With 72.2 million votes, Joe Biden has already won more votes than any presidential candidate ever. He overtook Barack Obama’s 66.4 million while Donald Trump scored 68.5 million.
This has been a high-scoring election. Republicans now describe themselves as the party of the working class but exit polls suggest Trump won support among voters with family incomes higher than $100,000, whereas Biden won among those who earn less.
As The New York Times reported, Republicans neutered the Voting Rights Act, purged voter rolls, shuttered polling places and kneecapped the Postal Service, preventing the timely return of hundreds of thousands of ballots. There is no way to know how many people might have voted if their government had sought to help rather than to impede them.
Republicans also sought to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the election by concocting fantasies about widespread voter fraud. And in Pennsylvania, Republicans prevented the counting of early votes before Election Day, ensuring there would be plenty of time for corrosive rhetoric and legal challenges.
The Times’ editorial board notes the immediate priority is to ignore the president’s provocations, win the courtroom battles and count the votes.
But after the votes are counted, politicians need to get down to the business of making it easy to vote.
Some state and local governments took steps forward this year, for example by sending ballots to all registered voters and by expanding early voting options. But there is plenty of room for improvement, including in places like New York where voting remains embarrassingly difficult even though there are no partisan obstacles to reform.
Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer appear to be the most immediate casualties of Tuesday’s voting. Speaker Pelosi’s House majority has shrunk while Republicans are likely to remain in control of the Senate.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is likely to return and confound Democratic dreams for two more years. The GOP lost seats in Colorado and Arizona but gained one in Alabama. Republican Senators Joni Ernst in Iowa, Susan Collins in Maine and Steve Daines in Montana prevailed while Thom Tillis leads in North Carolina.
The Wall Street Journal predicts a GOP Senate would mean the end of the Biden-Senator Bernie Sanders “unity” agenda. No death to the legislative filibuster, no new US states (they wanted Puerto Rico and Washington DC so elevated), no Supreme Court packing, no confiscatory tax increases, no Green New Deal. If Biden wins and he wants to get something done, he would have to work hard with McConnell.
Democrats seem heading for defeat in heartland New York’s Staten Island and are behind in districts in Long Island and upstate New York. Republicans are also leading in Virginia around Richmond, wider urban Chicago and two districts in Pennsylvania that Democrats took in 2018 after the state Supreme Court redrew the map in their favour.
These GOP gains will reduce Pelosi’s legislative running room and perhaps test her party control. Her strategy of refusing to compromise on a Covid-19 relief bill may have cost seats, and now she will have a harder time getting a blue-state and union bailout through the Senate. The WSJ reckons if Biden wins, the GOP will be better poised to retake the House in 2022.
Another major outcome was how Republicans gained ground among minorities. They made more of an effort at outreach, especially at their August convention. The GOP message of economic opportunity resonated with minority entrepreneurs and workers as Democrats stood for government lockdowns and handouts.
The WSJ says Democrats have refashioned themselves into a party of coastal elites and government unions with a progressive agenda that many middle-class Americans dislike.
“This includes banishing fossil fuels, abolishing state right-to-work laws and a pointless partisan impeachment.”
Regardless of whether Joe Biden wins the White House, the Democratic left lost America.