Last night was so harrowing because the whipsaw shifts of electoral trends felt so much like the rapid and doomy collapse of Hillary Clinton’s fortunes four years ago. It was wrenching. There’s one more failsafe or firewall and then it fades into nothing. The Senate results were super disappointing too. Unless Dems pull off a miracle in Georgia Joe Biden will face Mitch McConnell running the Senate. Court reform will be off. Any significant progressive legislation is probably off the table for two years. That sucks.
But folks, Joe Biden is on the verge of winning the presidency and making Donald Trump only the fourth President to be rejected by the country in a bid for a second term in office in 108 years. Biden will have a decisive popular vote win and his party will maintain control of the House of Representatives. This is a big fucking deal. And ending Trump’s Presidency is an incredibly important accomplishment for the future of this country. That is something to savor.
It wasn’t easy. You may think it should have been. I do too. But it wasn’t. It was really hard. And the Democrats have done it. Yet I look around and I see Democrats crestfallen, wracked with self-doubt, falling into their established internecine exchanges of blame and recrimination. This is something deep in the modern Democratic psyche. We know that. I kept thinking of this classic Godfather scene where Vito Corleone slaps around the whiny self-pitying Johnny Fontaine.
I’m seeing recriminations about how this or that part of the campaign was mishandled. It’s like a festival pity-party of self-womping. Biden and his supporters had one job: get to 270. We’re likely to see that happen in the coming hours.
Are there challenges? Absolutely. Redistricting saw big setbacks in state legislative races. It’s not even clear to me that McConnell will let Biden appoint a cabinet. But you take victories as they come, celebrate them and move forward. No one else will celebrate your victories for you. Do you think it is even remotely imaginable that Republicans would be acting like they lost in a comparable situation? You celebrate your victories. You derive strength from them, communal strength, and you figure out how to move forward.
Saving your country isn’t easy. We knew that. It’s going to be incredibly hard. There are all sorts of thing that happened last night and that have happened over the last four years that I don’t understand. The persistence of Trumpism. Its resilience. Is it racism? Yes. Sexism? Yes. Authoritarianism? Yes. But they’re all incomplete. We’re in the midst of a big politico-cultural transformation that we need to get our arms fully around but haven’t yet.
I really don’t know what the two years holds. But I’m certain of one thing. It is and will be immeasurably better than Donald Trump having been reelected to a second term in office. No question. You did that. You owe it to yourself to get pumped and rejoice in that. It’s something to savor. It will help sustain you through endless civic work to come.