It’s over, Don

This is no 2000; time for Republicans to concede and give Joe a chance

Daniel Marchant, Opinion Editor


The election is over. Joe Biden has been declared the winner by news networks. Donald Trump refuses to concede. No matter what side you’re on–I get how things seem overwhelming right now. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve heard is comparisons of this election to the election of 2000. Those are inaccurate, and I will tell you why.

And where we go from here. 

First, since most of us were not alive in the 2000, let me summarize: The candidates were Democratic Vice President Al Gore against Republican Governor of Texas George W. Bush, poster child of former President George H.W. Bush. The campaign was a brutal one, and America was extremely polarized. President Clinton had been impeached after he lied under oath regarding his affair. The Republican Congress had orchestrated investigation after investigation, turning up nothing until they finally hit the jackpot with the affair.

Sound familiar?

On election night, America knew it would be close, but not as close as it was. The first major swing state to be called was Florida, in favor of the Vice President. That alone was probably enough to hand Gore the Presidency. But the Bush camp wasn’t convinced, especially George’s brother Jeb, who was the Governor of Florida. As the night went on, it looked as if the prediction model that networks used had miserably failed–for the first time ever. Florida was moved back into the too-close-to-call column, an unprecedented move. By the early morning hours, it was evident that Florida would decide the election. 

And over a month later, it did.

At 3 a.m. on Wednesday, November 9, 2000, networks called Florida, and the Presidency, for George W. Bush. Vice President Gore called Bush to concede. However, on the way to his concession speech, the miscommunication within the Gore camp came to a head. The networks might not be right, and this election wasn’t over. Gore called again to retract his concession, which had never been done. This made him look like a “sore loser” as many on the Republican side called him, but what was extremely clear is that the election wasn’t over. Hence began the legal fight in Florida. 

Gore wanted a recount. But the election officials in the highest offices in Florida were unusually partisan. The Governor, Jeb Bush, was George’s brother. Florida’s Secretary of State ran Bush’s campaign in Florida. It was in the interests of Republicans, and their superstar lawyers,  to stop any sort of recount. But the Gore campaign got the recount, specifically targeting four counties in which there were voter irregularities. 

The most famous of these? The butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County. 

Unlike Al Gore, Donald Trump doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning the Presidency.  And, unlike any candidate, ever, he is trying to make one. 

Both the Democrats and Republicans had signed off on the ballot, however when the ballots were distributed on election day, the punch holes for Gore and ultra-conservative candidate Pat Buchanan were nearly indistinguishable from each other. Many Democratic voters left the polls that day realizing they had messed up their vote (I will analyze the numbers specifically from this county in a bit).

As the recount deadline arrived, the votes were not finished being counted, and victory was on the horizon for Gore, until the Republican Secretary of State of Florida slammed the brakes and certified the results. However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled for a statewide recount of all disputed ballots statewide. The Republicans took it to the Supreme Court, where in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the recount must be halted, declaring Bush the President. This was an extreme overreach by a partisan Supreme Court; the court had never ruled so heavily, or really at all, in a Presidential election. The votes were according to Florida state law, meaning that it was the jurisdiction of only the Florida Supreme Court to rule on them. 

Now, a look at the “final” numbers.

Statewide, Florida:

Bush: 2,912,790

Gore: 2,912,253

Yes, that is a margin of 537 votes, in an election with more than five million cast. 

Palm Beach County: 

Gore: 269,754

Bush: 152,964

Buchanan: 3,411

As I mentioned, many voters likely accidentally voted for Buchanan in Palm Beach County because of difficult to interpret ballots. The proof? The next highest vote total for Buchanan was in slightly smaller Pinellas County, at 1,013. Palm Beach County is also extremely more liberal than Pinellas, and hence should have had a significantly smaller share of the vote go to Buchanan. Comparisons to the bigger and equally-Democratic voting Miami-Dade County showed only 560 votes went to Buchanan. Almost without a doubt, Gore would have won anywhere from 2,000-3,000 more votes in Palm Beach County alone, if the ballots had been easier to read. The statewide margin was 500. As the recount continued, the margin indicated Gore would have won if it was not halted. Not to mention, a Green Party candidate in the state, Ralph Nader, received over 97,000 votes. 

Clinton, popular in Arkansas and New Hampshire, was sidelined by the Gore campaign because of his affair. Either state would’ve handed Gore the Presidency. Al Gore won the popular vote by over half a million votes nationwide. There were so many factors at play in this extremely close election, and at the end of the day, Gore probably should’ve won it. 

But with all this aside: Gore conceded at the end of the day. He said he disagreed with the results, but for the sake of American democracy, he would concede. 

This time? Not so familiar. 

Republicans are drawing comparisons to the 2000 election with this one, claiming that Trump’s refusal to concede shouldn’t be criticized, as Democrats did the same in 2000.

Take a look at the state of the election. It isn’t a 500-vote margin in only Florida. Biden won by over 150,000 in Michigan. He won by over 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania. He won Wisconsin by 10,000 votes. He won Georgia by 14,000. He won in Nevada by 30,000. And he won here in Arizona by 11,000.

This election was close. But not that close. 

Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada all have certified their votes. Once the votes were certified in 2000, Gore conceded. 

This time? Biden secured 306 electoral votes, meaning that Trump would have to overturn a minimum of three states even to just catch up. And he would need to do that in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Biden won by the largest margins. 

Unlike Al Gore, Donald Trump doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning the Presidency. 

And, unlike any candidate, ever, he is trying to make one. 

From day 1, the Republicans knew that they would most likely lose this election. That is why they have been attempting to undermine the integrity of this election constantly. Trump has repeatedly claimed all mail-in votes are fraudulent, which is far from true. In states like Arizona, we are a (formerly) red state that has relied on mail-in voting for years. 

It is safe–especially during a global pandemic. 

Trump has tried to undermine the post office, appointing one of his own lobbyists as chief who then proceeded to make a series of changes to undermine the speed of ballots. Republicans in swing states tried to do everything possible to eliminate as many mail-in ballots as they could, and still are. 

They tried to cut down on late acceptance of mail in ballots, and succeeded in many places. 

They were successful in preventing Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania from counting these mail-ins before election day. 

And now, they are crying foul about claims of election fraud, without evidence. 

Unlike candidate Al Gore, who’s campaign fought in the courts, President Trump is using his power to try and undermine the election results.

Here’s some debunks:

  • There are not more votes cast than registered voters in Wisconsin. Just under 3.3 million votes were cast, and there are 3.68 million registered voters. 
  • “SharpieGate” here in Arizona? Sharpies were given to ALL voters in this incident, not just Republicans, and there weren’t any problems with the sharpies in the tabulators. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich agrees there is no voter fraud in Arizona. 
  • Eric Trump’s video of “Trump ballots being burnt” in Virginia were actually sample ballots–and viewers clearly see from the video the barcode markings on real ballots were not on these (because they weren’t real ballots). 
  • The video from Pennsylvania of ballot counters “fraudulently filling out ballots” was actually ballot counters fixing ballots which were damaged when being taken out of the envelopes. Both Republicans and Democrats observe this process simultaneously. 
  • The claim of Republican ballots thrown out in a dumpster in Georgia was false; the sheriff found that it was only the empty envelopes used to return the ballots–and the ballots themselves were counted. 
  • Dead people appeared in the voting roles in Michigan (2,503 of them) because they likely died right before the election (yeah, people die, especially during one of the worst pandemics in the history of the world). None of them voted. 

None of these arguments hold any weight. Many point to the surge overnight in the midwestern states that favored Biden as obvious voter fraud. Come on, for real? 

Trump told his supporters to go to the polls, and Biden told his supporters to vote early and by mail. So of course in person voting will heavily favor Trump, while mail-in voting will heavily favor Biden. However, like we mentioned earlier, these midwestern states were not allowed to count mail-ins early because of the challenges by the Republicans. So in Michigan, WIsconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia–it makes sense these surges favor Biden, as they were completely transparent that in person voting was counted first, then mail in voting. This is why Trump also led early by big margins in all these states. 

But how about the states that did the opposite? 

In Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Arizona, they counted the mail-in ballots first, and Biden led early by a lot in all of these states. However, Trump had a huge surge in these states while Biden did in the other, because they began to count their in person voting after the mail-ins. Trump ultimately won those states despite being down by a lot, and Arizona was extremely close. 

There isn’t voter fraud. Republicans are allowed inside the election centers. Both parties alike see there aren’t irregularities. Democratic and Republican officials alike agree on this. The Trump campaign first said he wanted to stop all the counting (when he was winning), while in other states (like Arizona where he lost), he wanted them to count all the votes. 

You don’t get to pick and choose. The argument is flawed because we are counting all the votes–and that is why Joe Biden is winning, and pretty overwhelmingly. 

Don’t believe me yet? Let’s think about what you would have to do to commit voter fraud. If you were to commit fraud with in-person voting, you would have to go to the polling place, know the full name of someone else you are claiming to be, show a form of fake identification that is believable, fake their signature exactly, and then you can vote. Oh but you can’t vote twice, so they might have voted already. 

And if you got this far (with fake ID and perfect signature match), and they did already vote, well you just caught. 

And that’s a felony conviction with a year in prison. But, if you voted, now you just need to cross your fingers that they don’t try to come and vote at all in the election. 

And if by some miracle you succeed with all of that, well you got one extra vote! 

Now, in a state like Arizona where the margin is the closest, you just have to do it tens of thousands of more times without being caught! Yeah, that’s not at all possible, and you know it. How about mail-ins? Well, you would need to stalk someone’s home so you could take the ballot out of the mailbox exactly when it arrives, risking that the homeowner or a neighbor might see you. Then, you need to once again fake the signature exactly. From there, you would need to hope that no one called the elections department to check up on their ballot, or correct it. Now, rinse and repeat tens of thousands of times! 

Election fraud is impossible. There is no organized election fraud in our country–so any individual trying to do this would be extremely unlikely to succeed and thrown in prison, or maybe change the voter makeup by one vote. Granted, most of the people in the country would never even think of doing it.

Now, the Republican failure to acknowledge Biden as the winner is extremely dangerous. For years, Trump has refused to say whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost. He says he will leave on January 20. But he hasn’t exactly spewed truth before, and nothing he has been doing indicates that he will.

So what if he doesn’t? 

Unlike candidate Al Gore, who’s campaign fought in the courts, President Trump is using his power to try and undermine the election results. His Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, when asked about a peaceful transition of power to Biden, said that there would be a peaceful transition to a second Trump term (Note: Pompeo violated the Hatch Act in numerous ways during the RNC by becoming partisan and not an independent state official like he is legally required to be). Attorney General Bill Barr used the Justice Department to investigate voter fraud in the country, and found zero evidence. (Barr is known for being extremely partisan, by overstepping in many cases involving Trump associates and corruption. See: Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, etc). The Republican Majority leader of the Senate is refusing to acknowledge Biden as the winner, rather insisting all votes must be counted. (This time four years ago: he urged unity under President-elect Trump in a significantly closer election). This is the final sputtering stop in a degrading of respect for democracy by the Republican Party. We need to hold them accountable at the ballot box in the future. But for now, we the people need to fight to make sure that Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. 

This election is over, folks. It’s time for Trump to concede. Keep in mind, Trump won by under 30,000 votes total in the three midwestern states in 2016, in which a flip in any one of them would’ve given Clinton the Presidency. 

Yet she still called and conceded on election night. 

This isn’t like Gore’s election–because this election is in many states, and it isn’t close. 

It’s over Trump. Americans have spoken, and that’s okay. Sometimes you win some, and sometimes you lose some. 

If you supported Trump, I know how you feel. I was a Clinton volunteer in 2016. It isn’t fun. But you always should remain hopeful. I remained hopeful for Trump. I was wrong. But there is a clear difference between the 2016 Trump campaign and the 2020 Biden campaign. Trump’s campaign incited a lot of hate, while Biden’s message has been unwavering: unity. Joe Biden is just an incredible guy when you strip policy aside. And while you might have policy disagreements, give him a chance. Barack Obama didn’t destroy our country; in fact he brought us out of a recession. And Joe Biden is a lot more moderate than Obama–he will do the same, so have faith and give him a chance. 

This election was ugly. but we all need to accept the facts and move forward together: united, under God (or not, freedom of religion), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.