Why Mad Men’s Season 2 Finale Should Scare the Democrats Into Taking Seriously the GOP’s Refusal to Concede

Joe Biden is being a real Duck Phillips right now, and nobody wants to be the Duck.

No one wants to hear this, but right now we are living in an episode of Mad Men and Joe Biden is not the Don Draper—he’s the Duck Phillips.

There is a classic moment in the Season 2 finale when the pedantic Duck Phillips thinks that he has Don Draper dead to rights. Rebelling against the man who hired him after being told he’ll never make partner, Duck has engineered what he thinks is a merger that will leave him in charge an Don brought to heel. He’s coolly confident, and a little bit smug in his victory.

Except Don Draper doesn’t have a non-compete clause or even a contract, and he turns the tables on Duck. If Duck wants to run the company so badly, he’s welcome to, but he’s going to do it without Don. Which means that the company is worthless, because the merger hinges on Don acquiescence. Duck is out maneuvered because he expected the same level of professionalism from his colleagues that he himself as always displayed.

But while Duck was dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s as a journeyman, Don was operating almost exclusively from intuition and instinct. He speaks to clients from a visceral place, not from a ledger sheet. Duck’s downfall is expecting everyone to hew to the same standards and practices that he does. But of course, Don doesn’t do that because Don is a con artist who says whatever a situation requires to achieve his ultimate goals.

Does that remind you of anyone currently holding power?

Right now, Joe Biden is moving full steam ahead as if Donald Trump and the leaders of the GOP will operate according to established precedent, despite all evidence to the contrary. The Democratic Party and the media have routinely overestimated the Trump administration’s desire to do things the way they’ve always been done or their interest in the greater good. The President-Elect thinks that calling Trump’s refusal to concede the election “embarrassing” is a strong condemnation; what no one in power will acknowledge is that this is a man incapable of embarrassment.

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there will be “a smooth transition of power to a second Trump administration,” Biden’s response was, “So far, there is no evidence to any of the assertions made by the president or Secretary of State Pompeo.” Then he laughed, as if the GOP has not spent four years proving that they are craven, power-mad individuals consumed by a lust for control and a complete disregard for legalities.

After four years of reacting instead of responding to Trump’s outrageous behavior, must we really continue on that same path? Stop writing Trump off as a clown and start taking him seriously as a threat to democracy. You can plan for your first 100 days all you want—but it’s all pointless if your plans are founded on a misperception. Duck Phillips learned that the hard way. We can’t afford to do the same.

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