End it. End it now

Every morning now I get up and check the election returns, groan in disgust, and never look again until the next day. The first day or two, yes, it was ambiguous, the counts were incomplete, it was a close contest and it’s fair to avoid calling it for one or the other. That’s not the case anymore, though — the ineluctability of the math means it’s clear that Biden wins Pennsylvania, tacking 20 electoral college votes onto the 253 he already has, pushing him over the 270 vote threshold and making him the president-elect.

However, the television networks, which have somehow become the final arbiter of our electoral process, have been reluctant to declare an end to the four antic years of the reality TV presidency. Maybe they fear losing my once-a-day click on their news sites (because they will; I never want to hear from CNN or FoxNews ever again). Even the newspapers seem to regret that Trump’s chances are “fading”.

I know my country is afraid of math, but it’s kind of unavoidable when you’re tallying up the votes of a few hundred million people. Accept it. Only now are the news media, cowards that they are, beginning to question the wisdom of airing Trump’s lies. Hey, maybe post-election, Twitter will finally attain a spine sufficiently rigid to finally ban Trump’s racist ass, as they finally did Bannon.

Also, while I’m speaking of math and counting the hordes, I’m tired of the claim that Pennsylvania is going to win this for the Biden/Harris camp. It is only a quirk of the timing of the count and variations in election law that mean Pennsylvania might carry this one across the finish line — the whole country had to struggle and work together to barely eject the fascist/racist slug.

Another reason to end it now: the Republican cheaters are working hard to call any results into question. A couple of QAnon supporters were caught trying to smuggle a truckload of fake ballots into Philadelphia. You know they were going to try to blame the Democrats for ballot fraud, it’s just that they were caught doing it first.

Two armed Virginia men who were arrested Thursday outside the Philadelphia Convention Center were “coming to deliver a truck full of fake ballots” to the city, CNN affiliate KYW reported, citing prosecutors.

The center is one of the places where election workers have been counting votes from the 2020 general election, which includes the race for president.

Text messages reveal that the men were concerned about the tallying of votes at the convention center, prosecutors said, according to KYW.

Right. Because bringing fake ballots to the election center is exactly the thing to alleviate people’s concerns.

Both men were carrying loaded handguns, and police found an AR-type rifle in the Hummer, authorities said at a news conference Friday. About 160 rounds of ammunition were found in the weapons and the vehicle, authorities said.

We need to end this election farce because at some point we’re going to have to confront the seditious armed militias and conspiracy theorists who have rallied behind the worst president ever.


  1. says

    FWIW here’s my take.
    Trump is refusing to concede because a) he’s Trump and b) he still hopes to find a way to stay in power that doesn’t depend on votes. He never cared about truth or relity or justice after all.

    Biden is waiting for either a concession from Trump or an offical certified count before he says much, so as not to inflame the Trumpsters. I think he might be right to wait, frustrating though it is.

    I don’t really understand why the networks aren’t calling it though.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Of course, the Right will claim that this is a FALSE FLAG OPERATION to distract America for the BIDEN CRIME FAMILY’S to steal the election from DONALD TRUMP AND AMERICAN PATRIOTS!!!

    (Note: All capitalization is ironic.)

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    EDIT: … to distract America from the BIDEN CRIME FAMILY’S scheme to steal the election…

  4. says

    They really should call it at this point. Trump needs each and every state that hasn’t been called yet. Biden needs just one. That’s the way it’s been since Wednesday. I remember checking Politico on Wednesday morning and realizing that with Nevada and Arizona, Biden had 270 even. Since then Georgia and Pennsylvania have also swung that way. The odds of a legitimate Trump victory are nonexistent.

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    I’m tired of the claim that Pennsylvania is going to win this for the Biden/Harris camp.

    I agree. It’s like when a sportsball team wins the game 114-113, and the talk about the guy who made the “winning shot.” – But – every one of those points was necessary for the win.

  6. davidc1 says

    If it was a British General Election ,the winning candidate would already be in no 10 Downing St ,moving their stuff in ,and
    measuring for new carpets and curtains .

  7. says

    This is just the media overreacting to their own screwups in 2000, when CNN (in particular, but not alone) called Florida for Gore, only to be reversed after all was resolved through the courts and a partisan/borderlinish elected supervisor of elections. <RhetoricalQuestion> But what’s wrong with having an election to determine the supervisor of elections? </RhetoricalQuestion>

    In short, Management doesn’t trust its own corrective measures put in place and tested in four elections since. Which says something very uncomplimentary about both Management and the corrective measures. Not to mention about the means of counting votes.

    Besides which, it’s not over until 1201 EST on 20 January 2021 anyway. The blame games have already started, with the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission being demoted because he wasn’t sufficiently pro-coal to influence the results in southwestern Pennsylvania (already maxed out for the incumbent).

  8. davidc1 says

    A bit off topic ,but some rascal changed the name of a trump supporters faceache page to Gay Communists For Socialism ,lol.

  9. robro says

    Not that it matter a whole lot, but ABC News has just called Pennsylvania for Trump which puts Biden at 273.

    My partner just gave a shout because the NY Times, her fav, has given the election to Biden/Harris.

  10. kome says

    Remember, for decades conservatives have been casting “The Media” as a tool of liberals and, much more explicitly during the Trump administration, as an enemy of the people and threat to the country. And “The Media”, caring more about access than accuracy, have faithfully fallen in line with that framing, having foolishly accepted that that’s the only way to keep the precious precious ratings up. So, they have gone out of their way to be beholden to conservatives for as long as possible, even in the face of overwhelming evidence or logic to no longer prop up conservative people or conservative ideas. Hell, during the last presidential election we heard from Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, that Trump may be bad for America but he’s good for CBS.

    If the numbers were reversed, all major media outlets would have called this for Trump by lunchtime Wednesday.

  11. Kagehi says

    You know what is even more truly stupid PZ, the networks seem to be lying about those numbers. If you google election results the “Associated Press” version shows Biden with 264 (6 less than needed), not 253, and has been showing that number for 3 days, while the counting completes. So.. why the F would the “TV news” be intentionally missing the actual number by 11? I mean, I know why Fox would be doing that, but.. the rest of them? Also, if they are still doing that as of this morning, then they are, again, lying. The update, as of a few seconds ago when I checked, from AP, is 284 to 214 (as in Trump has gained nothing in days, and has officially lost it all).

  12. Howard Brazee says

    There have been demands (on Fox News and elsewhere) that electors vote unfaithfully. I don’t know what would happen if they are threatened enough to do so.

  13. evolutionaryautistic says

    I’ve seen soooo many accusations of “cheating”. I mean, Philadelphia literally has one of the most transparent counting operations in the country. The problem is, the right wingers that are easily tricked by conspiracies (like the ones who are Qanon, or Covid conspiracy nuts) will think that the election is being “stolen”, and will then spread that misinformation around.

    People are wondering why mail-in ballots are overwhelmingly democrat, but ignore the entire fact that Trump has repeatedly encouraged his followers to vote in person.

    I wish I was old enough to vote. I did encourage a dental hygienist to vote for Biden, though. : )

  14. canadiansteve says

    The contortion of logic that one needs in order to believe that the best way to combat cheating is to commit better cheating is critical to maintaining these conspiracy theories. To actually try and stop any fraud would mean they would have to find what kind of fraud is actually being committed in order to find a solution. Since there is no evidence of any fraud actually being committed this would be self defeating for the theory. Thus the solution is not to fix the problem, but to try and out-cheat the cheaters.
    The logic of gun-fondlers is basically parallel. They claim they need the guns for safety because of all those bad guys out there with guns. But instead of the solution that would actually fix the problem – prevent bad actors from having guns – they would rather commit to an arms race of flooding the system with ever more guns.

  15. says

    Maybe the reason is that AP and FOX jumped the gun a little with AZ, where Maricopa county results were still going in and were reducing Biden lead – not enough to keep it red, but enough that AZ shouldn’t be called yet.
    So calling any more state would mean calling Biden president, so networks were waiting just to be safe, as any state called would mean the end of race or maybe they are afraid that recounts and lawsuits may change something

  16. anat says

    Kagehi @12: The 11 EV difference is about Arizona. Most networks decided not to call it those few days ago, and indeed the votes counted there later leaned more towards Trump, but so far not enough to tip it the other way.

  17. cartomancer says

    One troubling thing about the discourse that I was alerted to last week is the way the term “militia” has come into use for what are not actually “militias” (your National Guard is a militia) but rather “armed gangs”. Boggle-eyed right-wing loons with guns are somehow afforded the much more official and much less unnerving title “militia”, to hide their true nature.

  18. billseymour says


    … the television networks, which have somehow become the final arbiter of our electoral process …

    Huh?  Reporting observations isn’t the cause of the things that are observed.

    I’ve been watching mostly PBS and NBC, more the latter because they’ve been on the air about it more.  Regardless of what we thing of Chuck Todd generally, he was very clear that NBC would call Pennsylvania when they were 99.5% confident of the outcome; and that would be when Biden’s lead surpassed the 0.5% margin that triggered a recount.  That happened after Allegheny County’s latest report of results; and so they called Pennsylvania; and they called the presidential race because Pennsylvania put Biden over 270.  I don’t see anything nefarious here.

    Kagehi @12:

    … the networks seem to be lying about those numbers. If you google election results the “Associated Press” version shows Biden with 264 …, not 253, …

    That’s because the AP, and FOX News by the way, called Arizona for Biden when the other networks were still worried about outstanding votes from Maricopa County.  Those votes did indeed narrow Biden’s margin considerably, but probably not enough to make Trump the winner.  Stay tuned…

    (OK, I see that two other commenters have already mentioned the Arizona bit.)

  19. seachange says

    Oh golly gosh one of the media is just now admitting that it’s Fake News when they went ahead and reported everything Trump and his supporters were saying …four four years, learning nothing… …as if it was true or even possibly true… or even news. Oh my poor darndest self to read these so sad crocodile tears.

    I hate defending any thing Donald J Trump says, I really truly do.

  20. davidc1 says

    Saw somewhere on faceache ,some wackaloons are going to gather somewhere ,i think it was El Paso .
    And another loon is so upset at the result ,he is leaving America ,and going to live in Hawaii ,i kid you not.

  21. consciousness razor says

    One troubling thing about the discourse that I was alerted to last week is the way the term “militia” has come into use for what are not actually “militias” (your National Guard is a militia) but rather “armed gangs”.

    Indeed. Sometimes I think maybe it’s a lost cause, since it’s been the name given by most of the media for those types of thugs for decades now. If that’s what the white guys call themselves, that’s all the papers have ever needed to “report” it uncritically to their readers, while of course there’s no tendency to legitimize other gangs.

    It’s also worth pointing out that almost nobody would find it acceptable for a military unit (regular or irregular) to have child soldiers. Yet when there are kids associated with “militias” or taking part in their activities, like Kyle Rittenhouse for a recent example, they never ask who in the supposed command of this quasi-official entity should be removed from their position and face charges for the obvious human rights violations (or war crimes, if there were a war to speak of). The most you may hear, if someone’s not enthusiastically supporting them, is that the kids must have bad parents…. It’s kind of a weird blind spot. Parents aren’t normally understood to have the authority to organize a militia, yet people still act implicitly like that’s how it works.

  22. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@22 I agree completely! Truce?

    On PZ’s post, I was actually dug in pretty well to wait until Monday if I had to, so it was just an unexpected relief to hear PA called today. I’ll take it though.

  23. lucifersbike says

    Votes in the UK are cast by writing an X against the candidate’s name in pencil. They are counted by hand. Polls close at 10 pm. At the last General Election the tellers in my constituency (one of three in Newcastle upon Tyne) counted 37 474 ballots and declared the winner at 11:27 pm. We don’t have to stand in a line or travel very far to vote – polling stations in towns are usually in a convenient local public building like a school and even small villages will have one – it has been known for somebody’s house to be used in places with no school or shops.
    Unfortunately we still have a monarch, the House of Lords, and the Tory Party but one day …

  24. PaulBC says

    lucifersbike@24 Large parts of the US are not handicapped by any actual difficulty in running elections. The lines are in places where they know they’re not allowed to have a “literacy test” or a poll tax anymore, so they pull out whatever stops are left to suppress the Black vote (and presumably other minorities). It’s a fucking disgrace.

  25. Chakat Firepaw says

    @Kagehi #12:

    The variation is because different media outlets use different standards for when to call a race. There is always going to be variation simply because you can have one with a standard of “needs 20% more of the remaining vote than has been getting thus far,” and one with “requires 80% of the remaining vote.”

    Then you get the places that use a ‘meta standard’ like the CBC: They called states based on being called by three of the five US networks, (ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and NBC), as well as the AP.

  26. wzrd1 says

    I entertained myself by researching approximately how many ballots went into a postal tray, then extrapolating what size of mountain that became with the outstanding ballots to be counted. Turns out to be 200 – 265 ballots per tray and the term mountain was indeed appropriate!
    Those involved in that onerous task deserve our deepest gratitude.

    As for militias, the US has precisely two militias, the organized militia, known as the National Guard and the able-bodied military aged populace (17 – 45 and veterans to age 61) as the unorganized militia. The unorganized militia is mobilized via the selective service system.
    Those who call themselves militia, but are not National Guard are violating the law, as private militias are prohibited in every state.
    Why any state tolerates that bullshit is beyond me.

  27. jackal says

    FYI they updated the story. They are no longer claiming that the suspects had fake ballots. They were apparently in Philly looking for fake ballots. They still had the guns and ammo… because you need a lot of firepower to put down a fake ballot… or something…