Election Eve

We asked for your election predictions. Here are the results.

Good evening. Voting in the 2020 presidential election ends tomorrow.

Survey Says...

This is it: the final countdown. Tomorrow, voters who haven’t yet cast their ballots will head to the polls and make their voices heard. Then, most Americans will participate in the time-honored tradition of anxiously watching TV news and social media for election results all through the night. As of right now, it seems unlikely that we’ll know who the President-Elect is on Tuesday night, but if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that all my predictions are wrong, and nothing my imagination can come up with is nearly as wild as reality.

Hopefully, you’re better at predicting the future than I am though because on Friday we asked you for your Election 2020 predictions, and y’all are an optimistic bunch. Here’s what American Interregnum readers think will happen:

95% of respondents believe Joe Biden will win the Presidential election, that Democrats will take a Senate majority and gain seats in the House. I reckon this is in part because, well, the polls suggest these outcomes are likely, but also our audience is invested in these outcomes.

You’re less optimistic on when we’ll know the results of the Presidential election. Most of you believe that we’ll know within 24-72 hours of the polls closing, but an equal number of you believe we’ll have to wait more than a week!

50.9% of you believe that Donald Trump won’t definitively concede the election even if he loses, and 41.8% of you are a hard no on the possibility of a Trump concession. That's shocking: only 7% believe the President of the United States will definitively concede if he loses the election.

We also asked you how you voted or planned to vote. This was the most interesting question to me. 53.6% of you voted just like I did, dropping your mail-in ballot off at a drop box or polling place. 28.2% of you voted early in person. Almost no one plans to vote on Election Day.

Finally, we asked what your biggest concern is and what races you are following. Unsurprisingly American Interregnum readers are worried about voter suppression, post-election violence (shout out to all of you who specified you were worried about white supremacist or police violence), the pandemic, and Trump refusing to leave office. Despite your optimistic predictions, a few of you are, understandably, worried that your predictions are wrong.

As for races you’re watching, this was all over the map. Our readers are political nerds and your answers were delightfully nerdy. Most everyone is watching at least one Senate race, and South Carolina is on a lot of your radars. Followed closely by GA, NY, KY, and Maine. You also mentioned house races or politics in the state where you live.

Thanks for your responses- we’ll be in your inbox again on Wednesday, when the interregnum begins.


Handy Chart of Big Tech’s Post Election Policies

Just because you might want the reference, here’s our chart of tech platform policies (or lack of policies) for the post-election period.

Driving the Conversation 

…But there are still some leaders who are willing to put up a fight to defend it. Instead of haunting the halls of Congress, they’ve been hunkered down in regional union halls, making plans for after November 3. A huge swath of the labor movement has already mobilized to get out the vote, but even with Biden enjoying the endorsements of basically every major union, labor leaders are still feeling nervous about the outcome, especially if traditional labor strongholds like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are slow to tally votes. (Just last week, the Supreme Court ruled to invalidate absentee ballots in Wisconsin that arrive late even if they are postmarked and sent in time, and Republicans have attempted to force similar maneuvers in Pennsylvania.) 

White Americans suppressing, terrorizing, threatening and killing non-white people because of their votes is more commonplace in America than free and fair elections (To be fair, Black people are still waiting for the first free and fair American election.) But because our social studies curriculum teaches us about cherry tree-chopping, “states rights” and other forms of American exceptionalism, we are left with an inability to contextualize this current political climate.

No, my friends, America is not “better than this.”

Dozens of historians of fascism and authoritarianism have signed a letter warning that democracy “is either withering or in full-scale collapse globally”, and urging ordinary people to take action.

“Democracy is extremely fragile and potentially temporary, requiring vigilance and protection,” the scholars wrote in the letter released on Sunday. “It is not too late to turn the tide.”

No American President has ever been charged with a criminal offense. But, as Donald Trump fights to hold on to the White House, he and those around him surely know that if he loses—an outcome that nobody should count on—the presumption of immunity that attends the Presidency will vanish. Given that more than a dozen investigations and civil suits involving Trump are currently under way, he could be looking at an endgame even more perilous than the one confronted by Nixon. The Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said of Trump, “If he loses, you have a situation that’s not dissimilar to that of Nixon when he resigned. Nixon spoke of the cell door clanging shut.” Trump has famously survived one impeachment, two divorces, six bankruptcies, twenty-six accusations of sexual misconduct, and an estimated four thousand lawsuits. Few people have evaded consequences more cunningly. That run of good luck may well end, perhaps brutally, if he loses to Joe Biden. Even if Trump wins, grave legal and financial threats will loom over his second term.

Our electoral system was not built to withstand a sustained assault on its legitimacy. We are capable of defending it, but that is a collective enterprise. A healthy start would be to recognize that the assault has yet to begin in earnest. Election Day and the period to follow will be moments of maximum temptation for Trump. Can he find a way to interfere with the tabulation of votes? Impound ballots in the mail? Dispatch armed personnel to quell alleged disturbances in Democratic neighborhoods?

The battle for American democracy will not be fully joined until the counting starts. That’s when Trump will tell us that his predictions have come true—that the whole procedure is rife with fraud, that the tally is rigged against him, and that no one can be trusted except Trump himself to tell us who won and who lost. The vital questions are whether and how he will try to use his power to subvert the results.

If Trump tries to artificially halt vote-counting or throw out ballots, the next step is “getting into the streets,” Hunter said. A coalition called Protect the Results, which includes both Choose Democracy and Color of Change PAC, is calling for nationwide marches on November 4 and November 7 to demand full vote-counting. They’re not the only ones coordinating action after the election. The Frontline, a campaign organized by the Working Families Party, the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, and others, is hosting a virtual town hall on November 4 to organize protests or other actions. “We intend to make sure every vote is counted,” Jessica Byrd, founder of the Electoral Justice Project and leader of the Frontline, told Vox.

Call To Action 

Protect the Results is organizing demonstrations across the country to prepare for a constitutional crisis. Sign up to join in your neck of the woods:

Your Moment of Cute

Thanks so much for reading today. We’ll be back for a post-election recap on Wednesday. 

I wanted to share my all-time favorite election-related video with you. When I was working on the Obama campaign in 2012 this little girl went viral on the Internet and in campaign HQ in the final days of the campaign. She is every exhausted, overworked, overemotional campaign staffer. She is every volunteer who has spent the past four days getting out the vote. She is every voter who has seen a million ads, lawn signs, and received countless phone calls. This little girl is all of us.

American Interregnum is a pop-up newsletter covering the Presidential transition period from November 3rd, 2020 to January 21st, 2021. It is written and edited by Justin Hendrix, Greg Greene, and Melissa Ryan. Got questions or comments? We love your feedback. Reply directly to this email. We read all responses and respond to most.