Election Day, which couldn’t come soon enough for a majority of Americans, arrives tomorrow and those same Americans couldn’t be more stressed out about it.
Many folks in the country are having trouble sleeping, chowing down on comfort foods, and, well, freaking out about a repeat of 2016 and Trump winning the election. Or worried that Trump, the GOP, and Russia could steal the election for him.
Well…I’m here to reassure you…that your stress is totally justified. Just, maybe not for the exact same reasons that you may be stressed.
Let’s begin with the results as of Election Night.
1. Biden or Trump could be declared by the media as the projected winner.
While this is very possible for Biden, it is highly unlikely for Trump. This is due to Trump’s dependence on winning Pennsylvania to help him reach 270 delegates in the Electoral College, the threshold for winning the presidency. Pennsylvania has several counties that won’t begin counting their absentee ballots until the following day. Biden is substantially favored in PA so a Trump win by a substantial margin where those counties would not matter is not at all probable.
Biden on the other hand, has a variety of paths to win other states that will put him over the top but will have pretty complete totals on Election Night. Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, Nebraska (2nd District) should all be close to 100% on Election Night and leading in them all, if Biden secures two of them, along with Michigan and Wisconsin where he is strongly favored, he can be declared President Elect by the media. Biden is strongly favored in PA as well so should he build a strong lead that matches polling, his count could exceed the outstanding counties and also be declared the winner.
My View: Allowing for a reasonable variation of the polls and even voter suppression, the most likely scenarios are, Biden is declared President Elect or Biden is declared the Presumptive Winner tomorrow night.
2. No winner is announced
If Joe Biden greatly underperforms or voter suppression overperforms, it is possible that results will be inconclusive and a winner or apparent winner won’t be declared by the media (why do I keep referring to “the media” declaring a winner? Stay tuned).
There has been plenty of talk of the Red Mirage, that since a majority of mail-in votes are Democratic and won’t all be tabulated Election Night and a majority of Republicans will be voting in-person tomorrow, the totals for certain states tomorrow night will exclude a great deal of Democratic votes and give the appearance that Trump is winning in those states when a total count will show Biden as the victor.
The Blue Mirage is what folks are calling the reverse situation. At the beginning of the evening, some states will quickly release totals of early voting and vote-by-mail which are tilted toward Democrats and misrepresent where the total will end up when adding the in-person vote that’s more heavily Republican.
If the end result is that neither candidate has a big enough lead in states that would give them 270 electoral votes, if outstanding votes could considerably tip the state to either candidate, the media won’t describe either candidate as elected or the presumptive winner.
My View: I am among those who is not greatly skeptical of polling averages, I believe in science and evidentiary facts. Based on this, I find this scenario less likely. Considering the massive early vote, the spike in new voters, young voters, women voters and people of color willing to stand in line for hours to vote, I think the majority of Americans for Biden is self-evident and will be tomorrow night (despite the best efforts of Trump and the GOP to prevent people from voting or having their votes counted). If this does happen though, it will unquestionably lead to the next item.
3. If no winner is declared, even if Biden is declared winner, Trump will declare victory.
Unfortunately, after four years, Americans know Trump all too well. We also know that he doesn’t have any self-discipline and blabbers endlessly about what he should keep secret. He’s already stated flat out that as soon as the results are in on Election Night, he will begin a massive assault of lawsuits against states and the election. He’s made no secret of staging a coup, having Republican state legislators and/or the Supreme Court throw out democracy and votes and annoint him President (for life, ultimately).
It is likely that in this scenario, even if Biden appears to be the most likely winner when all votes are counted, Trump will declare himself the winner and accuse the voting to be rigged and a fraud. He will surely continue his vague and unfounded charges that mail-in voting is the culprit and millions of these votes have so corrupted the election that the results should be thrown out and the courts and Republican legislatures should simply allow him to be awarded electors and the presidency. Fox News, OANN and many right wingers on tv and social media will be swift in echoing Trump, declaring him a winner and rallying his voters against allowing any more votes to be counted. Good Americans should battle this on social media and elsewhere, disputing the election has been decided and demanding for all votes to be counted in a democratic election.
My View: It is not impossible that our newly, more corrupt Supreme Court could tear apart our democracy and either pull a Bush v. Gore to halt the counting of mailed in votes or allow Republican state legislators to throw out all the votes in the state and choose a slate of electors that will vote for Trump. However, I do think such acts would be the final straw in blowing up conflict into this nation into a literal revolution, where a great many Americans recognize we are no longer a democracy and there has been a coup. As the people of Ukraine, Belarus and elsewhere have responded to having elections rigged or stolen from them, a mobilization of Americans, strikes and violent confrontations with MAGA fanatics and law enforcement become a long term prospect. I think at least 5 Supreme Court justices would recognize this and that their moral authority would be completely destroyed if they took this fascist turn (but the other four are probably drooling at the prospect).
Bush v. Gore was specifically stated by Chief Justice Rehnquist to not be used as a precedent in the future, that it solely applied to that election. In any case, the core of that case was not based on throwing out votes because of the method of voting, whether in-person or by mail. It hinged on the (faulty) proposition that ballots that had been rejected because the intention was unclear (remember hanging chads?), could not be recounted in a universally consistent way and thus, would not be counted. In other words, one person could look at a rejected ballot, declare it as a vote for a candidate but another person could disagree.
So it is valuable to keep in mind that Bush v. Gore, even if not ignored by justices in 2020 as was stated it should be, do not have even a stealth precedent to disqualify votes that are clearly marked and submitted in good faith as prescribed by their state election officials.
So while I have little faith in the clearly sub-par and unqualified Supreme Court justices Trump has appointed, I don’t see it as likely that they would set the nation and their court on fire with a wholly baseless decision.
As for Republican-controlled state legislatures, I do not put it past the most corrupt ones as in PA and WI to try something as anti-democratic as trying to throw out their election results and exercise authoritarianism in trying to choose a slate of electors that support Trump despite Biden winning the state. However, this would result in a legal battle and here too, I think the very competent lawyers on the side of Biden and democracy, will force the Republican legislatures to prove their allegations that there was mass fraud that poisoned the election too much to be accepted…and it won’t be able to be proven. Also, in many states, there are laws that prevent the legislature from changing election rules, including the awarding of delegates, after an election has occurred. So my prediction is that the elected slate will win out in the end.
4. After Biden is declared the winner, Trump followers will riot in the streets.
This is a sad but unavoidable probability, as foreshadowed by the “Trump Trains” in the past few days, Trump’s followers being cheered on and applauded by Trump and his people for terrorizing Biden staff on a campaign bus, blocking bridges, streets and freeways.
The FBI has stated that the risk is high now for right wing militias and individuals to commit violent and criminal acts. Just two weeks ago, a militia group attepmted to kidnap and murder the governor of Michigan. Guns have been pulled by right wingers against peaceful protesters, racial epithets have been slung at innocent people just walking to their cars, Trump refused to condemn The Proud Boys at the first debate with Biden and told them to “stand by”.
Beverly Hills has boarded up stores. Washington DC has done the same as have many cities all around the country. Why? Because we’re having an election and one of the candidates has a rabid cult of hate-crazed white nationalists as his thug army. A would-be dictator who is terrified of what losing means to him personally, the destruction of his corrupt business “empire” and possibly the loss of his freedom in a mountain of criminal prosecutions that are waiting to tumble down on him.
So Trump has everything to lose if he loses. That means he has nothing to lose by committing, ordering, and rooting on the most horrific violence against innocent Americans who “dare” to deny him power.
My View: Violence and assaults on society and Americans by Trump’s hate cult of white nationalists is very likely to take place. It could begin tomorrow, on Election Day, as they try to prevent voters in more heavily Democratic areas from getting to the polls (through blocking of streets with truck caravans, intimidating and even violent incidents near polling places, disruptive “observers” at polling places, accusing voters of color of voting fraudulently, hostile protests in high visibility locations (to get the most media attention). My personal view is that decent people should not counter-protest because that is what they and Trump want. They want it to appear that Election Day is one mass riot, that the vote must be thrown out because of the havoc that he will claim has corrupted the election. We shouldn’t give them that excuse, they can have the streets for one night while we take the country.
And it is very possible that there is a bigger entity behind organizing this assault on our democracy. Remember when those anti-mask riots suddenly popped out in a number of states? It turned out that it was not organic, a Koch aligned entity had been the one organizing these multi-state protests. No doubt, many of these white nationalist types enthusiastically ran with it but it was originally financed and organized by Koch.
One has to consider that what is appearing as an attempted coup, to at last damage our democracy so profoundly that it elections become as meaningless and corrupt as they are in Russia, that would install Trump as the president for life that he’s aspired to (yes, there’s the 22nd Ammendment that’s supposed to limit presidents to two terms but in an authoritarian government, with a pliant Supreme Court and GOP, who would stop him from simply declaring “I’m owed another term because my first term was taken away by the Russia hoax!”).
The wealthy, fascist class such as the Koch types, almost have the America they want. They pay no taxes, they oppress the masses, their small group owns most of the wealth in the country. All they need is to finally end the one potential disruption, democracy. If Trump was to be forced into power for another four years, no matter how much damage they have to do to the country to accomplish that, they would cement their ownership of America.
They have a huge stake in keeping Trump in office by any means necessary. Combining their wealth and power with his standing as a cult leader to violent masses, it is very possible that this nation is in for terrible days beginning with Election Day and very possibly, through Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.
So it would be wise to use today and tomorrow, after you vote of course (if you haven’t already), to perhaps fill up the refrigerator and pantry to play it safe. Hopefully, Biden will win by a landslide and the air will come out of the balloon for Trump and his racist cultists. Or if there is chaos on the streets initially, police will show they’re not also racists and smother them as they tried with BLM/George Floyd protesters. If not, at least Democratic governors could call out the National Guard (who knows if Republican governors would even try to stop white nationalists on the rampage) to quickly put them down.
The FBI is worried that there will be violence, cities around the country are bracing for violence, Trump is cheering on and depending on violence in the streets so we have to be prepared to stay safe at home and not feed into it.
Nothing would satisfy Trump more than violent clashes in the streets that he could use to invoke the Insurrection Act and turn the National Guard and Secret police into an army that aids in a coup that allows him to declare himself as retaining power as president for as long as he’s needed to “put down” this insurrection.
So, there is less to worry about in the election and more to worry about in the aftermath than we have ever had to worry over in an election in America (even on the brink of the Civil War!). Perhaps these worries won’t turn out to have been justified, I have never hoped to be as wrong about anything as I hope to be wrong about this.
But did you ever think that in America, the approach of an election would require the boarding up of windows and the FBI to be on high alert?
This is what happens when you try to remove a fascist and make no mistake, that’s what’s at stake in this election. It is up to all of us, it is up to you as a citizen to protect yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors and your country. Don’t take polls for granted, we need to win this election by the biggest possible margin to have the best chance to avoid the madness that could follow.
It’s pretty simple when you consider that all of the lawsuits and actions Trump and Republicans have taken have been to prevent people from voting and if they have, throwing away their vote. You’re either voting to keep our democracy or for tyranny. Your vote was never more important or historic. If you’ve already voted, well done! If you haven’t, we need your vote to help save this nation. History will be written about this unbelieveable period in America, be one of the patriots who stood up for their country when they were most needed.