Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wears an \”I Voted\” sticker because he speaks to reporters outside the Delaware State Building after casting his ballot for the general election on October 28, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.
For NeverTrump, this is not the end-but it’s a great beginning.
I was a small-government Never Trumper. I regarded Donald Trump as unfit for office and wanted him out, however i didn't want to sign on for the full Democratic party agenda.
Which implies that I'm part of a small sliver of the nation who got precisely what we wanted out of this election: a victory for Joe Biden, but a narrow one that didn’t extend down the ballot and can almost certainly leave him with no Democratic Senate majority to work with.
Finally, 2021 paid out for someone.
I had intended to write something after the election about the specifics of the Biden agenda-but the voters have saved us a lot of work, because without Democratic charge of the Senate, whole parts of a potential Biden agenda just disappear. The Manchin-Toomey gun control bill? Be done with it. Tax increases? Probably not. A Biden version of Green New Deal Lite? A public option added to Obamacare? It's hard to see how these happen now.
We can get some pernicious executive orders in some places, but maybe that will create some bipartisan interest in reining in executive authority and limiting the president’s emergency powers-something Congress should have done decades ago.
Joe Biden pretty openly campaigned like a caretaker president, and it appears like the American people took him up on the offer. His main job will be to sit in the Oval Office and act like a responsible adult. If he seems to accomplish this even half the time, it will be an improvement.
Over the final weeks of the election, there were a lot of people on the internet angry that I wasn’t supporting Trump. They insisted which i must be in favor of the Democrats’ “socialist” agenda that was going to “destroy America.” However it turned out that the joke was on them: We actually managed to withdraw support from Donald Trump without getting the Democrats’ whole agenda, a smaller amount some kind of Venezuelan-style socialism.
In the end, people like me got pretty much what we wanted out of the Never Trump movement.
How the hell did which happen?
What happened is this: Voters across the country showed a decided tendency to separate their votes, supporting Republican candidates on the ballot even while they voted against Trump.
In my neck of the woods, Abigail Spanberger very narrowly won re-election in a strongly Republican-leaning congressional district where she had carried off an unexpected victory in 2021’s big Democratic wave. A Washington Post reporter live-tweeted Spanberger’s reaction inside a post-election conference call with other Democrats. I really like the way it’s transcribed here.
I didn't vote for Spanberger, but I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed she won.
I was waiting all summer for evidence the violent protests–not just in Portland, where we're accustomed to it, but in places like Minneapolis and Kenosha, for screaming loud-would finally show up in the polls as a backlash against the left. It never really did, not in the presidential race. It proved too difficult to tie lifelong moderate Joe Biden to the violence, for the same reason it had been hard to tie him to radical socialism. Yet which was the only strategy the Trump campaign really had.
But poor people performance of Democrats down the ballot? I suspect this is the backlash against violent protests showing up in the polls. Moderate Democrats who swept suburban districts in 2021 thanks to disgust with Trump suddenly found those districts less welcoming once they were associated with dismantling the police.
The biggest surprise in the polls is that Trump did relatively well among black and Hispanic voters. I say “relatively” because winning 18% of the votes of black males might be higher than is normal for a Republican candidate, but it’s not exactly changing the game. Yet for those who had not been paying close attention to the polls, this result came as a surprise.
Part of the explanation is that ordinary black and Hispanic voters aren't as interested in identity politics because the leadership of the Democratic party. Ruy Teixeira, who co-wrote it arguing that Democrats could rely on the minority vote to become a majority party, explains why it's not working:
I don’t think there’s question that wokeness, and the issues around that, helped brand the Democratic party. The Democrats spent three months with a discourse dominated by the protests around George Floyd, racial justice, and so on, culminating in the defund-and-abolish-the-police movement, that was basically of very little interest towards the median voter. To the extent that the Democrats are identified with this rhetoric-from language-policing to terming the US a white-supremacist society-the less able the party would be to appeal to working-class voters of all races and moderate voters in general….
[Democrats] need to put a lid on the culture-war stuff, and emphasize problems that are of broad concern to working- and middle-class people of races.
In related news, the Biden campaign is attributing their success to 1 thing: \”We turned off Twitter. We stayed away from it. We knew the country was in a different headspace than social media would suggest.\” And they were right.
The best proof that Trump’s loss is not the far left’s gain is what happened in state and local referendums:
California voters passed Proposition 22, partially undoing Assembly Bill 5 , which put a large number of independent contractors out of work as soon as the pandemic hit. The balance was originally intended to encourage gig workers to unionize by requiring ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as employees, not independent contractors. But AB5 overshot its mark and set thousands of other independent contractors out of work, including journalists, translators, workers in offices, actors, musicians, and production crews.
This virtually sinks the prospects for any federal version of AB5, which Biden had endorsed.
While these were at it, California voters also said no to expanding rent controls, finally heeding the warnings economists happen to be shouting since the 1940s.
Illinois voters said no to giving their legislature the opportunity to raise taxes more easily. The Illinois state constitution requires a flat income tax. The Fair Tax Amendment would have changed that to allow a progressive tax and would have made tax increases easier….
Oregon decriminalized having hard drugs. Five other states legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, including socially conservative Mississippi. Oregon and also the District of Columbia also decriminalized hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Voters may have gone for the Democrat for president, however they went libertarian on referendums.
From the moment Mr . trump got elected in 2021, there have been two schools of thought on the left by what to do. One was that Trump am awful that he needed to be removed from office, and Democrats should focus just like a laser on that, working to attract moderate voters and seeking out allies they wouldn’t usually accept, such as disaffected Republicans.
The other school of thought was that Donald Trump was so obviously vile and off-putting that the American people were bound to reject him-so Democrats should nominate probably the most radical candidates possible, benefiting from this opportunity to get the far left’s entire fantasy agenda.
The voters have just settled that question, and the Revolution has once again been put on hold. No wonder Democrats, despite Biden’s victory, are viewing this election like a failure and planning a post-mortem. The last time a political party held a widely publicized election post-mortem was in 2012, when their candidate lost.
The only thing that's missing may be the reckoning some of us were looking for. If Trump had lost in a landslide, with Republicans in Congress punished for his misdeeds, it might have been clear that Trump and Trumpism have been an unmitigated disaster for the right.
I was skeptical this would happen. In my experience, the last thing individuals will forgive you for is being right while they were wrong. This election result only agreed to be narrow enough that it’s clear a reckoning is not going to happen. Instead, conservatives are going to be tempted through the idea that the real ticket to winning is Trumpism without Trump-all the illiberal nationalism, but without the crazy tweeting.
In other words, Josh Hawley.
I think it is really an illusion. The crazy tweets, the conspiracy theories, the blustering megalomania-those were the secrets of Trump’s political success. His reliance upon personal celebrity, combined with a fundamental indifference toward policy and ideas, is the essence of Trumpism. Nationalist intellectuals are just trying to backfill their ideology into this void.
I doubt it’s going to work, but that is the big ideological question that didn’t get settled in this election.
This indicates the future direction for advocates of liberty: We can expect to spend less time than we may have feared fighting against Biden administration assaults on individual liberty-simply because Democrats won’t be able to do all that much-and more time fighting the intellectual battle for freedom against the nationalist wing of conservatism.
For those of us who wanted to rescue the political right from its illiberal and authoritarian wing, this is not the end. But it’s a great beginning.