The starting point for this is the interview between New York Magazine's Eric Levitz and David Shor. It's a good contrarian argument to start the post-mortem, though I don't agree with him that TV is the most cost-effective channel to buy votes. It's not even something to consider increasing, from these obscene levels. The objective of reform should have as one necessary effect a reduction in both the length and cost of political campaigns, so that idea works against all concept of efficiency.
I recommend the interview in particular because his research convincingly answered all my major questions coming out of the election that I wanted to research. In particular, he asserted the following:
- Ticket-splitting is at an all-time low; this applied even at the House level, which I had thought might be counter to the nauseating nationalization of the election.
- The Democrats' huge get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts resulted in a boost that was largely countered by Trump's improvised, superspreaders-and-disinformation effort, most effectively in areas with high numbers of white non-college marginal voters in battleground states (Florida, Wisconsin) .
- That red-state surge saved most of the numerous borderline and challenged Republican incumbents. Democrats had to fight uphill in states like Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, and Iowa.
- In terms of the all-critical Senate races, the only exception to the party line outcomes was Susan Collins' surprisingly easy win in Maine, a state Biden won handily.
- We're in trouble for 2022, or even more if we dare to increase taxes--something that might seem necessary after the orgy of deficits in the Trump Administration. The only way to move forward is to moderate our aims.
My take is that Joe Biden is the very best President we could hope to have found in this messy situation we now have. Putting aside for now the happy ending of a sweep of the two Georgia runoffs by Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, giving the Democrats a last-minute majority in the Senate, we have to deal with Mitch McConnell. Biden is the best possible negotiator for what will come, the triangle with Mitch and Nancy Pelosi, both with shaky majorities. He will reduce the level of fear that has prevailed, especially since Drumpf's impeachment. It will take courage from all to face all this.
We should have the courage to take on the big, necessary reforms. It would be good to know, for example, what the effect of Trump's absurd suspension of the employer/employee contributions to Social Security ended up being--does anyone know? What Committee will take that up?
You see the point: if we bring Mitch into the clean-up, to find out where all the money went that was wasted and misspent (often intentionally), he will begin to cooperate. He's not riding unconditionally on the Trump Train: He may detrain after the January 5 runoff election, win or lose. We need to re-do Medicare's funding, no? I see potential for a Grand Compromise that could affect both redistricting and the now-perennial Electoral College randomization, concerns for both major parties, while opening the door even to third party efforts. (Note: I'm thinking of the Republicans as a future Third Party; I still think they should, too.)
Once again, the Republicans have dumped on us all the responsibility, in the midst of the crisis they have facilitated. But once again, all is set up to have the Democrats end up looking good by saving the economy, simply (!) by ending the pandemic's devastation. The logistical challenge these new miracle vaccines are presenting look like something that is going to drive everyone crazy, in more ways than one. Developing the chain of command that is going to replace Trump's slap-dash Survivor game is going to take a lot of time: Biden will have just enough.
We just have to avoid the pitfall into which the Obama Administration fell, in spite of everything, in 2010. One difference: Rather than coming into power with the usual surge of new House seats, we just had some of our most vulnerable ones stripped away, so that won't happen again in 2022. The Senate battle looks promising to me. I will take 2021 off from all campaigns, but 2022 will, once again, be both trench warfare and open-field engagement. The political war continues.
"I see the road leads back to you....."
Georgia, Georgia. Once for each Senate seat runoff. The most expensive Senate race in history--hopefully ever--will at least have the benefit of being a 2-for-1. BOGW - Buy Ossoff, Get Warnock. And Vice versa. BWOG. Or whatever. Runoff recapitulates ontogeny.
Yes, I'm a bit punchy about this denouement to the endless 2020 election. The call of Georgia to Biden, reaching the promised land of 306-232, followed the hammer blows to the failing Drumpfenreich of the call of Arizona, and before that, of Pennsylvania. I was highly critical of the coverage Election Night, which featured far more confusion about the Red Mirage than should have been allowed, but I guess they had to say something.
The achievement in Georgia and that of Arizona are real reasons for hope for this nation. The road is long, and we should be glad of that. Also, they represent the potential success through grassroots development, contrary to the mass spectacle thesis of Shor. They must be sustained.