As I ponder our divided country, I find great encouragement in Abraham Lincoln’s words at the end of the Civil War, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God fives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
As I write this blog, the election has not yet been called. According to most news organizations, Donald Trump has won 214 electors (and if you include North Carolina and Alaska, this rises to 232) whereas Joe Biden has garnered 253 electors (Fox News has called Arizona in Biden´s favor, raising the number of his electors to 264. Other networks have not yet called this race). Georgia, where Biden is leading by a very slim margin, is headed for a recount. So, it comes down to Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada where Biden is leading and will probably win. Therefore, unless there are some lawsuits that dramatically change the current trends, Joe Biden will become our next president with 50.5% of the national vote and more than the necessary 270 electors in the Electoral College.
What do we know?
- The control of the Senate is still up in the air. Georgia requires that to win, a Senate candidate must obtain 50% of the vote plus 1. In both Senate races, no candidate won the necessary majority of votes. Therefore, there will be two run off elections in early January. If Democrats were to win both races (a big IF), the Democrats would have control of the Senate.
- In the House of Representatives elections, the Republicans made significant gains and picked up seats. Not all of the House races have been called, but the Democrats will have a smaller majority than they have enjoyed for the last two years. Nancy Pelosi will probably continue as the leader of the House.
- President Trump and his lawyers are challenging the results in some of the states. Although the president has the right to raise the challenges, most of them have not been deemed valid by the respective courts. Some of the states, like Georgia, will have recounts, but these are unlikely to overturn the current tentative results.
- This election shows the power of women…as voters and as candidates. Twelve of the Republican gains in the House were won by women candidates. Biden’s presidency was largely due to the votes of women in the cities and in the suburbs.
What should we do?
- We should all express our gratitude to the election workers (Republicans, Democrats, and independents) who tirelessly have verified the ballots, sorted them, run them through the counting machines, uploaded the results and/or have been observers to guarantee the fairness and accuracy of the election process.
- If Biden ends up winning, Democrats should not gloat nor take revenge. They should be gracious and seek ways to obtain bi-partisan solutions to our difficult challenges. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, Biden and Senator McConnell will have to work together on the approval of Cabinet members, the pandemic relief bill and other important legislation.
- If Trump loses, he should be gracious in defeat. He should make a conciliatory concession speech and aid in the transition. It is important that Republican leaders encourage him to acknowledge the results.
Some of the topics I will address in upcoming blogs are:
- Necessary changes in the Electoral College
- Why Republicans lost the presidency but won many Congressional races
- The increasing significance and changing nature of the Latino vote
- The future of the Republican party, with or without Trump
- Significant steps to unite our divided country
- Why the pre-election polls were partially right, but also wrong on important races