Biden is Winning, Act Like It

Democrats need to push past our 2016 emotional trauma and project confidence.

Last night went exactly like we thought it would for most of the last six months. Like many others, I desperately hoped for a quick Biden victory with wins in Florida and North Carolina. Buoyed by a barrage of overly-buoyant polls in recent days, I allowed myself to believe such an outcome was not only possible, but perhaps even probable.

No such luck. It’s 2020. The year we are not supposed to have nice things, so of course this will be a painful slog.

But here’s the thing: I haven’t made a political prediction in the last four years and I not going to start today, but based on what we know now — I feel confident that when the votes are counted Joe Biden will be elected President.

The Path

Joe Biden has multiple paths to 270 electoral votes. Donald Trump does not. Late last night, Fox News and the Associated Press called Arizona for Biden. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina remain too close to call because of delays in counting mail ballots. Biden has the advantage in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan. Trump has the advantage in North Carolina and Georgia seems to be a true toss up.

Perhaps the most important moment of last night was Biden winning the second Congressional district of Nebraska. That single electoral vote unlocks the map for Biden. The former Vice President now no longer needs to win Pennsylvania, Georgia, or North Carolina. With Arizona and NE-2 in the bag, Wisconsin and Michigan gets Biden to exactly 270 electoral votes.

This is not to say Biden won’t win Pennsylvania — he very well may. There are very positive signs for Biden in the votes that have been counted and in the very large number of mail ballots that haven’t yet been counted.

To be clear this isn’t over, but Joe Biden is VERY well positioned. Donald Trump is in a lot of trouble and it’s okay to act like it.

Don’t be Afraid to be Confident

Joe Biden struck the perfect tone in his brief remarks late last night. He called for patience during the process, but expressed confidence at the outcome:

I’m here to tell you tonight, we believe we’re on track to win this election. We knew because of the unprecedented early vote and the mail-in vote it was going to take a while. We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying the votes is finished. And it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.

Trump, on the other hand, threw gas on the fire in a parade of irresponsible misinformation. He is going to spend the next several days lying about the legitimacy of the election and threatening to use his rigged courts to invalidate legally cast ballots. His remarks were dumb, dangerous, and a stain on our democracy. While his words were morally offensive, they were also legally incoherent and politically impotent. There are very legitimate concerns about the role Trump’s words may play in political violence in the coming days, but what he says and tweets will not affect the outcome.

This process is likely to play itself over days and maybe weeks. The networks burned by their own shitty polling may be very reticent to make definitive calls in states like Wisconsin where Biden leads narrowly. After 2016 and last night, it seems impossible for Democrats to feel confident. We have been emotionally battered by outsized expectations and very incorrect polls, but we should still be confident. We have every mathematical reason to feel internally confident and every political imperative to project confidence externally.

The proper approach to the tumult of the next few days it to adopt the patient confidence of Joe Biden. Trust the process. Be confident in the outcome. It’s the best response to Trump’s irresponsible gaslighting. Talking clearly and calmly about the normalcy of the process, the legitimacy of the votes, and our faith in the math is the posture we need to adopt at this very tense time. We can’t allow the trauma of 2016 to force us into hiding while Trump and his irresponsible minions spread misinformation. This posture matters not just for the vote counting in the coming days, but also for how many in the country will view a Biden presidency in the coming years.

The Republicans are already trying to neuter his ability govern by casting aspersions about how he won. We cannot let them do that. The stakes are too damn high.

We had hoped for a generational victory where Republicans up and down the ballot would be appropriately punished for their misdeeds. That did not happen. We have a lot more work to do. However, it appears that when it is all said and done Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States and Donald Trump will become the third President of the modern era to fail to win reelection.

It’s not everything we wanted, but it’s a giant fucking deal.