Three Election Day Scenarios
Here are three scenarios of how the November election is likely to shake out, ordered from the most optimistic, in my view, to the least optimistic.
1. Clean Biden win
November 10th, 2020:
Exactly one week after election day, all ballots have been counted and the results have been formally certified by state legislatures. Former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States come January 20th. With the mail in ballots counted the popular vote appears to favor Biden by six points, exceeding both Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s winning popular vote margins in 2016 and 2012, respectively. Whether the result will be taken as a repudiation of Trumpism and the Republican party as a whole remains to be seen, with Democrats maintaining their hold on the House and nearly running the table on battleground Senate seats. As expected, the Democrats fell short in Alabama, with Senator Jones losing his race by about 25 points, comparable to Trump’s margin in the state. However, the party more than made up for it by picking up seats in Maine, Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, and even Georgia, all by fairly comfortable margins. For all the hand-wringing among liberals over closed polling sites and difficulty voting by mail, voter turnout was higher in 2020 than it was in 2016 and 2012.
President Trump was hesitant to concede at first, tweeting Friday of last week “Sleepy Joe DID NOT beat me-Wait for mail in-ballots in Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida!!” But with Biden’s margin becoming apparent over the weekend, President Trump was noticeably quiet. He has as of publication not formally conceded, but did acknowledge yesterday through a phone call to Sean Hannity’s show that he would not go on to serve another term, and would likely spend the remainder of his life enjoying retirement at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
President-elect Biden had this to say: “I want to thank all of you. We are going to build back better, and we are going to do it as one country. No matter what walk of life you’re from, no matter what you do for a living, or when you got here, know that you are heard. No malarkey. Over the next four years, we are going to work together to restore the soul of this nation.”
2. Chaotic Biden win
November 17th, 2020:
Almost two weeks after election day, all ballots have been counted and the results are expected to be formally certified by state legislatures over the course of the next few days. Former Vice President Joe Biden will, by all indications, be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States come January 20th. With the mail in ballots counted the popular vote appears to favor Biden by four points, approximately matching Barack Obama’s winning popular vote margins 2012. The results indicate continuation of the shifts of whiter, rural areas moving into the Republican camp and of diverse, educated metropolitan areas growing more Democratic. Biden’s winning margins in the crucial midwestern states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were lower than Obama’s in 2012, despite Biden’s winning nationally by the same amount. Biden won Michigan by four points, Pennsylvania by 3, and Wisconsin by only two. He also became the first presidential candidate since Kennedy to win the presidency without Ohio. However, he became the first Democrat since Bill Clinton to carry Arizona, winning by a surprisingly large margin in Phoenix’s historically conservative Maricopa County, and came within three and five points of winning Georgia and Texas, respectively.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden appears have a lot of work to do uniting the country. “I campaigned on restoring the soul of this nation, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. We are going to heal together” he said once informed of the news that he had won the popular vote in the states he needed to secure an electoral college victory. Clashes between pro-Trump and liberal groups escalated this past weekend in cities across the country, with one Ann Arbor activist recovering from serious injuries. Despite his apparent loss, President Trump has made no efforts to assist his apparent successor. “I knew mail in voting would be RIGGED- Greatest economy ever, until Democrat SCAM stole this from me! Maybe I shouldn’t leave??” he tweeted Monday morning, alongside a video of a supporter burning an N-95 mask and waving a confederate flag at Black Lives Matter protestors.
With a Republican hold on the Senate for the foreseeable future-barring an upset Democratic victory in the Georgia special election runoff between Senator Loeffler and Reverend Warnock-it is unclear how much Biden will be able to get done as President. Democrats appear to have picked up two seats-winning Colorado, Maine, and Arizona while losing Alabama-in the Senate, but not enough to unseat McConnell as majority leader. McConnell signaled willingness to work with Biden on an array of issues, but made clear he would not “give in to any sort of radical left agenda”.
COVID deaths are beginning to slow, as Biden ponders a nation-wide mask mandate. The stock market appears to have responded well to the news of the upcoming Biden presidency, increasing nearly to the levels it hit this summer before falling in September. Foreign leaders appeared optimistic, congratulating the former Vice President. Whether he can fully establish America, ravaged by the coronavirus and beset by political turmoil and civil unrest, as a world leader once more remains to be seen.
3. Chaotic Trump win
December 1st, 2020:
Nearly a month after polls closed on election day, accepted mail-in ballots appear to have all been counted and state legislatures are expected to formally certify the election results over the course of the next few days. President Trump appears to have been re-elected, against the predictions of many. The electoral margin appears to be the closest in US history, with Biden flipping both Michigan and Pennsylvania into the Democratic camp and leaving Trump with only a two-electoral vote margin of victory. Biden appears by all accounts to have won the popular vote, perhaps by as much as 5 million. “Great victory, soon-to-be great again economy, very proud. Thank you!!!” the President tweeted this morning, upon learning that he was the apparent election winner. This tweet was followed shortly by another, harsher one directed at protestors who had taken to the streets after the president’s apparent victory: “More looting = MORE SHOOTING! Don’t fight! We can be GREAT again together!!!”.
The Democratic Party and liberal groups such as the ACLU are expected to file lawsuits regarding the over six million mail-in ballots rejected by various state governments for late arrival. Among these tossed ballots are some 100,000 rejected Wisconsin ballots, mainly out of Dane and Milwaukee counties and representing over 11 times the President’s victory margin in the crucial midwestern state. The former Vice President has yet to concede, and his camp has not been reached for comment.