Despite the fact that President Trump has promised to explore all of his legal options before conceding the election (as he should), the math in the states under consideration doesn’t look particularly sunny for him. With that in mind, while remembering the dedicated battle that Donald Trump waged, it may soon be time to consider what the next steps are for the GOP moving forward after the inauguration of Joe Biden. Despite others having to be the bearers of bad news in terms of an end to the Trump presidency and the election of new leaders with a decidedly socialist agenda, I’m going to say that things could definitely be worse. And with a bit of calmness and foresight, the damage from this election may not be as bad as some may be anticipating.
When the Republicans were routed in 2008, the party was truly sent into the wilderness. Not only had they lost the White House after eight years, but the Speaker’s gavel and the Senate Majority Leader’s office as well. If it weren’t for the filibuster, the Democrats would have run hog wild even more so than they eventually did. It was only after the ascendency of the Tea Party moving into the 2010 midterms that some brakes began being applied to the runaway Democratic train.
2021 isn’t going to look the same as that scenario. Barring some seriously bad breaks in Georgia, the GOP will maintain the Senate majority and that’s hugely important. Mitch McConnell has done an amazing job of herding the Republican cats for the most part, and with their backs against the wall he should be able to do the same. Meanwhile, rather than gaining ground, the Democrats’ majority in the House has actually contracted. They won’t lose the gavel, but there may be any number of close votes where nervous Democrats from purple or red districts may be tempted to jump ship.
As for Joe Biden flooding the courts, to say nothing of packing the Supreme Court with extraneous judges, that’s not going to happen with Cocaine Mitch still in charge. He’ll be able to slow walk Biden’s nominees and hopefully keep the most radically liberal of them off the bench entirely. Biden (or eventually Harris when the Democrats finally figure out how to ease Joe into retirement) will need to compromise and propose more moderate judges. That will be particularly important if Breyer retires early in Biden’s term as many anticipate, hoping to avoid what happened to RBG. It’s not too much to hope for that Clarence Thomas will stick around for at least one more term to see if the GOP comes roaring back in 2024.
In the end, Joe Biden may quickly realize that his options in terms of ramming through his agenda will be quite limited. He’ll be forced to attempt most of any larger moves he has in mind through executive orders and the power of the pen and the phone. That’s precisely what his old boss Barack Obama wound up doing and it’s what he’s criticized Donald Trump for doing as well, so his hypocrisy will be on full display. Of course, that’s how things work out in most presidencies in the modern era.
Looked at in that light, we might wind up simply looking at 2021 and 2022 as a “rebuilding season,” to borrow a term from football. (But hopefully not the same way it always seems to work out for the Jets.) The 2010 elections really turned around the GOP’s fortunes considerably, even though Obama went on to win a second term. With the same sort of focus and effort, that history can repeat itself. And if Biden, Harris and the Democrats try to push their socialist agenda more than they already have, Joe Biden or some Biden/Harris combination could wind up being a one-and-done presidency as well.