Why some voters went Ridin’ with Biden, but only to the end of the driveway.
We now have President elect Joe Biden and lame duck president Donald Trump. Rejoice or lament as you wish, that’s not the point of this story.
The big question is now “how did we get here?“. National polling before the election show Joe Biden with an averaged eight point lead, and there was definitive talk of not only the House of Representatives gaining more Democratic seats, but a possible filibuster proof Senate for Democrats.
Except when all of this was said and done, this is what happened.
Polling predicting “narrow wins” for Republicans ended up being easy, double digits blowouts. Tossup races went almost exclusively Republican. And even some predicted “narrow win” Democratic seats ended up in Republican hands.
So how did several major polling firms, national candidates, and a whole host of other pundits totally miss this possibility?
It’s simple, and it all resides in the undervote.
In a normal presidential election, voters generally are much more interested in the top of the ticket than the bottom. The presidency is far more alluring than the undersecretary for the county library board. And in lots of cases, people skip page twelve of the ballot in order to get home to watch whatever talent show with bachelorettes is on that night.
But in the battleground states for 2020, take a closer look at the numbers below for President and Senate races and the vote tally difference.
In several states (New Mexico, Colorado, Texas) there was a significant undervote for Trump, but then an even larger undervote for Democratic Senate nominees. This begs the eternal question….WTF? Especially since in almost all of these swing states, the DNC did a far better job of getting voters to vote as opposed to the RNC effort.
Were traditional Republicans tired of MAGA and wanted to put someone a bit more sane in the Oval Office? Were those new Biden voters simply Ridin with Biden and didn’t care about the House and Senate? Or were those voters smart enough to say they wanted some reign on a Biden administration? And is anyone smart enough to think of this ahead of time?
A Biden administration is only going to be able to enact it’s large swath of legislation with majorities in both houses, especially a significant majority in the House (in case of defectors from the party line). Since the blue wave didn’t come in, and House Democrats were…displeased (see below), this puts them at risk in 2022 for a repeat of 2020. And any CongressCritter is usually going to be more worried about their future job prospects than toting the party line. This means that either Democratic leadership (in order to pass controversial legislation) will need to reach across the aisle to find compromise OR rule with an iron fist.
So back to undervote once again. As stated in the WAL podcast, the 2020 election appears to not only a referendum on Trump, but also on wokeness. And both lost. The argument could be made “well, if we spent better here or there” that this might have turned things….
But as shown below, the problem was not “spending”.
American voters created House and Senate that have razor thin margins. Which for a lot of Republicans is still a win. Sure they’re going to be plenty of Trump supporters who are going to possibly defect to Trump's new media empire/multi level marketing campaign. In reality, people are tired of being told they are racists or snowflakes. The Zaphod Beeblebrox-ing of the presidency definitely opened some people’s eyes to the horrors of DC. But like that annoying friend on Facebook who posts 47 times a day about the drama in their lives….some politicians needed a mute button. And the undervote was the best weapon the voting public had in it’s arsenal.
Brian Wohlgemuth is an occasional contributor and meme creator for the We Are Libertarians Network. Please feel free to discuss on the WAL Nuts board on Facebook.