Why I’m cautiously optimistic the day after Election Day
By David Farmer
Waking up on Election Day, like a lot of Democrats I allowed myself to entertain an easy election night.
Florida, Georgia and even Texas were possible pick-ups for former Vice President Joe Biden. A win in any of those states would have closed the books on this year’s presidential election.
And then as Ohio results started to come in early Tuesday evening, there was more hope of a big state turnaround that would quickly end President Donald Trump’s reign of terror over the country.
Alas, it was just a dream.
Biden appears to have easily won Maine and Maine’s Electoral College vote from the 1st Congressional District. The 2nd Congressional District has gone to Trump. A replay, like a whole lot of the election results, from 2016.
The election for president is unfolding according to the script. We are waiting on all the votes to be counted in the upper Midwest, with the tipping point likely being Pennsylvania.
This was always the most likely outcome. The Biden campaign understood, and so did the Trump campaign. The impressive get out the vote effort run by Democrats in Pennsylvania made it clear with its name: “Tipping Point Pennsylvania.”
Soothe-saying pundits, such as FiveThirtyEight, thought it was the most likely scenario. Trump’s narrow Electoral College win in 2016 hinged on just 70,000 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and the Keystone State.
Early Wednesday morning, Trump did exactly what he was expected to do. He lied. He threw out unfounded allegations and asserted — without evidence and with millions of legal votes still to be counted — that he had won the election.
He has not. Not yet.
Trump is a terrible person, and he did exactly what most political watchers predicted he would do. As a serial liar, he lied again.
While the map so far looks similar to 2016, Biden made important inroads in states such as Arizona and Georgia, and he may have turned enough votes his direction to win. The dynamics of the votes left to count leave me feeling cautiously optimistic.
Election night was frustrating, but it wasn’t unusual and neither is a delay in the ballot counting.
Every vote must be counted, and no winner can be determined until that process is complete, likely some time later this week.
For all his bluster and false assertions, the simple truth of the matter is that now this isn’t a question of Trump versus Biden. It’s a question of Trump versus the American people and the will of the voters.
The president has made it clear that he intends to use all of his power and an army of lawyers to try to silence the voice of the people who will likely decide the outcome of the election.
It would have been nice for that Tuesday morning dream to come true — for Biden to have cruised to a crushing victory. But alas, 2020 had no plans to make the election any easier than the rest of the year has been.
In his short speech on election night, Biden acknowledged the obvious, while striking a optimistic tone”
“We knew this was going to go long,” Biden said. “We feel good about where we are. We really do.”
We’re going to have a few anxious days, but ultimately the voters will have the final say.
After all the votes are counted, the next president will take office in January because he won the election.
That’s how our democracy works — I hope.
David Farmer is a public affairs, political and media consultant in Portland, where he lives with his wife and two children.