This article was written early Wednesday morning on Nov. 4. All of the content below may not reflect current election results.
Election Night 2020 brought moments of high tension as the presidential race was neck and neck, with Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes serving as the proverbial key to the White House.
However, a clear winner has not been decided in PA, due to the high amounts of mail-in ballots that have yet to be counted.
“This election shows just how powerful social construction theory is. It also shows us the foundation on which John Locke’s conception of political authority that the United States is built around us being abused,” Owen Belfiore, a political science major at The College of Wooster, said.
Throughout the evening, polls projected that President Trump was in the lead in PA, however, mail-in ballots ceased to be counted early in the night. It was also projected before election night, though, that results in PA would not be finalized until Friday, Nov. 6, at the earliest. A number of other swing states joined PA in being critical to the race but too close to call a definitive winner on election night. These states included Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin.
Biden, addressed his “drive-in amphitheater” in Delaware around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, claiming that he was confident that “it’s going to take time to count the votes, but we’re going to win Pennsylvania.”
“Your patience is commendable. We knew this was gonna go on, but who knew we were going to go into tomorrow morning and maybe even longer? But look, we feel good about where we are…we believe we’re on track to win this election,” Biden said. “We knew because of the unprecedented early vote, that it was going to take a while…it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
However, President Donald Trump wrote the following in a Tweet early Wednesday morning: “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!”
“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election, that’s up to the American people,” Biden said.
Later on in the evening at approximately 2:15 a.m., Trump gave a speech from the White House where he prematurely declared victory, a move that brought widespread scrutiny.
“This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump said. “We were getting ready to win this election, frankly, we did win this election.”
Edward Meena, a history professor at Point Park, questioned the process of democratization if Trump made an early statement declaring himself the winner without all the mail-in votes counted.
“You have to let the process play out and the thing about it is that you hope what would happen is other people in high standing in the Republican party would get involved and try and make this process something that people have some belief in because if you don’t and they’re able to demonize and minimize this whole effort, all the work people put into this, that’s a situation that bodes very badly for the whole country, for tomorrow and for the next [election],” Meena said.
Meena also provided a historical point of view regarding the American attitude towards the electoral process.
“Because when people start to lose confidence in their institutions and your rule of law, just look at ancient Rome and you’ll see the final result. They lost the rule of law and they lost the belief in their institutions and they weren’t able to maintain the commitment to that entity which was Rome and it just disappeared.”
Meena noted that while there are more registered Democrats in the state of Pennsylvania, that does not guarantee the state will turn blue for Biden.
“It’s interesting because in Pennsylvania the state Supreme Court ruled because there’s more Democrats, it doesn’t mean that how’s it always goes that they could get the extra three days,” Meena said. “So they took it to the U.S. Supreme Court and they ruled there’s not enough time to make a decision and implement it so we’ll look at it some other day. So that pretty much ended that.”
The Republican Party is still fighting for the Pennsylvania courts to look over their case, alleging that mail-in ballots are not being handled properly by election officials. On Wednesday afternoon, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held a hearing at 1:30 p.m. to address a petition for a preliminary injunction against Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Kathy Boockvar, who helps to oversee the election. Petitioners include Republican candidate Joe Hamm running for Pennsylvania’s 84th District in the state House of Representatives and Republican Congressman Mike Kelly running for Pennsylvania’s 16th District in the United States House of Representatives. As this article was written prior to this hearing, the results of that hearing are not known for the purposes of this article.
Texas has also experienced some attempted court challenges about voting.
“You had a situation in Texas where they had drive-through voting. You see they went to the state Supreme Court in Texas which are all Republicans and they all shot it down. They said there’s nothing wrong, there’s no violation of the U.S. or state constitution. Then they went to a federal judge and he shot it down. So [Republicans] haven’t had much success and one of the reasons is they waited too late,” Meena said.
Meena stated that the Republican Party seems to no longer care about the way they are perceived nationally by people and polling institutions anymore compared to 2016.
“I don’t think they were putting much stock into the polls. Now they figure all challengers have a lead then it closes but what happened was the pandemic and secondly President Trump’s demonstration. His appearance in the first debate really hurt him with a lot of undecided voters. If he loses the election that’s why he lost it,” Meena said.
In a Tweet flagged by Twitter, Trump tweeted that “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” at 12:49 a.m. on Wednesday. Twitter said that the reason this is automatically obscured from users unless they click on it is that “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”