By: Yoni Manor
It is safe to say that this has been the most chaotic election in modern American history. Whether you support President-elect Joe Biden or President Donald Trump, there is no argument that stress and anxiety among the American public have been at all-time levels; democracy is hanging in the balance. Although Biden has been projected the winner of the election, making him the President-elect, the Electoral College is yet to cast its votes. If all goes according to plan, Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States, making Donald Trump the first president to lose reelection since George H.W. Bush in 1992.
What is unique about this election is the fact that a winner was not announced on election night or even the day after. There was not a projected winner until Nov. 7, four days after Election Day. This, however, comes as no surprise, as many political analysts and election officials warned that it would take several days to count all the votes, especially in battleground states. With mail-in voting at an all-time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ballot counting was expected to become more complex and slower.
Mail-in ballots not only affected the speed of ballot counting but also the methods and order in which they were counted. Ballot counting differs from state to state. For instance, Ohio counted mail-in ballots first and then Election Day votes, which is why it seemed like Biden was winning earlier on election night but ended up losing the state. Georgia and Pennsylvania, on the other hand, count their Election Day ballots before their mail-ins, which is why we saw a surge of Biden votes in the latter days of counting, after election night. It’s what led him to ultimately win the presidency, as Pennsylvania put him over the edge of 270, re-securing the blue wall in the Midwest. Winning Georgia, however, was a surprise to many, further bolstering his lead in the electoral college. Biden is the first Democrat to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Political experts warned of red and blue mirages (situations where one party appears to have one before the result eventually flips) weeks before election night because of the way certain states count ballots, but these ample warnings did not stop Americans from having near heart attacks; more importantly, it did not stop President Trump from thinking the election was rigged against him. His legal team has now filed 40 election fraud lawsuits as of Dec. 2, with 39 of them being thrown out. With little substantiated evidence of widespread voter fraud, the Trump administration has almost no path to staying in the White House past Jan. 20, 2021.
This contesting of election results is almost unheard of in US presidential history, with the exception of Al Gore rescinding his concession from George W. Bush in 2000 to request a recount in the state of Florida after Bush won the state by only 537 votes, which ultimately decided the election.
Assuming Biden is sworn into office on Inauguration Day, the political landscape of the last four years will change significantly. The truth is, the rating of news outlets, such as CNN and MSNBC, have skyrocketed over the course of Trump’s presidency, with breaking news every night about the latest rant Trump tweeted. One of Biden’s key campaign promises was restoring normalcy to the White House and to D.C., but what exactly will that entail? How will politics and government change with the departure of Trump, the complete opposite of normal? It’s hard to say as of now, but Biden is currently assembling his cabinet who will have a tough job for the next four pivotal years ahead. It will be compelling to see how Biden’s administration will work together with the younger, much more progressive faction of the Democratic party in Congress.
Looking ahead even past Biden’s next four years in office is quite interesting. Will Trump, if willing and able, run for president again in 2024? The only other president to do that was Grover Cleveland who won in 1892, after initially losing reelection in 1888. Many Americans are not thrilled about the idea, but many also are. It would be an intriguing turn of events that could be a catalyst for even more friction, both within and between political parties. If we’ve learned one thing from 2020, it’s that anything is possible.