I’m here to cheer you up today.
To all the people who have spent the past four years dedicating a considerable portion of their emotional energy to the hope that Trump would be rejected in 2020 and are now depressed because the verdict wasn’t enough of a repudiation, I have news for you: you’re confused.
Granted, it would be great if about 45 to 48 percent of people at any given time couldn’t imagine endorsing Trump’s reelection. But we knew these numbers to be fact for the past four years. If that thought depressed you on Monday, the day before the election, it shouldn’t depress you or surprise you more now that we’ve received results. Anything else is just an (understandably) emotional reaction.
More importantly, just imagine this scenario: On Tuesday night at 9 p.m., the networks announced that Biden won the following states that Hillary lost: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona and yes, wait for it, deep south, historically ruby-red GEORGIA! And, moments later, the networks report that Biden won the most votes in U.S. presidential election history, secured the same number of electoral votes as Trump in 2016, and called him President-elect Biden. Now imagine a week later, drunk from champagne celebrations, you MAYBE happen to hear that Trump eked out Florida and won Ohio and North Carolina, where Trump was always favored. At most, it would barely register. If anything, you’d probably hear that Biden performed well in Texas, and you’d be thrilled by the news and related 2024 reelection prospects. In terms of wins and losses, there were no major surprises. You can claim insufficient margins in some states but some of those likely won’t even be all that close at the end of the day and, for those that are relatively close, stop quibbling. Granted, it’s soul crushing to learn good people aren’t repulsed by a bad man but we knew that already, it should be baked into your result-processing cake.
But the Democrats didn’t win the Senate, you say! OK, let’s talk about that. First of all, they still have a chance to win the Senate in January special elections, factoring in Kamala Harris as a tie-breaking vote. Second of all, they were never considered a lock, not even close. If you were expecting with near-guaranteed cosmic certitude that Lindsay Graham would lose South Carolina, where Trump won decisively, you were misinformed. Also, isn’t your main point that Trump is a monster we need gone? We need to return to our admittedly subpar version of normalcy? A Senate with McConnell possessing just a narrow majority, with a president keen on compromise, civility and moderation, with Susan Collins eager to flex her moderate muscles, seems to come close to at least the possibility of achieving that subpar normalcy. If you’re further to the left, and were expecting or hoping for dramatic reform, you have reason to be disappointed but you don’t have reason to be terribly surprised or to think the result is undemocratic. Divided government would be an accurate and fair reflection of our times, not a departure from it.
But many Democrats up and down the ballot lost elections, you say! OK, let’s talk about that. First of all, stop expecting Republicans to be Democrats. A sizable number of traditional, non-Trump conservatives wanted to express their conservatism by voting for Republicans and not voting for Trump. Also, Democrats came out to vote Democrat. It’s just that in many elections, in part driven by Trump turnout, Democrats lost. That happens. Second of all, not getting exactly what you wanted and more isn’t cause for depression. Go to work on the next election, this is what democracy is all about.
But Trump didn’t suffer a significant enough loss in the electoral college, you say! OK, let’s talk about that. First of all, you’ve been correctly complaining about the electoral college for the past two decades, ever since Al Gore won the popular vote and lost the election. You argue that nothing more vividly illustrates the majority opinion than the popular vote. Well, do you believe that or not? If you believe that, within the scope of what you realistically considered possible, what percentage of the vote were you needing Biden to win in order to celebrate? Maybe a slight majority in a deeply divided country? A slight majority that eluded Hillary Clinton? A slight majority that was resounding enough to win the electoral college too via the exact states that Biden was hoping to flip? YOU GOT EXACTLY THAT! The only difference is you didn’t find out quickly enough to your satisfaction. It became mathematically clear on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. That’s it.
By the way, there’s no such thing as “catching up” in elections. The total vote is what it is. Sometimes, it just takes awhile to count. Many states you thought were close on Tuesday are not close. Biden is winning many states convincingly, within the context of American elections.
So, if you have spent the last four years praying for this moment, and you’re sitting there down in the dumps due to an understandable emotional reaction stemming from 2016 election night trauma, get up and go celebrate. Don’t let a confused, emotional reaction to the order of results on Tuesday night dictate your mood. This country still has countless problems, and surely difficult days ahead. That doesn’t mean you can’t recognize a many-many-many-million vote spread as a win. You got what you wanted. Go uncork the champagne. Cheer up.
– Adam Stone is the publisher of Examiner Media.
*This column was published online slightly prior to Trump being declared loser by the networks, before the anti-Trump population’s mood had collectively brightened.