After four years of Trump, it’s easy to be numb and say it’s just a tweet, or it’s just another over-the-top statement. But that is not the case here. What Trump is doing tonight is directly discounting millions of votes that were legally cast over the last month.
This will be a test for the country. I have no doubt our nation can wait until a few days until all the votes are counted. I also have no doubt the President will do whatever he can both using his platform and a legion of lawyers to stop the legally cast ballots from being counted.
The worst case scenario discussed over the last few months may have just had its short fuse lit by President Trump. This will be a very difficult week for our country and our Democracy — and the ultimate outcome is impossible to predict.
Joe Lockhart is a CNN political analyst. He was the White House press secretary from 1998-2000 in President Bill Clinton’s administration. He co-hosts the podcast “Words Matter.”
Sarah Isgur: What we know so far
Two takeaways so far:
First, the old Republican party of limited government and fiscal discipline is officially dead. There was no repudiation of Donald Trump — neither his character nor his policies — tonight. In fact, one of the biggest takeaways is that, but for the pandemic, it seems very likely that Trump would have been easily reelected with a pre-March economy.
Shan Wu: Trump could cause legal havoc with election
President Trump just declared war on the 2020 Presidential election in his 2 a.m. press conference. With major battle ground states still counting votes, Trump claimed that he had already won the election and promised to be sending lawyers to ask the United States Supreme Court to intervene.
Legally, there is no mechanism for Trump to go directly to the Supreme Court. His lawyers need to first go through a trial court, then appeal to a court of appeal if they lose and then get the Supreme Court to take the “case.” What exactly would be the case? Hard to say, but it would come in the form of some kind of injunction directed at states where Trump is ahead but early voting and absentee ballots are still being counted. Could this legal strategy succeed?
Trump does not need to succeed on a national basis — he must only succeed in the number of states he needs to maintain his margin as of the end of November 3. And he has one secret weapon yet to deploy. That weapon is Attorney General Bill Barr who has been notably silent in the run-up to the election.
It would be unprecedented for the US Department of Justice to seek to intervene in an election. But let’s remember this is the same Department of Justice that Barr ordered to intervene in a state defamation case by arguing that the President’s denial of an alleged rape was part of his official duties. With this kind of federal judiciary and this kind of attorney general, it just isn’t possible to predict the legal havoc that Trump may wreak.
Van Jones: Democrats lost a moral victory on Election Night
I think a lot of Democrats are hurting tonight.
There’s the moral victory, and there’s the political victory. They are not the same. The Democratic political victory might still come. But I believe people wanted a moral victory tonight.
The political victory is still possible. We still have to wait on final results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona.
But I have to be honest — there were people hoping for a big repudiation in this election and that has not yet come. And because of that, a lot of people are hurt and scared tonight in the Democratic Party.
Van Jones, a CNN host, is the CEO of the REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice organization.
Roxanne Jones: Cori Bush’s historic victory is more than a win for Black Americans
Bush’s message of social justice resonated beyond Missouri.
For me, Bush’s historic win is much more than a win for Black Americans. It is a win for the America that I want to see.
Julian E. Zelizer: It’s close, and not a decisive verdict
It’s clear that this is a close election. All eyes are turned back to the same states that mattered so much in 2016—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and a handful of other competitive battlegrounds. In other states it might take many hours, if not days, before everything is counted.
Some Democrats were hoping for an Election Night that ended early. There was speculation in the air that big game-changers could be on the table, like Georgia (which is not yet decided), and Texas–which ended up going to Trump
But as the evening progressed, Biden’s lead in some states started to narrow. Trump gradually moved ahead in Florida, and soon took the delegate-rich Sunshine State off the table for Democrats. In other states, where Biden’s early numbers were good, such as Ohio and North Carolina, the lead also narrowed. He lost Ohio.
This is what allows a president who has been as unpopular and divisive as President Donald Trump to still retain a path to victory as the night progresses. It is also the reason that whoever wins, he will enter into an incredibly rough political terrain, since a sizable part of the electorate won’t be on board with the new administration.
It is still too early to know where the election will end up. But we can see–as we saw in 2016–that we live in a nation where the divisions are so immense that even a president as controversial as our current commander in chief doesn’t transform the map as dramatically as we might think.
Chris King: Democrats face a serious problem in South Florida
Tonight, President Donald Trump won Florida. At this point, the presidential race has yet to be decided and the results will ultimately hinge on a handful of battleground states. But for progressive Floridians like myself who have spent the evening making calls to wonderful candidates from Miami to Tampa to Central Florida who lost tough races, we cannot shy away from the facts in front of us.
Democrats vastly underperformed in Florida, and we have a real problem to fix.
It’s clear that Trump brings out big crowds in rural areas and runs up significant margins in Florida’s panhandle. What poses an existential threat to the Democratic party is South Florida — particularly Miami-Dade County — where Biden lost significant ground compared with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who won the county with a 30-point lead over Trump in 2016.
James Moore: Why Texas was still out of reach for Dems
Democrats remain aspirational. Time and demographics look good for them. One out of every five voters in this election were newly registered, yet Republicans still maintain a historical advantage. While the race was, at a minimum, competitive, competing is a poor substitution for winning. And waiting.
Issac Bailey: By re-electing Lindsey Graham, South Carolina voters gave politicians a license to lie
Then in September of this election year, and less than a day after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Graham tweeted, “I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
And just over a week ago, Graham–the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee–pushed through a vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, as millions of voters around the country were casting their ballots in the 2020 election, a complete about-face from his stance just four years ago.
Voters have given politicians like Graham the greenlight to spit upon us whenever the mood strikes, whenever their thirst for power becomes their priority. No matter what else happens during this election cycle, that will long be a blight on a state supposedly on the buckle of the Bible Belt — one thatonce believed character mattered for those chosen to represent us.
Apparently, those were empty words. It wasn’t a principle, just a politically-convenient position to use against hated opponents. Graham lied to our face on an issue that has sparked a crisis in our judiciary system. And not enough of us cared. Shame on us.
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