Frack You, Trump: Admit You Lost

November 7, 2020

Joseph R. Biden is President-Elect of the United States; Kamala Harris is Vice-President-Elect: Stay Tuned for a Socially Distance Inauguration!

Over 140,000,000 votes were cast by Election Day, November 3, 2020 to determine the presidency of the United States. On Thursday, November 5th, the New York Times noted that Biden’s margin in the popular vote was at 3.8 million votes, “which, if it holds, will make this the second election where Mr. Trump lost the popular vote.” The Times did not provide any historical context for that observation; for that, I refer you to my post of a few days ago (“For the First Time Since 1956!). Biden’s margin grew to 4,100,000 within 24 hours and has stayed in that vicinity since then.

However, the vote count that would determine the winner of the Electoral College amounted to only two percent of that popular vote margin. Trump pulled off his totally unexpected victory by a margin of about 80,000 votes in so-called “swing states” in 2016. This time, the same margin was at work, only it swung in Biden’s favor. It is a mark of the fragility of America’s policies that political power is determined by a fraction of the vote count so minuscule as to be seemingly inconsequential.

Trump is not admitting defeat, even though he has received only 47.7 percent of the popular vote, and Biden has received a majority (50.5 percent). Once again, let’s consider context:

Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election with 50.8 percent of the popular vote.
Ronald Reagan won the 1980 election with 50.75 percent of the popular vote.
George W. Bush won his second term in office in 2004 with 50.73 percent of the popular vote.
Joseph R. Biden will win the 2020 election with approximately 50.5 percent of the popular vote.

The only presidents in recent decades to break the 51 percent threshold are Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Like Trump, Bill Clinton did not even get 49 percent of the popular vote in either of his successful campaigns for the presidency. The inability of Bill Clinton to get at least 50.1 percent of the vote should have been a warning to anyone considering her viability as a successful candidate. That she was qualified to be President is not the issue. Her husband’s political unpopularity was a factor little discussed, though in the aftermath of her defeat, one could not help wondering how much it might have helped if she had divorced him in 1998. For that matter, if Bill Clinton hadn’t been such a selfish politician, in refusing his resign, Al Gore would not have lost the 2000 election.

Biden’s margin of victory in the popular vote is slightly smaller than that of Carter, Reagan, and Bush in the elections just cited, but it is within the normal range of a victorious margin. Only an abnormal politician would not recognize what the vote count indicates, and Trump is only embellishing a Hall of Shame record for abnormality as a president.

Frack you, Trump. Admit you lost. Reserve your dwindling funds for legal assistance in cases that will soon become far more pressing and consequential for you as a private citizen.