December 15, 2020, 11:40:44 am
Written by Shane Goldmacher and Adam Nagourney
Some voters were given police escorts. Some cast their votes in an unknown location. Some attracted a nationwide audience for what is usually a procedural and opaque constitutional company. Most wore masks and adhered to social distancing rules considering the coronavirus pandemic that defined this long campaign.
And in the end, President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential race on Monday was confirmed as he led the 270 electoral college votes he needed to move to the White House next month despite President Donald Trump’s tireless advocate of conspiracy theories and attacks on the integrity of the results.
All voters on major battlefields whose results Trump has denied have given Biden their support.
Here are four takeaways on the longer-term implications of Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome, Biden’s victory, and the future of the democratic process in the United States.
Biden wins again
Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States.
To those of you who have followed the events of the past five weeks, this may not sound like news considering that Biden defeated Trump by more than 7 million votes. But the election isn’t fully over until the electoral college weighs in, and that took place on Monday. Fittingly, it fell to California – a state at the center of opposition to the president – to exaggerate Trump’s Democratic challenger.
The question now is how will Republicans who refused to recognize the election result respond to this unsurprising news. Many, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, had argued that the race was simply scheduled by the news media and not yet by the electoral college. They used this argument to reject Biden as elected president, let alone meet him.
Such an argument is now far more difficult to make. “Now it’s time to turn the page,” Biden is expected to say in a speech on Monday evening.
Democracy prevailed, but at a cheap price
Yes, a majority of voters cast their votes for Biden.
But Monday started with a top White House adviser Stephen Miller, who told Fox News that there had been a “fraudulent election result” and said that “an alternate electoral roll” in the contested states will vote and display their results Congress finds that the president has lost.
Miller is not alone; Much of the Republican Party still refuses to fully and publicly recognize the election results, despite the fact that they have been endorsed by all 50 states that voted for electoral college voters and the Supreme Court declined to hear a legal challenge that Trump called ” perhaps the most important case in history. “
Democracy is fragile and is built on public trust. And while the result of this year’s race has been confirmed, the sour message from Trump and his allies threatens to weaken the pillars of the institutions that are running the elections in America.
“The greatest danger to America is the naive belief that there is something unique that guarantees America remains a democratic civil society,” said Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican strategist who has become a vocal critic of Trump, on Twitter. “Much of a large party has turned against democracy. It’s stupid to think that there are no consequences. “
There are some who think differently. Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell, who is retiring and served in the House’s Republican leadership, said Monday that despite Trump’s election last month, he was stepping down from the party for the remainder of his term in office as a result of efforts to the choice to overthrow has been turned off.
“I believe that raw political considerations, not concerns about constitution or voting integrity, are motivating many party leaders to support efforts to stop the theft, which I find extremely disappointing,” he wrote in an open letter the party leaders.
The system survived the chaotic recount of 2000 and two 21st century presidents elected despite losing the referendum. In 2016 there were some “faithless”, if ultimately meaningless, voters. The great unknown is the cumulative impact of these past struggles and this year’s further erosion of democratic norms on the next inevitably narrow and controversial elections. 📣 Follow the express explained in the telegram
Who knew? This is what electoral college meetings look like
“I hope you can see me smiling behind the mask.”
These words from Nancy Mills, leader of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, came at the end of the Pennsylvania vote on Monday after the state gave its 20 votes for the electoral college to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Biden defeated Trump there with around 81,000 votes.
Mills was officially President of the Pennsylvania Electoral College Delegation. In almost all other presidential elections, their role in history has been ceremonial and largely unnoticed.
Not this year. One of the many unusual things about this election was that Americans could – and wanted to – see what is usually an afterword to election day. Beginning Monday morning, delegations of voters gathered in states across the country, broadcast by live video stream or even on television.
Due to the pandemic, electoral college members followed the rules of social distancing and wore masks. But the country could see the solemnity and ceremony that goes with the process, even in years when no one is watching. The appointment of officers for the day. Distribution of the secret ballot papers. Waiting for the official count.
The vote in Pennsylvania went smoothly. But Mills was alluding to the drama that dragged on through the day as she brought the trial to a close.
“We are the state that brought Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris over the threshold of 270 Electoral College,” she said. “We are the state that restored the United States of America with dignity and honor.”
Republicans (still) defy reality
At the Georgia Capitol, Democratic voters gathered on the Senate floor to cast their votes for Biden as president and Harris as vice president. This was the first time in 28 years that the state had voted democratically.
“Today we are going to do our constitutional duty,” said Nikema Williams, Georgia Democratic Party leader and congresswoman elected, when calling the orderly meeting.
Elsewhere in the Capitol, a group of Republicans gathered for some sort of shadow ceremony and anointed their own list of pro-Trump voters. The group’s vote had no real impact on the electoral college’s record. David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, explained the non-voter vote to keep Trump’s legal options open.
“Had we not met today and cast our votes, the upcoming presidential election campaign would have been effectively discussed,” he wrote on Twitter.
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