Some thoughts about the election

Some thoughts:

  • Yay! It’s good to see major news organizations projecting a Biden/Harris win.
  • I said “Biden/Harris” above because I want to affirm Harris’s part in all this, but I’m going to just say “Biden” for the rest of this post for simplicity.
  • It’s worth remembering still that the votes were all cast on or before election day. Biden didn’t get all those votes today; he had those votes already, and the people doing the counting have now caught up to that already existing reality.
  • The rest of this post is full of caveats and pointing out issues and concerns that I feel that we still need to keep in mind. If you aren’t up for that today, if you just want today to be a day of celebration, then you may want to skip the rest of this post.
  • Worth remembering that the vote-counting isn’t over yet. The big-picture outcome isn’t in doubt, but “count all the votes” continues to apply. And various local outcomes in various states aren’t yet certain.
  • It’s good to see yet another popular-vote win for the Democrats; the Democratic candidate has now won the popular vote in seven out of the eight most recent US presidential elections. Biden has received the highest popular-vote total of any US presidential candidate ever. …Unfortunately, Trump has received the second-highest popular-vote total of any US presidential candidate.
  • The final outcome of the presidential race in each state won’t be official until the states certify the results (which in some cases won’t happen for another month). We can be quite sure that those results will add up to Biden winning more than 270 electoral votes’ worth of states; again, the big-picture outcome is not in doubt. I’m just saying that news orgs projecting a win isn’t the same as states officially certifying results.
  • After the states certify the results, each state legislature selects a slate of electors. There is still a possible nightmare scenario in which one or more Republican-controlled legislatures select Republican electors even though the majority of the people of the state voted for Biden. I consider that scenario to be really unlikely at this point; but a lot of things happen that I consider to be really unlikely. And a couple of high-profile Trump supporters have recently called for legislatures to do this. It would be a huge mess.
  • I think it’s fascinating that the major-news-venue articles that I’ve seen so far today have firmly stated that Biden has won. A good tack for them to take, imo; I’m glad that they’re not taking the “We’ve projected a Biden win, but Trump is still contesting things” approach that (for example) I’m taking in this post. I think firm confident statements from the mainstream media are likely to help guide the general public toward accepting Biden’s victory. (I’m taking a different approach because I expect that my audience for this post is very different than a mainstream news article’s audience.)
  • Trump is indeed still contesting things. His various lawsuits over ballot-counting issues aren’t going to affect the big-picture outcome, but he does continue to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, which is bad for the country and for democracy in general.
  • We don’t know for sure what the composition of the Senate will be, but it’s pretty likely that when results of this election are final, there will be 50 Republican Senators and 48 Democratic ones, and two runoff elections in Georgia to be held in early January.
  • Trump is still in office for two and a half more months. Even if he accepts defeat, he can still do an awful lot of damage during that period.
  • And then in January, after Biden and Harris are sworn in, we will still have a lot of work to do. Which won’t be easy even if the Democrats do end up (barely) controlling the Senate, and will be much harder if McConnell ends up controlling the Senate again.

I don’t mean this post to be depressing. Sobering, maybe. I am very glad that Biden has won, and even more glad that Trump has lost.

So I think celebrating today is a fine thing. But I also think we should keep an eye on the remaining obstacles, and on the remaining work to be done. We have a long hard road ahead of us yet. But at least we’re taking a step along that road.

One Response to “Some thoughts about the election”

  1. Sumana Harihareswara

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. <3


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