After the Associated Press called the 2020 election for Joe Biden, the Left wet themselves with joy (and I hope it was just tears). As soon as the fireworks were set off, the spreader events…I mean street parties, and other celebrations wound down, the Left then started demanding President Donald Trump concede the election and start a smooth transition period. You know, like the Left did when President Trump was elected.
Okay, bad example.
While we’re trying to sort through questions like whether Twitter will consider “Not My President” hate speech, few people are considering what a transition looks and feels like. And, as you might expect, the Left has a completely different mindset when it comes to transitions.
transition of power
What the Left thinks it means – a tradition where an outgoing President paves the way for an incoming President to hit the ground running
What it really means – holding Republican Presidential staffs to standards Democrat Presidential staffs can’t meet
Politics is an ugly game, especially in these hyper-partisan times. I’ve seen family Monopoly games end more amicably than recent elections and with fewer lawsuits. And after 4+ years of the Left demonizing the President, his family, his staff, his supporters, and anyone even tangentially related to the Trump family or campaign, any transition of power is going to be more like a hostage negotiation than a handing off of a baton.
In recent history, one party has been responsible and without malice when handing over the keys to the White House to its new inhabitants. And the other party is the Democrats. Whether it was taking White House furniture, removing the W keys off keyboards or spying on the incoming President, the Left has been petty when it comes to transitions, so when they demand a smooth transition for Joe Biden, it rings hollow for me.
The reasons for the Left’s call for civility after their lack of said civility over the past few years come down to holding President Trump to their standard, using it as a pseudo-concession, and scoring a political win without spending political capital to obtain it. Let’s break these down one at a time.
One of the Left’s favorite strategy guides is Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky. One of the tenets is “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” In this case, the Left has set the demand Trump follow the precedent of previous Republican Presidents and submit. And the President has done what any Republican President in his place has done: ignore them. (Okay, only some of them would have told the Left to take a hike, but we can dream.) The more President Trump defies the Left’s demands, the more vocal the demands become. It’s like having a Judas Priest concert in the Grand Canyon.
Because President Trump has yet to concede, the Left are trying to manipulate him into a half-measure they can spin into a concession. If Trump starts the transition phase right now, the Left can then say he conceded, even though he hasn’t really. That will go a long way toward getting popular opinion on their side because many people think Biden is or should be acting President right now, but that’s to be expected by a culture that made Cardi B popular.
And the best part of this for the Left is they don’t lose any political capital making these demands. As of this writing, the House is barely in Democrat control and Senate control hasn’t been completely decided yet. After wasting money and political capital to unseat Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and fail, the Left needs to keep their eyes on what they can and cannot afford to use to fulfill their objectives. Right now, all the Left has to do is keep telling President Trump to concede or at least start the transfer of power to Joe Biden and it doesn’t cost them anything but time and energy.
In spite of all this, the Left hasn’t gotten Trump to budge because he’s not like past Republicans. He has his own set of rules and norms, which has infuriated people on the Left and the Right because they don’t agree with his approach. It also means he isn’t bound to their expectations. When they say “jump” Trump tells them to jump in a lake, although probably not in those words nor as nicely as I put it. Although this approach has made him less popular than Gretchen Witmer at a Michigan NRA meeting, it has shown an independent streak the Left doesn’t know how to handle. They love diversity, except when it comes to diversity of thought. Free will is a Leftist’s worst nightmare, so they will try to coerce compliance whenever possible.
Needless to say that hasn’t worked with President Trump.
Regardless of who takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January 20th, the transition tradition is going to look and feel different going forward. Republican Presidents may be more emboldened (hey, I can dream, can’t I) to treat the Left like the Left has treated Republicans during previous transitions of power, but something tells me they’ll be adults about it. Meanwhile, Leftists are going to continue to use the process to say one thing and do another for political ends.
In other words, acting like they do on any day ending in a Y.