Maybe I’m old fashioned, but perhaps one should actually win an election before claiming they have a mandate to enact a bunch of unpopular policies that only the most radical of their party want? But hey, it’s 2020, so I guess anything goes.
Joe Biden took the stage last night, pre-empting the continued counting of ballots and court challenges to voting irregularities to basically do a victory a lap. While him simply speaking was catnip for the liberal cable networks, Biden’s claiming of a “mandate” stood out as a more consequential aspect of his speech.
Biden: The election results thus far show “the people have given us a mandate for action” on climate change, “systemic racism” pic.twitter.com/6mlwM87Nqu
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 7, 2020
There’s only one problem with this. Well, two when you consider he hasn’t even been elected yet. But even following his assumption that he will be president, the idea that he has a mandate to do anything but breathe for the next two years until the mid-term results come in is laughable.
Right now, we are looking at some of the closest swing state margins in history possibly deciding this race. Across the country, we see the same divides we’ve been seeing for years. There was no coming together to unite behind Joe Biden as a candidate. Quite the opposite in fact, with him needing 4am dump after 4am dump of questionable votes just to take tiny leads in key states. That kind of thing breeds distrust in our process. It doesn’t produce “mandates.”
This is the reality the Democrats are going to be slapped by very quickly as we move forward. The GOP are extremely likely to hold the Senate after the two run-offs (assuming the recount doesn’t change things) conclude. Mitch McConnell, if he’s faced with a Biden presidency, is going to be out for blood. I know some people don’t trust that, but when push comes to shove, McConnell always plays hard ball. The 2022 map heavily favors Republicans in the Senate, and the Grim Reaper is going to do everything he can to set up the GOP for success, even if McConnell himself isn’t the conservative standard bearer we all want.
But it’s not just the Senate at this point that will stand in Biden’s way. The likely numbers on the House favor just a four vote split for Nancy Pelosi to work with. There are going to be moderate Democrats who will no longer get in line knowing they may lose their seat and the majority in two years as a result. Heck, Pelosi may lose her Speakership over all this.
In the end, Biden isn’t even president, and he may not be. For him to go out and claim a mandate for the wokest of policies this early is just stupid. And even if he pulls this out via hook or by crook, he’s going to be staring at a Republican party and voter base that is ready to make him pay dearly for what he’s done. Any Mitt Romney types standing in the way, urging good faith and fealty, will find themselves targets as well. This is not the time to play nice, and while I realize emotions are high right now with a possible Trump loss, GOP voters are resilient, and they’ll be ready for the next fight.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)