DDespite the instant analysis of cable talkers, Tuesday’s election wasn’t all that bad for Joe Biden. But once all the votes were counted, it was not without lessons for both parties and for the nation. And each lesson can be captured by a familiar snapshot.
The story repeats itself. This ancient proverb reminds us that what happened before is likely to happen again, as we saw with Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s solid defeat as governor of Virginia. While the Virginia Constitution prevents governors from succeeding, they can skip a term and run again. (McAuliffe was governor from 2014 to 2018.) But that has only happened once since the Civil War.
New Jersey is hardly a different story, where it looks like incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was re-elected on the skin of his teeth. New Jersey voters typically face the White House in off-year elections, and it has been four decades since a Democrat was re-elected governor. Murphy’s friends will call him “Landslide Phil”.
Rome was not built in a day. This medieval French proverb should remind left-wing Congressional Democrats that they had better display legislative victories if they are to avoid future losses. Where Democrats failed, they might have done better if they had had bragging rights at the national level. Passing Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill would be a start.
By refusing to vote on infrastructure, the so-called progressive Democrats have taken the nation hostage and have forgotten that major change comes from progressive victories. Social security has been improved several times since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Making things better gradually is harder work, but demanding something else is just selfish.
Better half a loaf than no bread at all. This old English proverb has guided lawmakers for centuries, but it has not been popular in recent times between and within political parties. There is a curse that comes from one-party control of the executive and both houses of the legislature. All of your members think they can finally get whatever they want because you are in control.
Both sides get in trouble when ideology gets in the way and when they try to right all the wrongs they see all at once. The excesses of the Clinton administration led to Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution. Gingrich’s excess then gave Clinton a second term.
Donald Trump vowed to keep factories open and make Mexico pay for border walls and defeat covid-19 after a few initial cases, and that was too much, leading to Biden’s victory. And now it’s up to Biden to decide. The infrastructure bill is his first test, and if he succeeds, he can then fight for the social safety net legislation.
Finally, in Virginia, Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, a very successful businessman and premier politician, campaigned against “waking” culture and for the idea that parents should have a say in the education of children. their children. And he also skipped a virtual rally that Trump attended on the eve of the election. It’s a tactic that is likely to spread, and Democrats are warned.
And that brings us to one final shot and our final lesson. As the victorious Roman generals marched through the streets of Rome to the cheers of the crowd, the slaves whispered in their ears: “All glory is fleeting.