Finally, we’re here. After four agonizing years of the Trump Show — complete with boundless wing-nuttery from the White House and nonstop, migraine-inducing mass media tantrums — it all ends, we hope, tonight. In life, as in cult sci-fi/adventure thrillers starring Geneva’s own Christopher Lambert, winner takes all:
Unfortunately, there are good reasons to doubt we’ll see anyone’s head fully lopped off this evening. The enormous number of mail-in votes, coupled with a slate of conflicting state rules about when such votes are counted — added to a high likelihood of unpredictable logistical difficulties associated with the pandemic — make a delayed conclusion to the Trump-Biden electoral contest very possible.
Usually, high in-person turnout favors Democrats. This year, because so many Democrats voted early (and Republicans have been warned away from mail ballots), the situation will likely be reversed. This means we could very well have early results that look confusing, maybe even like a wipeout for Trump, when what we’re actually seeing is just in-person votes being counted faster than mail votes. We also could see opposite scenarios.
Overall, the likelihood is that Joe Biden will win, and comfortably, but the issue is when that result comes in. Imagine the chaos of the Iowa Democratic caucus, with all the attendant scarcely-believable explanations coming from officials and vote-counters, expanded to presidential scale. That’s the horror-movie scenario for this evening.
Because of the fear both sides have about the results, the quantity of media spin tonight is likely to be, as rule 7 below notes, “unprecedented.” Partisans from both red and blue camps will be prepping audiences for bad news in ways that deflect blame from their own consultant pals, and also planting seeds for arguments likely to be made in contested-result scenarios. Expect Republicans to tell tales of trucks of fake ballots shipped over the Rio Grande in burlap sacks, while Democrats might counter with photos of wheelchair-bound minority voters invited to exercise their democratic covenant at ad-hoc ballot stations re-located to the top of hundred-foot climbing walls.Continue Reading