Joe Biden has won the presidency and Donald Trump and his Trumpsters are showing off their authoritarian anti-American instincts. As I write, Biden has surpassed Trump’s numbers in Pennsylvania and will see his margin climb to about 100,000 votes. Biden is leading in Georgia and the few remaining votes to be counted come from heavily Democratic areas. Nevada, where Biden leads by more than 11,000, will resume counting votes this morning and his margin will likely grow to about 30,000. Biden will win the Electoral College with more than 300 votes and will win the popular vote by about five percent or so. He will have a healthy and decisive victory, not a narrow win. 

Still, Trump went on television last night to declare that Democrats are trying to steal the election. Sean Hannity declared that we can never trust the results. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declared that “President Trump won this election. so everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.” North Carolina Congressman Dan Bishop tweeted, “Well, I’m echoing the President’s claims. Indications of grossly improper conduct from election officials right here in my district. And Trump’s points are persuasive: concerted use of fraudulent polls; stunning and implausible ballot dumps overnight; observers barred. Fight!” Trump and his sycophants are a threat to democracy and will continue to be. 

Fortunately, other Republicans pushed back on the president’s lies. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey called Trump’s claims “unsubstantiated.” Mitt Romney called on the country to “Have faith in our democracy, our Constitution and in the American people.” Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, said, “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process.”

These two factions will fight over control of the GOP. One is populist and anti-democratic. They have been dominant in states like North Carolina since the advent of Trump and probably since 2010. The other is more traditionally conservative and dominate more northern states and the western Sunbelt states. Carolina Senators Thom Tillis and Lindsey Graham have their fingers in the air trying desperately to figure out who they will be in the coming year. 

Democrats will have their battles going forward, too. On a conference call with her caucus yesterday, Nancy Pelosi got an earful from moderate Democrats who survived. Progressives will almost certainly push an agenda that’s doomed to die in the Senate and likely receive tepid support from a Biden administration. Democrats arguing for a shift to the left should be prepared to lose more of the suburban seats they picked up in 2018. 

While Biden will win the presidency, he will face a divided government. The GOP had some good moments in this election, too. Runoffs in Georgia will determine control of the U.S. Senate, but Republicans are favored in the likely low-turnout elections in January. In the House, Republicans narrowed the Democratic majority by picking up marginal seats the Democrats won in the 2018 wave. Maybe Americans actually like checks and balances.  

Right now, I believe most people, both Democrats and Republicans, are ready for an end to the reality show presidency of the past four years. As one person said, “I want a president I don’t think about every day.” Amen.

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