It’s been a depressing and concerning 24 hours in the presidential election. As of this writing, no clear winner has yet emerged, but the early optimism Democrats held for a blue wave has been dashed. The most optimistic scenario is for an extremely narrow Biden victory, marked by legal challenges from Trump in razor thin states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won Florida, Texas, and has a solid lead in North Carolina, and has leads in three of the other swing states thanks to (predicted) election day votes, with mail-in votes still in the early stages of being counted. One bright spot was Arizona, which Biden seemed to have flipped from Trump’s 2016 win. Another possible bright spot was Georgia, which was too close to call last night with some Atlanta votes yet to be counted. The NY Times gave Biden a slight edge in probability of winning Georgia. And in the wee hours of the morning, Biden pulled ahead in Wisconsin by 20k votes. To summarize, only a narrow path to victory remains for Joe Biden, who will need to win two of these four states: PA, GA, MI and WI, three of which he trails, but all of which have outstanding mail-in/absentee ballots. This is exactly the scenario that many observers predicted, where Trump takes an early lead in the rust belt due to election-day ballots and Biden’s tally creeps up as mail-in votes are slowly counted.
Not surprisingly, Trump held a late-night presser and claimed victory, saying he had won states that were still very much up in the air. His plan to try to disqualify mail-in votes in places like PA rests on sowing doubt about the legitimacy of votes counted after election day, which is absurd. The crucial point is that ALL votes must be counted, including absentee and mail-in ballots, and all voters must have their votes respected. To Trump, “stealing the election” equals counting all the votes. Disgraceful.
It also seems unlikely that the Democrats will win control of the Senate. They picked up two seats, in AZ and CO, but they need three if Biden wins or four if Biden loses, and that seems increasingly distant.
One bright spot, it seems that Antonio Delgado will likely retain his House seat. He leads with all precincts reporting, but mail in votes still need to be counted, which will probably not hurt his lead of close to 7,500 votes. Sadly, Sue Serino beat Karen Smythe to retain her State Senate seat, and it’s depressing to note that despite Joe Biden winning New York State by a wide margin, Dutchess County cast more votes for Trump than Biden.
We’ll learn a lot more about the presidential race during the course of the day. Joe Biden tweeted late last night, “Keep the faith, guys. We’re gonna win this.”