By Don Mohler
Evil was indeed vanquished, but like everyone else in the nation, I am exhausted. Exhausted from staring at a television for the past four days, waiting to see the magical number 270 flash on the screen. Exhausted from reading conspiracy-laden tweets that appear in my daily Twitter feed. Exhausted from trying to figure out how people that I love and care about could actually have voted for a person who I believe is simply reprehensible. Exhausted by the President breaking norms that have been the bedrock of our republic for more than 200 years. Exhausted by thinking of a Thanksgiving and Christmas without family and friends. Exhausted by a virus that is raging like never before. Simply exhausted.
Should you write a blog when in such a state of mind? Probably not. But when you are exhausted, you rarely make good decisions, so here we go:
While the current temper tantrum emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is maddening, it was totally predictable. It began months ago with the President demonizing mail in ballots and Republican legislators in the Keystone State refusing repeated requests to allow election officials to begin counting the votes early along with many states across the nation. In fact, they did exactly the opposite. They mandated that the absentee vote count could not begin until the morning of Election Day. In many Pennsylvania counties, they did not start to count these ballots until Wednesday morning. Florida has 14 million registered voters. Pennsylvania has 8 million. Florida’s vote was signed, sealed and delivered (Sorry Stevie) by 10 p.m. on election night. Election officials in Florida counted votes for weeks. A vote total that was supposed to be very close was not. Miami Dade which was supposed to carry the night for Joe Biden did not. There was little drama as its 29 electoral votes lit up in the red column. That is the way it is supposed to work. The operative word being “supposed.”
But you see, that scenario would not be helpful for Team Trump. In a strategy crafted by the crack law firm of Trump Guiliani Hannity and Carlson, it was imperative that the vote tally be delayed for days and possibly weeks. They needed the vote to drag out in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And drag out it did. Throw in lagging results in Arizona and Nevada and you have the prefect conspiracy stew. Had the election been called on election night, there would be very little time to allow the Cheetos gang in their basements to begin to work their magic. Eric Trump needed more time to tweet doctored videos of ballots being destroyed. Don Jr. needed a bit more time to intimidate 2024 Republican hopefuls into submission. The law firm needed to prepare frivolous law suits all across the nation. Keep counting. Stop counting. Consistency wasn’t the goal. Chaos was, and chaotic it was. So was this past four days an accident of history? No. It was a finely crafted plan. Despite the fact that Joe Biden is now President Elect, their plan worked, and it is doing irreparable harm to a nation we love.
But while Democrats are wringing their hands- a favorite Democratic pastime- there were a number of things worth celebrating on November 3. The Electoral map has been changed in a way that will have implications for years to come. It is hard to remember, but 20 years ago it would have been difficult to imagine that the traditionally red state of Virginia would now be solid blue on everyone’s board. It was red, then purple, and now solidly blue. That same evolution appears to be happening in the southwest. Thanks to Stacy Abrams, even after a recount, Georgia may actually cast its 16 Electoral Votes for Joe Biden. The two senate races that will go to a runoff on January 5 will decide the fate of Mitch McConnell. Make no mistake about it. There is only one issue in that election: Mitch “thumbs up” or Mitch “thumbs down.” Elections rarely present such a clear choice.
One final point on the process of waiting for the networks to make a call: We were treated to what was hopefully one last attempt to deal with a child in the White House. Those of us with children and grandchildren know what temper tantrums look like. The toddlers get red in the face, scream like banshees, stomp their feet, and scream, “I hate you.” Sound familiar? You either deal with it, pick the little ones up, put them in their room, and tell them that when they get themselves together they may rejoin the family. But sometimes you just ignore it and hope it runs its course because you are out of energy and just can’t fight anymore. The networks chose door number two. Rather than risk another tirade and a series of unhinged tweets, they decided to not call races that they would have called in any other year, any other decade, any other time. On this front, Donald Trump won again. He simply broke another norm.
But that’s okay.
In 1988, when Roseanne and Murphy Brown were battling it out in living rooms across America, Joe Biden ran for president for the first time. He’s waited a long time for this moment, and only entered this race because he thought the soul of the nation was at stake. We paced and paced, but the President Elect remained patient. He had been waiting for this moment for 32 years. He was willing to wait a few more days.
Also that year, a little song by Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy” topped the charts. So while we try to get a handle on our emotions at this key moment in history, Joe Biden once again called on our better angels, “We may be opponents, but we are not enemies.” Let’s just leave it there.
There will be plenty of time for autopsies of what went wrong down ballot at a later date. But right now let’s focus on the fact that Vice President Biden received more votes than any presidential candidate in history. Focus on the fact that he is the President Elect. Right now, just sing along, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”
Don Mohler is the former Baltimore County Executive. He may be reached at email@example.com