Well, if there’s one thing we can be sure of after Election Day 2020, it’s that our configuration of national polls is terribly broken. Yes, we already knew that from 2016, but there was at least some expectation that pollsters – whose entire livelihoods depend on actually getting it right – had implemented some improvements since then. They had four solid years to tinker with their models. What have they been doing? As the election results rolled in on Tuesday night, it became quickly obvious that we were watching a repeat of 2016 – not just down to the states but down to the polling errors as well. No matter who ultimately wins this election, pollsters are the undeniable losers.
That said, who will win is a matter of far greater importance and a matter of far less certainty. As of this writing – Wednesday morning at 10:48 a.m. – we would probably rather be Joe Biden than Donald Trump. The race is up in the air in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina. Trump is solid in several of these states, and he is expected to take them home. However, he needs to keep his “blue wall” victory of 2016 if he wants to retain the presidency, and it is in those states that his lead appears the least enduring. They are counting mail-ins as we speak, and everyone expects those mail-ins to favor Biden by a wide margin.
“We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election,” Trump tweeted in the early morning hours after the vote. “We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
In another tweet, he wrote: “We will win this and as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.”
He reiterated that sentiment in a speech from the White House at around 4 in the morning, vowing to take the Democrats to the Supreme Court if that’s what it takes to stop them from counting late ballots.
Given the closeness of the race and the legal threats from both sides, it is not unthinkable that we will see a protracted court battle over the results of this election. At the end of the day, it may indeed come down to a Supreme Court decision.
No matter what happens from here on out, it is clear that Trump massively outperformed expectations and improved on his popular vote total from 2016. Biden may ultimately snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but if Democrats were hoping that this election would be a nationwide rejection of the MAGA agenda, they are disappointed today.
And whichever of these men wind up with the presidency, they will govern over a nation that may be even more divided than it was four years ago.