It’s the end of an era. Our long national Infrastructure Week is over.
Joe Biden is the 46th President-Elect of the United States. He is a man with no commitment to Infrastructure Week but a very deep and passionate commitment to aviator sunglasses, Amtrak, justice, the American Experiment, and hugging. The Senator from Delaware. A man who has been a fixture in US Politics for 50 years.
Biden. An ever-present, sort of like that rug stain we never get around to fixing. He’s President. Not someone like departed Edward Kennedy, brother of a President, Lion of the Senate. No. Joe Fucking Biden.
I keep thinking about the story where Obama told Biden he didn’t need to do this. “You don’t need to do this, Joe.” But Biden felt called to duty by his country one more time.
Trump, of course, has rejected the news. He will never concede the Presidency. He will die without conceding. But we will move on past the Trump Era, a true end of an era, and head to the next thing that’s going to happen, whatever that is. Dear God, I hope it’s not more 2020.
I want to spend a moment reflecting on how momentous this victory is and how difficult it was to achieve. Only 10 Presidents have ever lost re-election: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush. (Chester A Arthur and Grover Cleveland both lost and won re-election — things got weird in the 19th century.)
Trump joins company with another impeached President, a man once called “Martin Van Ruin” who helped drive the country off the cliff to the Civil War, a hard-core unrepentant racist, and the architect of the Great Depression. Only the best people.
But out of 46 presidents now, it’s only 10. And Trump is alone with being the only one to lose the popular vote twice. He is the biggest of the biggest losers. He’s even a bigger loser than super racist Andrew Johnson.
Ejecting these people from the presidency was a hard fought war, each and every one of them. The incumbency advantage is immense. People would rather stick with what they know rather than change. People would rather not participate. Hell, the election of 1800 when Adams lost to Jefferson is often called the War of 1800. Vote for Burr!
To change people have to go out and vote. Everyone has to go out and vote. It’s a big ask of everyone — everyone — to go out and exercise their right. As we all know, people generally don’t.
So, to lose the Presidency is an immense repudiation, a complete rejection of a way of thinking, doing, and being.* It’s the American People giving you a big middle finger.
On top of it, Biden defeated Trump in a global pandemic when voting itself was imperiled. The Virus. USPS. Messing around with Dropboxes. Lawsuits. Moving goalposts. Despite every single obstacle, Biden still defeated Trump.
When the votes are all counted, I think we’ll learn it wasn’t even that close. Five days of nail-biting was probably for nothing. But we had something to worry about — the electoral college gives the GOP an advantage by allowing land to vote instead of people. (Thank you, Alexander Hamilton, you jerk.) We had the ghost of 2016.
I am savoring for a moment, but I feel a bit like we won the opening battle but we didn’t exactly win D-Day. America is undergoing an immense technological and demographic change. The next two generations are significantly bluer and more liberal than those that preceded them, and they are demanding social justice. Globalization is a thing that isn’t going away. We’re about to have a very ugly conversation about a Chinese-style state-controlled future and an American-style capitalist future. Machine Learning will become bigger and bigger.
Everything, every forward step, from here on out is going to be a game of inches. Horrible damage has been done to our country, our institutions, and our core beliefs. The repairs alone will take years, let alone progress. We’re still in a giant global pandemic with no end!
It’s going to awful. It’s going to be a war.
We need to set our expectations appropriately.
But one thing to remember — we just elected this guy:
Joe Biden: “Fuck Yeah.” http://t.co/lJax9hEr— The Onion (@TheOnion) January 22, 2013
I shall now go prep for my Metatopia panel.
*Except Taft! Taft got screwed by Theodore Roosevelt being a dick and running in the Bull Moose party and splitting the vote. Taft was later appointed to be Chief Justice of the United States as a consolation prize, so he made out ok.