Premature Inauguration

About last night… After what felt like a few hundred hours of watching election results trickle in, I assumed the fetal postion on my couch and moan-cried for about thirty minutes. It was a combination of things. Part of it was personal: I just spend so much time thinking, writing, tweeting, and distracting myself with this all-encompassing political story that I may have been momentarily overwhelmed. Maybe I was just considering how much dough I spent on various races around the country (I don’t want to overstate how invested I am in this election, but I think ActBlue just repossessed my car). The bigger part was less personal: Trump has been basically the same guy since he’s been president, and knowing this, tens of millions of Americans still voted for him. On some level, we are broken. I get the national divide and I frankly agree with many of the complaints coming from rural America. I understand some of the anger, but I’ve never understood expressing that anger through Trump. And watching him go full authoritarian as the votes were still being counted made me especially sad for my parents who had to watch the rise of a strongman during the buildup to WWII in Poland and Germany when they were kids, and who now have to watch half of America embrace a guy who deploys the same political tactics. But then I stopped crying. Partly because no one owns this lib! Partly because I realized that among the challenges my parents have faced, nothing about this election ranks in the top thousand. And partly because, regardless of the premature self-coronation of the mad king, in America, no election is over until every last Retweet is counted. And while there are very fine people on both sides, I have a feeling Biden’s side is going to have enough electoral votes to win. But it’s gonna be damn close. If my math is right, Biden got more votes than any candidate in history and Trump got more votes than he did in 2016. Stress and confusion in 2020. Who saw that coming? And one can safely assume, there’s much more to come between now and the end of this election season. (One irony of presidential elections is that each one takes four years off my life.)

+ Without a definitive winner, the biggest news of election night was an American president lying about a victory and calling for vote-counting to stop. Equally big news was that such a despicable banana republic attack on democracy wasn’t really that big of a news item. “If one of the New York Mets persistently declared victory in the top of the fourth inning, he’d be medicated and hospitalized. That this is bottom-of-the-fold news when Trump does it is where we are now.” Dahlia Lithwick: The Election Is Too Close to Ignore Trump’s Claim That He Won. And from Susan Glasser in The New Yorker: “There is, no doubt, a tactical aspect to Trump’s rhetoric—he is trying to position himself for court fights, to intimidate local officials, and to create confusion that he can exploit. And he may have been confused himself; he has such a habit of lobbing accusations and encouraging divisions that he may not know how else to react.” The New Yorker: Trump’s Brief Speech from the White House Made America’s Troubles Worse. (That said, it’s high time we realize that for millions of our fellow Americans, this chaos in no trouble at all.)

+ The latest on the race to the White House from NYT, WaPo, and CNN. And the latest news as I’m typing is that Biden won Wisconsin and Trump is demanding a recount. So here’s ProPublica’s Guide to 2020 Election Laws and Lawsuits.

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