When the dust settles and all the numbers are crunched in the historic election of 2020, one thing will be crystal clear: President-elect Joe Biden won a large and decisive victory.
In doing so, he defied expectations, precedent and history.
Biden is only the fourth candidate in modern history to defeat an elected incumbent president. He has already received more votes than any other presidential candidate in the history of our nation. And when all the votes are counted, he is likely to end up landing more than 300 Electoral College votes, flipping five states from red to blue and winning the popular vote by more than 5 million.
Biden is on track to come into office with a popular vote win larger than Presidents Truman in 1948, Kennedy in 1960, Nixon in 1968 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, as well as Trump in 2016.
The truth is, despite attempts by Republicans to state otherwise, this election was not close.
The voters have spoken in overwhelming fashion and in record numbers, and their message is clear: Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won not only the election but a decisive and indisputable mandate from voters.
Republicans will work overtime to deny this reality. The very same Republicans who applauded when President George W. Bush governed like he had a mandate after a winning an election by 537 votes in 2000 will claim Biden, with some 5 million, does not have a mandate. And the same Republican pundits who spent years telling us that Donald Trump‘s 306 Electoral College votes constituted a historic landslide in 2016 will suddenly say Biden’s 306 Electoral College votes are a small, insignificant difference.
Biden and Democrats in Congress should ignore these flat-earther Republicans. Their arguments aren’t based in fact and are meant only to sow division and tie Biden’s political hands before he ever steps foot in the White House.
Democrats have won the popular vote in seven out of the past eight presidential elections, and they must not cower to Republican obstructionists but rather take bold action with the mandate voters have given them time and time again.
Early signs show that the president-elect and his team understand this dynamic, the historic size and scope of his victory, and the mandate they have been handed. The night before his victory speech on Saturday in Delaware, as the votes in Pennsylvania continued to be counted at a snail’s pace and the race had not yet been called, Biden went before the cameras and declared he had a “mandate for action.” And about 24 hours later, as he was stepping on stage to claim victory, his team leaked that he will have an immediate “flurry” of executive actions once he takes office—to tackle the climate crisis, immigration reform and other priorities.
Due to the rampant failures of the Trump administration, the Biden administration will take the reins of a nation in the midst of multiple unprecedented crises, all spiraling out of control. The moment Biden puts his hand on the Bible on January 20, he will need to take immediate action to contain COVID-19 and distribute a vaccine, rebuild an economy that is teetering on the edge of complete free fall, take on the climate crisis that is a threat to our economy and national security, and tackle systemic racism that has not only prevailed for far too long in our nation but gotten exponentially worse in recent years. Any one of those crises would normally consume an entire term of a president. Biden will have to act on all of them in his first 100 days.
And while the enormous challenges those crises clearly present the incoming Biden administration are obvious for all to see, so too is the universal obstruction Republicans will inevitably institute.
Whether Mitch McConnell is majority leader with a razor-thin majority or minority leader of an evenly split Senate, he will do everything possible to block Biden’s agenda. The same Mitch McConnell who said his No. 1 goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president and obstructed a Supreme Court nomination for nearly 300 days will be joined by many Republican senators eyeing the White House themselves in using every tool at their disposal to ensure Biden’s agenda never sees the legislative light of day.
The coming and predictable universal obstruction from Republicans is why the question of whether Biden has a mandate from voters is not an academic argument to be debated in political science classes but rather a life-or-death matter for millions of people in this country.
The grueling and seemingly never-ending 2020 campaign unfolded at a time of great uncertainty for the nation. But there is nothing uncertain about the results. While the polls were wrong, the votes were not. And the man who received more votes than any other politician in American history has a clear mandate to lead this nation.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.