Weekend Conversation – Thoughts on Election Week
In this installment of Weekend Conversations, PF Whalen of The Blue State Conservative and Parker Beauregard of The Last Best Hope explore the tumultuous week of the election. How are votes not counted immediately? How many votes are legitimate? What does this mean for the country? Parker and PF wade into the quagmire.
Parker: Where do you even begin? This election has laid bare so many divisions within the country, opened our eyes to the very real fraud we were told doesn’t matter, exposed the media and pollsters (even more than we thought possible), and leaves open the possibility for both the left and the right to take drastic actions in the coming decade. It’s a cliché at this point, but it only makes sense that 2020 would conclude with a contentious and probably litigated election.
More than anything else, this entire election has confirmed what I already knew. Basically, we need strict, enforceable, and unforgiving voter identification laws. Each voter needs a current ID and registered address to vote. No ID and address? No vote. And, you can only vote on election day. IN PERSON. Did we not see the rife possibility of tampering and questions of legitimacy by sending out tens of millions of unrequested ballots? It seems so commonsensical, but of course common sense and potential hindrances on committing fraud are both anathema to the left. So naturally, they are opposed to the higher standards. I am not 100% asserting that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, but there are legitimate questions surrounding the veracity of every vote cast or every ballot counted. If even one ballot is improper or illegal, it opens the door to the possibility that there may be other similar votes.
In order for the nation and government to function, voters need to reliably trust that each participant in the system has an equal voice. I voted; therefore, I need to know my one vote is counted against every other voter’s single ballot. As soon as stories emerged out of Michigan where voters with birthdates in the 1800s and early 1900s, each rightfully raises some questions on election legitimacy. Now, naysayers conveniently assert that voter fraud doesn’t occur at a big enough level to determine elections. Umm, what? The left doesn’t deny that voter fraud might transpire; they just deny it impacts election results. How does this even make sense?
PF: It makes no sense, and in fact may be the single biggest threat to our democracy. If Americans distrust our electoral processes, then they will likely distrust the governments they yield, and then we have a major problem. As we are writing these correspondences, the election results are changing by the hour, so it’s really too early to make any definitive statements on the outcomes, but I’m highly skeptical to say the least.
There are several takeaways for me from the election, regardless of the ultimate outcomes. It’s still not verified, but it seems likely that the balance of power in the Senate will remain in the hands of the GOP. It looks like it may come down to a pair of runoff elections in Georgia, and those elections seem to me to favor the Republicans. Even if Trump loses in Georgia, I think those Senate seats will stay red. This outcome would be an enormous win for the GOP and conservatives everywhere. The fact that Republican senators such as Mitch McConnell (KY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Susan Collins (ME), and Joni Ernst (IA) all won their reelections by comfortable margins speaks volumes about the mindset of voters.
Combined with the likelihood that the GOP is headed to a net-gain of approximately 15 seats in the House of Representatives, and we can see that Americans rejected the radical leftist agenda the Democrats had put out there. On Tuesday, Americans resoundingly rejected the narrative from Black Lives Matter that our country is systemically racist. We rejected the idea of defunding the police, packing the courts, and tearing down long-held institutions. Even if Joe Biden is indeed our next President (shiver), a Republican Senate should be able to limit the damage he’ll do.
Parker: I am disappointed by the electorate as a whole, but as you mention, that disappointment is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that so many voices stood up to the tyrannical left. There is a lot of opportunity coming up.
I wrote an article this week about how the disappointment stems from the fact that I, along with many conservatives, expected (and hoped) for a massive red wave that would reject the narratives of racism and oppression, and the violence that stemmed from it. I thought more people would see through that message for what it was. Biden is seemingly carrying the day, vindicating both the destructive violence and narratives as well as the platform he ran on. Weren’t voters listening when he said the fossil fuel industry was toast?
I do wonder what Biden and Harris will attempt with this marginal mandate. Knowing the left, they will plow through with their initiatives whether they had won in an electoral landslide or a squeaker; a win is a win. That should – SHOULD – turn voters off in the course of four years. After all, they rejected the failures of Obama and the obvious corruption and personality defects of Hillary. I don’t see how anyone accepts Harris as president. She’s truly an awful person. In my mind, that opens the door to a triumphant return for Trump himself to run in 2024. No doubt, he will be a vocal opponent of the Democrat’s administration (as he should be after how people went after him) and has four years to essentially building on the growing coalition of disillusioned voters among blacks, Hispanics, and others.
PF: Disappointed is the right word. I’m disappointed, but I’m also encouraged. Assuming we’re both right, and the GOP holds the Senate, Biden will be severely impeded in trying to implement his agenda. In fact, if that’s the case, I think we should be prepared for at least two years of Senate Republicans being called “obstructionists,” and to a large degree that label will be correct. McConnell will determine who chairs each committee, and those chairpersons will ensure none of Biden’s radical ideas even make it out of the committees; there will be gridlock. When it comes to judges/justices in particular, I expect that the Senate Judiciary Committee will resist most of Biden’s nominations, and Democrats will freak out.
There are two other reasons why I’m encouraged by the result. I find it remarkable that of all the demographics in our country, the only one in which President Trump did not increase his percentage of the vote on Tuesday was with white men. So, after four years of hearing that Trump is a racist/misogynist/xenophobe, a higher percentage of women, black folks, Hispanic folks, and Asian-Americans voted for Trump. Even those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community voted heavier for Trump this time around. It’s truly remarkable, because it tells me that members of those intersectional groups largely rejected the narrative that Trump is a bigot. It would be good for the country if the Left turns away from their strategy of identity politics, but I’m not counting on it.
The other reason for my encouragement is the way in which this election exposed the media, and the fact that Americans seem to have largely figured out who they truly are. For 3+ years they fed us Russian collusion, and that effort collapsed. They were cheerleaders for the Democrats as they impeached a president for the first time in history without in fact accusing him of a crime (since neither “obstruction of Congress” nor “abuse of power” have actual statutes) and that effort collapsed as well. And then they acted as the mouthpiece of the Democrat Party throughout the COVID pandemic in trying to paint Trump as a villain. In spite of all of those headwinds here we are, several days after Election Day, and we’re still not even sure that Trump has been defeated. I’m usually not big on “moral victories,” but this time I’m of the opinion that that is indeed what has been achieved, and that’s pretty good.
Parker: Assuming there is no court packing or additional statehood efforts, I ultimately share your optimism for the limitations on a Biden-Harris presidency. While Biden did win an electoral majority, there are also some powerful graphics that reminded me of the breadth of conservative ideals throughout the country.
The image I used in the headline is a map from the New York Times website showing the comparison of Congressional House districts based on party. Obviously, districts are based on population, but geographically speaking this is a red country. When conservatives complain they don’t want coastal elites ruling them from New York and California, they mean it. After the energy ginned up by Trump, I don’t see these regions going quietly into the night.
Also, this might be a little too “silver lining” for me, but as of right now the police officers in the George Floyd case are set to begin preliminary hearings next March. Whether it’s Biden or Harris helming the nation is irrelevant; it will be enlightening to watch them handle the inevitable non-guilty verdict. Do they encourage looting, rioting, and destruction? I thought it would be political suicide to let the last round of summer riots last as long as they did, and even Democrats and the media admitted that the riots were hurting them, so it’s an interesting political calculation. Let your base do its thing or stand up to your base so as not to lose independent and moderate swing votes?
Given that the rioting and burning will take place in the same urban centers that voted overwhelmingly for Democrats (and congruently against the law-and-order candidate in Trump), part of me also looks forward to watching people deal with the results of their voting habits. It’s sadistic and not very Christian, but I struggle with finding other ways to knock sense into everyone. I personally know too many small business owners and city types that support Black Lives Matter while comfortably remaining unaffected thus far by BLM. This might wake them up to the violence and terrorism of this and other hate groups. They don’t care who you vote for; they hate you because you’re white and working hard in the free market system.
PF: Absolutely, the impact to the culture will be interesting to watch. All indications are that leaders on the Left will double-down. They will refuse to accept the erosion in minority votes as a rejection of their policies and ideals. I think BLM will go full steam ahead, but they’ll continue to lose support. The only way Democrats can make this election a long-term positive will be for Biden/Harris to somehow bring their moderate and leftist wings together, thereby pulling the culture somewhat to the center, but there is no way that’s happening. Both Biden and Harris are followers, not leaders, and they follow wherever their radical left leads them. It would be better for the country if Democrats moved to the center, but they won’t, and that will spell doom for them in 2022 and 2024.
One aspect of the election that has been downplayed considerably is the results in the House of Representatives. Most news outlets are predicting that the Democrat majority will have been whittled down to just seventeen votes after the dust settles. Considering that going into Election Day there were predictions of a “Blue Wave” in both houses of Congress, the fact that Republicans are picking up that many seats is a clear repudiation of Democrats. There has already been talk that Nancy Pelosi’s role as Speaker may be in jeopardy. I would not be surprised to see moderate Democrats jump ship to the GOP if a leadership battle gets ugly. There would need to be nine defectors in order to shift the majority, and that won’t happen, but an unsettled situation at the top for Democrats is big trouble for them.
Parker: I’ll just end with this: While we both expected and wanted something different, I think the general mood is one of optimism for conservatives. In addition to the House gains, Senate retention, Supreme Court majority, there is a new and growing Republican coalition of disaffected women, blacks, Hispanics, LGBT+, and other previous givens for Democrats. Most importantly, Trump revived conservatism. We are united and finally understand what we’re fighting for.