Headlines: November 4, 2020
Listen to story:
Download: mp3 (Duration: 8:14 — 7.5MB)
President Donald Trump claimed on election night from an event at the White House that he had effectively won the Presidency even though several states remained undecided, millions of votes had yet to be counted, and he was behind in the electoral college vote tally. He echoed this sentiment on social media and Twitter and Facebook responded by flagging the statements as false. Democratic Nominee Joe Biden slammed them as “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect.” Trump’s words should come as no surprise however considering that he had already laid out his strategy in public ahead of the election. Even his own adviser Chris Christie scolded him for claiming victory saying, “There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight.”
According to Associated Press as of now, Joe Biden has 248 Electoral College votes, 22 shy of the 270 needed to win the Presidency. Biden so far leads in the popular vote 50.22% to Trump’s 48.16%. Polls showing Biden with a narrow lead in the key states of Texas and Florida proved to be wrong as Trump won both on election day. In Florida in particular, a surge of Latino voters apparently helped the President have an edge. Biden won the traditionally Republican state of Arizona and New Mexico, and is leading in Nevada. In Pennsylvania more than a million mail-in ballots are yet to be counted as Trump shows a lead. But that lead could evaporate when the Democratic-heavy mail-in votes are included. The Republican Party has sued to block the counting of some mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. Although AP has declared Biden the winner in Wisconsin, Trump has now said his campaign will demand a recount of Wisconsin’s votes even though he had been claiming there should be no vote counting after election day. On election night Trump also wanted vote counting to continue in Arizona but not in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Biden has already set a record for winning more votes than any other Presidential candidate in U.S. history, including the previous record-holder Barack Obama. On election night Mr. Biden gave an optimistic assessment. His campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon announced on Wednesday that Biden will win Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, thereby cinching the election.
As Trump held a potential Covid-19 super-spreader event inside the White House with hundreds of people crowded around one another without masks, outside protesters gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza. The Washington Post described it saying, “A carnival-like atmosphere pervaded the streets around the White House early Tuesday night, but the scene gradually grew more tense and gave way to moments of friction as the outcome of the election remained in flux as of 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. Just a handful of supporters of President Trump were among the crowd.” One activist spoke to a reporter explaining why he was there. Meanwhile DC police are investigating the stabbing of 4 people associated with the Proud Boys men’s nationalist pro-Trump group at the protests. The injuries were not life-threatening. Overall, the entire election was conducted without the violence that many fear would transpire.
Control of the Senate is also at stake in the November 3rd election and while Democrats were hoping to wrest control from Republicans that is looking increasingly unlikely. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell handily beat Democrat Amy McGrath and top Republican Lindsey Graham pushed past his challenger Jaime Harrison on Tuesday night. By Wednesday, Susan Collins of Maine officially won her race beating Sara Gideon. While Democrats flipped two red seats blue in Colorado with John Hickenlooper and in Arizona with Mark Kelly, Republican Tommy Tuberville beat Senator Doug Jones in Alabama, flipping that seat back to red.
In House races, all four members of the so-called “squad” easily won reelection. They include popular progressive Congresswomen of color Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. In fact the ranks of the “squad” increased with a win by Cori Bush in Missouri who became the first black woman to represent that state in Congress. Additionally three progressives from New York won: Jamaal Bowman as well as Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, the nation’s first two Black openly gay representatives. New Mexico’s entire delegation to the House of Representatives is now three women of color including indigenous freshman Congresswoman Deb Haaland who won reelection. Republicans counted Marjorie Taylor Greene’s election to Congress as a victory. Taylor Greene is a white conservative member of the Trump-supporting QAnon cult that holds bizarre conspiratorial and racist beliefs.
Notable Democratic wins in state legislatures include Delaware’s Sarah McBride who becomes the nation’s first transgender state senator. Kim Jackson in Georgia and Torrey Harris in Tennessee became their states’ first openly gay state lawmakers.
In California, the nation’s most populous, and one of the most liberal states, a number of critical ballot propositions were being closely watched. The most expensive measure in the state’s history, Proposition 22, sponsored by the rideshare companies Lyft and Uber, won. The proposition overturned a state law that would have forced companies to treat gig workers as employees. Stock values for both corporations rose after election day. Californians also rejected a rent control measure in a state wracked with high housing prices after property owners lobbied heavily against it. Two criminal justice reform measures reflected the state’s easing position on incarceration as Prop 17 passed allowing parolees to vote, and Prop 20, which would have toughened sentences, failed. Most notably District Attorney Jackie Lacey is on track to lose her seat to challenger George Gascón. Lacey is a pro-police DA who faced mass, sustained protests by Black Lives Matter activists.
And finally, in wins for progressives, Florida voters approved a $15 an hour minimum wage, Colorado passed a paid family leave bill and rejected a 22-week abortion ban. Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota legalized recreational cannabis use while Mississippi voters approved of medical marijuana. But in a major loss, Louisiana voters approved a measure stating that abortion is not a constitutional right.