Editor’s Note: Dear Reader, I’d like to start this piece with a personal note. In 2016, just as Donald Trump was elected President, I was shutting down my popular YouTube channel and deciding what I wanted to do next. In 2018, I founded this publication to be a place to find something interesting. Today I edit this piece and write to you with a full heart. When Trump was elected, I did not know how to handle what had happened and how the country had taken such a turn. It is worth noting that I am probably the most liberal person that works here. But today, I feel a lightness and relief that can’t be measured. America has walked up to the brink of authoritarianism, and we have backed away from it for now. Now we have work to rebuild this country and create a society that is open and equitable for everyone. I know that this is a tough time for our readers, as many of you voted for the President. However, take heart; it is a tough time, and it is a tough loss fought after a difficult campaign, but I know that we can all come together and find things in common rather than just what breaks us apart. So please join us on this journey.
Counting All the Votes
The ongoing news coverage gave Americans an emotional roller coaster waiting on all these states to count every single last ballot. We lived through Trump supporters praying outside the Clark County Elections office. In some ways, the waiting was worse than in 2000 some ways. Back then, we only had to worry about Florida, whereas this time, we had to wait on states from coast to coast. We all learned to calculate time zones and frantically checked Twitter for the latest update and watched as Joe Biden slowly pulled ahead across the country. Protests to count all the ballots broke out in various cities. In Arizona, ballot counters were attacked by armed protestors. In Philadelphia, protestors tried to break in to stop the count. However, all those efforts were in vain. Every ballot, legally cast, will be counted. It is unlikely that those remaining ballots will help the President. The slim leads may not change in states with required recounts (Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan).
We went to bed on Wednesday morning, thinking this will be over. Frustration grew with the networks not calling the race even though it seemed obvious that Joe Biden had won, and this was all over, and everyone who was not supporting the President could finally take a breath for the first time in 4 years. No more 2 a.m. tweetstorms. No more incoherent speeches that went nowhere. No more covfefe or dog whistles to America’s darkest and most racial elements. Trump talked about American carnage at his inaugural speech in 2017. No one knew what those would presage in the years to come.
The Longest Week
Twitter has been an interesting place if you’ve been election watching (and who hasn’t?) Jokes and collective delusions have been flying around non-stop since Tuesday when America went to sleep without knowing who our new leader would be thanks to neither candidate getting a majority of votes in the electoral college. Leslie Jones began a hilarious commentary on various MSNBC anchors that lit up everyone’s feed. Biden went into election day riding high with the polls, but as our election night coverage went on, things looked bad. For the rest of the week, Americans became incredibly familiar with various counties in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada. We waited with bated breath, and journalists prepared pieces for every outcome. Night after night, we waited, check maps on various apps, and turned our TVs and smartphones to the latest coverage. Then, at 8:30 AM, on Saturday, November 7, 2020, the Associated Press called the race for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris based on Pennsylvania’s vote totals. At this hour, Biden is leading 4 of the last 5 states. North Carolina will likely end up going to Trump, but even Georgia, buoyed by black voters, has turned blue for the first time since 1992. Biden has picked up Arizona for the first time in decades. He rebuilt the Blue Wall of the upper midwest (despite the many nail-biting moments in Michigan and Wisconsin) and slowly edged ahead of the President. At this writing, Americans are celebrating throughout the country in the streets.
The Work is Not Done
It is nice to celebrate right now, but the work before the new Biden administration is daunting, to say the least. 10 million people are unemployed, and Covid is raging across the country. In Biden’s speech tonight, he announced that a commission would be created on Monday to begin drafting a plan to be enacted on his first day in office in January. Rebuilding the government and cleaning out the damage of the Trump Administration will be a large task. There is no hope for the judiciary, but the Trump administration has been running the government out of the Oval Office for 4 years. They have never passed a budget independently, and many agencies are missing people in critical roles.
Economically, getting 10 million people back to work will be a big task on its own. Many Americans are facing homelessness as evictions and foreclosures are on the rise. Wages are still not rising fast enough to afford a decent living to most Americans, and the cost of pretty much everything is out of control. The global economy continues to stagger along. Biden has much to do to get the American economy moving again.
President Trump’s term expires in 74 days, and there is much he can do in the meantime to further damage America’s institutions. He will do everything he can to contest the election, and legal battles are sure to ensue in the coming days. There is no telling what he might do. Fox News is already trying to coach him through the TV (he likes to watch TV way too much) on how to handle this gracefully is a good sign, but it is no assurance that President Trump will go quietly. He likely will not, and that means that America has many more days of worry ahead.
Although this final victory is sweet for Biden supporters and a stunning rebuke for Trump supporters, the purported Blue Wave of 2020 was more like a good surf day at best. Democrats failed to take back the Senate in a decisive way, and control of the chamber will likely rest on a pair of runoff elections in January in Georgia. There was a special election already with 3 candidates where none reached the 50% threshold, and due to the Purdue/Ossof race not being over 50%, Georgia law sends both races to a runoff. Right now, both parties have 48 seats in the Senate. At this point, neither will have a clear majority, but with a Biden win, Vice-President Elect Harris will be casting deciding votes of Democrats can pick up both Georgia races.
Over in the House, Democrats are unhappy about several critical losses and only a net gain of 9 seats. A Wednesday Caucus call was leaked, showing how unhappy Democrats were with their leadership and how despite the millions of dollars spent, Democrats did not do better. The Blue Wave definitely sputtered, and that’s even true for Biden’s presumptive victory.
Joe Biden started in a crowded field of Democrats vying for the nomination. He came out late in the race and said he was running for the soul of America. Biden didn’t lean into policy this election. His campaign took months to get off the ground, and things didn’t begin to coalesce around him until his win in South Carolina. He thanks African-American voters in this speech on Saturday. They are the reason that Biden is President-Elect (at least as of this writing). Joe Biden has a mandate with 74 million votes, but the reality is that 71 million Americans voted for Trump. Biden won by merely thousands of votes in a handful of states. He had to stitch together a victory from several states to reach 270 electoral votes. Democrats don’t control the Senate yet. Biden faces a 6-3 conservative court too. The battle to enact any Biden policies is going to be fierce. Rather than leaning back and hoping for the GOP to come around, Biden needs to depart from that failed Obama-era strategy and confront Republicans head-on. Biden also needs to reach out to the progressive wing of his own party. Progressives are already unhappy with Biden, and their voices will ring ever-louder. In the maelstrom of the election week, many Progressives were already saying that Bernie Sanders would have won faster and in more places. Biden should not ignore the voices within his own party.
Joe and Kamala Address the Nation
While I May be the first woman in this office I will not be the lastKamala Harris
Joe and Kamala addressed the nation from Wilmington, Delaware. They offered messages of unity, healing, and hope. It was a refreshing change from the past 4 years. Trump may be the annoying uncle in every family at Thanksgiving that says and does questionable things. 4 years ago, America decided that this character should try running the country. A small, dedicated group of citizens did great work to stop that character from ruining democracy as we have known it. The world is ready to welcome America back. The fireworks in London and celebrations worldwide show that while we have been errant and at times irresponsible, we can come home. There will be moments where Biden will make mistakes, and he will deserve criticism. Readers should look for that from us and other publications. However, we no longer have to live in a sort of fear. Biden, while imperfect, is someone we can trust. To borrow a quote from Oprah, “A new day is on the horizon.”