Joe Biden may capture the presidency but he will run into the same roadblock that prevented President Barack Obama from getting everything he wanted: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

It means Trumpism will live on, giving the American people a bitter victory in having ousted a demagogue. He was leading us down a path of authoritarianism. His defeat marked a step forward; progress will be made in climbing out of the grave he was digging for our democracy, our country. That’s true even if those who voted for the sociopath don’t know it.

First things first for Biden. That means attacking the virus and its COVID-19 follow-on. At least 233,000 Americans have died of the disease and 9.4 million have been infected. The pandemic is surging through the country with 100,000 cases a day recorded for the first time Wednesday.

Stanford University researchers discovered that 18 rallies Trump held between June 20 and Sept. 22 produced “more than 30,000 cases of COVID-19. They also concluded that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths, though not necessarily among attendees.” Only three of the rallies were held indoors.

It was common for most Trump supporters who attended his rallies to shun wearing masks or practice social distancing in order to prevent themselves from contracting the disease. Masks in particular have become a symbol of masculinity during the Trump era for some warped juvenile reason; real men don’t wear masks, it’s said. Unless they’re the Lone Ranger.

When confronting the pandemic, Biden should take a leaf from Trump’s playbook and wield the executive order as often as possible to confront the virus. An executive order can be a beautiful thing in the right hands. It’s a way to get around the blockade against Democrats that is the Republican-held Senate.

The voters have tamed the shrew, bless them. Trump got the comeuppance millions of us have been waiting for all of these exasperating four years of tumult and pathological lying. Nobody knew what to believe anymore.

We’ll live free from the near-daily shocks and unexpected chaotic performances as we watched our country slowly sinking into a political quicksand driven by a conservative and radical ideology that set us back decades. Would-be immigrant children put in cages at the southern border, as one extreme example. It was like living in a developing country.

Now the white supremacists, the latter-day Nazis, the cowards armed to the teeth playing soldier, a tough job for which they’re not qualified, can crawl back under the rock from which they emerged. They should take Trump with them.

The same goes for the torchlight marchers in Charlottesville Aug. 17, 2017 who chanted “The Jews will not replace us.” Trump refused to condemn them because they were his bullying type, referring to them as some “very fine people.” Since he doesn’t read, maybe he doesn’t know the chant is an offshoot of “We shall outlive them,” sung in Yiddish by Jews during the Holocaust era.

It’s incredible to me how so many of my countrymen voted for Trump – a country drowning in red ink with blue along its coasts. They did that while living at a time when their president did nothing to alleviate the ravages of the virus. When he termed members of the military who went off to war as “losers” and “suckers.” When he raped the environment to satisfy the oil industry. When he gave the wealthy, the corporations a huge tax break.

The next few months with Trump in power until Jan. 20 will not be easy. A sore loser, his tendency to be vindictive will show itself in spades. He will marshal his army of lawyers to challenge the votes in various states. He already has tried to halt vote-counting in Pennsylvania and Michigan and wants a recount in Wisconsin.

Trump tried to declare victory prematurely the night of Election Day while ballots still were being counted in many states. But that’s illegal and didn’t work.

“Frankly, we did win this election,” he said. He also claimed he won Michigan and Arizona when they had been called for Biden.

Trump will go down in history as an aberration, an outlier among all of the 44 presidents who preceded him. He is a madman who failed to protect his people. He thrived on spreading hate and division instead of comfort and unity. He is a sniveling, whining caricature who is the worst president since the founding of the country. He is a bully totally unfit to occupy the White House, even as a guest. He has tried everything to make this a more imperfect union.

He publicly makes fun of the handicapped, the powerless, women, the vulnerable. He wants to take away health care from 20 million people in a case the Supreme Court will hear Nov. 10. He lies with every breath.

Trump has absolutely no redeeming social value. Even Hitler had a dog.

Trump will not disappear and can be expected to give Biden as many problems as he can muster, perhaps as a TV commentator for his propaganda network. And the former vice president will have his hands full jousting with McConnell, who won re-election, despite his experience reaching across the aisle to Republicans during his many years in Congress.

Unlike Trump, Biden will surround himself with people wise and experienced in the ways of Washington. The hope is he will pull the country out of the Trump-created swamp of corruption, incompetence and catch up to where we were before we were inundated by slime.


Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in the Middle East and was foreign editor of United Press International, served as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.