It is clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 Presidential Election. As of today, Biden topped Donald Trump by 7.5 million votes, 50.7% to 47.6%. In the wretched remnant of slavery – the Electoral College – Biden has Trump beat 290 votes to 214. There are still votes to be counted so those numbers are fluid, however, more than enough information is in to call the election for Biden.
That Trump is not respecting the results is not a surprise. He repeatedly said he would only recognize a Trump victory. He told us anything other than a Trump win would result in his campaign papering the country with lawsuits. His threats were given credibility by Trump’s bigly litigious past. Though many Democrats and leftists are handwringing this development, any trepidation Trump’s lawsuits bring is unnecessary.
Too many people are making the same mistake they have throughout Trump’s reign: They are looking at his mouth and his tiny Twitter fingers, not his feet. People listen to Trump’s talk and ignore the action. If the fearful just looked at what is happening on the ground, rather than what comes out of Trump’s “stable genius” brain, they’d recognize the pattern we’ve seen play out with Infrastructure Week and Trump’s executive orders, most of which were stalled or died in court.
Yes, Trump is making noise, however his bleating and tweeting is scattershot and low volume (for Trump). As usual, he is spilling generalities, vagueness, and absurdity. He makes no sense. Unfortunately for Trump, his unhinged, slipshod communication (the talk) is mirrored in his legal team and his strategy (the walk).
Trump is trying to fight the election results in at least four states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. The lawsuits his campaign has filed have been contradictory in their messaging. Because he was ahead at halftime, he wanted to stop the vote count in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan. Because he was behind in Arizona, he wanted the counting to continue.
Trump and his fans accept this Yes/No “strategy,” but courts don’t. Judges literally laugh off things like a Michigan lawsuit to stop a vote count…which has already been concluded, or a demand for poll watchers in Philadelphia…when Republican poll watchers are already on scene.
Trump lawyers bring hear-say into courts. Judges not only reject legal demands based on hear-say, they tend to humiliate lawyers who try to rely on bullshit that a law student would never pull. Further, each bullshit claim undermines the legitimacy of Trump’s whole legal campaign, as well as the lawyers representing him. Even conservative judges start to resent being handed garbage. Their high mind fumes, “I worked my ass off to become a judge to listen to this crap?!” And when the next bit of legal desperation is submitted, Trump does not get the benefit of doubt that he might have had he played it smart.
Worse, when the courts hear Trump lawyers openly soliciting reports on “voter fraud” at rallies, see reports of Republicans encouraging voter fraud, and watch fiascos like Rudy Giuliani’s Four Seasons Landscaping presser, Trump’s legal credibility craters. When they notice that Trump’s legal team is running around without an identifiable head and the body is an assemblage of random attorneys pulled from the yellow pages, they doubt Trump’s seriousness.
In 2000’s Bush/Gore Florida fight, the Bush campaign had the top Republican legal minds working the case – one case in one state pursued with max firepower. There was a war room led by seasoned politicos and the best election lawyers available. The legal strategy was coordinated with a ground game led by Roger Stone, who was not a joke back then. And, Bush and his campaign was laser focused on that fight.
Trump’s 2020 “fight” is nothing like Florida 2000. Not-a-lawyer Jared Kushner is heading the legal fight. Reports are that Kushner is more focused on mollifying his father-in-law – reacting to his tantrums and whims – than focusing on a coherent, unified legal strategy. There seems to be more checking in on the boss’s mood than what strategizing over will fly in what court.
Trump’s number two man in this fight is Rudy Giuliani. The problem with Rudy Giuliani having so much influence is Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani is a master of Rudyism. No one pulls a Rudy like Rudy Giuliani. So as long as Rudy Giuliani is Rudy-ing, Trump’s legal “strategy” is doomed to Rudy.
Besides Jared and Rudy, the Trump campaign has another problem: Money. They ain’t got any. They want recounts that they can’t afford to fund. They are burning through cash to fight their legal fight. Yes, they are trying to raise money to fund this fight…sorta. Trump’s “Election Fraud Taskforce” is not only on the receiving end of serial prank phone calls, half of the money they are raising is going to wipe out the “billionaire” Trump’s campaign debt.
If Trump and his people were serious about this post-election legal fight, 100% of the money contributed to the “Election Fraud Taskforce” would go to the “Election Fraud Taskforce” and the legal fund. Related, if Trump was serious himself, he wouldn’t spend the last watching TV and rage tweeting, and the weekend golfing. Instead of engaging in the fight at exactly the time he must fully engage, Trump is sulking.
Trump has failed once again. No one likes him. His heart hangs heavy. He is a loser. He is sad, sad, so sad. So, he wanders around one of his golf courses, feeling sorry for himself, shanking drives, missing putts, and breaking sticks. Everyone around him is scared that he might rage on them, so they keep telling him what he wants to hear. “Yes, boss, you beat Sleepy Joe. Yes, boss, you beat him big. Yes, boss, you beat him in every state. Yes, boss, the ‘legal votes’ say you won. Yes, boss, dead people voted. Yes, boss, you are handsome and strong and smart and funny and rich and powerful everyone is jealous because they want to be you.”
There are multiple reports out of the White House, which have “unnamed officials” conceding that Biden won and spilling that the “legal fight” is mostly theater, a play staged for an audience of one. While Trump has a few people around him who seem to be more pissed off and engaged than him, those few people are Rudy, Jared, Don Jr., Eric, and Stephen Miller, not exactly the Fab Five. Mike Pence took off to Sanibel, Florida, a vacation island in the Gulf. Mike Pompeo has been silent, though his Twitter account has been unintentionally “trolling” Trump.
Bill Barr had an election night steak dinner , but besides that nothing but a report that the Justice Department told federal prosecutors – in an email – that they were sending federal officers to ballot-counting locations, which is illegal and has yet to be done, something which makes me suspect that the email was composed for the boss to read. *
While very few Republicans have acknowledged Biden’s victory, they aren’t exactly marching for Trump. Certainly a few of the short-hung mimic Trump, most GOP monkeys have stuck with “Every legal vote must be counted before we know who won the election. Every legal vote must be counted…” Every single one of the monkeys knows how electoral politics work. They have been in many elections. They know how vote counts go and what to look for as far as fraud goes. They are able to project who will win before 100% of the vote is counted. They know that Biden dominated the “legal” vote. And they know that they must drone “Every legal vote…” until there is an official declaration by the states and/or the head of their party, Donald Trump, calms down.*
While the far-right has threatened world destruction, as of today, there has been no reported violence by the far-right. Two men from Virginia were busted bringing guns across state lines from their home state to Pennsylvania, allegedly to stage an attack on a vote-counting site (something which, had they pulled it off, would have backfired), but that is it. The Trump cult gathers in front of counting sites and state capitols, but their numbers are small, especially compared to the size of the crowds celebrating Biden’s win. There will be no “civil war.”
And, yet, many Democrats and those on the left continue to act as if Trump is ascendant. They ignore obvious signs of weakness – a lackluster Trump and the pathetic size of his supporters’ protests – and ineptitude – Four Seasons Landscaping and the substance of the court challenges – for fearful projection which borders on paranoia. We are asked to believe that the whole legal apparatus of the state is going to align with Trump just because Trump is Trump, a complete misreading of Trump’s ability to persuade and carry-through, and the last four years.
Instead of recognizing a huge victory and realizing that we now play offence, too many Democrats and those on the Left have settled back into a defensive posture, anxiously batting away at a fog of imaginary threats. In our doubt, we make Trump and Trumpism the winner of an election that he clearly lost.
Biden has yet to take office, yet we have started watering down our agenda by asking what the other side will accept. We compromise before the fight has even begun. “Oh we need a centrist cabinet with some Republicans.” Why? To “unite the country,” as if Quibi-failure Meg Whitman as Commerce Secretary will calm the Q’s or make the Proud Boys stand down. We don’t know what Congress will look like, yet we “know” that there is “no chance of change.” We amputate our feet to prepare for a marathon.
Frightened people grasp at statistics that they don’t seem to understand. “It’s great that Biden turned out a record number of voters – 75.5 million, an increase of 9.6 million Dem votes from last presidential cycle – BUT so did Trump!” Yeah, but where exactly did Trump’s 71 million votes – an increase of 8.1 million – come from? That is an important question. If Trump increased his vote proportional to the population and Biden’s take in, say, California or Massachusetts that is a bigly problem. If his increase topped Biden’s in states Dems fear are purple – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia – more problems. However, if Trump increased the size of his vote in Oklahoma or the Dakotas, who really gives a fuck? Data is great, but surface level reading of data leads to stupid conclusions. (Note: It is too early to compare increased vote in states, from 2016 to 2020.)
Related, we know nothing about Democratic losses in the Senate, House, or state legislatures without context. We must know how strong the candidates were, if the candidates were running in conservative or Trump friendly districts or state, and if there were any contributing factors to the loss (scandal, a huge slip-up, etc.). We must know how Trump performed in the district or state that these candidates lost. We can look at the money, but, more important is how the money was spent and when it was spent. There is no single answer here, every race will have a unique reason (or reasons) for the outcome.
Right now, we mostly know what has happened. We do not have enough information to know why what happened happened. Filling in the blanks of unknowing based on fear and projection (or optimism and hope) will only lead to false conclusions, which, in turn, will lead to bad decision making. Given Democrats and leftists habit of rushing to defend ourselves, going on gut feeling sets us up for defeat.
What is especially frustrating is that there is absolutely no reason for us to know why the election happened right now. Last time we did that, the initial impulse was to roam the hinterlands in an attempt to “understand the Trump voter.” Once we “learned” something, we were told that Democrats and the Left lived in opinion bubbles and that we needed to consider Trump voter’s ideas as if they were our own (or more important – this despite Trump losing the popular vote). Those ideas turned out to be white supremacy, misogyny, and stuff like satanic Democrats using a DC pizza parlor’s basement as a pedophilic staging ground to send children to a rape colony on Mars (no hyperbole).
Back in 1975, Camille Yarborough released a killer funky soul song called “Take Yo Praise.” In the song, Yarborough piles compliments on her man, telling him that he has the best mind she met, is the most passionate lover she’s had, and excels in every way a man can. She smothers her man in praise for two reasons. One is that she loves her guy. The second is that he instinctually will not take his praise.
Democrats and the Left have gotten into a dangerous habit of refusing to take our praise. When we win, we frame it as losing. When we do something good, we pick ourselves apart for fault. Our self-examination is not done to build us up by finding faults that we can change to make us stronger. Rather, we engage in self-destructive, unconstructive criticism that downgrades our accomplishments and elevates our opponents’ failures as victory. We don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as much as we jawbone our victory into defeat. We refuse to let go of worry and free ourselves to fight. We don’t need data to tell us this is happening or that a defeatist impulse only leads to repeated defeats.
We won. Let’s own that right now. Later, when we have enough solid information, we can figure out what went right and what went wrong, and from there we can adjust so we can win some more. We won. Don’t question or minimize that fact. We fucking won.
*Since this was written, AG Bob Barr ramped up Justice Department interference in the election. He also met with Mitch McConnell, who then went a babbling on the Senate floor about democracy and fair elections, two things he cares nothing about, and counting all the “legal” votes, which I think has been done. No matter, Mitch is back to log-rolling for Trump. These assholes still don’t have a legal case or cases. Recounts in four or five states is very unlikely to change things. Regardless, time to dig in and protect this victory.