“Before the year 2000, the only time the nation was embittered by such a disputed presidential election was in 1876, when the wounds of the Civil War were still fresh.” That’s right, the New York Times wrote in an article published a month before the 2004 presidential elections, which speculated about the possibility of a Florida 2000 Redux in that election. “There is much more unresolved malaise, a greater sense of ‘we were robbed’ in 2000 than in 1876,” warned David Herbert Donald, a Harvard professor who specializes in presidential history. The scenario of a new election that was bloodthirsty until the last one did not materialize in 2004 (George W. Bush clearly defeated John Kerry), but it arrived in 2020. 2020, the year of an unprecedented pandemic, of an economic crisis, of an America with the wound of racism still pulsating and with a President implying a lack of confidence in the electoral process.
As had already been speculated, there was no winner this evening of November 3rd. At the time of publication of this article, all scenarios were open: Arizona and Georgia could still hang anywhere, taking into account that they still had to count the face-to-face votes of the day, which could benefit Trump (in Arizona), but also the results of large cities, which plays in favor of Biden (in Georgia). North Carolina, too, remained virtually even. To launch the confusion, the Midwest remained largely open (with the exception of Ohio, which fell to Trump). And local officials warned: results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania will not arrive until a day – or more – later. It is in this great wall of the Midwest that the Biden campaign has its highest hopes, but it faces the delays caused by strong adherence to voting by correspondence and local rules.
One is the ban on starting to count postal votes until all presidential votes have been counted, one of the rules that is in effect in Pennsylvania. With the equivalent of 20 votes at the electoral college, Pennsylvania is the big diamond of the Midwest that both candidates want to grab, as the winner there will almost certainly be the winner of the election. But a complicated path is foreseen, if the election is as close as it seems due to the national trend. In Pennsylvania, if the victory has only a margin of 0.5% of the vote, there is a mandatory recount, which could further delay the results. Not to mention the legal challenges that both campaigns can present in the courts. The repetition of the year 2000 seems more and more likely – but here we go, in our “American Nostalgia”.
For now, only two conclusions seem clear: there is a strong likelihood that this election will end up being decided by judges – and “Atlantic” reminds us that “both campaigns have been preparing for the possibility of a contested election for months and possibly decided in court ”- and the divide between a rural America, which continues to support Donald Trump with all its might, and the United States of big cities, which turn to the Democrats, is becoming increasingly clear. Or, as the “New Yorker” sums it up, circumstances compared to 2016 may have changed, “but the essential pattern remains”. Trumpism remains strong among the faithful. Democrats increased the vote, but in the better known states, not enough to fight the President. The next few days may add even more fuel to the fire in this room.
“Keep the faith, folks. We are on our way to win this. ” Joe Biden paraphrased the Bon Jovi on this election night, in an unexpected public statement, to try to control the narrative and remember that nothing is yet closed. Trump reacted immediately on Twitter, saying he will win “BIG” and will not let this election be “stolen”. In his speech later, from the White House, he maintained the emphasis: “We are winning by a lot”, including “in Pennsylvania”. No one gave their arm to cheer, therefore.
IN CAMPAIGN ROOMS …
Legal strategies for each state are fine-tuned, of course, but one also keeps an eye on the various Senate races. Democrats had hoped that there would be a big “blue wave” that would win the upper house of Congress back to the party, but the signals given over the night leave doubts as to whether this is possible.
Two races may have set the tone: South Carolina and Iowa. The first resulted in the victory of Lindsey Graham, an experienced Republican senator, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and an enemy made friends with President Trump in recent years. After weeks of stalemate in the polls against Democrat Jaime Harrison, Graham spoke out victorious tonight: “For the polling companies out there: you have no idea what you are up to,” he said, as the National Review says.
The second was seen as one of the possible big victories for Democrats if Theresa Greenfield defeated incumbent Joni Ernst, as some polls already predicted. This, however, was not confirmed – despite the Democrats having invested so much in this campaign that it made it one of the most expensive races ever to the Senate. At the time of publication of this article, none of the parties has yet reached the magic number of 52 senators to have a majority in the chamber. But the trend seems to be on the side of the Republicans, save for last-minute surprises.
… AND BEYOND WASHINGTON DC
We look at Miami-Dade County, the prime example of Donald Trump’s main victory tonight, when he conquered the state of Florida. In a county where more than two-thirds of the population is Hispanic, Trump won and confirmed that the idea that Latinos massively vote for Democrats is wrong.
“Some of my friends think of Hispanics as a monolith, but there are several different groups in this constituency. Everyone responds positively to Trump on some issues, but it is mainly in the economy and social conservatism, ”Republican strategist Charlie Gerow reminded the Washington Post.
There are great differences between Latinos from Cuba and Venezuela, who prefer Trump by far, to Mexicans or Guatemalans, as we analyzed here in “Pela Estrada Fora” throughout this campaign. But there is also a question of gender and age, with younger Latino men reacting positively to the President. “They like your … style,” added Gerow. “They like machismo and respond favorably, instinctively, to Trump’s personality.”
As promised, we stayed in Florida and then looked at the controversial 2000 election, which opposed Republican George W. Bush to Democrat Al Gore.
That election night, the television networks rushed to give Al Gore victory in the state initially, but ended up backing down and attributing it to George W. Bush, after contradictory reports from various parts of the state. “I remember of [Tom] Brokaw to say ‘It was incredible if the televisions were wrong twice in one night’ ”, reminded” Atlantic “the producer of NBC Betsy Fischer Martin. “Later, he said, ‘We don’t have an egg in our face. We have a whole omelet. ‘”
In Al Gore’s campaign, the feeling went from euphoria to anger in a short time. “My wife was exhausted and said, ‘Let’s go back to the bedroom,'” Democratic vice president candidate Joe Lieberman recalled in the same article. “We went back to our suite at the hotel and, at the entrance, there was a table in the hall. My wife threw a vase of flowers on the floor. Perhaps she is more expressive than me. ”
The doubts prompted the Democrats to immediately request a recount of votes in the state and a chaos process started, which came to have a tense moment of intimidation led by a group that would come to be known as “The Brooks Brothers Riot” . The case would eventually go to the Supreme Court, but it ended up with Al Gore conceding defeat before it was all over. The whole process took more than five weeks. All because of 537 votes in dispute.
THE DAY SURVEY
At this stage, it is not worth looking at surveys of states or demographic groups. Whatever the outcome of this election, he is already chosen – the votes are not yet counted. But we couldn’t finish “Pela Estrada Fora” without following the tradition. So we look at a Morning Consult study that asked American voters how they feel about this election campaign. The answer couldn’t be clearer: 90% of Biden’s voters and 84% of those who prefer Trump were unanimous, for once throughout this campaign, and replied “I just want this to end”. Most will wake up today and find that it hasn’t been this one yet. There is no doubt about one thing: it is an election that remains in history.
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