Let’s get this over with: I was wrong on Monday when I compared this election to 1980. I was in good company: the cautious veteran analyst Charlie Cook thought so too. I did, however, add a hedge: “I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again.”
What’s going on today is not about me but about the country. We’re not on the cusp of a new era but back to the sort of street fighting politics we’ve been engaged in throughout the 21st Century. It’s the deadliest kind of combat as our opponents are homegrown Fascists who disdain democracy and the rule of law. It’s why we have to keep at it and not give the bastards an inch.
For what it’s worth, I still think Joe Biden will win the electoral college along with the popular vote. The Impeached Insult Comedian got on his hind legs last night and declared himself the winner. Whatever, dude.
Was anyone surprised that Trump told another whopper? He even said “the voting should stop” when he meant the counting should stop. In a typically Trumpy move, he wanted the counting to continue in Arizona and stop elsewhere. They say that patience is a virtue, which implies one must be somewhat virtuous to be patient. It’s not in Trump’s DNA.
Michael Beschloss pointed out that this sort of delay in vote counting and election calling is not unusual:
We did not know Presidential winner for certain before midnight on election nights in 1960, 1968, 1976, 2000, 2004, 2016. No one should pretend there would be anything historically unusual if that happens again in 2020.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) November 1, 2020
The important thing is that all the votes be counted. If they are, I think Biden will be the winner but there will be a long slog through the courts. Even though Trump’s claims aren’t legally meritorious, it’s hard to have any confidence in the Supreme Court. They threw the election to Bush in 2000 and the current lineup is much worse than that group. That’s why we wanted a clear winner.
Biden looks on track to have a popular vote margin of maybe 4 to 5 percentage points. We can’t ignore the fact that close to half the country saw the civic carnage of the last twelve months and asked for more. That is an ominous harbinger. But with all that said, if Joe Biden is sworn into office in January that will be a great civic victory and service to our democracy which has been battered and assaulted over four long years. A win is a win is a win – if it turns out to be a win. And it probably will.
Athenae is right to tell us not to give into fear and keep on fighting both last night and this morning. One of the hardest things about life is bouncing back after a setback, which is what this is. It’s a setback, not a defeat although the Senate results are much worse than the presidential results. In a word: UGH. If that’s not a word, it should be: ARGH too.
I’m posting this venerable Kern-Fields song as something of a pick-me-up on this bleak morning:
This election points out the downside of being part of the reality-based community. As a pundit and a person, I try to be guided by logic, facts, and evidence, not passion. Trumpism is an irrational phenomenon featuring Donnie from Queens and Manhattan as the avatar of rural America. Like many New Yorkers, he regards them with contempt as hicks and yokels. This disdain seems not to matter to his base.
I’ve never understood people who vote based strictly on what’s in it for them. It’s not as if there are direct benefits from any election. But some people are selfish, and they’ve found their apotheosis in President* Pennywise and his empty ism.
Our former colleague Doc wrote about what he called the “Fuck You” Nation multiple times. They said fuck you to the rest of us last night. I hoped that selfishness was not *this* contagious but it’s more widespread than expected. In a rational world, last night’s results should have been a repudiation of the Kaiser of Chaos. I guess we should all say fuck you to the “Fuck You” Nation.
We live in a Fifty-Fifty Nation politically. I had hoped that era of squeakers was over but other than 2008, all our presidential elections this century have been tighter than a tick. And 2008 was down to an extraordinary candidate who captured the moment as well as anyone on our history. In 2020, we had a good candidate who ran a good campaign, which makes this mess even harder to take.
The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers: