A few days before the presidential election, this observer predicted President Trump would win about 50% of the popular vote and around 325 electoral votes. Obviously that didn’t happen. But most polls and poll aggregates predicted a Blue Wave leading to a Joe Biden landslide. That didn’t happen either. And while Biden has won the popular vote, at the risk of sounding like a sore loser, the matter of the electoral college has not yet been settled. The media can say the presidential race is over all it wants, but until the votes are certified by the state legislatures and the electors meet, it isn’t over. As we write, President Trump is exercising his legal options.
We spent election day afternoon making phone calls for New Jersey State Senator Tom Kean, who was challenging incumbent Democrat Congressman Tom Malinowski in our own 7th New Jersey Congressional District. People in the office were optimistic about both Senator Kean and President Trump (Kean eventually lost). We went home, ate dinner and followed the election returns online after vowing not to. We’ve always found it too nerve-racking, worse than the Super Bowl, you see. By 9 PM things were going well for the president. Near 10 PM we remarked to a friend that with Ohio gone, Florida going, and Trump amassing leads in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan, the election could be over by midnight.
And that’s when vote counting stopped in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan. Republican poll watchers were barred from counting centers, court orders mandating access to those centers were ignored, windows were blocked; all while hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots were counted. As we expected, Trump’s lead in these four swing states gradually evaporated. That Saturday the cable news networks ‘called’ the race for Biden. But President Trump has yet to concede.
So, twenty years after Vice President Al Gore spent 37 days litigating hanging, dimpled and pregnant chads in the Florida recount, President Trump intends to litigate his way to a second term. The president has amassed an army of lawyers led by personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The Trump campaign alleges widespread voter fraud in the above-mentioned states, with mail-in ballots being manufactured by Democrat operatives, and even the dead voting. Trump’s legal team also alleges that electronic voting machines were beset by ‘glitches’ that favored Biden over Trump. They've filed suit in both state and Federal court. Giuliani promises big revelations, but it remains to be seen if he can deliver, or if a judge will even agree.
Barring Trump’s legal challenges Biden won the kind of victory we expected for the president. Biden won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, states Hillary lost in 2016. Impressively he flipped red strongholds like Arizona and Georgia. The latter is going the way of Virginia, once a red state, now solidly blue because of suburban growth. While there was much talk about turning Texas blue, Trump won the state by more than five points. This election further solidified the GOP’s hold on Ohio. Florida, once a key swing state, has turned decidedly red. Here Trump won 47% of the coveted Hispanic vote. But Trump didn’t even come close in New Hampshire or Minnesota, two states we thought he would win.
Though they probably have won the presidency, Democrats feel anything but triumphant. The expected Blue Wave didn’t materialize. The Democrats didn’t flip one state legislature. Republican senators like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, both thought to be vulnerable, won handily. Overall, the Democrats only netted 1 seat in the senate. In the House, the Democrats expected to gain 10-15 seats. But the GOP has netted nine seats so far and will almost certainly add at a few more by the time the vote counting is finished. During a group conference call held a few days after the election, House Democrats openly bickered with one another. Moderates blamed leftist members of the caucus for the losses. ‘No one should say 'defund the police' ever again. Nobody should be talking about socialism,’ said incumbent Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger. ‘We won the House,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted.
Right now the GOP won the senate, But in Georgia, where they had two senate races due to a special election, no candidate received fifty percent of the vote in the state’s ‘jungle style’ multiple candidate system. By state law a runoff for the two Georgia senate seats will be held on January 5th. If Democrats win both seats, they’ll control the United States Senate. It should be pointed out that the Republicans won combined pluralities of the vote, and early polls show both candidates ahead of their Democratic opponents. That being said, having turned Georgia blue, there’s every reason to think the Dems can turn these senate seats as well.