Kudos to Joe Biden for already fulfilling his one and solely marketing campaign promise: He’s not Donald Trump. Drawback is, a four-year time period awaits with no mandate for change.
That’s the worth for conducting one of the crucial adverse campaigns in American historical past. It’s not that Biden was nasty – although calling the president a “racist” and a “clown” on the first debate was downright Trumpian. It’s that he ran because the Candidate of Not. He was not Trump. He was not a radical leftist. He was not towards fracking, not towards the police, not a supporter of antifa – besides when he was, which took us into the realm of the double adverse marketing campaign.
He pursued that technique whereas probably not operating for workplace, hunkering down in his Delaware basement. This helps clarify a current Morning Seek the advice of ballot that discovered that 44% of his supporters mentioned they have been mainly voting towards Trump.
It additionally illuminates Biden’s stunning lack of coattails, as Democrats misplaced Home seats and Republicans held their very own in legislative races as an anticipated blue wave turned a reddish purple.
Campaigning because the Candidate of Not will make it arduous to control a 3rd time period of Sure We Can! The query that has dogged Biden all through his 47-year profession – what, if something, does the man stand for? – stays.
After all, Biden will declare a mandate as he pushes Democratic Get together plans for greater taxes, higher regulation, and a lead-from-behind international coverage. However this effort shall be difficult by the truth that whereas greater than half the nation discovered Trump’s persona repulsive, his insurance policies have been comparatively standard. Home initiatives that spurred the financial system and an aggressive posture overseas that confronted our enemies whereas demanding extra from our allies are the principle causes Trump was favored to win a second time period earlier than COVID-19 emerged.
Biden’s early Cupboard picks, that are heavy on Obama administration alums, recommend a restoration of the earlier regime. Is that what the American individuals need?
Outdoors of demise and taxes, the long run is unpredictable. However the previous reveals that Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was not solely a rejection of Hillary Clinton however a repudiation of Obama-Biden administration insurance policies that turned the Democrats from a majority to minority celebration throughout its eight years.
To state the obvious-but-oft-forgotten level: If the nation had believed the liberal line that Barack Obama was a contemporary Pericles, it wouldn’t have taken a flyer on a brash actual property developer and tv star who had by no means held elective workplace.
Now that the transition is underway, Biden and his allies are attempting to erase that historical past by pretending that he’s already president and that Trump’s lingering presence is an existential risk to democracy if he workouts the authority of his workplace in a method which may battle with Biden’s needs.
That is the spin we’ve been listening to since Iran’s high nuclear scientist was assassinated final week – allegedly by the Israelis with U.S. help. That motion is being condemned as a result of it could impede Biden’s objective of reviving Obama’s signature international coverage initiative, the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump abrogated.
However Trump is merely following present presidential norms by doing what he can to make it more durable for his successor to undo his insurance policies. Obama did simply that, with a vengeance. In 2016, Trump ran on enhancing relations with Russia. Whereas Obama mentioned little about alleged Russian interference within the election when he thought Hillary Clinton would prevail, he imposed new sanctions on the nation after she misplaced. This not solely difficult the president-elect’s plans, however led to specious claims that the incoming nationwide safety adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, might need violated the 1799 Logan Act by discussing the sanctions with Russia’s ambassador earlier than Trump’s inauguration.
This, we now know, was half of a bigger Obama administration effort to delegitimize Trump’s victory – and his capacity to undo the achievements of a president who dominated by fiat relatively than laws – culminating within the bogus Trump/Russia scandal.
The message then: The president remains to be the president. The message now: The president-elect is in cost. Biden’s claims of a mandate may even be difficult by the resistance Trump confronted concerning his signature marketing campaign concern: the wall.
It’s arduous to consider one other candidate who leaned so closely on such a comparatively small, albeit symbolically wealthy, concern. If ever a president had a mandate, Trump did — to construct the factor.
Though the worth tag for buildings that could possibly be simply eliminated by the subsequent administration was barely a blip within the multi-trillion-dollar funds, Democrats repeatedly refused to offer it to Trump with out situations he opposed. What’s worse, Republicans supplied lower than enthusiastic help for Trump’s promise to assemble his “massive, stunning wall.”
The desire of the individuals be damned. And so the Candidate of Not can add yet one more notch to his belt of negativity: He doesn’t have a mandate.