President-elect Joe Biden-Rising to the Occasion

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Since the inception of this blog in May of 2018, I’ve spent a good part of my time detailing the defeated current president’s misconduct and criminality. Not today.

I’ve also spent some time lamenting how Democrats are sometimes their own worst enemy, biting and sniping at one another instead of relishing victory, which we’re starting to see play out as we speak. But not today.

No, today is about Joe Biden and how, despite incredible odds and massive voter suppression, managed to achieve a resounding victory to become the 46th President of the United States.

And let’s not undersell this, folks. When it’s all said and done, Biden will most likely have 306 electoral votes in his column, as well as winning the popular vote by 5 million. We should give him his due and celebrate this victory to the fullest extent.

But perhaps more than anything else, what’s been even more impressive is how Biden has conducted himself these last six days. The man is rising to the occasion, just when we needed him to the most.

As election night unfolded, I began to get the same uneasy feeling as the returns rolled in back in 2016. My stomach was in knots, my heart was racing, and I started to get a sense that something terrible was about to happen again.

But then right before I went to bed, sometime around 1:00 am out here on the West Coast, I heard the news that Biden had taken the lead in Wisconsin. Finally, some good news. It wasn’t over – not yet.

And then the following morning brought even more encouraging news. Biden was gaining, little by little. Pennsylvania, which had Trump up by over 500,000 votes at one point, began to count all of the mail-in ballots, which turned out to favor Biden by wide margins.

As is often said, the rest is history. But throughout the last few days, I’ve started to see Joe Biden in a new and different light. When the smoke began to clear, Biden made his first statement, calmingly reassuring his supporters that he was poised to win this race. We had to be patient, though. Once the count is complete, he said, he’d be the next President of the United States. I needed to hear that.

To see his confidence and determination, his steely resolve and dignified presence – only made me appreciate more the stark differences between the two candidates. They were apparent even before the election but to see it all play out in this manner made the victory that much sweeter.

All of Biden’s speeches and statements since the election have struck the right tone. He’s saying all the right things, even extending an olive branch to the 70-plus million Americans who voted for his rival. He’ll be their President, as well – not just those who voted for him. Not once did we ever hear anything similar from the defeated current president – not after his win in 2016, nor in the ensuing four years.

Pledging unity and aggressive action to confront the immense challenges awaiting him highlighted Saturday night’s victory speech. But so did his acknowledgment and appreciation to the African-American community.

That community brought him back from the brink of defeat during the primary season and was central to his victory on election night. They had his back; now he’ll have theirs. I thought it was one of the most poignant and emotional moments of the night.

On more than a few occasions in this space, I’ve said that Joe Biden was not my first choice to win the Democratic nomination. Senator Elizabeth Warren, I thought, was the most qualified candidate at the time. Even today, I think she would have made an excellent president.

But that point is moot right now. Now more than ever, it’s clear that Joe Biden was the right candidate to defeat Donald Trump. He brought together a remarkable coalition of minorities, young people, suburban women, independents, Republicans, progressives, and moderates.

In America’s Wake-Up Call, the project my good friend Jill Dennison and I collaborated on, I asked the question: Can Joe Biden Unify the Country? I wrote back then that Joe was the best, and perhaps only candidate well equipped to succeed in that endeavor. What we’ve seen so far since the night of the election makes me think I was right on that one, although I think we can all agree the task will be arduous.

It’s been quite an impressive performance, folks, and for that, we must commend his campaign and team for a job well done. But let’s give credit for where the credit for where it’s due the most: to Joe Biden himself.

He’s risen to the occasion when many, including myself, doubted his ability to get it done. It turns out, as CNN political commentator Van Jones so emotionally put it the other day, that character matters – and so does telling the truth and being decent.

Millions of Americans agreed, and soon we’ll get to see how the new President will navigate the troubled waters he will inherit.

But I’m heartened from what I see so far. Today isn’t about rehashing the disastrous Trump presidency or how progressive or moderate a new Biden administration should be. It’s about congratulating a good man and lifelong public servant on a job well done.

In the coming months, we’ll have plenty of time in this space to debate the way forward. From the beginning, I’ve tried to establish pronounced differences that exist between our two main political parties. That is not going to change, especially as we witness in real-time the continued capitulation to Trump and Trumpism by the Republican Party.

But for now, we celebrate one of the most critical election victories in our time. If his performance since being elected is any indication of how the next four years is going to play out, Joe Biden has a real chance to be a transformational president.

Yes, even for Trump voters.

36 comments

  1. Another excellent analysis, Jeff. Although I think you’re more optimistic than I am. Yes, I’m grateful Biden defeated the would-be-dictator. And, yes, Biden is making the right moves and saying the right things. Yes, he really does want to unite the nation. But I fear it’s too late. Millions of Americans–likely the majority of the 71 million who voted for Trump–have no desire to unite with folks they consider to be un-American. Far too many Republicans–my former party–slurped the Trump Kool-Aid, and there’s no turning back. Most of them–including many of my friends and relatives–will not be satisfied with anything short of a Trump dynasty. They will go to their graves claiming Trump was robbed and America is going to hell in a socialist handbasket.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Jerry. I’m trying like hell to be optimistic. But you’re right, it’s tough when you look at those numbers. Let me ask you this. Do you subscribe to the notion that we on the other side should turn a new leaf, so to speak, and reach out to the Trumpers? In other words, forgive them and give them a chance? I, personally, have a hard time with that. I recognize that our new president has to do that. He must at least, try to unite the country. I feel that eventually, he may have to abandon this philosophy. What do you think?

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      1. Good question, Jeff. To some degree, I must try to give at least some of them another chance, because among them are my siblings and their families and most of my wife’s family members. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to strike a reasonable balance between affirming righteousness/justice and family peace. It’s especially difficult because I just don’t see any of them breaking free from the Trump cult. So, even if I do give them another chance, I doubt they’ll ever give me another chance. They see me as the irredeemable reprobate. I see little hope for national unity on a micro or macro scale.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I feel the same way. I keep wondering what policy; what executive order; what proclamation; could Biden do that would make them think better of him? I can’t think of one thing.

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    2. Unfortunately, Jerry (isn’t it?), this Canadian Jerry agrees withyou–while hoping I am accountably wrong. I have no American rose-coloured glasses to see through. What I see around me in Canada is scary enough. Trump did not only bring the American divide to the surface, he brought the Canaddian divide to the surface too. Racists and bible-thumpers have come out of the woodworking in numbers too great to intelligently ponder in both nations. It’s not the moderate Christians I am talking about, most of them seem willing to live and let live. It’s the fanatics, many of them the so-called Evangelicals who say they read their holy books literally–which is an obvious lie–they interpret it according to their literal obtusenesses, who want the world to return to the Dark Ages.
      These people, I call them Trump’s psychofanatics, are not about to disappear. The world has changed, and they are not willing to change with it. That scares the “bejeezuz” out of me.
      (More to come in future comments, I refuse to use my spiritual blog on unspiritual demagoguery.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sad to say, but I must agree with you, grumpy. Once it has been made crystal clear that Biden won the election, I fear we are going to see many disgruntled Trumpsters creating havoc. Some of it will be clandestine while some will be frighteningly obvious. These people are NOT going to take defeat sitting down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The only saving grace, Nan, would be if we could somehow win both of those Senate races in Georgia. Boy, that’s going to be a heavy lift, but if we do, it’s going to provide tremendous opportunities for the new Biden administration. Frankly, I think it’s our only hope for real progress.

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  3. Another excellent post, Jeff. If Joe fails to unite your country, it will be the fault of the idiot followers of Trump. I know that Canadians are greatly relieved as are American allies around the world. I’d love to see the Trump administration dragged out of the White House kicking and screaming next January.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks John. Yes, I’ve been very pleased with all the outreach and congratulations coming in from around the world. It’s like one big global collective sigh of relief that we kicked his butt out of the White House. Hard to believe his followers are still drinking the kool-aid. I just don’t get it.

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    2. Sorry to disagree with you again, John, but what I’m seeing on the prairies is pretty much a 50/50 split, with maybe a 0.1 edge to reprehensible Trump-touters. Of course, I do live in rural Alberta where rednecks roam freely carrying rifles in their pick-ups, just in case. They want Trump because with him they feel able to mouth off to anyone they so desire. They feel validated with Trump in power. From what you say, you Easteners surprise me, but do you live urban or rural? I think that might make a big difference. Hoping I am wrong…

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  4. Jeff, quite simply, there is major distinction between the two candidates. The president-elect has acted and is acting very presidential, while the incumbent is a boiled over toddler who ran home with his sand toys and told his mom that no one will play with him. One person is organizing a better response to the growing pandemic, while the other is firing yet another Cabinet head because they dared question something the autocratic boss did. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel very proud so far of our President-elect Keith. I wish we could swear him in tomorrow. These next 70 days are going to be a real test of our democracy, again. Just like it’s been since he won in 2016. But, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it.

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  5. Excellent … this is one of your best, my friend! Enough has been said about Trump and his childish temper tantrums … it’s gotten boring. Now is the time to look forward, to congratulate Joe and enjoy the security of knowing that as of noon on January 20th, the nation will once again be in good hands and we can sleep at night again. I shall re-blog this afternoon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jill! Yes, our long national nightmare isn’t quite over yet, but soon it will be. The only question is, how messy is this thing going to get? I love how Biden was so calm and cool yesterday. If that were me I’d be saying every damn four-letter word I could think of. But, he’s showing us how a real president should and will act. So proud of this moment Jill.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it is going to be very messy … think of the toddler who throws his toys and breaks everything in sight when told that no, he cannot have a cookie. That toddler currently resides in the big White House that is owned by We the People, and we have given him his eviction notice, so I won’t be surprised if he tears the entire house apart on his way out. I wish there were some way to oust him sooner, before he can do so much damage, but … sigh … there isn’t. Yes, Biden has surpassed my expectations and I am so glad! He will be a president — Trump never was.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. imagine this, some of Biden’s Pentagon transition team are people who take money from arms manufacturers. If this was trump, you’d be rightly outraged but since it’s a democrat, I doubt I’ll read a peep of the impropriety about this as you willingly avoid saying anything negative about the upcoming president who you are a decided supporter of.

        https://news.antiwar.com/2020/11/11/bidens-pentagon-transition-team-members-funded-by-the-arms-industry/

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      3. have you seen this? It brings up some questions about his integrity I’d say.

        https://nypost.com/2020/11/14/biden-cancer-initiative-spent-millions-on-payroll-zero-on-research-report/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow &utm_source=NYPTwitter&utm_medium=SocialFlow

        democrats will justify these reprehensible actions because it’s their man. If trump had started a charity and given millions for salary and travel, it would be all over the news for months so why does Biden get a pass? It’s hypocritical and disgusting.

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      4. Scott, I can’t help but ask … do you really think you’re going to sway the people on this blog with your (frequent) comments that criticize and/or point out what you consider the “failings” of the Democratic Party and/or its intended leader? Nearly all the “regulars” have expressed their support for Biden and find the (supposed) “dirt” you dig up as specious.

        Just curious.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. if it’s okay for people to call out trump for acts they find repulsive, and there are a lot for sure, why should I not call out hypocrisy that I find for the opposing side, no matter how much you support the candidate? Shouldn’t hypocrisy and dirty dealings be called out into the light, no matter who the party is that are involved with such things?

        You’ve suggested before that I just not read or participate in this blog and maybe it’s time that I just quit interacting with all of you on both of the political blogs that I frequent, after all, it seems that none of you are really interested in alternative views, or anything that falls even marginally to the right of the positions that you people seem to support.

        I thought people in this country appreciated freedom of expression but I guess that freedom of expression is relegated only to that which you agree with?

        My intention was never really to change anyone’s minds, as people are pretty intrenched in their beliefs but doesn’t that intrenchment lead to stagnation?

        If you don’t agree with any of this, that’s okay.

        I’ll politely remove my presence from these blogs once and for all and leave you guys to things less conspiratorial.

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      6. Scott, the GOP has sanctioned, approved of, and enabled Trump for 4 years. All of his lies, his insults, his running roughshod over our democracy, all of the norms and precedents that previous presidents have all abided by. Every last one of them. Oh, we’ll hear of how ‘privately’ they’re disgusted by his actions. But publicly? Not a chance. All of them: Cowards.
        If Joe Biden does bad stuff during the next 4 years, I will gladly call him out for it. Do I think he’ll be one centimeter the despicable and pathologically lying president of the past four years has been? Absolutely not. But, we’ll see.
        I’m glad you weigh in Scott. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I’m glad you read what we write over here. But I will call you out for your hypocrisy every time, just as you claim to call out mine. Doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to say what you want- as long as it’s not mean. Up to now, you have not been, so I commend you for that.
        And BTW, the media WILL hold Biden to account. I have no doubt that they will. But if he upholds the honor of that office, serves with integrity and dignity, and upholds the norms and precedents of the previous 240 years(minus the 4 Trump years), I expect you to, at the very least, acknowledge it. You hold me accountable, I’ll hold you accountable….deal?

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  6. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Our friend Jeff reminds us today to focus on Joe Biden, on the fact that we have elected a president who is a good and decent man, who will give his best to this nation and the people — ALL the people. I couldn’t have said it better — thank you, Jeff!!!

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  7. let me make this perfectly clear to you and all your readers. Joe Biden is not the president elect. That won’t happen until December 14th and if you studied anything related to the constitution, which I’m assuming you have, you would know this to be true so my assumption is that you’re saying “president elect” to be willfully dishonest.

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    1. Wrong again Scott. He IS the President-elect. Every credible news organization refers to the winner of 270 electoral votes in this manner. This isn’t rocket science

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      1. Technically Scott is correct, all the state electors must convene in Washington on Dec. 14th to actually elect the president. That’s why all outstanding court cases must be settled prior to this date, otherwise the country undergoes a constitutional crisis whereby a legitimate presidency has not been determined. The press NEVER decides who the future president should be, they only report the result of our electors who represent the people. The US is a republic, not a direct democracy.
        I know, tomato tomato’, but this distinction should be made.

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      2. Joe Biden IS the President-elect. Scott is throwing cold water on the idea, as he is known to do. I will NOT feed into this narrative, nor should you. It’s your right, of course. Within hours, Trump was being called the President-elect in 2016. That’s the way it’s done, that’s the way it is. And, I might add, Hillary Clinton conceded. The current president has broken every damn norm possible during his term. And I’ll be damned if we let him continue to do it. Again, this is not rocket science.

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      3. jeff, I am not throwing cold water on an idea just for the hell of it as you are implying and I honestly resent the accusation.

        It wasn’t right for the media to call the presidency in 2016 and it isn’t right now so stop with the ridiculous nonsense. It diminishes your credibility as a political blogger in my eyes.

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      4. oh and Jeff, it isn’t a narrative, right now it’s a fact, further demonstrating your political partisanship and your absolute willingness to discredit anyone who may, in any small way, have any tiny amount of support for the current president. Unlike you and other people who blog about the current president, I call him out when he does and says something stupid, which is a lot, but, unlike you guys, I applaud him when he does something good.

        Going forward, you won’t have anything bad to say about Biden because he’s your man and the democrats can walk on water as far as most of you people are concerned.

        For the few who are open minded and fair about things, I applaud you, you are a rare breed in these polarizing divisive times.

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      5. Of course I’m partisan. I don’t hide it. If you read the Why We’re Here section of our blog it’s right there. I will criticize Biden when warranted. He hasn’t been sworn it yet, right?
        But I will not engage in the BS about whether I can call Biden the President-elect or not. Yes, that IS a narrative of the far right. Partisan? Look in the mirror Scott. You like to say you’re fair-minded? I disagree. You’ve gone out of your way, at times, to defend the current president. To me, you’re defending the indefensible. Now, have a great day and thanks for reading and commenting.

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    2. Hey, Scott, you, and the Republican Party, are clutching at straws. Your speechifier is lying as often as are the media members he is bitching about. The only true thing he states is that Dec. 14 is the actual Presidential election date–please note I capitalized the Pee.
      Tell me please how the media can influence an election AFTER the casting of ballots is finished, and after they have been counted. Saying vote-counting machines counted red votes as blue does not make it so. It is only one party’s biased opinion, with no basis in fact. It is wishful dreaming.
      But most of all, in 2016, did Trump wait for the first Wednesday after the second Monday in December to take on the title President-Elect? Has any “just another guy” ever waited that long? Not that I can find anywhere on the Internet, but maybe it’s just not on the internet.
      Give it up, Scott! It is impossible to steal an election. However, stealing ballot boxes is possible as Florida proved 20 years ago. And who did that? Republicans!

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  8. Hey, Jeff,I think my many comments to other people’s comments has given you a good idea of where I nervously stand on this election, but I will talk to your post here. Biden is sounding very Presidential these days, but does he have a choice? I don’t think so. Anything else would turn his own party against him, as well as a whole lot of those who voted for him. The President-Rejected wouldn’t and doesn’t care what he says, but The Joe has to.
    Having said that, his words ARE nice, but how far will that get him. COVID is not about to go away just because he got elected. The climate is not about to stop changing. Plastics are not suddenly going to disappear from the oceans and landfills of the world. Child-detainees are not going to find their parents all of a sudden. Biden is inheriting an impossible situation from Trumpelstiltskin, and without the Senate behind him nothing is going to get done. I see hard times ahead for him. The proof in the swamp pudding will be if he can accomplish anything at all.
    He better have a whole bunch of Executive Order forms ready to use. I think he is going to need them. That he will have to learn from Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. All good points rawgod. I guess I’m slightly more optimistic than you. The road ahead is wrought with potholes and bumps. No doubt about it. But if Dems are able to flip the two Senate seats in January, I think that road becomes a bit smoother. Not perfect. But better. I know, it’s a big IF. If we don’t flip the seats, or only get one, or none, then it’s going to be executive orders. And I’m sure Biden will have a slew of them ready to go on day one. Trump did so much damage these past four years, many of it from his own EO’s. They can and will be reversed.
    But we need so much more. Just today they announced that Ron Klain will be his incoming Chief of Staff. This is a wonderful pick. The guy is a class act and it shows which direction his new administration is going. He was the so-called Ebola-czar from Obama’s admin, and he’s been widely praised for the job he did. In other words, we’re going to have science again at the White House. Imagine that. The Covid task force he just announced is also an impressive array of experts and scientists. We should all feel more confident that in the months ahead we will finally have competence, compassion, and science-based decisions guiding policies. For that, I’m optimistic rawgod. But I’m not naive either. Keep your fingers crossed for us!!

    Liked by 1 person

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