I still am trying to process the results of the 2020 General Election, which drags on and feels as welcome as the last guest at a dinner party who wants to hang out and talk well after the coffee has been served, and the hosts want to clean up the kitchen (you may remember a time when friends joined around a table to enjoy a nice meal and good conversation).
This election season seems unnecessarily long.
We have gotten through a protracted campaign phase with primary elections, conventions, speeches, rallies, debates, and COVID.
We have survived a longer than usual voting phase, which began early, featured voting by mail, in-person early voting, the “official’ voting day last Tuesday, and COVID.
We are now in the final counting phase, which started at different times, as governed by state and even local-lever law, regulation, custom, and COVID.
If you think this is complex and confusing, you’re right.
Some jurisdictions started in the early voting period to validate and even tabulate early mailed-in or dropped-off ballots, and tabulate early in-person votes. In other jurisdictions, opening, validating, and tabulating mail-in ballots could not begin until the polls opened on Election Day, or not even until after the polls closed that day.
The counting processes vary from state to state and even county to county within states. It is a complicated process, stressed this time in states like Pennsylvania that have not had experience coping with the flood of mail-in ballots resulting from the COVID pandemic. If you think this is complex and confusing, you’re right.
The complexity of this counting phase combined with the high volume of early in-person and mail-in votes has created a consequential number of these non-traditional votes to be processed, and delays definitive results for media outlets, voters, and even some politicians who should know better who want results before they go to bed the night of the traditional Election Day.
Trump lawsuits uniformly unsuccessful
Litigation to carve out segments of the Democratic majorities in several states has already started. This litigation overlaps with and slows down the counting phase, which will end with the certification at the state level of results. As I write this, these litigation efforts have been uniformly unsuccessful, but appeals and new claims will probably emerge in the coming days; and we shall see how much the federal judiciary wants to get involved in eroding the small Democratic majority. So far, not much has happened.
The results we have are somewhat different than what we hoped for and even expected. Vice President Biden appears to have prevailed in Pennsylvania and achieved more than the necessary 270 electoral votes to assure his victory.
As expected, Commander Covid is modeling the sore loser, lying about Democrats cheating, lying, and stealing; but that doesn’t change facts. His electoral loss will be borne out by the careful vote-by-vote counting still underway.
This might give us a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. But as the counting goes on, the strength of the voters’ mandate to the new administration remains in question, given the emerging results of the election of members of the House and Senate show little change in the composition of both Houses. The expected Blue Wave has turned out to be a blue ripple.
But the hard work continues. The new Biden administration will have a packed agenda that starts with controlling the COVID pandemic. It continues with undoing the damage done to our economy and government by the malfeasance of the departing administration, restarting efforts to abate and turn around climate change, readjust our relations with our friends and adversaries around the world.