For everyone still asking “how can it be so close,” the answer is: it’s not. Based on current projections, Joe Biden will win the White House with a greater popular vote margin than Hillary Clinton and somewhere north of 300 electoral votes. In any other cycle, we might not call that a blowout, but it would certainly be a solid win.
If your question is “how is it possible Donald Trump is seen as a viable alternate in the first place?” the answer is: I don’t know.
But one thing that’s exceptionally clear on the day after the election, is that while Biden came out late in the evening to tell the nation, correctly, to have patience and trust in the process, Trump stepped up at 2 AM to do the opposite. Trump’s false claim of victory, and his attempt to murder the election in mid vote, may be the most dangerous statement Trump has ever made. And that’s saying a lot, for Mr. Maybe We Can Inject Bleach.
Stepping in front of the cameras in the early hours, Trump falsely claimed both that Democrats were trying to steal the election, and that he had already won the election. Repeatedly during his tirade Trump made it seem that people were still voting after the polls closed, rather than simply counting the votes that had already been made. And Trump reached straight for his big gun, saying that he intended to go to the Supreme Court, though he gave no clue on what basis or through what mechanism he would seek to appeal … democracy.
No one sitting through Tuesday evening, or looking at where things stand on Wednesday morning, should be surprised. This is exactly the scenario that was predicted over and over.
Trump and other Republicans worked hard to throw as many monkey wrenches into the works as they could. They’ve already launched, lost, appealed, and tried again on everything from halting drive-up voting locations, to throwing out whole boxes of mail-in votes. This is literally the effort Trump put underway months ago. It’s the reason he employed DeJoy to wreck the Post Office, and the reason he was so determined to seat Amy Coney Barrett before the election.
Trump thought he would lose, and set up a process to make it seem like he hadn’t. Now he’s executing that plan. On Wednesday morning, that plan looked like Trump standing in front of a hundred maskless supporters to lie about winning, call counting the vote “stealing,” and make false claims of fraud.
“To me, this is a very sad moment,” said Trump. He also said that it was an embarrassment to the nation. On those two points, Trump is right. Though not for the reasons he believes.
The voting has stopped. The counting will continue. Trump will keep complaining. Because this has been his plan all along.