The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The final election map of 2020

The New York Times and NBC have called Georgia for Joe Biden and North Carolina for the president, giving Biden 306 Electoral College votes to the president's 232. This is the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has won Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. It also means that in addition to taking over 5 million more popular votes than the president, Biden has won exactly the same number of electoral votes as the president did in 2016.

In 68 days, we'll finally have a new president.

Why are Republicans joking about the election?

Andrew Sullivan recognizes he's hyperventilating, but he has an important point:

Secretary of state Pompeo insisted with a smile that there would be a transition to a second Trump term, even as he lectures other countries about respecting election results. He is treating the solemn democratic process as a joke. “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” echoed White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro, this morning.

To put it plainly: this simply does not happen in a healthy liberal democracy. It is a sign of the deepest imaginable rot. It is the kind of thing that occurs in developing countries with warlord leaders and fledgling democratic processes. It violates the sacredness of a peaceful and consensual transfer of power in America — marked first by George Washington.

It renders the US an international outlier in terms of democratic practices, and makes a mockery of any American pretension to be a model for democracy. We’re not. We’re increasingly a cautionary tale. And the damage this past week has already inflicted on basic democratic norms is incalculable. More foreign leaders have accepted Biden’s victory than Republican officials. Think about that for a bit.

Trump’s threat has never been that he wants to set himself up as a new Mussolini. His idleness and incompetence render that moot. His threat is that his psyche requires him to break every democratic norm, to hold the rule of law in contempt, and to deepen polarization so intensely that America becomes ungovernable at a federal level, and liberal democracy surrenders to one man’s ego.

Meanwhile, the AP has called Arizona, and I'm going to call Alaska on my own, so the electoral map will look like this until North Carolina and Georgia get done counting (and re-counting) their votes:

Goodbye to all that

Slate has a lovely series of short goodbyes to outgoing administration figures we won't miss, starting with Dahlia Lithwick on Ivanka:

If and when you look back at your life, maybe you will realize that this is where it all went wrong: You were superb at the pitchman stuff, and maybe if your creepy dad hadn’t decided to run for president, you could have stayed in that branded plastic world of warehouses and factories and skyscrapers. But transactional justice words pressed through gauzy Instagram filters are not the stuff of democracy or morality, equality or faith. You’ve had great fun with this whole governance lark, to be sure, but frankly, the pain and suffering your dad so relishes make for bad influencer vibes. And in the end, when things became desperate, you committed fully to his side, changing your position on abortion and even voting itself. You would preserve your proximity to power at the expense of American democracy. Despite all the years of breathy talk of equality and dignity and empowerment, you—like your dad—think justice is the thing you alone are owed.

Lowen Liu sending off Stephen Miller warmed my heart, while Ashley Feinberg's dismissal of Junior simply added evidence about the well-known damaged psyche of his father.

Joe Biden's inauguration is just 73 days away.

How Biden can flip the Senate even if Perdue wins

Both US Senate races in Georgia have gone to mandatory runoffs on January 5th as none of the candidates got more than 50% of the vote. Right now, the most likely outcome is that incumbent David Perdue (R) defeats John Ossoff (D), while Raphael Warnock (D) defeats appointed incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R)—the only sitting senator with a perfect record of voting with the outgoing president. If those races split, as of January 6th the Senate would be 51-49 in favor of the Republican Party, and it would be nearly impossible for incoming President Biden to pass anything even remotely progressive.

Unless.

What if Biden offered Pat Toomey (R-PA) the Treasury Department? Toomey is starting the 5th year of his third Senate term and has said he has no plans to run for re-election or for Governor—and he wouldn't win if he tried. Toomey sits on the Senate Banking, Budget, and Finance committees, giving him experience with the Treasury. Plus, he's fairly moderate (for a Republican), voting with the soon-to-be-former president 88% of the time. Toomey can run Treasury, have a seat at the table he doesn't have as a retiring US Senator, letting Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf appoint a Democrat to his seat. Voilà! The Senate is now 50-50, with Vice President Harris getting the tie-breaking vote.

The other two US Senators in similar circumstances are Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Johnson is a full-throated MAGA clown and all around wing-nut. He should under no circumstances ever get near real power. So, no, he stays in Wisconsin.

Collins defeated Sara Gideon 51-43 on Tuesday, returning her to the US Senate for a fifth term. But Maine as a whole went to Biden by 80,000 votes and Maine's Democratic US House delegation got re-elected by over 110,000 votes. In other words, Collins is out of step with Maine as a whole. Maine also has a Democratic governor, Janet Mills. But Collins likes her job. And why would she give up six years as a senior US Senator, on the Appropriations Committee no less, to take a job for the other party that might only last a year or two? She would never accept the deal.

So, yes. Let's give Toomey a job he would enjoy, one he would probably be good at, but where he can't do too much damage to Biden's agenda. And the next day, by a vote of 51-50, let's make DC a state.

It's over

The AP has called Pennsylvania for Joe Biden. My neighborhood has just erupted in cheers.

(No, really, people in my neighborhood are cheering. I know this because all of my windows are open, which is in itself pretty nice for November.)

Note that Biden is not yet President-Elect. The Electoral College convenes to certify the state votes on December 14th, and the 117th Congress meets in joint session on January 6th to count the votes. Then he will be President-Elect. Right now he's the putative winner of the election.

And hey, I believe I can toot my own horn for a second, because here's how I predicted things on Tuesday night:

Unless something really weird happens in Alaska, 100% of my predictions came true. I am now blowing on my fingernails.

Sunny Friday morning in Chicago

The record for consecutive 21°C-plus days in Chicago is 5, set 15-19 November 1953. Today will be the third in a row, with the forecast showing the fourth, fifth, and sixth coming this weekend and on Monday.

In other sunny news, the electoral map has shifted a bit overnight:

Arizona's count has slowly shifted away from Biden while in both Georgia and Pennsylvania the count has put Biden ahead. In Georgia, Biden now leads by 1,200 votes, with a few thousand absentee ballots from heavily-Democratic areas near Atlanta. In Pennsylvania, Biden's 6,000-vote lead will likely grow as the final votes come in from Philadelphia, which has gone 90-10 for him in some places. And, of course, Biden leads in the national popular vote, by about 4 million. Both candidates have so far received more votes than any in history.

Note that if the six undeclared states solidify in their current colors, the Electoral College vote will exactly mirror 2016's: 306 to 228. That would be a delicious irony, showing that history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

The evening and the morning of the third day

Because it's 2020, we're still counting votes. And that's not all:

And the counting goes on...

Wisconsin returns to the fold

The AP has called Wisconsin for Biden, as his margin over the president continues to grow as workers report on last few ballots left in Milwaukee. The New York Times believes Michigan and Nevada will also go to Biden, North Carolina won't, and Pennsylvania and Georgia are still too close to call. So as of now, the map looks like this:

Nevada won't release any new numbers until 9am PST tomorrow (18:00 UTC, 11am in Chicago), but Biden's lead seems insurmountable at this point. North Carolina's secretary of state said he expects to announce the winner later today. No word on when Michigan and Pennsylvania will finish counting; most sources say Friday at the earliest.

In other news, we've officially counted 139.8 million votes, blowing past the 137.1 million cast in 2016. It's the largest number in American history and we still have over 2 million to go. Also, win or lose, Joe Biden has received more votes for president (over 70 million) than anyone else in history. That's something.

Holding our breaths and turning blue

Good morning! We're still alive, and I still think we'll win. So do both candidates, as evidenced by the president claiming victory overnight and Biden's firm "not so fast, Charlie."

The map of called races has not changed since the AP called Arizona around midnight. Nevada will eventually go to Biden, so the president needs to win 4 other states to win. Biden needs only 2. And since I finally got back to sleep around 4am, the counting has shifted Michigan and Wisconsin blue. And all evidence suggests they will stay blue.

In Wisconsin, with 95% of expected votes counted, and many of the remaining absentee and early votes concentrated in Milwaukee, Biden leads by 21,000 votes. In Michigan, they're still counting in the heavily-Democratic Detroit and Flint, and Biden has crept ahead to an 18,000-vote lead; the state believes it will be done counting in about 11-12 hours.

Pennsylvania has so far counted only 64% of the votes they expect to count, with only 58% counted in Philadelphia and 73% counted in Pittsburgh. Biden trails right now by 660,000, but there may be a million ballots left to count.

North Carolina has counted 94% and Biden trails by 80,000. In Georgia, he trails by 102,000 with 94% counted. Those states look like losses for us. But wow, what narrow losses, in states that haven't voted Democratic since 2008 and 1992, respectively.

It surprised me how little anxiety I experienced yesterday, but I realized it's because I'm sad about Parker. Who knew a good helping of depression could make a stressful time easier?

And here he is as a puppy, demonstrating the proper attitude for today:

Election night live blogging

Well, here we are. After just shy of four years living with the current president, I can say that his most remarkable accomplishment has been to raise the reputations of George W Bush, Warren Harding, and Franklin Pierce, if only relatively. Forty-four men have been president of the United States, one for only a month, and one who was never elected. Someone had to rank 44th in that list. It makes stack ranking so much easier when the most recent addition goes straight to the bottom.

I don't know that I'll stay up until 2am like I did last time. But I'll hang in there as long as I can. (All times US Central Standard, UTC-6.)

I am not calling any races; that's illegal in most states before polls close. I am, however, making a first prediction:

If we start there, we win with any other state on the map. And I think we're starting there.

17:00 CST: Polls have closed in the eastern portions of Indiana and Kentucky. Nothing to report yet; the rest of both states have yet to finish voting.

18:00: Polls have closed in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia, and Vermont, plus the eastern part of Florida. I'm confident only in two: Indiana (R) and Vermont (D).

18:05: The Associated Press calls Vermont for Biden and Kentucky for the president. No surprise there. The New York Times projects Mark Warner (D-VA) will go back to the Senate. No significant reports of poll disruptions reported.

18:13: I'll be updating the map at the top of this post as the night goes on.

18:42: Polls closed 12 minutes ago in North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia. The AP has called West Virginia for the president and Virginia for Biden. Still no surprises.

19:00: Polls in 21 states and DC just closed, including here in Illinois. NPR believes Biden leads in Florida. Everyone knows Biden won Illinois. The AP called West Virginia for the president a few minutes ago; again, no one died of shock.

19:31: Arkansas, unsurprisingly, goes to the president. Meanwhile, no one knows nothing at this point.

20:01: Another 14 states with big Electoral Vote delegations have closed their polls. New York's 29 votes go to Biden; Wyoming's 3 and Kansas' 6 go to the president, as do Indiana's 11. NPR says Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio all lean Biden, while Florida leans the other way. The Chicago Tribune thinks Kansas, Missouri, and Pennsylvania will also break our way. Sadly, Amy McGrath has lost her challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Also, the AP's website now displaying a generic 500 error. Oops.

Now Parker needs a nice, long walk, so I don't have to think about the election for half an hour.

20:45: Back from a nice walk, I hear we have our first pick-up in the Senate, in Colorado, which also has gone to Biden, and Kansas has slipped back into play.

21:01: Iowa, Montana, Nevada, and Utah have closed. Republicans have filed suit to stop vote counting in Clark County, Nevada, because they can't win there without cheating.

21:05: Keep in mind: we won't know the results in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania until tomorrow at the earliest.

22:01: The West Coast and Idaho close; no surprises. All of the surprises will take days to count. So far tonight, Parker and I have walked for more than an hour, I've had only two beers, and I just can't stay up until midnight waiting for the results this time.

Counting will take a long time. And smaller, rural precincts can always report their results before larger, urban precincts. No one has gotten close to calling anything on the brown portion of the map at the top of this post. As I said to one of my friends, we're not fucked yet. The whatever from high atop the thing hasn't even taken off its pants yet.

We did lose the Alabama US Senate seat, so we're still at 47-53, even though 13 million more people have voted for Democratic US Senators than for Republican ones. (We knew Doug Jones would lose, though. Again: no surprise.)

I will say that Biden will win the popular vote by millions more votes than Clinton won in 2016, and if he winds up losing the Electoral College, people will be unhappy. Very unhappy. Minority rule has to end. I'm still pretty confident it will end in January, but until then, we just won't know.

So, I'm going to bed. I expect I'll wake up around 3 to clean up some poop (not mine), and if that happens, I'll check the map. But Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida won't have results tonight.

We're not fucked yet. The whatever from high atop the thing hasn't even taken off its pants. I'm going to chill for eight hours and come back in the morning.

02:51: I don't know what woke me up. I thought someone on my "OK to disturb me" list texted, but that wasn't the case. In any event, this is not the map I wanted to see in the middle of the night, but (if you recall) it's almost exactly the map I predicted earlier. Except for Pennsylvania.

We still don't have final counts for the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, or Atlanta. Also, no one knows what "100% reporting" means in those areas, because no one will know the total number of early and mail-in votes until they're all counted.

Mark Kelly won the special election for US Senate in Arizona, giving us a second pick-up. But Joni Ernst (R-IA) won re-election, which says something about Iowa, and possibly the whole race.

Of course the president went on TV to claim victory earlier. And of course Biden went on TV to say we have millions of votes left to count. And it also seems clear that, regardless of the Electoral College, Biden will have won millions of votes more than the president, by a margin considerably larger than Hillary Clinton won four years ago.

I will also say, the whatever from high atop the thing definitely has a "hey, baby" look in its eye.