As I write this, it’s early morning just before the polls open. The allure of prognostication is simply too enticing for me to pass up. With that, forgive me for stepping just one day into the future!
[Post-Election Update: I was wrong, especially in the national tone of the election’s outcome. Florida went to Trump, not Biden, early in the night and the swing-state vote count dragged on for days. It was much closer than I expected. However, the electoral college result will likely turn out to be 306-232, not 335-203, as predicted below. Florida was the key difference and, instead of North Carolina for Biden, he won Georgia. And, of course, the Senate race is still to-be-determined after two January run-off races in Georgia. Republicans will likely end up still holding a slim majority in the Senate by losing either one or two seats; narrowing their current three seat majority.]
I’m sure losing so badly last night is tough for Trump to accept. It wasn’t a Reagan-Mondale or Nixon-McGovern type of landslide. In our modern era of deep division, that’s no longer possible. However, Biden’s 335-203 electoral victory along with Republicans narrowly losing control of the Senate leaves little room for doubt. It was a rough night for Trump and the Republicans, especially when it was so easily avoidable.
The night began with 20 states and their 125 electoral votes preordained to be in Trump’s column. In Biden’s bag of certain victories were 17 states and their 215 electoral votes. That left the minority of voters living in just 13 states to decide things.
Like 2020 itself, this election cycle felt like an eternity. Courtesy of Florida, however, the dense air of drama dissipated swiftly. For that, we are all thankful, I’m sure. Frankly, after the 2000 election and their hanging chads, they owed the nation some clarity!
As the evening unfolded, most of the remaining swing states followed Florida’s lead. Other than Trump’s narrow victories in Texas and Georgia in the South and his small margins in Ohio and Iowa in the Midwest, the remaining swing states lined up for Biden. Yes, some votes are still being counted. But, when all is said and done, North Carolina and Pennsylvania will also officially end up in Biden’s tally.
In the final analysis, this election was always a referendum on Trump’s leadership; both in its style and in its substance. Among too many dramas to overcome and overlook, his presidency was ultimately decided by his response to the pandemic. To avoid last night’s defeat, Trump needed some foresight. Instead, he’s left with 20/20 hindsight about what could have been. Alas, true do-overs in life are few and far between.
When the virus hit, we needed national leadership. Nobody expected perfect leadership. In fact, our political divisiveness and our economy’s underlying inequalities rendered a perfect response impossible to achieve. Instead, what was needed was a clear plan that never arrived. This plan includes access to free and rapid testing capabilities, the delivery of predictable financial support for as long as it takes and a consistent focus on the common good.
As I sign off this column and gently step back to the tension-filled morning of election day, let’s all hope for a much better 2021. We, along with the next President of the United States, certainly have a lot of work to do to get things back on track. As we enter the months ahead, let’s start by recommitting to wearing our masks, keeping our distance and staying as safe as possible. That’s a plan I know we can all follow!