Source: M. Joseph Sheppard
Let’s be totally frank: if on election night 2020 a total of just over 40,000 votes across Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona had gone for President Donald Trump instead of Biden it would have eventuated in a complete disaster for both Trump and the GOP with the latter likely out of the presidency for a dozen years or more.
Trump’s 269/269 Electoral College tie “win” i.e., being put into office by a majority of state delegations in the House of Representatives even though he had lost the popular vote by an unprecedented seven million votes, 4.3% behind the “loser,” would have made the 2016 protests against his, also minority popular vote win, seem a Sunday picnic.
The media, already hateful, would have turned venomous, and the atmosphere leading up to the House meeting and determining him re-elected would have been filled with commentary calling on the House delegates to switch their votes, further inflaming the environment.
But should the constitutional process have worked its way through on strictly partisan basis, including Vice-President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote for himself, a sullen quiet would have descended on the country.
Again, being frank, the current inflationary economy commenced its stark rise, caused in the main by the massive creation of money, just after Biden’s inauguration along with the supply chain bottlenecks. Trump would have owned all of it.
Now, if in this current economy President Trump were in charge, it is difficult to imagine the political environment as being anything other than a complete and utter disaster for Trump and the GOP. Even with a still more or less compliant media supporting Biden and overlooking his lapses, he still manages to be around the 41% approval rating for all of this year to date.
If Trump were in office today, he would be lucky to be in the high 20s. The Dems and media would be hitting the “illegitimate president.” The GOP “establishment” would be completely emboldened and would be fracturing what would be left of any messaging cohesion from the Trump administration.
If Putin had invaded the Ukraine the media/Dems response would be unimaginable. After four years of, without cause, calling Trump “Putin’s puppet,” the rhetoric would be through the roof. If Trump did not take any overt action, he would be called worse than a traitor “enabling the death of democracy.” If he had taken strong action, then “Trump is leading us into World War Three.”
As bad as the midterms currently look for the Dems, the prospect of a near complete annihilation of the GOP would make their outlook appear just like the normal, historical swings. There would have been the very real prospect of a filibuster proof 60+ Dem senate and a two-thirds House majority if not in 2022, then most certainly in 2024.
Whoever was the unfortunate Republican presidential candidate would go down to a Mondale-type defeat and what was left of the GOP would be out of the presidency, possibly up to 12 years. Such massive across-the-board rejection would have seen the most radical Democratic party legislation rammed through with every progressive agenda wish passed completely and finally changing the polity to a bicoastal ultra-liberal one.
What would have been particularly tragic for the GOP would have been the loss of the current marked swing to their ranks by Hispanics which would also have put Texas in play for the Dems in such a massive swing environment.
As it stands now, should they lose control of the House next year, Democrats will have a more emboldened progressive caucus, having lost many moderate and swing district members. This will present the electorate with a stark choice: a continuation of the current progressive inspired economy, illegal immigration and “woke” social mores, or a return to the pre-COVID booming Trump economy, especially for Blacks and Hispanics.
In contrast to the potentially disastrous political situation for the GOP which a narrow 2020 win would have engendered, the prospect for both Trump and the entire Republican party for 2022 and 2024 looks bright.
In fact, looking even further out, 2028 would not be marked by the usual two-term election malaise as the political reality in that respect is that it would appear for Trump’s successor as a follow on from a single term.
Sometimes a loss, no matter how much it hurts, can turn out to be a blessing in disguise, and 2020 is very much that blessing. The Biden administration’s policy plans have been waylaid by Omicron, Manchin and Sinema, inflation, Putin’s war, rising urban crime and internal party divisions. So far Biden’s 2020 win has not inflicted too much damage than can’t quickly be fixed in 2022/24
About forty thousand votes in two presidential elections in a row will have determined the American landscape for a generation after the midterms — such are the imponderables of fate in a polarized society.