Skip to main content

Features

No politics as usual in the week after the election

Biden looks to an inauguration, Trump hasn’t conceded, and the Senate still hangs in the balance

No politics as usual in the week after the election

Joe Biden on stage with Kamala Harris Saturday in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Saturday night as the presumptive president-elect, saying he pledged to be a leader who “does not seek to divide, but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, but only sees the United States.”

The prime-time address with running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came eight hours after the Associated Press and other major news networks projected Biden had won the election and would be the 46th president of the United States.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump didn’t concede. The president says his legal team will continue to file challenges in swing states with close margins. On Sunday afternoon, the president tweeted: “This was a stolen election.”

That’s a massive assertion the Trump campaign would have to prove with specific, credible evidence. Judges would decide if any evidence is compelling and clear, and whether it could change the outcome of the race. 

One thing was clear: The contest was razor-thin in Pennsylvania, the state that propelled Biden past the 270 votes needed to secure the Electoral College, by AP’s calculations. 

When AP called the race Saturday morning, Biden led by 0.51 percent in Pennsylvania. The state’s law requires an automatic recount if the margin is 0.5 percent or less. Some wondered why AP called Pennsylvania with such a tight margin. 

The news agency said it concluded Biden’s lead would stay above the 0.5 percent margin as the final votes are counted: “There are roughly 62,000 mail ballots remaining to be counted. Biden has won the overwhelming majority of mail ballots cast in the state.”

The news agency also estimated an additional 100,000 provisional ballots remained to be counted in Pennsylvania. 

AP said that its analysis of “a small set of provisional ballots from Trump-leaning counties showed Trump was winning them by a smaller margin than his Election Day vote totals in those counties. The analysis led AP to conclude Trump could not gain enough votes from provisional ballots to overcome Biden’s margin.”

By Monday morning, Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania had increased to 0.67 percent, according to AP.

Even if Pennsylvania somehow ended up in a recount, it’s relatively rare for a recount of a statewide race to change the outcome of an election. But even if the chances are slim, the Trump team may continue to cite ultra-slim margins as a reason to continue with challenges. 

Most major news networks followed AP’s lead in declaring Biden the winner. And some Republicans did congratulate Biden, including President George W. Bush, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and retiring Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas. Others urged Trump to continue the legal process and said that voters should wait for the outcome. 

“The media do not get to determine who the president is. The people do,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted on Saturday. “When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted: “There are still serious legal challenges that have been made, and until that process is resolved, the election is not final. The American people deserve a fair and transparent process.”

But a slate of high-level Republicans remained quiet over the weekend: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., hadn’t commented—either way—by early Monday.

While many believe the current math makes a Biden win inevitable, the week ahead will reveal if Trump’s team makes headway in courts. It will also reveal whether the president continues to reject calls to concede before the litigation is complete. Whatever the case, the clock is ticking: Members of the Electoral College are set to cast their states’ votes for president on Dec. 14.

In the meantime, Biden and Harris began to build their transition teams and lay the groundwork for taking control of the White House in January, as another major question remains: Who will control the Senate?

The legal wrangling in the presidential race may have drawn attention away from the enormously consequential question of whether Republicans will retain their majority in the Senate, along with their ability to thwart at least some ambitions of Democrats.

Those ambitions are big: Biden and Harris have spoken of expanding Obamacare, investing aggressively in climate change legislation, rolling back some of the provisions of Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, and passing the Equality Act—a measure that could pose direct challenges to religious liberties. 

How much of that agenda they can accomplish depends largely on whether Democrats control the Senate. And that likely depends on what happens in two Senate races in Georgia headed to runoffs in January.

At the moment, it appears Republicans are likely to control 50 seats in the Senate, and Democrats will control 48. The two run-off races in Georgia will determine whether Democrats can pick up two more Senate seats and bring them to a 50-50 tie. 

If Democrats prevail in both races, a presumptive Vice President Kamala Harris would break any tie in the Senate. That means the shape of the next presidency is still very much up in the air. For the next couple of months, Georgia will be on our minds.

Jamie Dean

Jamie Dean

Jamie is national editor of WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and previously worked for the Charlotte World. Jamie has covered politics, disasters, religion, and more for WORLD. She resides in Charlotte, N.C. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

Comments

You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 01:47 pm

    "the Associated Press and other major news networks projected Biden had won the election"

    As a member of the Associated Press, WORLD must be walking on eggshells, trying not to compromise its stated Christian worldview and assertion of "sound journalism, grounded in facts and biblical truth." Thank you, Jamie Dean, for holding the line on "Former Vice President Joe Biden" and quoting the truth that "The media do not get to determine who the president is."

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 09:23 pm

    "Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ... hadn’t commented—either way—by early Monday." He has commented later Monday:

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6208455412001#sp=show-clips

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 03:33 pm

    The mainstream media do not get to determine the winner, but neither do Republican politicians or conservative media.

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 09:22 pm

    Please view the link in my comment above yours.

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 08:27 am

    Hannah, I've gone deep into the rabbit hole of alleged voter fraud in this election. There's very little substance to the Trump campaign's narrative right now, but he's managed to convince 70% of Republicans that the election was stolen.

    Right wing talk show hosts, with the exception of Hugh Hewitt, sound like Alex Jones right now. Rush Limbaugh at least prefaces his urban legends with, "I don't know if this is true, but I think it probably is." The 135k ballot dump in Michigan, the early morning ballots delivered in Detroit, the Sharpies -- these have all been debunked, but they're still being spread as gospel.

    Trumpism has so poisoned the Republican Party and his evangelical supporters until both are bearing false witness against election workers and voters and trying to destroy confidence in the fairest and freest election system in history. That's not patriotism, it's selfishness.

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 03:33 pm

    The mainstream media do not get to determine the winner, but neither do Republican politicians or conservative media.

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 09:57 am

    Good, you agree that none of the media determine the winner. So, the present declaration of former Vice President Joe Biden as the winner is admittedly a false narrative.

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 03:17 pm

    No, Hannah. Joe Biden is the "projected" winner of the race. The AP is right. The false narrative is, "I WON WISCONSIN"; "I WON BIG." The false narrative is that the election was stolen, and that fraud in big cities stole it.

    The false narrative is that Trump is defending the integrity of our electoral system, when he's actually systematically and wrongfully destroying Republicans' trust in it.

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 03:17 pm

    No, Hannah. Joe Biden is the "projected" winner of the race. The AP is right. The false narrative is, "I WON WISCONSIN"; "I WON BIG." The false narrative is that the election was stolen, and that fraud in big cities stole it.

    The false narrative is that Trump is defending the integrity of our electoral system, when he's actually systematically and wrongfully destroying Republicans' trust in it.

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 03:33 pm

    The mainstream media do not get to determine the winner, but neither do Republican politicians or conservative media.

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 10:02 am

    You're getting closer to the truth: Who or what does determine the winner?

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 10:16 am

    The voters determine the winner, and they have. 

    The AP is right to project that, based on the vote counts, the electoral college will elect Joseph Biden to be the next President of the United States.

    Unfortunately, Republicans have proven to be poor losers with authoritarian impulses, and are not accepting the will of the people.

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Mon, 11/09/2020 11:14 pm

    Funny, I don't recall anyone, Republican or Democrat, complaining about the media calling the shot on the projected winner in 2016. And everyone knows it's a projected winner--the media itself states that often enough. Oh yes, I also recall Trump's chasing the white rabbit of voter fraud down the bottomless pit anyway in 2016, because he decided that Clinton could not possibly have won the popular vote  by three million. He wasted tax payer money pursuing this made-up story until the investigators just let their investigation fizzle out due to lack of any evidence at all. Other lies Trump told concerning his inauguration--the sun came out when it never did--it rained the whole time, and the size of the crowd. I believe he even said the media faked the photos to show that Obama's inaugural crowd was actually bigger than his own. He and Giulianni are two of a kind. I've learned many years ago not to trust or believe a word that either of them say. I just cannot believe that five states, even the ones with Republican secretaries of state and bi-partisan squads of vote counters are all wickedly colluding to pull off what would be the biggest voter fraud in American history. Even Democrats don't have that much control over institutional procedures. It doesn't work that way folk. Just because Trump is a dishonest liar doesn't mean that everyone else is. That's a projection onto others of what he sees in himself.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 02:48 pm

    Frankly, Joe Biden is going to be President. But Pres. Trump has the right to present challenges in court and for those concerns to be adjudicated. Voter fraud in the USA does happen. Look up Richard Daley-1960-KennedyvsNixon and LBJ-Texas-FDR. So he'll have his day in court and that will be that.

    "Unfortunately, Republicans have proven to be poor losers with authoritarian impulses, and are not accepting the will of the people."  It is very difficult sometimes to lose with grace, especially in a close contest and with all that's at stake. Many Democrats (including Hillary Clinton) refused to accept Pres. Trump as legitimate because "Vladimir Putin" put him in office and they pounded the airwaves for years with that tale. I have relatives that to this day believe the conspiracy theory, manufactured by Democrats, that Trump was elected only because he "colluded" with Russia. So I guess it would be accurate to say "Unfortunately, Democrats have proven to be poor losers with authoritarian impulses, and are not accepting the will of the people."

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 03:26 pm

    Big Jim, Trump tweeted today that he won in Wisconsin. That's a lie. Not a matter of opinion. 

    The issue is not that Trump is adjudicating these issues in court, or only that he is not a gracious loser. It's that he is making false accusations and trying to demolish the American electoral system for personal gain, and Republicans and evangelicals are complicit with him in his attempt to suppress the vote.

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 03:22 pm

    "Thank you, my friends. Thank you. Thank you, thank you so very much for being here and I love you all, too.

    Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for and I'm sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.

    But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together, this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life."
    -Hillary Clinton

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Tue, 11/10/2020 04:19 pm

    As I said, this will work through the courts rather swiftly and then almost everyone can be confident of the outcome. There are a lot of Republicans and evangelicals who need that kind of closure - allegations of corruption by big city political machines didn't start with Donald Trump.

    As far as the quote from Hillary, that's politispeak. Most politicians are good at that. More importantly, what has she done in the four years since then: "[made] false accusations and [tried] to demolish the American electoral system for personal gain" by constantly repeating the lie of Russian collusion. "The false narrative is that [Hillary] is defending the integrity of our electoral system, when [she's] actually systematically and wrongfully destroying [Democrats'] trust in it."

    The fact is, once the electoral college has voted Donald Trump will leave office. And, like Hillary, will claim "I was robbed" until the cows come home. 

  • TIM MILLER
    Posted: Thu, 11/12/2020 10:28 am

    I'm all for ensuring the accuracy of the results. That's not what's going on here. Conservative lawyer James Bopp actually is suing to invalidate the results of three entire counties in Michigan - 1.2 million votes - which would give the Michigan election to Trump.

    I am pro-life, and I vote pro-life. It literally is my #1 issue.

    But if the Republican have their way, my vote and 1.2 million others will not count. This is wrong, and people who claim to be Republicans should stand up against it.