Blue Wave Crashes
It'll be days before we know the final 2020 results but a resounding repudiation is unlikely.
Yesterday morning, we were told that the Associated Press was the news outlet to pay closest attention to for election results, because they had reporters down at the district level, worked closely with election officials, and did not call states prematurely because of ratings pressures. Here’s where they are as of 6am:
President Trump has already, as many of us feared, prematurely claimed victory. Joe Biden is actually likely to win, given that the outstanding votes are in heavily-Democratic urban areas and the early voting that Trump conditioned his supporters to think was fraudulent.
Still, the blue wave that some of us predicted did not materialize. While there was still some hope for it when I turned in five hours ago, the AP has now called Florida and Texas for Trump. Moreover, it’s looking like his party will hold on to the Senate.
Thus, 12 hours after the polls closed on most of the East Coast, the election looks much like it did a year ago. As the AP headline has it, the “Presidency hinges on tight races in battleground states.” When does it not?
The fate of the United States presidency hung in the balance Wednesday morning, as President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden battled for three familiar battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — that could prove crucial in determining who wins the White House.
A late burst of votes in Wisconsin from Milwaukee gave Biden a small lead, but it was too early to call the race. Hundreds of thousands of votes were also outstanding in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
As with the CNN telecast last evening, I don’t like how this is being framed. There was no “late burst of votes in Wisconsin” nor are “hundreds of thousands of votes outstanding.” The votes were cast on time. It’s the counting of them that’s happening disproportionately more slowly in heavily populated areas. Reporting it this way plays into Trump’s hands.
The two candidates, who have proposed dramatically different visions for the nation, split territory across the U.S. after polls closed Tuesday night. With neither candidate securing the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, Biden urged patience and vowed that every vote would be counted.
But Trump, in an extraordinary move from the White House, called for outstanding ballots not to be counted.
Trump made premature claims of victories in several key states and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting. It was unclear exactly what legal action he might try to pursue.
Vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end. In presidential elections, a key point is the date in December when presidential electors met. That’s set by federal law.
All of the reputable outlets seem to be following the same path: declaring Trump’s declaration false. While Fox News has been more subdued on that front, it’s worth noting that they have the same electoral vote tally as the AP and were the first of the major outlets to call Arizona for Biden. Indeed, their headline is quite banal: “No clear winner in presidential race as vote counting continues, election hangs in balance.”And their coverage of the claim is perfectly reasonable:
Trump declared victory in multiple key battleground states early Wednesday, even though it remained unclear who had the votes to win and hinted the White House would push the Supreme Court to rule over disputed ballots.
“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Trump said.
The president was immediately contradicted by Vice President Mike Pence, who did not declare victory but rather said, “I really believe with all my heart … that we are on the road to victory and we will make America great again, again.”
Interestingly, OANN—a site which I’ve never visited before this morning—has essentially no coverage thus far. All of their election coverage is from before polls closed and the only new news I’m seeing is hyped up coverage of a minor riot in DC last night.
While a lot of states are shaded pink this morning, many of them are likely to end blue given where the uncounted votes are concentrated. Further, it’s worth noting that the only state thus far to flip from the 2016 totals is Arizona, which went into Biden’s column.