After a long, contentious election campaign, it appears that Joe Biden has been elected President and that Congress will remain divided with the Republicans continuing to hold the Senate. In other words, the American people have rejected Donald Trump but have voted to keep a partially conservative Congress. I consider this to be a good outcome.
What will be the practical effects of this new balance of power? Consider:
- The pandemic is far from over but the economy continues to recover briskly even as the daily coronavirus infection rate is growing. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in October from 7.9% in September. A vaccine is expected to be available soon. President Biden might decide to declare a national mask mandate but this will have little effect beyond the many statewide mask mandates already in place.
- Additional economic stimulus will now be more sparing with the Republicans retaining control of the Senate. It will be carefully targeted toward the shrinking number of people who are still adversely affected by the coronavirus. Such an approach is more fiscally responsible considering our rapidly growing national debt.
- The wish list of the progressive left is stymied. No banning of right-to-work laws nationwide; no $15 an hour national minimum wage. It is much better to let the states decide such issues for themselves, just as Florida adopted its own $15 minimum wage last week.
- Identity politics may be on the wane as Trump received 45% of the Hispanic vote statewide in Florida and 36% in Texas. In California, voters upheld the existing ban on affirmative action in college admissions, public hiring and contracting.
- Limited, decentralized, democratic government was a big winner on Tuesday. In addition to all of the above reasons, 160 million Americans voted this year, 67% of all registered voters, an enormous turnout. Since each state sets its own rules and voting procedures, there is much less likelihood of widespread fraud.
Conclusion. The presidential election proceeded very smoothly. The country voted for divided government, rejecting President Trump but retaining a Republican Senate. Such an arrangement will promote practical, consensus-oriented legislation well serving our politically polarized country.