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Why so gloomy, Democrats? You have a lot to celebrate

Why so gloomy, Democrats? You have a lot to celebrate
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If there is such a thing as political postpartum depression, Democrats are clearly suffering from it. For the last four years, and not without justification, Democrats regarded President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE as a threat to democracy in America, so much so that they impeached him for abuse of power in Ukraine-gate (the Senate acquitted him). But now that it seems likely that Joe Biden will turn Donald Trump into a one-term president, Democrats appear sunk in gloom. 

Democrats lament the size of the Trump vote, their failure to take the Senate so far and their losses in the House. Certainly, those are all disappointments but mainly because Democrats put too much faith in the polls despite having been burned by them in 2016. As the saying goes, if someone fools you once, they should be ashamed, but if he fools you twice, you should be ashamed. 

In fact, there is a lot for Democrats (and the nation) to celebrate, assuming a Biden win. 

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The guard rails of our democracy held up for four years against a president who tried to drive a Mack truck through them. Thank you, Framers. 

The strength and character of the nation was on majestic display in the long voting lines and in the vote counting centers. Voters voted and volunteer poll workers meticulously counted a record number of votes without major glitches and despite a deadly pandemic and concerns over violence. There hasn’t been anything like this since the 1944 election, when millions of men and women in uniform, many of them overseas and on the front lines, voted in the middle of a world war. 

Explain to your children, if you haven’t already, what happened in the Great Pandemic Election of 2020. Celebrate Joe Biden. He ran a nearly flawless campaign against a wily, no-holds-barred, never-hit-above-the-belt opponent. Biden seems close to resurrecting the “blue wall” of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, plus winning, of all places, Georgia and Arizona. So, Democrats, please stop complaining about losing Texas and Florida. Biden is a politician, not a miracle worker.

Finally, celebrate the end of Donald Trump’s incompetent, divisive and morally bankrupt presidency.     

Sure, there is a lot of work to do because even with Trump gone, the United States still has huge problems and bitter disagreements. For Democrats who are appalled by the size of the Trump vote, a good start will be to stop thinking that anyone who voted for Trump is racist or immoral and start trying to understand, as Harvard Professor Michael Sandel put it in the “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good,” the sense of “humiliation felt by working people who feel the economy has left them behind and that credentialed elites look down on them.”    

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For Republicans, a good start would be to drop any notion of a scorched earth policy towards a President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE, in the way Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Manchin opens door to supporting scaled-down election reform bill Pelosi, Schumer must appoint new commissioners to the CARES Act oversight panel MORE (R-Ky.) fought every initiative by President Obama. After January, Republicans will have someone in the White House who they can work with, and if they fail to even try, shame on them.  

The election brings to mind a passage from the short story, “The Devil and Daniel WebsterDaniel Alan WebsterMellman: A Republican betrayal Bottom line Republican senators and courage MORE” by Stephen Vincent Benet. Along the eastern border of Massachusetts, Benet wrote, the legend is that if anyone goes to the Marshfield grave of Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, who sacrificed his presidential ambitions to keep the Union from breaking up over slavery, and says Webster’s name out loud, a voice will be heard from the grave. “Neighbor, how stands the Union?” The visitor had better answer, “the Union stands as she stood, rock bottom and copper sheathed, one and indivisible,” or Webster will come out of the ground.

It should be enough to keep Webster in his grave to tell him that the Union stands and it still stands strong, thanks to the election of 2020.    

Gregory J. Wallance, a writer in New York City, was a federal prosecutor during the Carter and Reagan administrations. He is the author of “America’s Soul in the Balance: The Holocaust, FDR’s State Department, and The Moral Disgrace of an American Aristocracy.” Follow him on Twitter at @gregorywallance.