At RealClearPolitics Sean Trende summarizes VP Joe Biden’s path to election:
When I wrote my 2013 series on demographic shifts, including the Case of the Missing White Voters, I outlined a potential path to electoral victory for Republicans that didn’t involve reaching out to non-white Americans as such. Rather, I suggested that a more economically populist Republican Party that was more skeptical of American intervention abroad, aligned against illegal immigration and skeptical of trade deals — and that, above all else, didn’t nominate a guy with car elevators as its standard-bearer — might be able to gain the enthusiastic backing of enough blue-collar whites to win elections. This incarnation of the GOP might eventually win over some non-white voters, who vote for Democrats more because of their stances on economic issues than their stances on identity issues.
This is more-or-less the path that Trump took. Indeed, he proved a stronger version of the “Missing Whites” approach than I had thought was possible, by alienating large numbers of whites with college degrees, who had previously been the foundation of the Republican Party.
But there are limits to what can be done with whites without college degrees, who constitute a significant portion of the electorate, but not a majority. While Trump has, in fact, made progress with non-whites, his bleeding of support among whites with college degrees, especially women, and (at least according to polls) older white voters more than offsets that.
In other words, at a certain point you just run out of groups that you can afford to alienate from your coalition, and Trump may well have hit that point.
Just for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that Joe Biden is elected. Then what? It has been my observation that every administration, early on, throws a sop to its constituents. I think that will certainly be the case for the Biden Administration. Here’s what I think is likely to happen.
- Contrary to many of the (in my opinion irresponsible) speculations about whether Trump will leave the White House willingly, although Trump will not concede he will leave the White House willingly, maybe even eagerly.
- There is an element of disorder in every transition in administrations and this one will have more than usual.
- Again contrary to what the campaign is putting forward, the Biden Administration will largely do the same things the Trump Administration has been doing WRT COVID-19. If there are any attempts at, for example, making wearing facemasks nationally compulsory, without declaring martial law they will be struck down by the courts.
- Biden will not face the difficulties in filling a cabinet that Trump has. If anything there will be a sort of feeding frenzy of Democratic apparatchiks jockeying for positions in the new administration. There are already signs of that.
- The first sop the new Biden Administration will throw its base will be adding a public option to Obamacare.
- There may also be some moves in the direction of the Green New Deal early on.
- I think the Biden Administration will be more hawkish than the Trump Administration has been.
- I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a significant, premature increase in illegal border crossings from Mexico immediately following Biden’s election.
- Despite the noise about raising taxes, I am unconvinced that the Biden Administration will do that early on. The most I would anticipate is adding a new, higher bracket.
We’ll get around to what will happen if President Trump is re-elected in a future post.
Please add your thoughts on what a Biden Administration would mean in the comments.