Biden might have won by a big enough margin to take it out of election theft range, but as Dahlia Lithwick observes the problem of Republican contempt for the idea that the majority party should be able to govern remains:
And so here we are, talking down to the worriers while we comfort ourselves that the Trump campaign’s win rate is 2–31 and that an increasingly absurd Trump is doing and saying increasingly absurd things while his assorted flying monkeys throw feces in the gears of government. We tell ourselves that it’s OK to exhale because, after all, Kamala Harris receives security briefings as a result of her Senate seat, and after all, in secret, some of the president’s COVID-19 task force and other staffers are offering inchoate help to the transition team. But even that is not, in fact, a transition. It is a workaround for unyielding obstruction, and while the Biden team every day manages to do a creditable job of steadying and focusing, it hardly signals that the lawlessness will end on Jan. 20, any more than it ended on Nov. 7, when the election was called for Biden. Indeed, if one were inclined to worry, this current manifestation of legal nihilism, maximalism and nullification are far more dangerous than the version we learned to live with for the past four years, because this new one is now operating separate and apart from Trump. We don’t have to wait to see what happens when Josh Hawley or Tom Cotton runs as a “competent” authoritarian in 2024. Even without a formal figurehead, competent authoritarianism is seeping up from below. It’s coming from Trump supporters who deny the legitimacy of the election, state officials who are pushing false claims, lawyers making laughable arguments. Trump is almost immaterial to them. The real problem is the emboldened Trumpists who refuse to give over, and Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney notwithstanding, that behavior goes from the people who attend the MAGA rallies all the way up to the top of the GOP.
Illiberal efforts to subvert democracy will not depart when Trump leaves the White House (kicking and screaming, probably), because it is now being carried on by a broad winking, smirking Republican leadership who don’t actually believe he will be president after January, yet still continue to conduct themselves as though that doesn’t matter, as if there is some material dispute of fact that should forestall a transfer of power even though there plainly is not. As Adam Serwer points out, the makeup dripping down Rudy Giuliani’s face and the inaudible Benny Hill music in the background isn’t proof of harmless comedy; it’s cover for something truly dangerous.
Republicans have mostly converted to trying to sabotage the Biden administration, but all of the envelope-pushing they did this cycle will definitely happen again in a more favorable context.
As Paul said yesterday:
Lesson the Savvy will take from this election:
Guy has seven drinks at a bar, drives his SUV home down residential streets at 80 MPH, just misses three kids, smashes into a shrubbery with a nice two level effect, but walks away with just some cuts and bruises because the airbag deployed properly.
He concludes he drives better after he’s been drinking.
The will to complacency among the elite political press is strong, and basically when Biden is inaugurated it will be like the quaaludes sequence in The Wolf of Wall Street, only as if Belfort’s fantasy that he was able to get the Lamborghini back home without a scratch was real.