Joe Biden looks to be on his way to the White House. There will be recounts, and legal challenges and tweets, oh the tweets. Biden’s lead appears insurmountable. But the Democrats can’t be too happy.
Trump’s loss and his behavior are going to overshadow what is one of the more catastrophic performances for their party in modern history. Voters appear to have rejected Donald Trump the person. More importantly, they have rejected much of the Democratic platform as well.
Pollsters predicted that the Democrats would recapture the Senate, handing their far-left agenda on a silver White House platter for a President Joe Biden to sign off. That did not happen. Several of the GOP candidates who were facing danger to reelection ran ahead of the President in their states. Susan Collins, who was not predicted to win her race by a single poll, is returning to Congress. The GOP will most likely face two run-off races in Georgia but both are favorable to them without Trump at the top of the ticket. The Georgia electorate is more inclined to vote for a divided federal government to keep a far-left agenda of court packing, abolishing the filibuster and a Green New Deal in check. Democrats burned through hundreds of millions of dollars and have only John Hickenlooper in Colorado to show for it.
Then there are the massive losses in the House. Nancy Pelosi said before Tuesday that she expected House gains in several races and to expand her majority. Democrats failed to unseat a single incumbent Republican, while losing several seats in the process. At the time of writing, Republicans have added 10 seats with the final total slimming down the Democratic majority. That would leave the GOP primed to capture five seats heading into 2022, the Democrats playing defense in several states and Nancy Pelosi fighting to keep her speakership amid an AOC-led House revolt.
At the state level, Democrats faired no better, failing to capture a single state legislative chamber. Republicans flipped the New Hampshire Senate and House, and the Alaska state House. Republican Greg Gianforte also captured the Montana governorship.
Joe Biden will enter the Oval Office perhaps the weakest Democratic president since 1884, with only one House of Congress.
Is it any wonder that voters seem dubious about the Democratic party? Pelosi’s pre-election COVID relief hardball tactics will surely come under intense scrutiny. She seemed to think the country would pin the entire failure on Trump and ignoring her salon sessions and her fridge stocked with $13 pints of ice cream.
Trump’s gains within minority communities, especially Hispanics in Texas, threaten an entire coalition the Democrats have spent years decades developing. Trump and the Republicans also made historic gains with African Americans and even the Muslim community, carrying 35 percent of the vote according to AP’s VoteCast survey.
As the weeks and months pass, Democrats will agonize over their collapse and ask why it happened. The main reason for the Democratic failure to regain the Senate is that their platform tilted toward the far left and away from legislative reality. Court packing was willed into the national spotlight by Democratic activists, as was abolishing police departments. Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia lamented on a conference call Wednesday that defunding the police almost cost her the race. The fact that Joe Biden worked to either avoid answering these questions or distance himself from them seems to have paid off in ways that embracing them did not for members of his party.
Trump might be vanquished, but there are far more questions facing the direction of the Democratic party as they face a legislative agenda that’s already DOA in Mitch McConnell’s Senate. There will have to be a serious reckoning on whether or not to double down on the intersectional social justice ambitions of the young activist base, or distance themselves from a media obsessed with promoting them and the their fringe ideas. Can a 77-year-old President Biden rein those aspects of the party in?