It will be “National Candy Day.” In many respects, it will be another weekday in the midst of a global pandemic.
And yet, people could be waking up to an America on the verge of political transformation if the presidential contest is decided — or one gripped by days or weeks of uncertainty over the outcome. (It wasn’t until the early hours of November 9, 2016, the day after the election, that Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the race — and this year’s vote counting may well take a lot longer.)
“American history is filled with moments of change so fundamental that even in retrospect they seem remarkable,” wrote filmmaker Ken Burns. He compared today’s prospects of change to the 1932 election, where a once-popular President Herbert Hoover was trounced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt because he couldn’t change course to ease the suffering of ordinary Americans in the Great Depression.
Coverage of the campaign doesn’t always pay a lot of attention to those in the middle, but they are key to the outcome. Daniel Lubetzky, who founded KIND Snacks, describes himself as a moderate. When Trump was elected, he wrote, “I resisted jumping on the bandwagon of the fervent resisters or die-hard supporters and chose to evaluate the facts as they played out. Because I love my country, I hoped that Trump’s competitive spirit would drive him to do well by the American people.”
A word of caution
Still, on Tuesday there will be huge attention paid to what happens at the polls. And election law experts Richard Hasen and Richard Pildes warn us to be cautious. When an election takes place over 50 states and in thousands of polling places, glitches are inevitable — and often innocuous. “With commentators floating the possibility of a Constitutional crisis, a civil war, breaches in our electronic voting machines and other worst-case scenarios, hypervigilant voters and the media must be careful not to undermine our elections by giving excessive play to typical Election Day problems or hastily spreading viral posts before the facts are verified,” they wrote.
The courts step in
Republicans and Democrats have flooded the courts with last-minute election-related cases as each side maneuvers for maximum advantage, with a particular focus on the US Supreme Court and the newest member of its conservative bloc, Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She didn’t participate in rulings this week that enabled Pennsylvania and North Carolina authorities to count mail-in ballots received after Election Day.
In the final hours of the campaign, Trump and Biden hopscotched the country, trying to shore up their chances in the swing states.
The closing days of the campaign coincided with a new surge of Covid-19 cases around the country. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “We are not going to control the pandemic,” and in doing so, he summed up the fears many have about Trump’s presidency.
As Laurie Garrett pointed out, the President signed a little-noticed executive order that could have a profound effect on the future ability of federal officials to freely follow the science on the pandemic. “It appears to stifle the President’s opponents within the government, posing a particular danger should it affect policymakers who are working tirelessly to fight the Covid-19 epidemic.”
For more on the election:
What comes next?
In a new series for CNN Opinion anchored by SE Cupp, commentators are examining the issues that should be on the agenda of the next President, regardless of who wins.
What the world thinks
Four years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime expected and feared that Hillary Clinton would be elected president, wrote Mikhail Fishman, former editor in chief of the Moscow Times. “Clinton was hawkish on Russia and was expected to marshal a coalition of Western leaders to try to isolate Russia,” he noted. Now the calculation is roughly similar.
Happy birthday, Kim Kardashian
It wasn’t the idea of a 40th birthday party that riled up some of Kim Kardashian’s more than 200 million social media followers. It was the way she shared it.
“To celebrate, the television personality threw herself a big party on a private island and invited along a few dozen friends,” wrote Peggy Drexler.
To her credit, Kardashian acknowledged “how privileged my life is” and how it is “so far out of reach” for most people.
“Everyone deserves some moments of happiness right now,” Drexler wrote. “We should not all be forced to suffer at all times and in all ways just because others are suffering. But a famous person flaunting privilege in this way, right now, is not necessary.”