Here and there, evidence of progress against hate and division makes me feel marginally more hopeful.
A reader sent me an editorial written as the final results were being tallied. It was headlined “Stop Saying America is Divided. It Isn’t” and it made some important points.
What’s always been certain is Biden winning the popular vote. What’s surprising is his winning more votes than anyone. I mean, like, ever. He’s at more than 71.7 million votes, as of this writing. That breaks Barack Obama’s record in 2008. The number is going to go higher as votes come in from California and other western strongholds. Some estimate that his final tally, when it’s all over but the shouting, could top 80 million. That plus the Electoral College victory equals not just a landslide defeat of one lying, thieving, philandering sadist. It’s a wholesale rejection of GOP orthodoxy. In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 50.7 percent of the popular vote. Biden could eclipse 52.
The essay goes on to dispute the “conventional wisdom” that the country is divided symmetrically, pointing out that the Democratic presidential candidate has gotten more votes in seven out of the last eight elections.
As the author argues, the electorate is divided, but that division is not 50-50.
Biden is on track to win the biggest coalition this country has ever seen. He’s on track to best the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious coalition of his former boss. Continuing to insist uncritically that the US is divided down the middle not only blurs the line between country and electorate, it minimizes Biden’s and his coalition’s achievement. The majority has ruled. There is now a consensus. The incumbent should have one term. America should be a democratic republic, not a white-wing autocracy…
Some ask why 40 percent of the country voted for dictatorship. It’s simple. Democracy empowers people that 40 percent—representing 69 million voters—don’t like. As I argued Monday, it brought us Barack Obama. It will bring us Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. If you can’t accept that, if you can’t accept the political legitimacy of non-white people in positions of power, you’re probably willing to do anything to “right that wrong,” even if that means killing yourself. Yes, we came very close to seeing the reelection of a chaotic tyrant. More important, however, is a massive majority saw the danger and put a stop to it.
He’s right. The sad thing, however, is that 40% minority includes a majority of white Americans.
Finally, Heather Cox Richardson adds her considered, informed analysis.She began by reminding us of the degree to which Trump and his team have governed by creating their own reality. When that tactic fails, they are at sea.
He planned to challenge the counting of the mail-in ballots in the courts, all the while telling his supporters that Democrats were stealing his victory. If he could gin up enough chaos, he could buy time to throw the results into doubt and, perhaps, get the Supreme Court to enter the fight. There, he hoped for victory with the help of the three justices who owed him their seats.
He planned to subvert the election, staying in power thanks to his extraordinary ability to control the narrative, making people believe things that are not true.
The only thing that could stymie that narrative was overwhelming turnout from Democrats. To make that impossible, Trump’s team arranged to keep voters from the polls in places like Florida, and Texas, and enlisted Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to delay the mails so ballots would not be delivered in time to be counted.
But, in the end, their plans could not completely suppress those Americans fed up with the Trump administration. As I write tonight, Biden and Harris are winning the popular vote by more than 4 million votes, and the numbers are rising. If it weren’t for our antiquated Electoral College system, this election would already be over, decisively.
In the years to come, researchers will determine just how many Biden votes were suppressed–not cast or not counted. That number–which includes the disfranchisement of 1.5 million ex-felons in Florida, despite an overwhelming vote in 2018 to restore their voting rights–will add to the margin by which the majority of Americans rejected Donald Trump.
Our job is to keep the arc of history moving toward justice.