A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Disappointments enough in the election but a big bright spot — Trump will soon be gone

To quote former President Gerald Ford, “our long, national nightmare is over.”

Well, almost.

With the vote totals dwindling down to a precious few, it appears that Democrat Joe Biden, the former vice president, appears, after experiencing some hairy moments, to have the votes necessary to oust incumbent President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, winning the popular vote by better than 3 million while eking out an Electoral College victory.

But the good news for Democrats on Election Day ends there. In fact, it turned out to be an event fraught with disappointment. What was originally cast as a potential groundswell, with the party grabbing the presidency and the Senate while maintaining control and actually adding to the majority in the House, turned out to be something of a downer.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

Democratic dreams about a Senate takeover failed to materialize, with the party probably gaining just a single seat, providing the GOP with 52 slots in the 100-member chamber – enough to keep Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell of Louisville, ensconced in the majority position to which he has become accustomed.

And it looks like Republican gains in the House could reach double figures, although Democrats retain control. The bug in the ointment was Florida, where Biden ran well below expectations – Trump won the Sunshine State by almost 400,000 votes in a race considered neck-and-neck going in – leading to the demise of a couple of incumbents.

Regardless, both parties managed to avert disaster. Democrats, assuming the situation holds, got what it wanted most of all — 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – and the Republicans get our boy Mitch to run the federal government into the ground for another two years, although his on-going effort to fill the Supreme Court with every second-rate conservative hack he can come up with at the snap of his fingers draws to close. Alas, that comes after the horse has escaped from the open barn door.

An honest appraisal of the situation would likely determine that Democrats are notably disappointed in the outcome while Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief.

Democrats had hoped, under a Democratic president, to undo the incredible damage perpetrated under four years of Trumpism by assuming the majority in the upper chamber.

The idea had been planted to change the composition of the Supreme Court, going from nine justices to 11 or perhaps 13, to offset the political appointments to the bench that Trump made at the urging of ol’ Root-‘n-Branch. There was also talk of eliminating the filibuster, a move that would have denied McConnell of the sole strategy he traditionally employs as minority leader – blocking through any means necessary legislation championed by Democrats, good or bad.

McConnell reportedly gets along well with Biden – everybody does, earning the former vice president from Delaware a reputation as the anti-Trump. But McConnell has displayed throughout his benighted political career that he seeks and covets only one thing – power. Making old pal Joe do flips to get a simple resolution naming a post office will surely make old Mitch smile, despite the fear that doing so might fracture his jaw from lack of use.

Losing the White House is an obvious setback but it’s not stretching a point to say McConnell and other party leaders, given the say-so. Would just as soon keep the Senate, thank you very much. While most GOP members strove hard to play nice with Trump, lawmakers generally couldn’t stand him and his brutish demeanor.

One thing Biden can do without McConnell’s interference is reinstate some of the federal regulations Trump dumped in the waste can, certainly as it pertains to the environment. If nothing else, rededicating America to the proposition of keeping its nest clean, and seeing to it that no further damage can be done to the high court, makes Biden’s election worth it.

Regardless, Democrats are glum for a host of reasons beyond facing problems in the Senate. Despite the White House victory – which should hold outside the development of unforeseen circumstances — they don’t understand how a megalomaniac like Donald J. Trump, the narcissist supreme who cares only about himself and would sell the entire nation down the river in return for a smile from his BFF Vladimir Putin, could possibly convince American voters to elect him to the world’s highest office and then persuade upwards of 67 million of them to vote for him yet again.

Trump has proven to be nothing short of a disaster. His actions, or lack thereof, responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis which has cost 230,000 Americans their lives, should have been more than enough to give the great Orange Eminence the old heave-ho.
Trump has proven to be, without any real contradiction, a racist, a misogynist, a crude boor, a conman and a liar — The Washington Post has cited more than 22,000 times he has made either false or misleading claims during his presidency, an astounding number. He is responsible for the immoral border separation policy where children were removed from the custody of their parents and separated. At last count, the U.S. government cannot locate the parents of 525 of these children.

The list of sins can go on into perpetuity, a few not even dealing with his term as president. Yet more than 67 million Americans decided he’s their guy, the man they want to lead the nation. That’s more votes than any other person has received for president other than Biden.

Support had nothing to do with policy or upholding the standards of the presidency. It has everything to do with maintaining a high and mighty position in American society. Despite persistent diversity efforts to broaden the involvement of various groups in the body politic, White voters find security and comfort in a White patriarchy. When that system is challenged, as it was on this Election Day, they activate to retain the privilege they have built up over centuries.

This is what’s bothering Biden folks and they’re at wit’s end determining what to do about it. It is a sad commentary and it speaks ill of a nation that nearly returned Trump to the post again. He even has indicated on more than one occasion that he may not voluntarily leave if Biden’s effort proves successful.

Supporters have cited his record on high employment, lower taxes, and his Supreme Court appointments. COVID-19 sent his jobs record gone with the wind. His tax plan raised the nation’s deficit by about a trillion dollars and offered few benefits for working people, most of the savings going to business. The appointments have thoroughly politicized a court renowned for avoiding such considerations.

It appears the man is on his way out.

Good riddance.

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One Comment

  1. Jeanelle Fuson says:

    McConnell will never care about or do fir Ky.His game is power and wealth.He feeds on being in a place of power where he can control Democrats.The people if Ky are delusional if they think he cares about them.Yet the vote continues to fail its constituents every 6 years.

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