American Hangover (Day One)

9:40 am Pacific Time Wednesday

One correction: the Arizona vote is only 86% counted. Wasn’t my mistake, but that of Edison Research, which incorrectly reported the vote total. With more of the vote outstanding, the element of uncertainty about the ultimate result has increased.

7:20 am Pacific Time, the morning after Election Day

I slept quite soundly last night, thank you. Based on this blog you might believe I live and breathe politics, but the truth is I’d very much rather not. I’ve been forced to think about it by the menacing absurdity of the last four years.

The first thing I did after waking up was go to the New York Times home page. Biden leads the Electoral College 227–213.

Arizona is over 98% counted and Biden leads by 3.4%, so he’s likely to get those 11 electoral votes.

Nevada, with six electoral votes, is only 86% counted and Biden’s lead is just .6%, but the remaining ballots should favor Biden.

Georgia and North Carolina are over 90% counted and are still showing a lead for Trump.

Now, to the Big Three, the states I’ve been laser-focused on for nearly two years.

Biden has pulled ahead in Wisconsin. He now leads by .7% with 97% of the ballots counted and the remaining votes consisting mainly of mail-ins, which are likely to favor him. The count has been delayed in Green Bay because one of the tabulating machines ran out of ink.

Michigan is only 90% counted and is a virtual dead heat, with Biden leading by .2%. The remaining ballots are mail-ins, many from Wayne County (Detroit), and are expected to heavily favor Biden. We should have something close to a final count this evening.

And, finally, Pennsylvania. It’s only 76% counted, with Trump still in the lead. But according to Nate Cohn, the Times’s counterpart to Nate Silver, the uncounted ballots should overwhelmingly favor Biden, and once they’re added Biden should have a majority. Sensing this, Trump’s lawyers have filed a battery of lawsuits, some of which may be heard today.

If Biden gets Arizona and Nevada, that takes him to 244 electoral votes. If he builds on his narrow leads in Wisconsin and Michigan, which seems likely, that’s an additional 26 electoral votes.

Meaning 270, the magic number. Biden wins — even without Pennsylvania.

So there’s a possibility the election will be decided this evening, although of course Trump will not concede. Apparently during the incoherent ramble I missed last night he declared victory and announced he would ask the Supreme Court to stop the vote count — on what basis I can’t fathom. I suppose he thinks “because I’m winning before the game is over” is a legal basis for declaring game over.

So again, there’s a considerable element of uncertainty remaining. But a close Biden victory looks likely, as does a bitter legal battle over several fronts and, presuming Biden wins them, months and maybe years — until he dies, likely — of Trump insisting he actually won, stoking the grievances of his half of the electorate and perpetuating this ugly chapter of American politics well into the 2020s.


Former Risk Manager at UC Berkeley, author of four books, ectomorphic introvert.