Written by Joey Slusher
Tuesday November 3rd marked the culmination of a long-fought campaign by incumbent, President Donald Trump and the challenger, the former Vice President Joe Biden. No matter the winner, this election makes history as around 100 million Americans voted prior to the election by either a mail-in-ballot or by voting early in person due to a shift in a number of state policies caused by the ongoing pandemic.
This point was quickly politicized, in particular by the President and his campaign. President Trump has insinuated that mail in ballots are more open to fraud for a number of reasons, and that the other side would flood states with fake ballots voting for his opponent. The night of the election, the President claimed that he was likely to win and in reality had already won, until the mail-in and early votes started being counted most of which were requested by Democrats, as Republicans appear to have preferred to vote in person on the day of the election. President Trump then went on to say that his team would go to court to stop the count of mail-in votes that had come in on election day.
While that strategy is unlikely to succeed, the President and his opponent still both have a path to the White House. President Trump saw a lead in a number of states through the night that had been projected to go to Vice President Biden prior to the election. This phenomenon was named the “red mirage” which made it appear that the states went to the President because states had not begun to count absentee and early votes therefore giving the illusion of a strong Republican victory in the state. Most prominently this was the case in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Michigan and Wisconsin have both had Vice President Biden trailing until this morning as absentee and early votes began to be counted. By margins of only a few thousand votes Biden has pulled ahead in both states, as they both reach close to 100 percent of the votes counted.
Pennsylvania on the other hand, has been slow going with the counting process. The state prior to this election had strict restrictions on the use of an absentee ballot, and the state was not allowed to begin counting ballots until the morning of election day. The state is also allowed to receive ballots postmarked by election day, until the 6th. As of this afternoon President Trump leads in PA by around 500,000 votes, but as of right now there are about 1.4 million early and mail-in ballots still outstanding which based on the amount of requests, are likely to favor the Democrats and Vice President Biden.
While it appears Vice President Biden’s path to the White House seems to be diversifying as he moves ahead in the upper Midwest and the South west. President Trump on the other hand is seeing only one way into his second term. First, he would need to win Pennsylvania once again, as a state it has never been firmly “Trump country”, as in 2016 he only won by about 44,000 votes. He would also need to win North Carolina and Georgia which are also teetering between the two candidates with President Trump leading each state by 70,000 and 100,000 respectively. Even with all these states won he would need to take one midwestern state or Nevada or Arizona all of which Vice President Biden holds the lead in.
While President Trump is seeing his path tighten, his party appears to have a strong chance to maintain control over the Senate. The Democrats needed to flip four Republican seats or win the Presidency thereby having Kamala Harris as a tiebreaker in the senate and needing to only flip 3 seats. So far, the Democrats have only flipped 2 seats in Colorado and Arizona, but the Republicans flipped Alabama. Now, the Democrats would need to flip one or more of the races in Maine, North Carolina, or Georgia to gain a majority with the Vice Presidential tie breaking vote.
The reality this afternoon is that while the election may be over, the counting of the votes, and the political games that will follow are nowhere near done. The stakes of this election are high and its results will affect millions. This is a stressful period for all of us, so remember to take of yourself, and take comfort in the fact that as of this moment our democracy is working as it should.