As everyone on earth knows by now, Joe Biden has won the election and will be the 46th president of the United States. Pennsylvania became the deciding state. He is on track to winning 306 electoral votes, if he ultimately wins Georgia.
Here are a few historic tidbits about the election:
- Biden received the most votes of any presidential candidate in history. That is partly due to the unusually large turnout this year, and efforts to make participation easier for people during the pandemic with early voting and vote-by-mail.
- Biden won a majority of the votes cast, which Trump never has.
- Trump became the 10th U.S. president to lose reelection. You can see a short list of the previous losing incumbents here.
- Biden becomes the oldest president-elect in history, at age 77.
- If he goes on and wins Georgia, Biden will be the first Democrat to win that state since Clinton in 1992, and the first non-Southern Democrat to win Georgia since JFK in 1960.
- If Trump doesn’t concede, he will be the first loser not to do so in modern history. The modern understanding of a public concession can be traced to 1896, when William Jennings Bryan sent opponent William McKinley a cordial telegram.
- And of course Kamala Harris makes history as the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent elected vice president.
In an interview with Fox New’s Chris Wallace, Trump made a false claim about Biden, saying: “It’s really because they want to defund the police, and Biden wants to defund the police.”
“No, sir, he does not,” Wallace countered.
Trump stood by his claim, incorrectly saying the unity platform endorsed by Bernie Sanders, embraces calls to defund the police.
Biden has repeatedly said he does not support calls to defund the police and has instead called for policing reform.
Wallace tried to explain, but the president responded by ordering an aide to go get the document.
“Let’s go! Get me the charter, please!” Trump said.
Wallace later told Fox News host Bill Hemmer it “led to a very interesting exchange … and he went through it and he found a lot of things that he objected to that Biden has agreed to, but couldn’t find any indication, because there isn’t any, that Joe Biden has sought to defund and abolish the police.”
Trump made a similar claim during a blatantly political speech in the Rose Garden on Tuesday, claiming: “The Biden-Sanders agenda is the most extreme platform of any major party nominee, by far, in American history … They now want to abolish our police departments. They want to abolish our prisons, I guess.”
Politifact gave that claim a rating of “Pants on Fire”.
Such attempts to paint Biden as an extreme liberal do not seem to be working: polls show voters view the challenger as more of a moderate than the president.”
With the presidential election just months away, Trump had the Justice Department ask the Supreme Court on Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that enables millions of Americans to get insurance coverage and that remains in effect despite the pending legal challenge.
Neither Trump nor the GOP have offered up an alternative. And this is all taking place in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and with millions losing income during economic shutdowns.
Many GOP politicians are dismayed by the move, which seems to play into Biden’s hand going into the election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized the administration after the late-night filing.
“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” she said in a statement Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, lashed out at President Donald Trump for continuing to support upending the law.
“Today, his Administration is filing a brief with the Supreme Court to rip health care coverage away from 23 million Americans — including 224,000 Wisconsinites,” Biden said, remarking on Trump’s visit to the Badger State Thursday. “Every American deserves the peace of mind that comes (with) access to affordable, high-quality health care.”
Biden, who is planning to make a new health care push on protecting the Affordable Care Act this week, was vice president when former President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in 2010. He is calling for strengthening it by making federal premium subsides more generous and allowing more people to qualify for subsidies. He would also add a government-run public option and would lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60.
About 11.4 million people signed up for 2020 Obamacare polices on the exchanges, while nearly 12.7 million low-income adults have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. It allows young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ policies and bans insurers from denying coverage to those who buy their own policies or charging them more because of pre-existing conditions. And it lets many people obtain free birth control, annual physicals, mammograms and cholesterol tests.
The filings come a day after House Democrats unveiled a bill to enhance the landmark law. Similar to Biden’s plan, it would make Obamacare policies more affordable by bolstering federal premium subsidies — limiting monthly premiums to 8.5% of enrollees’ income and allowing more middle class Americans to receive the subsidies by eliminating the income cap of four times the poverty level. It also tries to entice more states to expand Medicaid to low-income adults by covering 100% of the cost for the first three years.
Warren received blows from all around for her continued vagueness on how to pay for her Medicare for All plan, lack of details, what it would mean for people like union workers who like their current plans, and not really responding well to people like Biden, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg who are in favor of “Medicare for all who want it” – the public option that seems an achievable improvement on Obamacare, with an affordable public option.
Biden had a great moment that I think might go viral. He was talking about actually getting things done, which he has experience doing. Warren then responded by going on and on about her great consumer protection agency. Biden pointed out that he was the one who worked hard and got votes to establish that agency, another thing he got done. Warren stood there looking stunned for a minute, then she thanked… Obama. The audience had a negative reaction, and Biden gave a broad smile. He made his point.
There was a lot of bickering on the stage though. Cory Booker tried to bring focus back to what unites Democrats more than divides them. But of course he has been guilty of the same tactics in previous debates.
Klobuchar seemed very animated and made good points. Sanders looked perfectly healthy, waving his arms about as usual.
I’m not very good at predicting presidential winners. When I was working on the McGovern campaign in NYC as a teenager, I was shocked he didn’t win. After all, everybody I knew in the city was for him except for my aunt in Brooklyn, and she changed her mind and voted for him at the last minute.
The leader until now has been Biden. And despite attempts by the far-right to portray Biden as dishonest, in order to deflect from Trump’s scandals (which some of my progressive friends seem to be buying into, like they did with Hillary), I think he is the most practical candidate and has the best chance of defeating Trump in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
But I also sense the Biden campaign might be running out of steam and falling behind Warren in enthusiasm, funding, and polling. And the Trump attacks are taking their toll.
So I’m sort of feeling right now that Warren might actually get the nomination.
If so, I’m worried she might lose because of her vague position on health care, and the fear that will be raised by attacks saying union members will lose their health care plans.
But Warren is extremely smart, and I’m also hoping if she gets the nomination she is clever enough to “thread the needle” and come up with something concrete that satisfies midwestern voters and also doesn’t leave her extreme left supporters feeling betrayed.
A second intelligence official who was alarmed by Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.
Things are spinning all over Washington at a dizzying rate.
Meanwhile with the Democrats…
With Elizabeth Warren either closing in on, or slightly passing, Joe Biden in the latest polls, what impact does Sanders’ sudden hospitalization for stent procedures have on the nomination process?
If Sanders were to withdraw, would his supporters flock to Warren? And if so, would she then become the clear leader for the candidacy?
And if Warren gets the nomination, does she have a better chance of beating Trump than Biden has? She still has yet to clarify her health insurance ideas, even though she is famous for “having a plan” for just about everything else.
There is some concern that if she sticks to the idea of abolishing private health insurance in favor of a mandatory Medicare for All that it will frighten away many voters who like the plans their unions fought for. That could be too much of a sudden upheaval for the complicated U.S. market. On the other hand, if she threads the needle too finely and supports a public option, what Buttigieg calls, “Medicare for all who want it,” and is supported by Biden, Harris, and Klobuchar, that Warren’s supporters might feel sold out. Warren apparently is still saying that she is looking at all options.
As has been well reported in the media, Trump has asked, encouraged or demanded that the leader of a foreign government undertake an investigation designed to produce information that could damage a potential 2020 campaign rival, Joe Biden.
The contents of the Trump phone call prompted a government official to file a whistleblower complaint, a necessary but unprecedented grievance aimed at the president. The inspector general for the intelligence community found the whistleblower’s charge credible and urgent, in which case the information is required by law to be relayed to Congress. That hasn’t happened because the White House and Justice Department are fighting it.
In weekend tweets, Trump has redoubled efforts to draw attention away from himself and shift it to Biden and Biden’s son. “Someone ought to look into Joe Biden,” he said Friday.
This has a very familiar pattern. Remember when Trump started harping on Hillary’s emails? He’s trying to twist things around.
If you read comments in social media by Trump supporters (be they real or trolls or paid agitators) the essence of their remarks is that the “deep state” is involved in trying to get Trump, and that Biden is up to criminal activity. We’ve been here before. And it needs to be stopped in its tracks.
“This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power, to get on the phone with a foreign power who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me, if that’s what happened, that’s what appears to have happened,” Biden told reporters. “Trump’s doing this because he knows I will beat him like a drum and is using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try and smear.”
Biden also challenged Trump to release a transcript of his phone call with the Ukrainian leader.
The Biden campaign sent a lengthy memo to reporters Saturday listing quotes from various news outlets, including the Kyiv Post in Ukraine, discrediting Trump’s attack.
Strange premonition today: It could be Biden / Buttigieg. Think about it:
- Buttigieg come out with his “Medicare for all who want it” plan which is almost verbatim the same as Biden’s public option plan.
- Buttigieg at the same time attacks Warren for being evasive on how she is paying for her plan.
- Biden thrills the left wing of the Democrats with his daring choice of Buttigieg. And injects youth into his campaign. Californians go wild.
- Buttigieg faces off against Pence! Both from Indiana, both with a history.
- All the strong blue states are ok anyway. All the strong red states are probably lost anyway. But this could play well in those key midwestern states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin because Buttigieg is not far left, has a good military record, and is smart and intellectual and a good debater.
- And, finally, get this: somebody has bought up all the JoeAndPete domains.
Remember – you heard it hear first!
‘It’s too late in the game to keep saying it’s too early.’Philippe Reines, former Hillary Clinton advisor
For all practical purposes, it’s fair to say the Democratic race has come down to Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. They are the only candidates polling in double digits. Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg are in the next, outside circle, but polling in single digits. And everybody else is way behind.
So it has one thinking – for the purposes of unity and beating Trump, could there possibly be a Biden-Warren ticket?
It would mean getting practical and compromising on some moderate-vs-left positions. But isn’t that what always happens after the primary season is over and we’re facing the entire electorate?
The problem is they have a history. For example, Warren had been an antagonist of Biden’s in 2002, when she criticized him in a New York Times op-ed for his support of a bill that made it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy.
The headline of Warren’s piece read: “A Quiet Attack on Women.” Warren, then a law professor at Harvard, detailed how the legislation would have a disproportionate impact on women, and implied that Biden was supporting the bill because of the finance industry’s outsized influence in Delaware, his home state.
This critique was clearly still on Biden’s mind in 2015, when he talked about reforms to the credit card industry enacted by President Obama’s administration.
“The credit card change we made, that alone has saved consumers over $20 billion a year,” he said. “If you look at Elizabeth Warren’s argument on this: ‘You should have just shut the suckers down.’”
But lately they have been quieter about directly criticizing each other. A spokesman for Warren, asked to comment declined to do so. A Biden spokesman also declined to comment. They both seem to be laying low on their differences.
In 2015, when Biden was considering running, he invited Warren to lunch at the vice presidential residence. He apparently was by that time convinced that if he ran for president in 2016, he would want her to be his running mate.
Since then he has also expressed regret on some of his past votes involving banking regulation, bringing himself more in line with Warren.
“The biggest mistake I made in my whole career,” he said, was voting to get rid of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking.
The law was partially repealed in 1999. Biden defended President Bill Clinton, who signed the 1999 legislation, as doing “a good job in the economy at the time, shifting us toward capital formation.”
“But,” he said, capital formation “became a holy grail,” and Democrats became too afraid of regulating Wall Street. “We got to change that. We got to put this back in a lane where there is genuine oversight, where the cowboys can’t take the risk we have to pay for,” Biden said, bringing himself more in line with Warren’s views.
Of course there are also differences in their approach to health care reform which would need to be adjusted on both sides – both for good policy and also for appeal to the general electorate.
But it would sure be interesting if we had a Biden-Warren ticket.