Bloomberg Businessweek November 9, 2020

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4 min
so, that happened

It’s fitting—scary, but fitting—that the chaotic year of 2020 would lurch toward its end with a contested presidential election. At the center of the chaos was President Trump, who declared victory at 2:30 a.m. on election night with ballots in battleground states still being counted, demanded a stop to “all voting,” even though voting was already over, and then tweeted, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it.” Even if Trump hadn’t alleged fraud, a long vote count in the swing states would have been stressful. Bush-Gore in 2000, which came down to hanging chads in Florida, was a doozy. But that time both candidates honored the process. This time, the combination of the president’s conspiracy theories and a protracted…

8 min
trumpism isn’t going away

As the ballot-counting drags on at press time, President Trump’s fate looks grim but is still unsettled. The fate of Trumpism, on the other hand, is clear: It isn’t going away. And Trump himself may remain in the political spotlight even if he loses. As the Electoral College battle extends into overtime, the results already highlight the ways in which Trump’s four years in office have imprinted his stamp on the American political map. Even if he squeaks through with just enough support to secure another term, he’s changed U.S. politics in a way that is perilous for the Republican Party—and will be difficult to undo. Whatever the GOP once stood for, voters today associate it with one thing: Donald Trump. Democrats went into the election believing this would be an unalloyed…

7 min
will it be calm or chaos?

Political scientists like to say campaigns are decided by personality more than policy. That’s never been truer than it is this year. President Trump ran for reelection on his track record and on being his own fabulous self, scarcely laying out a second-term agenda. “He has no economic plan. I don’t mean that I don’t like it. It doesn’t exist,” says Glenn Hubbard, a Columbia University economist who was chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger, does have an agenda, but it came second during the campaign to his message of reconciliation. “I am running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president,” he said in Gettysburg, Pa., on Oct. 6. But when it’s all over…

2 min
turnout through u.s. history

talks and then levying steel and aluminum tariffs not only on China but also on Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Hubbard gives Trump especially poor marks for his response this year to the economic damage done by the pandemic. He says the White House left it to Congress to draft the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, poorly executed the Paycheck Protection Program, and quixotically pushed for a postponement of payroll tax deductions that big employers largely ignored. “I would give Trump, in terms of his economic performance, a mixed grade from a business standpoint,” says Nathan Sheets, who served as undersecretary for international affairs in Obama’s Treasury Department and is now chief economist of PGIM Fixed Income. “Probably in the B, B- range.” Biden, if elected, won’t find things any easier.…

2 min
a comeback for gop women

At least 30 Republican women will make their way to Congress come January, potentially surpassing a record set in 2006. As of Nov. 4 there were 12 Republican women in races that hadn’t yet been called. The mini-swell will add a sliver of gender diversity to a party overwhelmingly run by White men. (By contrast, the 117th Congress will have at least 96 Democratic women.) “There is no doubt about it. Last night was truly the night of Republican women,” tweeted New York Representative Elise Stefanik, who runs a PAC to get more Republican women elected. Going into the election, it was all but certain the GOP’s female delegate count would grow. That feat alone wouldn’t have been too impressive—the party lost female representation in 2018, leaving 13 women in the…

2 min
a red fortress, not a blue wave

Republicans are likely to extend their six-year control of the U.S. Senate even after polls, the pandemic, and heaps of campaign cash had Democrats expecting victory heading into the election. Although Democrats picked up seats in Colorado and Arizona, there were few other bright spots on the map for the party. At press time, several Senate races remained outstanding, leaving both parties with hope of further gains. A Republican Senate would have the power to cripple the agenda of a President Joe Biden. It would mean an end to pre-election discussion of sweeping progressive social, economic, and environmental measures, as well as any potential expansion of the Supreme Court. With Trump-nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett having bolstered a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Democrats also would lack legislative recourse to address…