Byrne: What America said
Election Day has come and gone. Despite the fact that multiple national news sites have “called” the presidential election, court cases and recounts are going forward in several states where the margin is less than 1%, and we don’t yet “know” who was elected president. By federal law, all election disputes must be resolved by December 8 and presidential electors must meet and cast their votes for president on December 14. The ballots will be counted in Congress on January 6. These are the key dates when we will “know” who will become president on Inauguration Day, January 20. So, let’s not jump to a conclusion about who won this very close presidential election just yet.
But, we already know some important things about America from the votes last week.
Perhaps the most important thing we witnessed was a free and open democracy working. We take for granted our system for choosing our leaders, but if you look around the world, we shouldn’t. Even in a very politically divided nation, we held peaceful elections, and even where there are election disputes, we have legal processes for resolving them. For the most part, things have been handled peacefully, except in a few places like Oregon where they apparently don’t need an excuse to riot.
And, while we are divided for sure, there are some things we have agreement on. Despite the now predictable assurances from media “analysts” and other so-called “experts,” there was no blue wave, no generational realignment of our body politic. The media discovered what the rest of us knew: America is not a left-leaning nation. And demographics aren’t destiny. That’s why an increasing proportion of blacks and Hispanics are voting their relatively conservative beliefs. As a nation, we don’t want a Green New Deal, Medicare for All or defunded law enforcement agencies. We aren’t socialists or even socialist leaning.
The elections for the two houses of Congress showed a narrowing majority in each. With two special elections for Senate pending in Georgia on January 5, it looks likely that Republicans will hold a very narrow majority in the upper body. That alone guarantees that tax increases, court packing, climate change, government ordered health care, and other far left proposals of a potential Biden-Harris administration would go nowhere, an accurate reflection of the national mood.
In the House, the Democrats apparently held their majority, but it will be much reduced as Republicans flipped as many as 15 seats and have net gains of 8 to 12. During a post-election conference call last week with her members, Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that the shrunken Democrat conference had a “mandate” even as Democrats on the call excoriated their party’s policies and messages of the last two years. Don’t let the national media fool you. This isn’t a struggle between moderate Democrats and liberals because there aren’t any moderate Democrats left in Congress after this year’s primaries. This is a fight between liberals and socialists, the two groups that now make up congressional Democrats.
The Republican side is a very different story. Though disappointed that we didn’t retake the majority, we are heartened by our gains and believe we will succeed in the 2022 midterms. Many governorships and state houses were also elected last week, and they will reapportion their states next year with the census numbers from this year, thus determining the makeup of House districts for a decade. Even though President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, spent enormous amounts of money to get Democrat control of these state houses nationally, his effort failed and Republicans will be in control of states with far more House seats than the Democrats will. By Election Day 2022, the map for House elections will be more favorable to Republican candidates than was the case last week. That blue wave is actually a firmly rising red sea in the House.
I woke up the day after the election both pleased and disappointed. I wish Republicans had taken the House and had a larger majority in the Senate. And I truly wish we had a clear victory for President Trump, who may still win in the states with recounts and lawsuits. But, America once again proved the experts wrong by saying loudly who we are and who we aren’t.
We aren’t socialists or even liberals. We don’t want massive change to our Republic. We won’t let gender, race, religion or any other demographic category define us, because we are a people free to decide for ourselves what we believe and who we will vote for. We have spoken as a people and we don’t need the news media and entertainment industry to act as if they speak for us.
And it’s the job of those who are elected to listen to the people of this country and not the out of touch elites on TV and the internet. Once again, they were wrong. By their votes the people of America said so.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.