not achieve their professed goals. Indeed, his triumph in brokering the normalization of relations between Israel and three Middle East Muslim states was based on rejecting one of the “moralizing internationalists’” most cherished foreign policy shibboleths: a Palestinian state “living side-by-side in peace” with Israel.
If Biden does win and the Democrats retake the Senate, needless to say we will see a substantial rollback of all these gains both domestic and foreign. Biden has campaigned on returning to the Iran deal and the Paris Accords, and made other empty promises about repairing relations with our allies whom presumably President Trump has serially abused and alienated.
Of course, given Trump’s success in the Middle East and the reduction in the number of our troops involved in endless wars, the Democrats mean our European allies. But contrary to their beliefs that talking nice and deferring to military pygmies will convince them to take more fiscal responsibility for the common defense, the Europeans act on the basis of national interests. Obama was beloved by the EU elite, and they picked his pocket clean. A good ally is one who by his actions shows he is no better friend and no worse enemy. Those who follow the “rules-based international order” end up the opposite: no worst friend, no better enemy. Going back, as Biden will do, to indulging our allies’ refusal to pay for their own defense even as they thwart our policies by cozying up to China and Iran would be a disaster.
At home, if the Dems follow through on the socialist agenda endorsed during the campaign, which basically comprises a redistributionist wish-list of unaffordable giveaways, they will damage the economy and worsen our looming debt, deficit, and entitlement calamity, especially if they return to the tax-and-spend, hyper-regulatory, anti-fossil fuel policies that during the Obama-Biden years delivered record deficits and one of this country’s most sluggish recoveries from a recession. We are also likely to see the current strong recovery from the lockdown recession strangled in its cradle by new taxes and spending that cripple growth. And Biden is talking about more lockdowns, especially given that blue-state governors on the road to bankruptcy will gamble that a Democrat-controlled fed will bail them out when they continue to willfully destroy their economies and tax revenues.
But trying to realize the socialist agenda is a big “if.” I think it’s an open question whether the Democrat Party has morphed into the party of AOC, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren as thoroughly as the media seem to think. We’re already hearing rumblings from Dems who were promised a “blue wave” that would reprise the Obama victory in 2008 and provide them with a clear mandate for change. Instead, the margins are razor thin, and as of now, it seems that the Republicans will keep the Senate.
Moreover, the Democrats have lost at least 10 House seats, narrowing their margin, and several state-houses, both a harbinger of change in the next midterm election. It seems many House Dems are unhappy with Nancy Pelosi’s failure to rein in the radicals who have tarred the party as “socialist.” As Abigail Spanberger scolded, “We do not need to use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again.” And in deep-blue California, ballot initiatives favored by progressives, such as legalizing discrimination in state hiring and admissions, and destroying gig-economy businesses like Uber and Lyft, failed by significant margins. It seems that not all Democrats are eager for the glorious socialist future we’ve seen advertised in the burning and looted streets of our biggest cities.
And don’t forget the Bernie-Bros, BLM, and Antifa base that are not likely to stay quiet if a Democrat-controlled government tries to dial back on the wild socialist promises they made all through the campaign. People who think that a vote for Joe will at least end the protests and rioting will be disappointed. The left is maximalist: it does not believe in win-win outcomes or incremental change. They want heaven on earth, and they want it now, not kicked down the road yet again by progressives who exploit them in order to gain power.
The failure of the blue tsunami touted by partisan media and pollsters suggests that an irrational Trump Derangement Syndrome, not a desire for radical change, made millions vote for Joe Biden despite his obvious cognitive difficulties, record of opportunism, and abuse of his office for personal financial gain. It’s questionable that a choice based on rejection of bad manners and style will be better able to institute significant change than one based on an inspiring, dynamic leader with a coherent, realistic set of policies that offer a way forward rather than a return to a failed past.
If this scenario comes to pass, we could very likely see the Dems lose the House, and maybe also the Senate, in 2022. Remember what happened to Obama: the Dems’ hubristic hijacking of the health-care industry, one-sixth of the economy, without a single Republican vote, even as we were still trying to get out of the recession, led to their losing the House in 2010, and the Senate in 2014. And Obama enjoyed widespread personal approval. He was young, attractive, charismatic, and great at reading a teleprompter. Joe has a yawning deficit in all these qualities, along with cognitive difficulties. It’s hard to see him taking the lead in making significant policy changes.
Finally, the most likely scenario as of now is Biden wins but the Republicans keep the Senate. This will still be bad, especially for foreign policy, where the president has more scope for change. But the Democrats will be blocked from any transformational changes like increased taxes, packing the Supreme Court, doing away with the Electoral College, or packing the Senate by making two new states. We will be just where the Founders designed us to be: divided and balanced so that the most important goal of the federal government, political freedom and unalienable rights, is protected. Remember, every two years the people have the chance to change their minds.
And given how far over the last century we have moved away from those goals, keeping the Senate, along with a majority in the Supreme Court, is big. But the Senate can’t just sit back and wait for the midterms. Starting immediately they need to have non-stop hearings and investigations into election fraud and the Biden family corruption. They need to use the federal courts the way the Democrats have done, thwarting the executive with court orders and injunctions every time he breathes. Most important, make it clear that, per the precedent established by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, all presidential appointments will be obstructed and if possible, denied.
Whatever the outcome when the dice finally stop rolling, conservative Republicans must hold their elected officials’ feet to the fire. What this election, likely won through fraud, shows is that the other side has one principle: “any means necessary.” Those who want to keep our Republic strong and free need to fight fire with fire.