By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
I don’t know about anyone else, but after November 3, 2020, I feel like I can breathe again. Even the Stock Market, notorious for its allergy to uncertainty, can get back to business.
What set this election apart was that everyone knew what they were getting. Both Biden and Trump have been on our cultural horizons for decades.
In politics or show business we’ve seen these two since the 1980s.
There shouldn’t be any surprises.
Like everyone else it seems, I went to bed on election night with a bad case of restless indigestion.
With threats of civil unrest, lost ballots, lawsuits, mechanical problems and long lines almost everywhere, who could rest easy?
One thing we do know for sure is that the people have spoken.
But in true 2020 style, what the people have spoken is muddled, contradictory and unsettled.
Overseas military ballots, sent through the mail, have several more days to be tabulated.
One of the problems is the definition of Election Day; is it the final day of voting? The day ballots need to be turned in? The day they are counted? The date they need to be postmarked?
Some states (and The Constitution confers full responsibility of voting to individual states) begin counting ballots on Election Day, others start long before and finalize their results on that day.
One of the key principles of any legitimate election is that every valid vote is counted. How does the need to count every legitimate ballot intersect with the demands of the calendar and the public or media?
Trump can dance
Remember President Trump’s first year or so, when we all wondered when President Trump would begin “acting presidential”?
The answer, as any Trump watchers would have known, was that if he ever did, he would do it his own way.
And when asked what he would do in his second term, besides promising that it would be “fabulous” and “like nothing anyone’s ever seen” or “the best economy anyone’s ever seen” he was bit vague.
President Trump, like no one – or even nothing – else has done one thing we should all agree on is a truly wonderful thing – he has inspired us to vote.
Washington state, for example, is expected to have a 90% voter turn-out.
Pierce County, with a usual voter turn-out of barely over 50% is expected to hit about 80%.
“We the people,” after 2020, will never be an abstraction or a pious political phrase, it will mean, to future citizens and candidates alike, the immensity and fierce passion of the ballot box.
Mr. Trump “energized” his base.
And those not his base. We can thank him for a level of political engagement we will probably never see again in our lifetimes.
After all, his supporters say, what’s not to love?
He has dominated the headlines here and abroad, abandoned treaties and agreements that held us back, from NATO to the Paris Accords and shown the world’s leaders where we stand on every issue from climate change to world trade.
Who else would send – and receive – “love letters” from Kim Jung Un?
He has remade every aspect of our nation, our economy and our standing on the world stage in his own image.
The Supreme Court, world treaties and global trade will never look the same after Mr. Trump’s reign.
And that’s exactly what his supporters wanted.
Who else could free us from the “deep state”? From “big tech”, “big pharma” and international cabals of secret societies and those enemies who would dominate, corrupt and poison the “true” America that he so fully represents?
After all, Mr. Trump has known since his time in New York City, when he owned nightclubs and casinos, that there are few things America hates more than rules – and those who make them, and few things America loves more than entertainment and distractions.
If it takes nonstop scandals and lawsuits to keep your face and name on the front pages of the tabloids, that’s what you do if name recognition is your goal.
The election of 2020, one for the history books in many ways, will perhaps be remembered most as the contest between a career politician and a man who was never, even as he held office, a politician.
Joe Biden is like that distant relative who has always been in the background, amiable but not terribly interesting or memorable. He’s like that uncle that falls asleep on the couch after dinner.
He’s not that exciting, but he’s family.
Can he dance? To tell the truth, we don’t really want to know. But if he does, he doesn’t dance alone.
Mr. Trump is like that other uncle, the one that pounds the table, and lets every know that he is the only one who really knows what’s going on and anyone who disagrees is a fruitcake or worse.
“It’s those people” he bellows, and you can fill in the blanks with his usual favorites of those who keep America back from what it could be.
Who actually won on Tuesday evening may be up for debate for a while, but what did become absolutely clear was that we are very much two countries – the vast majority of states had razor thin margins between the candidates.
Yes, the people have spoken, and, for better or worse, the people have reminded us that we are as divided as ever.
The “K” metaphor, the symbol for an economy that goes two directions at once is just as true of our political philosophies – we, the red and blue states, have our eyes on two very different horizons.
Like some of us, I have friends and family members on both sides of this equation. To paraphrase our president, there are indeed good, reasonable and honorable people on both sides.
Not every supporter of Trump is a racist, armed, Proud Boy and not every Biden supporter is a wild-eyed antifa socialist.
These are our neighbors, relatives and fellow citizens.
The Spokesman-Review (the daily newspaper of Spokane) sums up the dilemma we find ourselves in –
Donald Trump is a bully and a bigot. He is symptomatic of a widening partisan divide in the country. We recommend voting for him anyway…
The list of Trump’s offenses is long. He panders to racists and prevents sensible immigration reform in a nation built on immigrant labor and intellect. He tweets conspiracy theories. He’s cavalier about COVID-19 and has led poorly through the pandemic. He seeks to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without proposing a replacement. He denies climate change.
Voters knew his character in 2016 and elected him anyway.
This is an election that pits a wretched human being whose policies and instincts for helping America thrive are generally correct against a doddering, doting uncle who would hand out gifts the nation can’t afford in order to win people’s love.
As more than one talking head has put it, we are in a real-time stress test of our electoral system. It is essential that we conduct this election as fully and fairly as humanly possible.
As in many situations, from business deals to football games, the process is at least as important as the final product. Our electoral process must prevail, no matter which candidate does.
A “bully”, a “bigot” and a “wretched human being” against a “doddering, doting uncle”; surely we have better candidates among us.
Future generations will dissect this election. The best thing any of us can do is ensure that every valid vote is counted and our tradition of free and fair elections is confirmed once again.