Alan Zendell, November 6, 2020
The American people have spoken. By the time all the votes are counted, Joe Biden will have received five million votes more than Donald Trump. In most countries that purport to be democracies, that’s all we would need to know. In this country, the archaic Electoral College plunged us into this latest abyss of wild accusations of election stealing. After months of hearing Trump attack mail-in voting as illegal, fraudulent, another fake news hoax – I’ve lost track – it is the Electoral College that has yielded a badly misleading result that enables Trump to continue to divide us.
We knew how serious the divide was, but even with 150 million votes cast, a five million margin of victory represents three-and-a-half percent of the electorate, not a landslide but a clear win. And the fact that other Republicans did passably well in this election tells us the repudiation was aimed directly at the president. Republican voters are still out there, but they want their party back.
Donald Trump will continue to be a thorn in the side of business as usual, continuing to try to divide us almost as if he were a Russian sleeper agent. But his voice will be relegated to fringe media. I don’t see Fox News championing him in the future. He was great for their ratings for five years, but Ruppert Murdoch made it clear to Trump that Fox will no longer support his baseless rants and attacks on our institutions.
When America said, “You’re fired!” it wasn’t saying that Democrats have all the answers and hyper-partisanism should continue with the Blue side in control. It was ending the populist, racist, mysogynistic experiment of Trumpism. It was asserting that the Constitution and the rule of law must be protected from charismatic leaders who lack both a moral center and the understanding that only a truly united United States can thrive and prosper.
President Elect Biden knows that. Many of the Republicans in the House and Senate know that. Most Democrats know it too, though it may take a while to shake off the desire for revenge. Call me an optimistic fool, but I think we will right this ship, because there are enough people in Congress willing to put ideology aside and work together for progress.
The fact that many Republican leaders like Chris Christie, Rob Portman and Marco Rubio have refused to support Trump’s desperate, baseless attacks on the election, and advocate counting every vote might be taken as an act of contrition. They know they allowed Trump to divide and conquer their party, and it was their inability to unite against him and their fear of his base that enabled him to reach the White House. They’d never seen anything like Trump before, and were ill-equipped to deal with someone who was so shamelessly immoral, who had no respect for truth or law. They won’t let him undermine the election because they’re eager to be rid of him, to put their own shame and embarrassment in the past.
The truth is that reality has overtaken them. The pandemic proved that insanity cannot be allowed to overrule science and some form of comprehensive health care is vital, not only to the nation’s physical and moral well-being, but to its economy. They know Trump’s self-serving mishandling of the pandemic severely weakened our competitive stance in the world. Stopping the virus and restoring Americans’ confidence that it’s safe to go back to work and school, and fill restaurants, bars, and stadiums is priority one, but that can only be achieved with unity and a consistent, medically sound message from the top.
Fiscal conservatives understand that running up trillion-dollar deficits to increase the wealth of billionaires is not a sustainable policy. Both sides understand that addressing the tax code and the health of Americans requires compromise and commitment to a common goal. They know something must be done to heal the divide in this country, much of which is based on misinformation and crazy conspiracy theories. And they know that our days as a world leader other countries look up to are numbered if we don’t re-engage with our allies and get back to protecting the health of our planet.
Joe Biden will set the correct tone from the White House. There will be no more wild attacks on the media, the courts, and the Constitution. Just as Trump’s constant whining about hoaxes and charges of being undermined convinced his base he was right, Biden’s consistent message of calm and unity will begin to restore order. It won’t be easy, but now we have a chance.
Not having one party completely in control of government may be a blessing. It offers all our elected leaders the opportunity to demonstrate that country is more important than ideology and personal prejudices.