The election finally came to a conclusion on Saturday morning, and Vice President Joe Biden became President-Elect Joe Biden. As soon as Biden cleared a .5% margin in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press called the election for him, and other decision desks soon followed. Some other states remain too close to call: as of Saturday evening, not all desks have ruled out the possibility of a Trump win in Nevada or a Biden win in North Carolina, and Georgia and Wisconsin are both all but certain to head to recounts. But Biden didn’t need those states to win the presidency, and several news outlets have thoroughly fact-checked the President’s claims of rampant election fraud, finding little to back them up.
But that doesn’t mean that we all feel like we have closure on this election. What looked like it might be an extremely close electoral college tally has now widened, and Biden appears set to carry 306 votes, well above the requisite 270. Ballot-counting took days in many states, and remains well underway in North Carolina and Alaska, where ballots still have several days to arrive at their precincts. Pre-election polls appeared to be deeply erroneous in several key states and races: Texas and Ohio, for instance, were believed to be deeply competitive according to highly regarded pollsters, but ended up favoring Trump by six and eight points, respectively; Senator Susan Collins of Maine seemed to be the underdog in her reelection bid, but ran nearly seven points ahead of President Trump and cruised to victory. Polls had predicted a healthy victory for Democrats in both chambers of Congress; instead, Republicans have gained at least five House seats, and limited their net losses in the Senate to one seat.
Democrats look forward to two runoff Senate elections in Georgia, where Ebenezer Baptist Church Pastor Raphael Warnock will face off against Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, and David Perdue will defend his seat against another Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff. Democrats must win both races to create a Senate majority and a unified Democratic federal government. Republicans, for their part, appear to have also made large gains in state-level elections, which will be crucial in the battles over congressional redistricting following this year’s census. Of the 36 states where redistricting is done by state legislatures, Republicans will have unified control of 24. Key wins for Republicans came in New Hampshire, where they flipped both houses of the state legislature back into GOP hands, and in Texas, North Carolina, and Florida, where Democrats were expected to make gains.
Additionally, conversation in prominent media outlets shifted to possible explanations for Biden’s underperformance among voters of color in Southern Florida, Southern Texas, and several other states in which he has nonetheless been declared the winner. Exchanges between high-profile members of the Democratic party and media commentators have also centered on the value of Never Trump Republicans’ efforts to defeat the incumbent president through PACs like the Lincoln Project. Finally, some have wondered out loud about whether other progressives, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), may have been able to capitalize on current political circumstances better than Biden, perhaps providing longer coattails for defeated Democratic candidates on the congressional and state levels.
Because there’s so much to discuss, and because no single debate resolution could encapsulate all the reflections we know you have as this week draws to a close, Political Union has chosen to host a series of shorter debates on resolutions relating to the Biden campaign’s strategy, the usefulness of polling, and other subjects. We hope you’ll bring your knee-jerk reactions, your thoughtful analysis, and your hottest takes about what happened in this week’s elections, and where it seems we’re headed from here. Please RSVP to our Facebook event--we hope to see you at 7pm CST on Monday evening!
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