It’s over, and when all the votes are counted, Joe Biden’s margin of victory in the national popular vote will be in the range of four to five percentage points — slightly more than Obama’s margin over Romney and considerably more than Bush’s over Kerry. I get that we choose our Presidents through the electoral college (although we shouldn’t), but let’s not fall into the trap of confusing the tabulation of electoral votes for an accurate measure of national will. The choice of the American people is clear and unambiguous.
Like many Democrats, I eagerly wanted an even more sweeping repudiation of Donald Trump and a decisive Senate majority. The outcome fell short of that standard and leaves me — just as in 2016 — disoriented by the political preferences of so many millions of my fellow citizens.
But for those of us who have spent the last four years fearing for our democracy, astonished by the normalization of hatred, self-absorption, and corruption, and perpetually wearied by anxiety, disbelief, and despair, it is an overwhelming relief today to take a full, clean breath, express pride once again in the next leader of our country, and feel a greater measure of hope for the future.
Hope is not naivete. The conditions and attitudes that brought Donald Trump to the White House will not simply vanish, our democratic institutions remain fundamentally flawed, the President’s likely refusal to concede graciously (or concede at all) will complicate the peaceful transfer of power, and the intensity of feeling on both sides presages a difficult struggle to heal divisions and bring our nation together. Hard work ahead. Time to begin. God bless America.