And Now, Some More General Thoughts on the 2020 Election

Picture of Trump with the words

Original photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0).

John ScalziEarlier today I wrote a long piece about white supremacy and the 2020 election, which is here if you want to see it, but in case you’re wondering if I had any other thoughts about the election, here are some of them, in no particular order.

1. I am fucking relieved. In part because for a few days there the election looked closer than it would turn out to be, and if there’s one thing I know about the GOP, it’s that you never let the election get close, because then they are more than happy to steal it. Tuesday night it looked stealable, and I was trying to get my head in a place where I had to live another four years in a country with a corrupt dimwit bigot as president. I avoided most news and social media on Wednesday and Thursday, on the basis that if something genuinely bad happened, someone would probably text me.

Friday tipped Pennsylvania over and given where the outstanding ballots were still coming in from, and who they would likely to be for, I began to feel, well, better. And then after that, it was just waiting for the inevitable, which finally came on Saturday. Trump lost! He’s a loser! Biden won! He’s not a loser!

I thought when the official word came down that Biden had won it that I might cry. I did not, in part because the whole thing was extended over several days, and basically my psyche got to have some time to deal with the idea that Biden would actually win this thing. I did choke the hell up at several moments, however. In a larger, existential sense, the joy of not having to deal with Trump after January 20 is immense. And I am, let’s remember, a well-off cis, het white man. I cannot even fathom how relieved someone who is not white or cis or het feels right now.

This election is not the end of things, it’s just the beginning, and things will get harder, especially if Mitch McConnell is not punted as Senate Majority Leader. But I think it’s okay for the moment to be relieved. For four years, at least, we won’t have a president who is a real live grifting toxic piece of shit, and we won’t have all his grifting toxic piece of shit cronies to deal with, either. I will take that, thank you.

2. Related to this, while my previous post was a bit of a downer in terms of how many US citizens voted for Trump, in fact, I’m reasonably happy about events. Hey! 75 million people voted for Biden! That’s a majority of voters! And that’s likely to grow, both in raw numbers and percentages, as votes continue to be counted. This is a larger gap between voter numbers than Clinton got over Trump (remember: Trump lost the popular vote — most voters didn’t want him as president). I think the current estimate is that Biden will wind up with 306 electoral votes, which in a nice bit of irony is the number of electoral votes Trump got the last time around. Suck it, Trump! Biden got all your electoral votes and the popular vote!

More than that, these folks voted en masse — in the largest turnout, percentage-wise, in a century — despite active and real-time suppression of the vote by the GOP. The GOP wasn’t even pretending to be subtle about it this time around: You don’t fucking argue that one ballot drop-off location is sufficient for a county of four and a half million people, as the governor of Texas did, with a straight face. And of course there was Trump and his toadies, screaming about “legal votes,” i.e., the votes that were for him, not for Biden. And, well, one, fuck them, and two, given the election results, lots of the people who voted for Biden apparently voted for Republican senators and representatives on the same ballot, so one wonders how the GOP is going to square this with any more logic than “all votes for the GOP are inherently valid; all votes for anyone else are inherently not.” Which brings us back to point one: Fuck them.

It doesn’t appear that this particular election was notably plagued by voter fraud, any more than any other election ever is. There’s not an election fraud issue in the United States, it’s just the dog whistle that the GOP uses do it doesn’t have to explicitly say “we’re disenfranchising people who aren’t white.” Their problem this year, such as it is, is that the president and all his cronies are movie villains; they monologued well in advance what they were planning to do. Which, fortunately, gave the rest of us time to prepare, by voting early enough that ballots got in no matter how much the Trump administration slowed down the mail, by voting early in person, and by understanding that the entire GOP platform this year was “Keep People From Voting.” As I said on the day I cast my ballot, early and in person: Fuck you, I voted. There were literally millions of other people who said the same thing. And we won!

3. With that said, for the second presidential election cycle in a row, polls seemed awfully skewed and inaccurate, not regarding the national popular vote, but in the state and local races. Polls suggested that a number of Democratic senatorial candidates were up, and above the margin of error, and then on election day these candidates lost their elections by significant percentages. In both 2016 and 2020, polls seemed to offer, for lack of a better term, a “blue mirage,” where the Democratic support seemed stronger than it actually was.

Why? Got me, I’m not a pollster. But it’s a very real thing. The Biden campaign told its people to act and work like they were behind in the polls, and warned its voters not to become complacent. This was very wise! If the Democrats had ever let up, we might be looking at a very different presidential election result. The electoral college favors the GOP enough that a Democrat has to outperform in the popular vote to win, and sometimes even that is not enough: See 2000 and 2016.

(Yes, we should retire the electoral college, and yes, in a perfect world the president would be elected by popular vote with ranked choice. We don’t live in that world right now.)

I tried myself not to get too complacent regarding polls, but I still was surprised at how the Democrats underperformed in the senate races. Going forward my new plan is to simply subtract 5 points from the Democrat for any senate poll I see, and at least a couple points off any presidential poll. Seems a reasonable coping strategy.

In the meantime, remember that at this point control of the Senate is still up for grabs, due to the senatorial runoff elections in Georgia, which will happen in January. If you’re a Democrat, you might want to, you know, donate to those races (and vote in them, if you’re in Georgia).

4. As of this writing, Trump has not conceded the election and plans a series of legal challenges to it, which is unsurprising because he’s petulant fucking child who stomps his feet when he doesn’t get his way, waaaaaaaah. I don’t expect him to ever concede the election in any meaningful sense; at the very least he’ll whine and complain and gripe how it was stolen from him, which is a lie and is now a thing every news outlet will note, because he lost fair and square and the transition machinery is already in process. It doesn’t matter if he concedes; it’s not legally required and Biden will be the next president happen no matter how much he stomps his feet (unless he resigns and lets Pence have a couple of weeks in the big chair. Which would be amusing. And then Biden would still be president on January 20). But it’s certainly a reminder that he’s a petty and truculent waste of protein, and that to him losing is literally the worst thing that could ever happen to him.

It’s not — check with the New York State Attorney General about that, she’s got some plans to harsh his mellow starting at 12:01pm on January 20th — but I don’t mind if he feels that way. He deserves all the misery he heaps upon himself.

5. It took about 15 minutes from the race being called for Biden for conservatives and GOPers to start demanding that Democrats reach across the aisle to them, and Biden, because he’s Biden, has said nice anodyne things about wanting to be the president for all Americans, not just the ones who voted for him. It’s a pretty sentiment that I vaguely approve of in theory but as a practical matter think is… naive as things stand.

Why? Because, look: The modern GOP is a goddamned shithole of money-grubbing white supremacy whose entire political strategy is “fuck you, you get nothing,” and which sees conciliatory acts by the Democrats as a sign of weakness. If every time you reach across the aisle someone stabs you through the hand, you eventually stop reaching, or you’re a fool. I don’t mind if Biden makes some conciliatory gestures, or puts a couple of Republicans into his cabinet, or whatever. He’s a chummy guy and he’s old and thinks the relationships he had in the Senate 20 years ago still matter. And maybe he’s right! Maybe he can move whatever dessicated husk of a soul that resides in Mitch McConnell to cooperate on something. But I sincerely fucking doubt it, and I think he damn well better have a Plan B for after the first time that doesn’t work, which I expect will be, roughly, 12:02pm, January 20th, 2021.

6. By the same token, everyone saying that people who voted for Biden should be nice to the Trump voters’ tender feelings at the moment should maybe take a seat. As I noted in a tweet yesterday:

Let’s not pretend that quite a few of the people who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 spent the last four years reveling in the fact that, since their idol was a raging bigoted asshole, they got to be a raging bigoted asshole as well. Four years of open racist bullshit, of science denial that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, of loud homophobia and transphobia and sexism, of morally plastic “Christianity” and of, yes, seeing “fuck your feelings” as a moral trump card, pun absolutely intended. I don’t have to care what you think, the big toddler I helped put into the White House said I don’t have to. 

Then, the instant that big toddler loses, the people who they’ve spent four years screaming Fuck Your Feelings at, whose rights they’ve ignored and tried to curtail, who they’ve openly been bigoted toward, have to, what? Welcome them back into the fold with soothing, comforting hugs? Pretend the last four years didn’t happen? Accept as ground rules for moral behavior things that not only did Trump supporters not accept for themselves, but spent four years celebrating that they were released from? Those Fuck Your Feelings t-shirts didn’t come out of nowhere. There was a market for them. Trump supporters wanted them. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why.

We are all Americans, and we all have to work to live together. But let me suggest that at the moment, there are some people who will need to work a little harder at it, and, surprise, it’s not the people who have been having “fuck your feelings” hurled at them for four years. If you’re a Trump supporter and you don’t think it’s fair that you might have to do some work here, well, honey, that’s your privilege showing, and as much as you hate it when other people point that out, it’s a hard fucking fact. It’s totally fair you have to put in a little more work to meet in the middle when you spent the last four years running as far from the middle as you could possibly get.

So get to it! You can do it! I believe in you!

7. Here’s what I wrote yesterday on Twitter about where we are at the moment:

Yes, I do actually mean it. Trump is a virus and he infected our body politic, a body that the GOP spent four decades lowering its immune system so that it could receive just the sort moral and political sickness that Trump personifies. And it worked! We got very sick, and we’re very sick still.

But it turns out our antibodies were stronger than suspected. We rallied despite the best efforts of the virus. And now we have the opportunity to get better. It’s not a done deal; the GOP is still out there trying to get us sick again, and our viral load is still regrettably high. But now, at least, there is a chance to rout it and get our body politic healthy again. That works for me, today.

— JS

84 Comments on “And Now, Some More General Thoughts on the 2020 Election”

  1. Once again: Political post, mallet is out, play nice with each other, and be aware that I have my BINGO cards ready and if you fill up too many spots, out your comment will go.

  2. It’s more than an issue of political differences and horrific opportunism. Trump and his administration commited crimes. Emoluments and violating the Hatch Act are among the least of them. They enriched themselves at the public trough thorugh nepotism, insider trading, and outright fraud (PPP and PPE). As documentation becomes available it’s very possible we’ll find evidence of national security violations, if not outright treason (have we forgotten about Russia?).

    So of course they want Dems to be reasonable and reconcile. Because a party of vertebrates would investigate, prosecute, and punish.

    It’s possible to pursue justice without rancor. I vote we do that.

  3. I’ve heard a few folks say things like “We should just let Trump slink away quietly, not worry about prosecuting him”. I fear that to do so would just mean we get to deal with him and his grifter spawn in four years (or more like two, the way things go with campaigning). Prosecute him, and them, while the iron is hot. The cultists are already butthurt; they’ll continue to be no matter what. No reason to care about them, to be blunt.

  4. Yes!

    I think Biden’s speech was what he needed to say in an acceptance speech at this moment, and I hope that he’s actually smarter than to expect decency out of the GOP, and/or that Harris is smarter than that and will clue him in. (Not that the classes actually line up, but for every We All Have Good In Us Paladin in your party, you need a rogue who will be in flanking position with a shiv for the moment that the enemy starts shit.)

    Also, which I’ve said elsewhere? “We have to live together,” does not mean we have to like each other. It doesn’t mean we have to not *loathe* each other, and the people saying it does have clearly never lived in an apartment building or had either a large extended family or an office job. There are people who I hate, whose misfortune I relish with every fiber of my being, and who nonetheless I’m capable of co-existing with.

    It’s easy. You have a civil discussion about TPS reports, or you pass a comment or two about the weather at the holiday party you have to attend*, or you nod at each other in the hallway. Then you go out or get on social media with the people you actually like, and all your friends hear about Brittle New Hampshire Girl, or Chad from Sales, or Aunt Susan, or whoever.

    Cordial hate is sustainable. Trust me: I’m from New England.

    * I don’t support inviting assholes and bigots to parties if you have the choice, though.

  5. Well said as always. The comment “our viral load is still regrettably high” is particularly apt, and unfortunately absolutely correct.

    I am in my mid 60s. I honestly don’t expect to live long enough to see this country reach a place that I could say unreservedly that I am proud to live in. I’m not sure it’ll happen even after I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I know it won’t happen in whatever number of years I’ve got left. And unfortunately, any country that I’d be proud to call home doesn’t need or want a 60-something immigrant at this point. So I’m stuck.

    I’ll keep preaching. I’ll keep fighting. But I’m tired, and I’ve already been doing this for a long, long, long time with no real effect.

  6. I would really like to see all of the name calling and people bashing dry up and go away. I am so tired of bigoted old white women screaming at and calling the police on people of color, especially young ones. That politeness ship has probably sailed and sunk in the harbor mouth but I can hope.

  7. I’ve been wanting to say something to my conservative “Christian” relatives but I’ve pretty much talked myself out of it in the interests of family harmony. However, I will post it here.

    The last four years have been a test of whether you actually believed and practiced the Christianity that you profess. And if you supported Trump and his open bigotry and cruelty, you flunked. In the future I won’t give one tiny little fuck about anything you say about morality or values or faith. If you wanted to know how you would have reacted to living in Germany under Hitler, now you know – you would have cheered and given the Nazi salute. You had better hope you are right about being forgiven for your sins because you have a lot of them to be forgiven for.

    Other than that I’m not bitter at all.

  8. Yes, great, and Trump deserved to lose. Let’s not be complacent about Biden though. His Senate record was a nightmare of delusions. He often voted with those same Republicans. This is always going to be an every four year ordeal of picking the least worst candidate, because the two party system does not respect your choices. Anyway, don’t let the door hit you on your fat ass Cheeto.

  9. Atonement is an old-fashioned term, but one that I believe is appropriate. I think Trump and most of his political appointees should be in jail. I believe his followers who gleefully drank as much of the Kool-Aid as they could get their hands on need to take an honest look in the mirror and accept that they were following a cretinous, bigoted, sociopath, and were happy to do so because ‘hey, we got ours!’

    I have never understood the mindset of people who could only be happy when someone else was made miserable in the process, but there were an awful lot of happy Trump followers who really loved standing on top of someone they ground into the dirt. It will be difficult for me to forgive and I don’t feel an obligation to so until they are actually repentant.

    I should not be asked to do the work in this relationship. Many commentators online are equating it to an abusive relationship and in many ways it is. We are being asked to forgive and then accept the next punch down.

    I won’t do it.

  10. I am tired of hate and anger and “my rights are more important than yours”. I am not naive. I know this will not go away without real work. What gives me hope is that in the end demographics will out. White people in this country have been at negative population growth for a couple of generations now. People of color have not. Younger white people are less likely to share the overt racism of their parents.

    On the other hand, social media breeds contempt for others. It is designed to be a place to vent your rage at the unfairness if the world in short memes. And it becomes self-validating because people choose to associate with like-minded people. Trump may be gone. Trumpism will take a long time to die.

  11. Biden will have a junkyard dog on a leash he will be threatening to let loose–the AOC/Bernie wing of the D Party. “You aren’t willing to work towards a compromise solution? Fine. I’ll get one within my Party alone. But it’s going to be a whole lot more to the left than one you work with us on, and I’ll be implementing it unilaterally the same way my predecessor did–you were comfortable with that approach, right? Still don’t want to play nicely?”

  12. I actually used the Last 538 polls to make my own Electoral collage Map and did exactly a 5 point swing for the GOP in every race. This pessimistic map still gave Biden a win with PA, NM, NV going blue. MN, WI, and MI were comfortably blue. 279 to 259 for Biden.

    Still too damn close. White supremacy and racism is still too strong in the US for my liking, and it will take reforms like brining back the fairness docturine to Cable and the internet to change it

  13. One thing I’ll throw in here is that a factor (minor? major? not clear yet) is that the pandemic hurt Democratic outreach. Ds took the pandemic seriously and didn’t do in-person outreach. A lot of Republicans DID do the personal outreach, and that may have helped their GOTV.

  14. “check with the New York State Attorney General about that, she’s got some plans to harsh his mellow starting at 12:01pm on January 20th”

    Before Tish James was the NY State Attorney General, she was my city council representative, and she KICKED ASS.

    When I learned it was her who was going to be going after the Trump Inc. brand, the Trump Org, and the like, I started buying the popcorn. Come January 20th I will start popping it, and I will settle in to watch, WITH GLEE.

  15. Like every writer I know, my brain’s been kinda messed up the past few years. Hard to focus. Now it feels like the rats eating their own tails in a blind maze in my mind have been released to frolic in the sun. I think I can write again.

    There is a nightmare scenario I’m trying to keep out of my mind. That I’m afraid to say out loud.

    Imagine that, after days or weeks, of us feeling better, and the whole world accepting President-Elect Joe Biden, the Fascists squatting in the White House manage to get a case in front of the Supreme Court, and the horrific new appointees in that once-esteemed body rip the election away from the people and hand it to the shitgibbon.

    No transition. No change (not for the better, anyway). No hope. An orgy of gloating, all restraints on their behavior gone.

    Civil war.

    I won’t breathe easy until President Biden is safely in office.

  16. As a reminder, the Toddler-in-Chief did not get 306 Electoral College votes. Yes, that many were pledged to Трамп/Пенс Trump/Pence, but, come the day, two Texas Electors couldn’t quite stomach carrying out their oaths, so they voted for John Kasich and Ron Paul, instead. So, Трамп/Пенс‘s Trump’s 2016 vote was actually 304.

    One of those Texans couldn’t stomach Пенс Pence, either, and voted for Carly Fiorina for VP, instead (ergo, 305 votes total). Thus, the Toddler was actually outvoted in the Electoral College by his scary Dominionist henchman.

    And, one bit of trivia I consider delicious: Assuming Трамп Trump squeaks through in North Carolina, and that Georgia lands in the Democratic column as expected, this means the Toddler’s tally of 229 will only barely top Hilary Clinton’s 227 (net of three Elector defections) in 2016.

    Of course, it’s 2020, so none of this is immune to last minute crazy plot twists. Maybe three GOP Electors will vote for Stacy Abrams. All bets are off.

  17. What Steve C posted re the overwhelming non-response rate for polls.

    Every damn poll results should include how many people were contacted, how many people responded, AND how many people were unwilling to participate.

  18. On the polling thing: I lost count of the daily number of times I picked up the phone to 2.4 seconds of silence followed by a “click” telling me the recorded interaction was about to start, and I hung up before the first word of the recording. But I’m sure a good many of them were polls.

    I have a fixed policy: You want something from me? Even an opinion? Fine, but you have to actually provide a HUMAN BEING with a job, and give them a script that a) asks for me by name (even if they risk misprounouncing it- I’m used to that), and then tells me who they are and on whose behalf they are calling, and then tells me what they want from me, and gives me the option of saying yes or no.

    I’m surprisingly likely to say “Okay” if those requirements are met. But if I hear 2.4 seconds of silence, followed by a click or an obviously recorded voice saying something stupid like “Oh, hi, sorry, I wasn’t sure you were there” (oh, come on… your auto-script writer can do better), well, then FUCK you, you don’t want it bad enough.

    And I don’t think my attitude is all that unique, really. And I think it IS symptomatic of an electorate that has less and less respect for being treated like a box to check when my vote is at stake.

    Yes, going back to human-to-human polling would be costly as hell. That would mean there would be fewer polls.

    Not necessarily a bad thing.

    It’s also symptomatic of a larger disrespect for the humanity of voters, customers, constituents, donors, or anyone else a powerful entity decides they want something from. Which is symptomatic of… oh, hell, I’m sure you know where I’m going here.

    How we treat people pretty much determines how they’re going to regard us.

    I am consistently amazed at how easily the powerful forget this.

    The enablers of Weehands McNodick love him because he VALIDATES them. They may on some subconscious level suspect that they are shitty human beings, but bringing that knowledge to the surface and dealing with it requires more resilience and maturity than they have. So anyone who pushes on that sore spot will get hated. Anyone who says “You’re not a shitty human being! I agree with you! You’re like me!” is going to get eternal loyalty.

  19. Flustercluck doesn’t begin to describe the most contested election outcome in American history.

  20. One small thing I’m happy about: while watching Biden and Harris speak last night, I realized how incredibly glad I am to hear their complete grammatically correct sentences. It has been like having a small rock in my shoe for four plus years, hearing the word salad coming out of Trump’s mouth. Granted, it’s only a small rock on top of being regularly gut punched by the sheer cruelty of what came out of Trump’s mouth. But that rock was there Every Single Day.

  21. Regarding point 5, we know how well being conciliatory and trying to play nice with the GOP worked for Barack Obama. Biden should too. I’m really fine with a potential strategy like giving Pat Toomey, who plans to retire from the Senate, a nice ambassadorship, so that the Democratic Gov. of PA can appoint a Democrat. I’m also okay with pork in Maine and Alaska for votes from Sen. Concerned and Sen. Murk. But the Democrats need to be prepared to play hardball with the Senate GOP.

    Regarding polling, there will be plenty to read about what happened. There’s already an article up at It’s the first item in yesterday’s Saturday Q&A:

  22. Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope Biden will be able to get control of the pandemic, because the republicans would much rather see this country endure more physical and financial ruin than see a democratic administration get a handle on things. As much as they can, they will block every effort.

  23. I always assume at least 5% and sometimes closer to 10% is under-counted for the a****** option. And not just “margin of error” but the “I don’t want to look bad” effect.

    You want to vote for Trump for whatever reason but he’s a p****-grabber, says racist things, etc. Then a pollster asks who you’re going to vote for. And you’re embarrassed that you’re voting for him. So you lie to the pollster. You either say “Biden” or you say “Undecided.”

    It was the same thing with Brexit. It was the England-First vs. the “don’t be racist” fight. And the polls were very close, so I figured a bunch of pro-Brexit folks were lying and said anti-Brexit because they didn’t want the pollsters to think they were racist. And Brexit won by a narrow margin.

    Polls are still useful. We just have to learn how to read them better and assume the a******* are lying.

  24. I should have read this piece before commenting on the other one, because #2 sums up my main feelings on this race exactly. They tried their hardest to steal the election, and still lost.

    And while Biden straight up scared me in the primaries with his bullshit about reaching across the aisle, Harris as his VP and Warren and Sanders (and reportedly AOC) as advisors makes me downright gleeful. Biden’s *listening* to the progressive wing of the Dems. I think America likes progressive policies and politicians more than the Dems want to believe, and certainly more than Fox and the GOP want us to believe.

  25. The last four years have been a bit like watching back-to-back dashcam footage of car crashes in slow-mo. “No.. surely he wouldn’t…. urrr… it looks like he’s going to… arrr… that’s awful…. eek… that’s got to hurt… hhmm… surely no one could survive that?… blimey… I can’t believe he managed to walk away from that without a scratch…”.

    It has been a tense nail-biting week watching the results come in, and an incredible relief when the results tipped unambiguously for Biden.

    Being a Brit, living in the UK, the actions of Trump have been somewhat peripheral, but no one is immune from the impact the US has on the world stage – climate change, trade wars, international relations.

    We have our own delusional populist blond bomb-proof idiot on a mission to destroy our nation. It’s been clear that our guy has been taking notes from your chap, deploying moves from his runbook. I hope our muppet is paying careful attention to what comes after the fall from grace – perhaps he’ll be nudged into better behaviour by watching what happens to Trump once he becomes an ordinary citizen again.

    I can’t imagine how bad it has been for you all, living through the Trump years. Things can only get better (fingers crossed)…

  26. Election of 1876. Results were contested in four states: OR, FL, LA, and SC.

    Election of 2020. Results are being contested in NV, AZ, MI, WI, PA, NC, and GA.

    Now Jay Sekulow tells us that the Trump Campaign may demand manual recounts in up to 30 states because Dominion’s tabulation software glitched in MI.

    Tilden could not be reached for comment.

  27. We have already “let them slink away” too many times. Pardon for Nixon, Pardons for Iran-Contra. Obama and Holder breaking International Law (and US law, as treaties are incorporated) by “looking forward, not back” and letting torturers just move on. No more. All of this lead to trump and his criminal coterie. It must stop.

    If Obama and Holder and the regulatory agencies had put just a few criminal bankers in jail we might not have had trump. If the vile torturers in the Bush administration had been brought to account we likely would not have had the blatant violations of the trump enablers.

    What we allow them to do without consequence they will do again. They will take it as the new boundary of what is acceptable and go even further.

    Appalled by children in cages, rape and sickness in detention facilities? Don’t paint the cages and put up posters about inmate rights. Fire the perpetrators and charge them criminally.

  28. You said we should retire the electoral college. Unfortunately, this could mean retiring the two party system.

    Problem: While U.S. citizens are world famous for being unembarrassed about being ignorant about the rest of the world… what if for this they weren’t? What if they looked east at New Zealand, Australia and Japan, North to Canada, west to the republic of Ireland, to the UK and Western Europe and suddenly went, “Woah, we’re a minority of one! No one else has a two party system!”

    (Then again, those same nations all have socialized medicine, and few in the U.S. could give a care, at least not until the Obama presidency, maybe)

    Then what? Human nature means that Americans would swiftly replace their embarrassment with words like proudly distinct, unique and real American. So I don’t imagine the college being dismantled.

  29. I really hope I’m not going to hear about how Biden should pardon Trump and his officials because of ‘unity’. They should face the consequences of their actions.

  30. Your first point concerns me, because it sounds too much like the rhetoric that Trump is currently spewing.

    The simple fact is, no American federal election has ever been stolen; saying that someone will steal one ultimately just leads to undermining faith in the process, and the process is predicated on faith.

    You might have been referring to the 2000 election, but that wasn’t stolen. No more than any election that has the electoral votes go differently than the popular vote. In the end, that was a case of the rules ended up favouring one side, but it could have favoured the other! The decision there, together with the short timeframe, gave the election to Bush. In truth, it was pretty much a dead tie and either result would have been fair.

    My point though, is that accusations of stealing an election need to be very judiciously meted out.

  31. Sometimes when my November 3rd Depression (and yeah, it was that bad I had to give it a name) threatens to rise up again, I like to remind myself of a local issue from my state; the reintroduction of gray wolves.

    And then I remember that, as of today on a state level, gray wolves in got 1,495,523 votes in their favor, while the Orange Overlord received 1,335,253. Knowing that the Orange Overlord was outvoted by a pack of wolves makes me feel a little bit better, and ready to keep the fight going.

  32. Shaun:

    “The simple fact is, no American federal election has ever been stolen”

    I mean (waves at Trump) it’s not for lack of current trying.

  33. Maybe I’m just a nervous nellie, and I’m not an American so my gut feelings about developments there may be way off, but I keep seeing reports about how all kinds of prominent Republicans are claiming they won’t accept the results, it’s going to the courts etc., and I worry that the thing isn’t over and they’ll just keep escalating until it all gets seriously bad in some way.

  34. I had that discussion with friend last night who advocated healing. I advocate NY bringing the hammer down as hard as humanly possible on Trump and everything connected to him. I cannot wait for the jailing and destruction of Trump’s tax fraud scaffolding to start falling.

  35. It’s sort of a weird feeling no longer having to think about how f-ed up an entire branch of the government is and what I personally should try and do about it. I’m a little frustrated that the jockeying between the left and the center-left seems to have started before the dust has even settled, but that’s probably more about how plugged in I have been with politics these last few years than anything else.

    What finally called the election for me was Georgia flipping (even if it wasn’t completely certain to stay that way). It just felt like the Republicans were losing the entire thing because that was their Pickett’s charge. There’s been so much work done to get us this far and there’s more work ahead, but at least we know we can fix some of this stuff if we keep going. And that’s a hopeful feeling.

  36. This one about a certain toddler not wanting to give up his toy – well it’s been going around.

  37. What makes me weep every time it comes back in mind, is not just Dem voters and blue regions of the USA rejoiced yesterday, but the whole world (with exceptions like Russia) rejoiced. The weep part? Even in the ICE internment camps, the incarcerated attempted to celebrate and rejoice the end of the worst abuse we white people have ever experienced in this country.

    We have so much work to do. So very much, and we can’t even begin to repair only the destructions he and his have wreaked. We still have nearly 400 years of racism to fight, and 400 years can’t be repaired even in 60 decades — ask the white activists on the confederate Eastern Shore of Maryland where Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman and their families were subjected to casual but intentional abuse, physical and emotional every time they were just in the physical presence of white person. Plus, you know, time and time and time again, when needed, African Americans have pulled it for the Dems, and then the Dems forget about them. A person doesn’t forget that kind of betrayal in even 50 years unless for at least a century it is seen that change of such treatment has become part of the system, a system for change.

    But, like another commentator posted above, I will not live to see it. In the meantime I’m not even sure I’ll survive this tsunami of covid. We did before, but there is so much more of it now, due to the deliberate choices shoggoth and his sorts have made.

    I still don’t understand if its genetic or something else, but why in a group at least 30% are rabid about the need to hurt and abuse and humiliate with immunity and impunity at least 2 or 3 OTHER groups. That’s what we’re up against.

  38. I think being a president for All Americans should *definitely* include things like trying to help all states rather than ignoring catastrophes in or inciting violence in the states which have leadership on the “opposite side” or which will reliably vote “against” you – disaster relief should not be a “who flatters me most effectively” thing but a basic “this is part of our job, no favors, no penalizing” part of the presidency.

    But in terms of unwarranted compromise and/or pardoning or not prosecuting serious crimes done by people who are proud of doing them: NOPE. It’s better for All Americans that our criminal justice system *work* and be as fully applied to the big-shots as to the “unimportant” people.

    (that said, I haven’t watched any of the speeches; I sincerely hope he hasn’t indicated anything about ignoring crimes or letting people get away with whatever they bully their way into.)

  39. I don’t think Trump is the virus that’s infecting American politics. I think Trump is merely the most egregious symptom of the virus infecting American politics. So… if Trump himself isn’t the virus, then what is?

    Could be all the RWNJ “news” “sources” (aka blatant lie-spewing machines) like FOX News, Breitbart, OAN, etc. which are the sole “sources” of “news” for far too many people (including Trump himself).

    Or it could be the innate racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, aporophobia, xenophobia and all the other -isms and -phobias afflicting those people (again, including Trump), such that they willingly and militantly poison themselves with those RWNJ “news” “sources” (and, of course, willingly vote for a putz like Trump) in the first place.

    Or it could be the fact that guys like Mitch McConnell are still in office, continually touted by the aforementioned “news” “sources” and continually elected and reelected by the aforementioned people brainwashed by those “news” “sources.” Because if asinine shitgibbons like McConnell hadn’t been there, cooler/smarter/less brazenly evil heads would have prevailed and Trump would have been impeached (and, more importantly, convicted and removed from office) years ago.

    Those things are all inextricably linked and they all feed on each other, though, so not sure what’s the source of the virus rather than just another symptom. In any case, those things have been problems for far longer than Trump has been a major player in politics (and for far longer than whatever shenanigans Russia has been getting into lately involving American politics, though that’s still a problem all its own, too), those things will remain problems long after Trump is out of the White House (and, hopefully sooner rather than later, rotting in a prison cell for the rest of his life), and those are the problems that must be dealt with and solved, somehow, if we’re to have any hope of properly repairing our country.

  40. I must disagree with something in the original post above.

    “It doesn’t appear that this particular election was notably plagued by voter fraud, any more than any other election ever is. There’s not an election fraud issue in the United States, it’s just the dog whistle that the GOP uses do it doesn’t have to explicitly say ‘we’re disenfranchising people who aren’t white.'”

    Under UN standards, organized voter suppression is “election fraud.” (Just ask any UN election observer who served in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.) So, unfortunately, we’ve got that problem, just like all of the “emerging democracies” in what Our Dear Leader referred to as “sh*thole countries.” The GOP has succeeded in distinguishing types of election fraud and making one of them smirkingly virtuous, that’s all.

  41. Anyone who voted for or who supports Trump in any way whatsoever is a despicable fascist. John, thanks for your articles on the election, they are really on point, I sometimes agree with on every item, like this.

    Shaun, if you think no election has ever been stolen in this nation, I would remind you of the facts that women were NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE for centuries, and BLACK PEOPLE ARE OBSTRUCTED IN THEIR EXERCISE OF THE VOTE still today. So Fuck your nativist nonsense. Elections were stolen for decades including in 2000, 2004, and 2016 — and they are still working on stealing this election.

  42. One thing to keep in mind about polls: they express intent, not action. As a result, they don’t account for people who dearly wish to vote, but then discover they can’t — because they can’t get to the polls in time, have had their ballots “misfiled” by the post office, are intimidated and scared away from the voting site by armed thugs, were explicilty removed from the rolls by corrupt election officials, etc etc. Exit polls tend to be more accurate simply because they express what actually happened in the booth. (Though, of course, some people lie. But they’d probably lie in pre-voting polls too.) And, like any statistical sampling method, there’s enormous uncertainty built into your selection of the sample.

    And this doesn’t even account for the likelihood that the electronic voting machines were hacked. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but several experts (including Cory Doctorow) have reported how easily the voting machines are to hack; a tweenager hacked one in about 10 minutes ( A professional campaign to compromise these machines would be easy: you hack the code at source (e.g., Diebold’s offices), to (say) switch every 10th Democrat vote to a Republican vote, then remove the hack after the voting so there’s no trace the machines were compromised. It’s not a coincidence that many of the big manufacturers are big-time Republican supporters ( Canada votes on paper, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that we do.

  43. When Obama took office, one of his first announcenents was “look forward, not back”, which was a cowards way of announcing his cowardly policy of not looking into all the war crimes and warratless wiretapping that W committed.

    Biden has a prosecutor as a vp known for overzealous prosecution of minorities. If these two dont put every fucking possible screw to the fraud and grift and bribes and lawbreaking that Trump has done for the last four years, then the Dems have really become the party of gutless wonders.

    Lock. Him. Up.

  44. With you on all of it, number six in particular.

    Privileged peace makers trying to gaslight or guilt trip Americans with actual skin in the game into “breaking bread” and/or singing Kumbaya with folks who voted and re-voted to either further disrupt or completely destroy their lives needs to have several seats, preferably in the nosebleed section where their tribalistic (I use this term because the vast majority of Kumbaya advocates seem to be white people looking out for or making excuses for other white people) virtue signaling can’t irritate anyone not as insolated or starry eyed as they are.

    Don’t tell me that the media is to blame for the divide or that I owe the benefit of the doubt to status anxious social dominance fetishists because “fellow Americans.”

    White supremacists Trumpists accosted my younger sister on the street because they had the pressing need to inform her that she was a “fucking nigger” and that “Trump 2020!” was going to be a reality.

    Nextdoor is peopled with Trumpists all over my and surrounding communities and, I don’t exaggerate when I say that Every. Single. Post. Reads. The. Exact. Same RE: BLM, illegal “aliens,” minority favored Socialism/Communism (cause only the blacks and Hispanics want free stuff rather than to work), “suspicious” people in the neighborhood and reverse racist SJWs who “name call “or “bully” (LOL!) racists when they make racist observations that are racist.

    Miss me with the ad populum arguments designed to silence criticism and/or ridicule of radicalized domestic terrorists who believe democrats to be cannibalistic, Satan worshipping, child raping lizard people.

    I’ll leave the reaching out, educating and persuading to folks who bear the markings of their tribe and can thus pass for “human” among their ranks.

    I don’t have the luxury of hoping that I’ve run across the one, ten, or 20 out of the 71 million Trumpists who don’t want me and mine reduced to a red mist.

    Hell, at this point, I can’t even afford to hope that the white guy next door isn’t a rabid Trumpist itching to take us to meet our ancestors.

    Peacemakers are walking past a standard that has and continues to cost lives in marginalized communities; I have no qualms what so ever about charging them with complicity in any negative consequences associated with their delusional little outreach program.

    You want to reintegrate these folks into society, bully for you, but don’t fix your lips to lecture Trumpists’ targets about unity, empathy or grace.

    Be they single issue voters Trumping it up for eugenics in exchange for anti-abortion laws or the descendants of land thieves crouching protectively over their ill-gotten gains, all 71, 000, 000 of them are a threat and a black eye on what this nation purports to be.

  45. Some people claim that out of respect to the office, Trump shouldn’t be charged even with the crimes it’s already proven he has committed. I’d argue that to honour the office, the exact opposite course of action is the correct one. It’s not the consequences that dishonour the office; it’s the crimes that do.

  46. I have watched enough movies and read enough books to know you never, ever show grace or reach out in solidarity to an opponent who hasn’t fucking conceded. That’s how you end up with a knife in your belly.

  47. With you, Saturday afternoon I felt 19 years younger and with tons less stress. That said, it is sad that so many of my fellow citizens happily vote for Mitch McConnell again. Amy McGrath was not the best candidate but she was easily better than Mitch. I fear McConnell may gum up the works for the next 2 years. I hope and pray in 2022 it’ll be @bookerforky

  48. An interesting dynamic: moments ago McConnell states there will be a new round of stimulus “by the end of the year,” which the lame duck Trump will have to sign for it to go out. I think due to the numbers you cited above, had the stimulus gone out 2 months ago, or a month, Trump would have won. I think McConnell wanted his Supreme Court Justice and got it, then continued to deny stimulus (by any means necessary) to help get rid of Trump’s second term. It could be the Republican Christian God works in mysterious ways or it could have been Kali or Loki, or it could have been Mitch remembering some verbal Oval Office insult one too many. And miraculously, as of today, an hour ago, the market is up 1600 pts on news of a viable Covid vaccine. I just think it’s weird as Hell that McConnell chooses now to announce that there will be stimulus by the end of the year…. just my 2 cents.

  49. It’s all very well to be gracious in victory, but I think there is a need to stand on Cemetery Ridge and yell “Fredericksburg!” at the backs of your defeated enemies. As a reminder. If TanTrump had won…well, I’m not sure that there would have been another free election in this country for a while.

  50. I am personally relieved. Big time!
    The underlying, nagging fight or flight response of four years has taken a toll.

    But the number of people I know (casually) that voted for Trump ( if they will admit it, which they do not to my face) would do so I think no matter what because they believe the R party stands for ‘moral values’, less wasteful tax spending, individual liberty, and anti-abortion policies to protect the innocent. Don’t get me started with how you can still support the death penalty, disenfranchising trans, gay, LBTQ people and attacking peaceful marchers while believing this. People are not Vulcans apparently.

    And as the saying goes “ even the devil can quote scripture.”. Now we know just what that looks like.

    My hope is that Biden can be the Corona Virus-19 slayer ( I live nextdoor to Canada, so I know what can be done), and convince these R folks he will be good for the economy, because income inequality and holding back whole segments of our multi cultural society is a rot from within.

    The disinformation of online media or Fox”news,” our human willingness to believe evil or saintiness of politicians, will always need a fact check.
    ( lets take a second to thank Mayor Pete for continuing to show up on Fox and Friends..dude! You rock).

    Look at the latest pettiness from the defeated incumbent team: the refusal of the signing of the release of funds to the Biden team for the transition to a new government, holding up 9 million dollars needed to get new department heads in place to run the government from the moment Biden becomes president….. because the Manager General says nothing is decided about the election yet. Wow. Arrrg.

    We need our Republican and Independant leaning citizens to get on board to make the government work or the Biden team will always be busy putting fingers in the dam wasting time and energy dealing with back and front stabbing lies.
    If Biden needs to charm them, fine.
    Nancy and Kamala can use the mallet when needed.

    PS…I am grimly pleased to see Bannon go down in flames. Well deserved.

    So here’s to a hopeful 2021…

  51. @ Sarah Marie:

    “You want to reintegrate these folks into society, bully for you, but don’t fix your lips to lecture Trumpists’ targets about unity, empathy or grace.”

    I remember that “hand across the aisle” nonsense working really well for Obama. Definitely worth trying again.

    I’m still not sure how to feel abut the whole election thing. The possibility of a Dominionist coup via the SCOTUS seems more remote by the day, but you can never put it past those scum to try. Either way, it’ll be one hell of a hangover until January.

  52. Colbert and others have posted some inspiring, touching Tolkien quotes over the last four years. Here’s one I think is appropriate now:

    “We shall have peace. We shall have peace, when you answer for the burning of the Westfold, and the children who lie dead there! We shall have peace, when the lives of the soldiers, whose bodies were hewn even as they lay dead against the gates of the Hornburg, are avenged! When you hang from a gibbet, for the sport of your own crows, we shall have peace!”

  53. I want to see conservative news outlets publishing soul-searching think pieces about why people voted for Biden, interviewing endless streams of Biden voters trying to understand why they voted that way, and what they can do to reach them next time.


  54. My joy in seeing Trump defeated is very much muted by the fact that we still have to contend with, one way or another, a man who is arguably a greater threat to American democracy than Trump ever was: Mitch McConnell.

  55. @Fatman:


    Anyone who wants to gamble with their mist are more than welcome to do so.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be over here with people I respect and can trust to work to make transformative change.

    Limiting my interactions with certain folks will become even more critical should the nightmare scenarios outlined in Will He Go and the Atlantic article (linked in the “In Case” thread) materialize.

    Bottom line, I do not trust them, Sam I Am, and I’m tired of agreeing to disagree.

    No violence, verbal or otherwise, just silence and avoidance unless absolutely necessary.

    Biden may not have this option, but I sure as hell do, at least, I’ve got more of one than he does.

    That said:

  56. Obviously the result here is just a massive relief. Yes, Biden is something of a compromise, and it was a whole lot closer than I would’ve preferred, and the lingering cancer of Trumpism is going to be here for a long time despite his loss in the polls. But we freaking beat him, and that should feel good. We damn well should be celebrating that.

    The speeches on Saturday were good, too. For one, it’s such a relief to hear a leader giving a speech that intends to actually lead and inspire instead of being a self-congratulatory ramble. Also, holy shit, Kamala. Whatever your valid concerns are with her or her record, seeing her on that stage Saturday night was a misty-eyed moment for all that it represents.

  57. Biden ought to reach across the aisle. He ought to reach out to selected Republicans and make them part of his cabinet. He can pick Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and others, yank them right out of their Senate seats and make them part of his Government.

    He can create new Departments they can be Secretary of. For example, Secretary of Dog Catcher Monitoring in Nome, Alaska, Secretary of Seabird Support at Ross Station, Antarctica, Secretary of Beach Sand Stewardship at Diego Garcia and many other pleasant jobs in pleasant locations.

    If they keep their positions, they’ll be kept safely irrelevant for the next 4 years. If they resign in disgust, they’ll be even more irrelevant. Win-win situation.

  58. Thank you for the smile, Jessica.

    The idea of those clowns being declawed and relegated to political obscurity warms my heart.

  59. @drunkenafficianado and @hugh57

    Yeah, Mitch McConnell is far more devious (and, frustratingly, smarter) than Donald Trump ever was. I mean, McConnell is, of course, just as blatantly, brazenly, hypocritically evil as Trump is, in his own way, but he’s far less bombastic, not as prone to ludicrous word salad. He’s been a player in politics for far longer than Trump, and if Kentucky constituents continue to be boneheaded, he’ll be around for far longer than Trump (at least assuming nothing serendipitoussad happens like him dying or something similar).

  60. I couldn’t agree more about your thoughts on reaching across the aisle. These people believe that lies, hypocrisy, double dealing, and accepting terrorists, thugs, and criminals as allies are all acceptable tactics as long as they result in ideological victory. They are the enemy of the American people and of democracy. Whatever they say, their goal is and has been to transfer wealth from the American people to the 1%. Under Trump, they’ve achieved everything on their agenda except the destruction of the ACA and Social Security. I’m not interested in listening to them until it’s our knee on their neck.

  61. I guess my biggest concern is how well the Republicans did down ballot. It means four years of proving themselves to be hollow, empty people without spine, principles, or grace wasn’t noticed by the rest of the people. They all had strong things to say against Trump when he was ‘an outsider’, but once he won they outright either disappeared or competed over who best could lick his shoe. If I saw the Democrats do that with an outsider businessman I’d be equally as appalled; I worry that someday soon I will see that happen too.

    To me it felt like a bad calculation. Trump won the 2016 electoral college with something like less than 700,000 votes in a few specific states and otherwise lost the popular vote. I feel like that’s not a great starting place to just turn over your decades of platform, principles, and party relationships for. However I understand the calculation wasn’t looking at Trump and looking at the voting numbers. It was looking at Trump’s base, and their willingness to burn you alive if you didn’t fall into place.

    So there were basically three options. Quit, shut up, or change. The first group are the only Republicans of decency in this world, but they’re out of power and will probably never come back. The second group are spineless cowards and can’t be trusted in the battlefield. The third group is the most reprehensible. Chances are they didn’t actually change, they were just relieved of the challenge of hiding who they really are.

    There is zero, not one trustworthy Republican left. That sucks, because that doesn’t make the Democrats the right party on every issue or really make them trustworthy. But it does preclude any standing Republican from being an option for the rest of my life. Speaking as a single voter, at least.

  62. I’m happy that Trump lost, but don’t see much cause for the present euphoria and hope for a better future.

    Only if both run-off races in Georgia go to Democrats and Mitch McConnel loses his say over the Senate agenda will there be any chance of Biden getting some moderate policy-proposals into law; otherwise Mitch will block everything the democrats try to do, as he did for 6 years for Obama.
    With Georgia’s proven track record of voter suppression, and the GOPs absolute panic over losing the Senate, with all the efforts they will pour into Georgia to try to stop that from happening, I’m not so sure the Democratic voters of Georgia will turn out in high enough numbers again in January to counteract all the Democratic voter suppression and massive GOP voter turnout efforts, and avoid those seats being taken by the Republicans.
    If that happens, Biden will lose even the first two year window of opportunity which Obama wasted on trying to create bipartisan support.

    I haven’t seen much about the results for the state houses, except a general sense that the Republicans have generally done well there.
    That means, in this census year, they get to design the voting districts for the next 10 years, in the majority of the states, again. They will maintain or increase the gerrymandering that gives them their present disproportionate hold on the Senate and in their state houses, making it very hard to get enough of a margin to get any meaningful changes to the present broken system through in the next 10 years, and setting up an ever-stronger imbalance.

    This is really worrying. I don’t see a good path forward, as long as this extreme polarisation keeps getting stronger, and people live in such completely separate information bubbles, and distrust objective information sources and don’t believe in facts and experts.
    If you don’t share the same facts about the world, it’s hard to have a reasonable discussion about practical policy objectives.

  63. There is one reason to reach across the aisle, giving something like general amnesty (not a pardon!) and seeking only to expose the truth:

    It’s gone relatively well in South Africa. And being able to compare these advocates of apartheid to those, when these think they’re getting a good deal, might be amusing.

    It’s probably not enough, mind you. But it’s worth some thought.

  64. Has Truth and Reconciliation worked in South Africa? SA has one of the highest murder rates in the world as well as an incredibly unequal society and a government this is both distrusted and often dysfunctional. Truth and Reconciliation processes do not seem to be harmful, but it does not seem to solve problems wrapped up in a race based class system.

  65. More than just donating to the Georgia Senate candidate campaigns, this is how people can really make a difference……

    (Link to a thread with a lot of good information, google docs, and a breakdown of organizations already on the ground in Georgia that can use donations and help — for example, Stacey Abrams has gotten people so well organized that during the large celebrations in the cities on Saturday, people with clipboards descended on the crowds making sure that everyone who would be eligible to vote in the runoff elections (say, turning 18 before then, or moving, or whatever) was registered to vote and requesting a vote by mail ballot (because they have to for each election).

  66. Shaun,

    In addition to Scalzi’s pithy response, many, many federal elections have been stolen in US history. Not at the presidential level (maybe), but federal? Hell, yes.

    During Reconstruction, many Black Representatives were elected in the South. After Union troops (who enforced ballot access) were removed, Southern states just went to town with the poll taxes, grandfather clauses, “literacy” tests, plain old terrorism, and every damn other thing they could think of. This is why we still occasionally get stories about Southern districts electing their first Black Representative in 140ish years. The passage of the Voting Rights Act helped redress those wrongs, but we seem to be chipping those protections away at a pretty scary clip.

    Now, I suppose one could claim that brutal suppression and manifestly unjust laws that nonetheless passed legal muster don’t count as stealing elections from the populace who were the targets of them. But…well, let’s say I would not agree.

    (Note, my focus on the South is certainly not to imply that voting in the North was free and fair and wonderful — just that the Southern states provide the clearest examples.)

  67. Well, while many are celebrating a victory for democracy, decency and common sense, I am still worrying. I really hope I am wrong, but …
    The margins of advantage to Biden over Trump in Wisconsin, Nevada and Pennsylvania are less than 1%, which makes it possible for the presumptive looser to ask for recounts, as Trump wants to happen and his Republican gofers are doing what is neessary already. And not only that: depending on where you ask (AP, Washington Post, The Guardian …) the percentage of votes still to be counted are several times larger than the positive difference between those for Biden and those for Trump. This might cease to be so, when 99% plus are counted. Until then I am holding my breath a lot. And, at the back of my head, I have this vision of the long-expected Blue Wave that didn’t show, and all that.

    Given the above: why is everybody assuming that Biden won and the nightmare is over and done with and the Sun is shining, illuminating with its full splendor our path to a better future?
    It strikes me as a bit premature. I expect several more weeks of uncertainty, while the big wheels and deep pockets in and behind the GOP get to work to see if they can undo their defeat and ruin ours.

    And about the NY State Attorney spoiling Trump’s day starting one minute after Biden is sworn in and Trump is, as I hope, out and gone from the White House (but not from our lives, he still can Twit!) Scalzi mentioned that it would be amusing if Trump resigns before the 20th of January and Pence takes his place. Well, if that happened, then Pence will almost certainly pull a Gerry Ford to his Nixon and pardon him cleaner than if he had poured over him the waters of an olympic swimming pool of baptismal water. So let’s hope we don’t get even close to that situation.

  68. Oscar: “And about the NY State Attorney spoiling Trump’s day …. Pence will almost certainly pull a Gerry Ford to his Nixon and pardon him”

    Pardons only apply to Federal charges. Not State.

  69. OscarC: If it will make you feel any better, at least short term, try this: the states you name have counted well over 90 percent of the vote, no matter which media source you are checking, and that means that there really aren’t enough ballots left to be counted in any one state to make much difference. There wouldn’t be enough unless all the leftover votes were 100 percent Trump, which is so unlikely as to be impossible–there would always be some Biden votes mixed in. That’s also true of any recounts, which rarely shift more than a few hundred votes in either direction. For example, in Wisconsin, Biden is leading by over 20,000 votes; in 2016, Trump was leading by about that much, and the recount netted him another 130 or so. Biden is leading Pennsylvania by about 45,000 votes; in 2016, Trump led by about the same amount and the recount was dismissed by the courts. (By the way, the Trump campaign tried its damndest to stop the recounts in both states, and only succeeded in Pennsylvania–I find that funny, now.) In Nevada, again, the Biden and Clinton leads were about the same (35,000 votes) and a partial recount netted . . . 3 votes for Trump. So.

    It’s one of the things that’s so annoying about the Trump lawsuits. Unless they are trying to get a complete do-over on the election somehow, none of the things they are claiming happened would change the vote totals enough for Trump to get a win. Hell, I think even Georgia is probably safe, though that one hasn’t been called yet. And if anyone had any evidence of widespread, systematic voter fraud, it would have started to come out by now.

    I don’t blame you for being twitchy. But there is a reason the Trump campaign is trying to stop the votes from being counted and to throw out as many of the ones already counted as they can; it’s the only impact they can have on the totals, and it isn’t going to be enough to change the results even if they succeed in everything they try (which they won’t, and some of the suits they are bringing are just flat-out illogical as well as unsupported by evidence). The thing is, he’s not doing this because he thinks he can win; he’s doing it to get some specious evidence to use to con his supporters (and probably himself) into believing that the election was “stolen” and to keep his political influence on the Republicans in general–and that’s looking like a winning play, damn it all to hell and back.

  70. I’m all for healing. I’m all for putting this behind us and moving forward. I’m all for agreeing that the past is the past and there’s a time to let go of it and acknowledge that people can change and judge them by their current behavior rather than something they said or did in the past.

    But here’s the thing.

    If you get a thorn in your hand, you can’t just sing kumbaya and declare that it’s time to heal. You have to take the thorn out, clean the wound, put bandages in place to protect it while it’s fragile, and be careful and vigilant while the healing is going on. You also need to be sensible and prudent – if your garden is full of thorn bushes, you can either remember to wear protective gloves or root out the plants with the thorns and plant new things in their place – and recognize that it takes time for them to grow.

    And if someone actually intentionally stabbed you with the thorn, proudly ran around saying how much they enjoyed stabbing you with it, are standing next to you with a thorn branch saying that they have every intention of doing it again, actively planting and fertilizing more thorn bushes in your yard or are actually pressing on the thorn in your hand keeping you from taking it out, any meaningful process of healing involves dealing with all of that first. Not because “you don’t believe in healing” but because stopping the actual cause of the wound and preventing it from happening again or in an ongoing way is the necessary first step.

    We can honestly and actively believe that healing is needed. But we have to be vigilant and aware and just as committed, and prepared to take a hard line and, if not kick someone away from the table, make it clear that they don’t get to play unless they demonstrate that they’re there in good faith prepared to act like adults or they’ll be sidelined. People who have already demonstrated that they’re bad faith actors don’t get the benefit of the doubt. They have to prove in some meaningful way that they’ve changed their approach. The people who misused their power when they had it don’t get to demand they still get to use it by having the people in power cede theirs to them.

  71. Re: polling inaccuracies. I think it was one of the Pod Save America guys who suggested a couple of days ago that maybe the underlying issue is that people who don’t respond to pollsters because they don’t trust government or the press are more likely to turn out for Trump.

    Note the direction of that correlation: there’s been a self-serving narrative all along about how Trump voters don’t answer polls (because “the MSM”), but this doesn’t really hold up because it would be possible for pollsters to correct for that. It’s a lot harder to correct the skew the other way.

    There is surely going to be a lot of ink spilled about this in the coming months because there’s a lot more riding on accurate public opinion polling than entertaining ourselves with hot takes about who will win the election.

  72. I think there is only one reason not to prosecute the *%&! out of Trump.

    He might decide to run again in 2024. Hear me out:

    He’d demand his place, and divide the Republican party, and have no chance of winning (I believe), but would inspire another huge outpouring of Democrats and Independents if he. happened to win the nomination. If he didn’t win the nomination (as I suspect he would not), this would dishearten enough of the Trump-worshiping GOP that they wouldn’t show up.

    Otherwise, I would like to see Federal as well as state charges against him and as many of his administration as we can manage. I think if we don’t make it clear that this crap is unacceptable, then the GOP will make it their default process. Hatch act violations and anything else they can find a good case for needs to be prosecuted all the damn way.

    Similarly, I’d like to see the Biden administration put into place rules that the Senate must vote on any nominee within a certain time period, or the nominee is confirmed by default. Similarly any appointee in an “Acting” position that requires confirmation must be put up for confirmation within a certain number of days or be booted from the position by default. I don’t know if we could come up with some way to make it a requirement for cabinet positions that an appointee be “qualified,” in the presence of a Senate that obviously doesn’t care. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  73. I’ve heard some conservatives complain online about how unforgiving the “woke” crowd is. (Their words, not mine.) But you know, I don’t recall any of those conservatives asking for forgiveness.

    What forgiveness have they requested that has been denied? Anyone? Anyone?

    Let’s not kid ourselves: They haven’t asked for forgiveness because they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. And If you don’t think you’ve done wrong, how can anyone forgive you?

    And even if by some miracle they were to ask for forgiveness–some will not forgive them. And that’s they’re right. Forgiveness isn’t automatic, and it isn’t owed you just because you request it. That’s the chance you take when you admit you’ve done wrong.

    Until you admit wrongdoing, however, I don’t think you get to lecture anyone about how unforgiving they are.

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