Election 2020: Relax, Take A Deep Breath, We're Doing Just Fine

           It’s been a wild, rollercoaster of a day for election watchers, I presume. I got off easy. I had a difficult labor arbitration hearing via Zoom. Hence, a good night’s sleep and an excuse to ignore the news.

            Here’s what I gather from a quick scan of the papers.

            Much like 2016, Trump lost the popular vote by at least 3 million people. Unlike 2016, it appears the Democrats will win the electoral college, once mail-in ballots are counted. My prediction is that Biden wins the election. The vote won’t be final until every ballot is counted.

            When and how to count ballots is a matter of state law. I suspect the GOP will challenge the integrity of the vote in states they appeared to have won on election day, only to lose days later. Those challenges will take weeks to sort themselves out.

            The Electoral College apparently votes on December 15. Expect the smell of Hellish sulphur in courthouses across the land from now until then. But expect one winner to be selected by the Electoral College in December.

            I’m prepared to accept Joseph Biden as my president even if he wasn’t, and isn’t, my choice. I have misgivings about where he and Kamala Harris want to go. But, as Republicans said after the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as a Justice on the Supreme Court last month, elections have consequences.

            The air is filled with conspiracy talk today. Be careful. There’s enough nuttiness in the land just now to make U.S.A. sound like United Sanitarium of America. I just don’t buy claims that a cabal of malefactors stole this election any more than I do that the right somehow ripped off Hillary Clinton in 2016.

            Our institutions are imperfect, but serviceable. Don’t let anger and disappointment be the enemy of the good.

            Here’s my hunch:

            One or more of the state electoral disputes will find their way to the United States Supreme Court in a red-hot minute.

            That Court will not side with President Trump on partisan lines. Such a view demeans the dignity of the Court and the majesty of the rule of law.

            What’s likely to occur is that irony will govern. The party of states rights will be shut out by a Court that defers to state rules and procedures. The Court will not want a repeat of the calamitous decision in Bush v. Gore. That mess cost the Court preciously credibility and moral authority: absent an army, that’s the only power the Court has.

            My hunch is that the Supreme Court will avoid taking a decisive role in the election controversies. There’s no upside for the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts is a pragmatist. He knows that avoiding being perceived as a partisan institution could well stave off any Court-packing plans Democrats might be tempted to try. (Although, if my information is correct on this too hasty Wednesday, the Republicans did not lose control of the Senate.)

            Throughout the past four years I’ve had to reassure liberal-leaning friends that the country was not on the verge of collapse. Our institutions are strong, I’d tell them. I believed it then, and I believe it now.

            President Trump has every right to seek legal redress for his grievances in the courts. That’s the right of every American. He should confine his proof to the rigors of courtroom procedure. Much though Twitter was his platform of choice when he had an indisputable right to the presidency, he may soon lack such a claim.

            Stirring passions and anger will tweets about vast conspiracies is playing with fire.

            A blue wave did not sink the country last night, but it may well have cost the Republican Party the White House.

            Pick up your beds and walk, folks. The election was a squeaker suggesting the nation’s soul and vision of itself are still up for grabs. Let’s not waste precious energy looking for pearls on the lunatic fringe.

            To think, we’re only four years from doing this all over again.

            That time will pass in the twinkling of an eye.


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