Fade To Biden

It’s been over a week since the presidential race was called for Biden, yet the loser in the White House refuses to concede.  The victor’s camp has had to watch endless analyses of the loser’s situation, which with time grows more pathetic and bizarre.  The media continues to cover Trump, take his words to heart, and repeat them when they don’t deserve repeating.  A few sycophants continue to treat him as if his wishes and grudges matter.  Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani’s scatter-shot press conference in defense of the President, held mistakenly at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, sandwiched between a dildo shop and a crematorium in a banal corner of suburban Philadelphia, offers a visual metaphor for how dodgy and disreputable Trump’s protestations are.

Meanwhile, the victor and the victorious electorate have been cheated of the whoop and holler of all-out jubilation.  Yes, Biden backers partied in the streets the day the election was called and rallied to cheer Biden’s sweet victory later that night.  Yet a cloud hangs over Biden’s lawful assumption of the presidency, because the current president refuses to acknowledge what Biden has accomplished—refuses to acknowledge the people’s choice.  Until someone chops down Trump’s tree of refusal, Biden’s win remains in the loser’s shade.

It’s incontrovertible that Biden defeated Trump.  As of this morning, Biden has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.  Biden won by flipping five states that Trump won in 2016: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia.  His margins could have been fatter in Arizona and Michigan, but only in Georgia are the results close enough to justify a recount, which is occurring now.  Even if Georgia were to go to Trump instead of Biden, it wouldn’t be enough to touch Biden’s win.

An astonishing number of Americans (about 73 millions) turned out for Trump.  He received the highest number of votes ever cast for a Republican candidate, but, in this year of astronomical turnout, Biden far eclipsed him, winning roughly 78.8 million votes out of some 152 million cast.  Biden received over 5.6 million more votes than Trump.

Trump’s childish inability to accept the results is unfortunate, but far more dastardly is the behavior of others in the Republican party, who indulge Trump instead of pressuring him to concede.  Of particular moment is the formal beginning of the transition process.  Once the formal transfer of power begins, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  The incoming administration will then be privy to what is going on in the Trump White House, greatly reducing the risk of any dangerous lame-duck shenanigans.  So far, though, a single Trump appointee, GSA administrator Emily Murphy, has held up this process, by declining to ascertain that Biden won.  She is siding with the defeated incumbent instead of with the American people.

Yet the moment is coming: Power is drifting away from Trump and incrementally consolidating around president-elect Biden.  The news outlets are debunking Trump’s claims of fraud.  Secretaries of state and other officials all across the US are explicitly defending the integrity of the elections they conducted.  The New York Times reported on a group of election officials who say this was the most secure election in US history.  Makes sense, given the fears raised over interference in 2016.  Since then. states have made substantial progress in improving election security and defending against any type of interference or fraud.

Meanwhile, Trump voters are shrugging off the loss.  As of November 10, 79 percent of Americans had come to accept that Biden had won the presidency, and 13 percent thought it hadn’t yet been decided, whereas only 3 percent believed Trump had won.  By now, the number who believe Trump’s claim to a second term is meager indeed.  The Newshour’s William Brangham, talking to Trump voters in Michigan after the election, found that many were weary of politics and ready to move away from the chaos and heal the social wounds they’d sustained.  Over the weekend, pro-Trump demonstrators planned a MillionMAGA march in Washington, DC, but the crowd numbered in the tens of thousands at best.  Hey, most of us have lived beyond voting for a candidate who lost.

It’s time for the Trump era to fade to Biden.  Catcalls, boos, and rotten tomatoes will rain down on Trump, if he can’t improvise a graceful exit tout suite.  Only a buffoon enjoys being humiliated: whether Trump is one will become evident now.

Day 54: Turning Purple Blue

The tradition of going out to canvass in an area other than one’s own runs deep in American politics. At least as far back as the 1850s, political friends coordinated across state lines to help deliver the vote for their party, going to stump in other states and in some cases giving money to facilitate distant campaigns. These customs have not merely persisted but burgeoned with American mobility, high-tech modes of connectivity, and detailed tracking of local voting patterns.

If I were to canvass for Biden in my home county, it would be a waste of time. I’d be preaching to the choir: Cook County, Illinois, is as blue as they come. Conditions are more promising in Berrien County, Michigan, where I’m living temporarily. Berrien leans Republican but may be in flux. Population-wise, it’s a mix of former Illinoisans (mainly from Chicagoland) who are affluent and older, and native Michiganders who, whether farmers, small-business owners, tradesmen, or unskilled workers, have probably had their fill of economic upheavals and uncertainty. The wealthy areas along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, which forms Berrien County’s western boundary, shade off into eastern expanses of rural and semi-rural poverty, interspersed with thriving farms. Except for the New Buffalo area, which has grown dramatically, the population of the county has shrunk.

Counties such as this will matter as Biden strives to improve upon Hillary Clinton’s dismal Michigan showing in 2016. While Obama won Michigan handily in 2012, garnering 54.2% of the popular vote, Clinton lost the state to Trump by a margin of just 0.2%. Votes cast for third-party candidates exceeded the margin of her loss to Trump. Will Biden have more success appealing to the types of people who inhabit Berrien county? It would be exciting to see purplish Berrien turn blue.

Image: Detail from a Princeton Election Consortium map.
The fuchsia blob on the east side of Lake Michigan is the congressional district encompassing Berrien County, MI.