By Diana Diamond
My many questions after such a close electionUploaded: Nov 5, 2020
As I write this, the election itself is over, the results are almost in, no one has been declared a presidential winner yet, and I am left with a series of questions about what really has happened and what all this will mean.
So I will ask my questions, hope some of you will try to answer them, and will keep on wondering what we all should do to try to improve all the resultant election problems we are experiencing.
First question, what happened to all those polls that ended up so very wrong -- and now two elections in a row? Last Friday, Oct. 30, the polls were saying Biden had an overall 10-point lead, but over the weekend that lead seemed to suddenly drop to five points, and in some states, a two-point lead. What was happening? No explanation. What did happen? I don't know. Did people say they were voting for Biden, when they really were voting for Trump, as happened in 2016?
Second, while I am a Democrat, I wonder if Biden was the best candidate for his party. Of all the 12 to 15 individuals who announced they were running, he was the best choice, but was he the best the Democrats could find? Was he strong enough? Biden is nice, and campaigned hard to bring people together, which is a wonderful idea, but running against Trump requires an exciting, strong, powerful individual, I think, not just a kind, decent person. If Biden wins, and I achingly hope he does, then he may be the right person. And I wish him good luck in standing up to Mitch McConnell and adroitly figuring out how to get his way in the Senate, and not let Mitch's way prevail.
Third, was Biden's message the right one? He focused his campaign on controlling the pandemic, and getting the spread of this terrible virus controlled. Great idea, because from what I read the pandemic has become the primary public concern in all states. But was it a good election issue? Trump was campaigning on opening up the country, getting businesses moving again, getting people's jobs back preserving the health of the economy. If I was unemployed, which message would appeal to me? If most of Trump's supporters were those with high school rather than college degrees, chances are they were more in need of jobs and money than the college grads and professionals who supported Biden.
Next, how come there was such a massive Republican turnout? The important states for either candidate to win were Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. In nearly all these states, the two candidates were neck-to-neck -- .6 percentage points apart. That is extremely close -- just above a half of one percent. So many races, so extremely close, it's amazing.
Also, the GOP comeback in several states was amazing. The house Dems lost their strong majority, and while they still are the majority, a lot of Dem seats turned over. The Senate was tied Thursday morning, but McConnell is claiming he will again be majority leader.
And what really surprised me was all those Republicans who chose Trump, knowing exactly what they were getting -- a narcissist, a liar, a president who was unable to control the pandemic problem in our country and moreover, took little interest in it, a man who had alienated many of our overseas allies. His voters decided they want more of this. They know his problems, and they have embraced them. Maybe they are angry, like Trump is, and they see themselves in this man. Maybe they don't want to admit they were wrong in 2016. I just don't know.
I fear the effects of this election will remain with us for a long time. We have become a more divided nation than before, one that is separated by class, by education, by a feeling of humiliation in a way that has not occurred in recent years.
If Biden wins, maybe he can bring us together again. I really hope so.
On a much more upbeat note, Palo Alto has elected four really good individuals to its seven-member council: former mayor Pat Burt, incumbents Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka, and council newcomer Greg Stone. I am proud of you all, and good luck!