Several times this weekend, I thought ahead to an average morning in February, the kind of day when we can all wake up and not feel the urge to immediately check our phones, to see what idiotic thing the President of the United States has said or done. After four years of FOMO, I’m looking forward to many days of NOMO.
That’s why I smiled on Saturday when Michael Smerconish, anchor of a CNN weekend show and host of a five-days-a-week SiriusXM show, referred to the evergreen file that all talk radio hosts keep. When your job is to fill fifteen hours of live radio each week with content, you need something for the slow news days, so good hosts maintain such a file. It’s full of topics that aren’t pegged to specific news events, but rather generic items that will still be interesting enough to elicit responses from the audience. This weekend, Smerconish said he hasn’t dipped into the evergreen file once during the Trump presidency, but he’s looking forward to doing so quite a bit after Biden takes office. Although it’s been a couple of years since I did a radio show, I knew exactly what he was talking about.
It’s important to remember a major difference between the men who have ascended to the Oval Office. Unlike their Republican rivals, none of the three most recent Democratic winners came from money. They all grew up lower- or middle-class, with no inherited wealth, just like so many Americans. Maybe that’s why, in every presidential election since 1988 except one, more voters chose them than their richer, more privileged opponents — all of whom ended their terms with a fractured American economy.
Biden will be the third Democrat in a row whose primary job will be cleaning up the messes of his predecessor. George HW Bush’s presidency ended in a recession, and Bill Clinton had to lead us back to prosperity in the 1990s. Barack Obama had to do the same after the younger Bush left us in an even worse economic condition. Now it’s up to Joe Biden to sweep up the detritus of Trump’s failures while guiding us through a raging pandemic that has caused even more economic strife. And that’s only part of the problem set he must solve beginning January 20, 2021.
That’s why I offer this caveat: don’t set your expectations too high. There’s no magic switch for Biden to flip that will fix everything that’s been ruined since 2017. Instead, look for things to slowly get better. The biggest difference we’ll all notice is that the bully pulpit’s megaphone will no longer be turned up to full volume at all times.
As for Trumpsters who feel bitter today, I feel no empathy, just as they had none for us in 2000 when Bush 43 was awarded the keys to the White House by the Supreme Court. Or when they believed and spread the racist birther lies of their cult leader, complete with claims that Obama had no right to be President (Trump never did tell us the results of the “investigation” from the team of “private investigators” he claimed he hired but never actually did).
I’m not interested in reaching out to my Trump-supporting friends, either, mostly because I have purged all of them from my life. It will be nearly impossible to go through a healing process with people who refuse to accept reality, preferring to continue lying about fraud in the election with absolutely no evidence. Many of them still don’t believe the confederacy lost the Civil War!
There is no fix for people who consistently vote against their own best interests. Instead of wasting time worrying about them, Biden’s administration (and other Democrats who hold public office) should concentrate on super-serving the constituencies that put them in office, starting with Black women. If Kamala Harris doesn’t have anything to suggest on this subject, perhaps a call to Stacey Abrams is in order. A first step would be to pass some laws that erase all the methods of voter suppression exploited by the GOP.
I also don’t want to hear how Democrats have to work on understanding Trump voters, when no one’s calling on Republicans to understand Biden voters. Why should Democrats be the first to extend a hand, when we can’t even get a simple acknowledgement of the veracity of Biden’s victory? My answer is, “You first.” Or maybe I should just offer Republicans the useless “thoughts and prayers” they regularly invoke during disasters, natural or otherwise.
A few other quick points:
- I get a kick out of knowing that the United States has come far enough that, within a mere dozen years, we have elected a President and Vice President with the names Barack Hussein Obama and Kamala Devi Harris.
- Trump and his sycophants continue to spread the lie that Democrats stole this election from him. But if Dems were so good at rigging elections, why didn’t they simultaneously arrange to win enough Senate seats for a majority in that chamber and hold on to all their incumbencies in the House? It was all part of a devious plan to ensure Mitch McConnell retains the power to block any legislation Biden has on his agenda, right?
- I wonder what will happen to all the leftover MAGA hats and other merchandise. Does it get packed up and shipped to some underprivileged community in South America, like the t-shirts for the losers of the Super Bowl and the World Series? Perhaps the recipients can wear that stuff while applying for asylum at the border over the next two months. Although, knowing Trump, he’d find a way to levy a tariff on them.
- It’s way too early to be thinking about 2024, but I hope one lesson the media will remember when the next cycle begins is that the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary are not predictive of anything. Since 2008, the winners of those events have included Mike Huckabee (’08), Rick Santorum (’12), Ted Cruz (’16), Hillary Clinton (’08), Bernie Sanders (twice, ’16 and ’20), and Pete Buttigieg (’20). In none of those cases did the prevailing candidate go on to become their party’s nominee. Isn’t it time to allow the people of those states to visit diners during election season without being constantly bombarded by campaigns and reporters?
- Trump’s team is seriously considering having more rallies/superspreaders in the next two months. Considering his campaign is out of money, any venue he books should demand payment in advance. And under no circumstances should any network carry his falsehood-fests, either live or in recorded snippets. Just ignore him and refuse to give him the spotlight he so desperately needs to keep his ego fed.
- Nothing in the last four years was more indicative of the dumpster fire that has been the Trump administration — or made me laugh harder — than the story of the Rudy Giuliani press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
I’ll leave you today with this tweet from my friend Austin Tichenor: I feel so bad for Trump supporters now. Their lives are about to get better whether they want it or not.