2 AM CT NOV 4th: Things were petering out. After hours of counting and reminders from every major news outlet, it seemed most Americans, politicians, news pundits, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, had come to terms with the votes not being counted in total on election night. There was, however, one man who remained unconvinced, the current president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
Only hours before, presidential hopeful Joe Biden made his speech to round out the evening. He emphasized that he believed when the votes were counted, he would win. He was hopeful and optimistic. Biden told the American people to remain calm and wait.
As ABC News pundits, along with the rest of America (or at least those of us who stayed up) waited for Trump to make his statement, watching an empty podium in the East Room of the White House, pundits speculated what Trump would say. Chris Christie seemed to advise Trump over the airways to echo Biden’s sentiment, that he thinks he’ll win and is waiting for the votes to be counted.
As the Trumps, Ivanka, Don Jr, and their partners trickled in to scattered applause, Trump finally took the stage. He told Americans that the election is a “fraud.” He went on to say:
“… Frankly, we did win this election… So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court… We want all voting to stop… We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning…”
Donald Trump claimed victory, and vowed to take his case to the Supreme Court, before the votes were even finished being counted. He seemed to suggest that ballots would be found in the dead of night that would declare Biden the winner. Make no mistake, there are no lost ballots, aside from maybe those still in the mail, or the hundreds of thousands that USPS has refused to surrender in defiance of a court order. We have millions of uncounted ballots. In most situations, due to the complexity of counting mail in ballots, many of the ballots waiting to be counted are mail in, which traditionally skew very hard in favor of Democrats, sometimes even 70% or higher.
At the time of his comments, only a little over half of the ballots were counted in several key states like Wisconsin, and Michigan. Right leaning pundits even went so far as to call Trump’s statement “Politically stupid.” Never before in American history has a president asked that we stop counting votes on November 4th. It is also important to note that all votes are never counted by midnight on November 3rd. During a pandemic that has tested America’s voting infrastructure, every other American seemed to expect the vote counting to, as it always does, expand beyond November 3rd.
Certainly, the stakes are high. Most major American cities are boarded up as a precaution for protests or riots. Stock futures, an indicator of where the market will open, took a 400 point nosedive immediately following Trump’s speech. There are already numerous major labor unions standing by and pledging to strike should Trump attempt to supersede election results.
While Americans should expect recounts in states like Georgia, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, by no means should they expect or accept that we will stop counting legally cast ballots. Every vote, every voice must be heard for our Democracy to survive this tumultuous moment in our history. No matter who you’ve voted for, we must stand together now to assure the sanctity of our Democracy and drown out the noise.