Biden Rebuilds ‘Blue Wall,’ Wins Presidency
Democrats pull a 2016 in reverse, while Trump and Giuliani spin baseless and dangerous conspiracy theories.
Joe Biden’s path to the presidency relied on rebuilding the “blue wall” of states that Donald Trump shockingly won by the slimmest of margins back in 2016.
In an election that was otherwise a “red wave” of down-ballot candidates, Biden pulled it off: He won the states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by margins eerily similar to Trump’s “inside straight” four years ago. Here’s how it went:
- Wisconsin: With 99% of the ballots counted, Biden leads Trump by roughly 20, 540 votes. It’s almost a mirror image of Hillary Clinton’s loss by 22,748 votes in 2016.
- Michigan: With 99% reporting, Biden is beating Trump by 146,123 votes, or by 50.6% to 47.9%. Four years ago, Trump carried Michigan by just 10,704 votes.
- Pennsylvania: My home state took the longest to canvass, and we’ll get to that reason soon. But again with 99% of ballots counted, Biden’s insurmountable lead is now over 47,000 votes. In 2016, Trump’s wining margin was similar: 44,292 votes.
During the three days after election day, ground zero in America was outside the Philadelphia convention center, the place where mail-in ballots were being counted. Partisans were separated by a police barricade. A contingent of Trump fans stared menacingly, perhaps finding comfort in the president’s feckless claim that the count of mail-in ballots should stop on election day. (The three-day window was approved the the Pennsylvania state legislature in return for not counting mail-in ballots until election day.)
On Wednesday night, Trump advocates that included Rudy Giuliani and Eric Trump held a press conference where they pronounced without evidence Pennsylvania’s exercise in democracy “a total disaster.” In a disgraceful act, former Florida secretary of state Pam Bondi took the microphone and name-checked deputy election commissioner Seth Bluestein by slowly pronouncing his Jewish-sounding last name. Bluestein has endured a steady stream of anti-Semitic death threats.
Finally on Saturday, Nov. 7, votes in certain battleground state were tallied, and Joe Biden was named president-elect at 11:24 am by major news services. People from all over the tri-state area made their way to Center City to live and breathe in Philadelphia freedom. It was a day of unity and solidarity that defied our staid pandemic existence (yes, everybody wore masks). People were singing the 1969 oldie, “Na Na Hey Hey, Kiss Him Good-bye.” There were plenty of clever signs, like this one from Matt and Jillian:
Trump’s Doomed Gambit
Well, we were sure he wouldn’t go quietly. What’s not certain is Trump’s endgame. His wildly unfounded claims of voter fraud are unprecedented in their detachment from reality. Even if in the unlikely event he were to win in court each specific claim, they would not yield enough votes to change the electoral map.
Maybe he’s enjoying one last gasp at “owning the libs.” More likely, Trump is soothing the desires of his base, keeping them loyal and to “provide Trump with an off-ramp for a loss he can’t quite grasp and less about changing the election’s outcome,” experts told the Associated Press.
We can only hope. Ominously, Trump has directed all federal agencies to submit a budget for the next fiscal year. He’s dragging his whole administration into election rejection by refusing to cooperate with the Biden transition team. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) might have provided a clue to Trump’s bluster in an interview with Fox News on Nov. 9:
If Republicans–if we don’t challenge and change the US election system, there’ll never be another Republican president elected again. President Trump should not concede.Sen. Lindsey Graham
That is, in order to survive in a multi-racial democracy, Republicans want to make it harder to vote.
Trump has vowed to pursue recounts in Wisconsin, Georgia and perhaps other states that allow it. In the basketful of battleground states called for Biden, there hasn’t been a successful recount flip in the last two decades.
Wisconsin conducted a recount after the 2016 presidential election because Trump’s 20,000 vote victory over Hillary Clinton fell within the one percent trigger. The recount changed the winning margin by 131 votes. Trump must surely remember that.
Trump’s “Voter Fraud” Claims
Could it be that Trump has found it so easy to gaslight his supporters that he has forgotten that courts and judges rule on facts and evidence? Does he really think that there are more judges out there than not who believe it is good for the country or the courts to have an election decided by anyone other than the voters?
Trump’s lawyers have focused on Pennsylvania for most of their legal challenges. In a nutshell, the flurry of lawsuits can be filed into three separate inboxes: the aforementioned late-arriving mail-in ballots, GOP monitors’ access to ballot counters, and the practice of calling in voters to correct or “cure” improperly filled-out mail-in ballots.
Trump’s only successful lawsuit thus far in the post-election milieu was moving Republican monitors to within six feet of the ballot counters, instead of the customary 10 feet.
Since all parties in PA agreed that mail-in ballot could not be counted until election day, there remains a misunderstanding that some ballots were mailed and received during the three days after election day. Not true. All ballots had to be postmarked by Nov. 3.
However, due to a postal and other COVID-related delays, the secretary of state approved as many as 10,000 ballots postmarked Nov. 3 to be accepted after the polls closed. The ballots are segregated and are subject to a lawsuit by the Trump campaign. Even if Trump wins this, it won’t affect the outcome of the Pennsylvania race.
PA Senate Leader Resists Call to Disenfranchise Voters
Trump’s rebellion against democracy has so far fallen on deaf ears to someone whose voice will be crucial in the run-up to certifying Pennsylvania’s electoral vote winner. Jake Corman (R-Centre) is the majority leader of the PA state senate and represents a district in the middle of the state that includes State College.
Rather than paying heed to Trump’s cry to stop post-election ballot counting, Corman said he wanted every legal ballot counted, as long as it was postmarked by 8 pm on election day.
While Corman butted heads with Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar over how she conducted the election, Corman added, “I have no knowledge of any voter fraud–I have no knowledge of any misdeed–other than process–which the department of state ran this election.”
At the press conference at the convention center in Philadelphia, Rudy Giuliani accused Democrats without evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to “rig” the 2020 election. It begs the question: If Democrats did improperly influence the election, why didn’t we take care of all of those down-ballot races, which amounted to a “red wave” for Republicans? Why did we lose winnable seats in the US Senate and barely retain control of the House of Representatives?
If Pennsylvania was so rigged, why did Democrats lose the crucial row offices of auditor general and state treasurer? Why did we lose seats in the state legislature?
You’ve got nothing.