Election Night: Then and Now (#305)

Over 70 million Americans have spent the week holding their breath. We remember how confident we were four years ago. How we arrogantly assumed that the rest of the country saw Donald Trump for what he was: a hateful, racist, incompetent, misogynistic narcissist who would run the country into the ground.

I watched the numbers roll in on CNN and compared it with the New York Times website. And by 7 PM PST, it was clear that Clinton did not have the votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It was shocking, but true. Numbers don’t lie. The trend was obvious.

My Chinese-American mother-in-law was visiting. She didn’t understand why I was upset. “It will be fine,” she said.

“It will not be fine,” I told her. “With the Senate also Republican, there will be no checks on that man.” I fled to my bedroom.

The cat followed me. Normally, Boss Cat wasn’t allowed in our bedroom at night, because she heaved stuff off the bedside tables if she felt peckish (usually at 4 AM). She slept in Baby D’s room instead. Boss Cat continued sleeping in that room when my mother-in-law took it over during her visit. Sunny complained. We removed Boss Cat and reminded Sunny to keep the door shut. Yet every morning the door was open and Boss Cat was sleeping on the bed with her.

On the utterly awful Election Night of 2016, I told Andy the cat could sleep with us. “Then your mom won’t complain. My sleep is wrecked anyway, and her warm purring is a comfort.” (Boss Cat purrs the same way she does everything else—aggressively).

Andy turned out the light. 10 minutes later, someone tapped tentatively on our door.

Sunny’s voice called, “Is the cat with you?”

Andy called back, “Yes, Ma. Don’t worry, she won’t bother you.”

Sunny opened our door and announced, “I have gotten used to the cat. She keeps me warm and your house is so cold.” (Our house was 70 degrees.)

I surrendered the cat. Andy carried her to his mother’s room. Sunny commenced cooing, “Hel-lo, Boss Cat!” as Andy returned and shut the door.

“Ma really likes the cat. Who knew,” Andy chuckled. “That was nice of you, honey.”

“Might as well be all the way miserable,” I told him. I tossed and turned all night, thinking of how our country was going to be destroyed and looted.

For four years, I watched the Trump Administration reach—and sometimes exceed—my worst expectations. The Muslim and refugee ban. Trying to bring back coal and leaving the Paris Climate Agreement. Children ripped from their parents and put in cages. Supporting white supremacists in Charlottesville. Filling the courts with incompetent Federalists. Starting a trade war with China that only hurt American farmers and bailing them out with taxpayer dollars. Cutting taxes for the rich and corporations. Alienating our allies and cozying up to dictators. Vilifying the free press while spreading outright lies.

The only good thing was his administration’s utter incompetence, which limited the damage.

Until COVID-19 hit.

The states did the best they could, but, handicapped by the lack of a national strategy, the United States lost a quarter-of-a-million citizens. Compare our government’s response to that to Taiwan, New Zealand, and South Korea and weep.

It did not have to be this way. A competent administration could have used the National Defense Production Act to manufacture PPE and ramp up testing. Or enforced a national mask mandate and lockdown. Or put money in the bank accounts of its citizens, instead of the pockets of wealthy and Trump cronies.

And yet, on Election Night 2020, it became clear that even more Americans voted for Trump than in 2016. Would science, sanity, and decency prevail?!

As the numbers rolled in, the trends became clear. Democrats voted early and by mail. In states where the mail-in ballots were counted early, Biden was already ahead, especially in populous counties with more total votes.

I had multiple friends call or text, sure that Trump was going to win again. I did my best John King impression, pointing out the numbers. “We’re going to win,” I told them confidently. “Wait and see.”

I put Boss Cat in Baby D’s room and slept better than I had in four fucking years.

I woke up the next morning to find Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona were blue. “We just need Michigan!” I reported to Andy, before singing, “On Wisconsin/ On Wisconsin/ Plunge right through that line!”

Michigan went blue at 6 AM PST. I shrieked, both out loud and virtually along with all of Sane & Decent Twitter. And still I got calls and texts from people who did not dare believe. “It’s done,” I told them. “Game over. While all the votes need to be counted, the majority of the rest will go for Biden. Don’t even worry about Pennsylvania. Trump has no path.”

Four days later, the media agreed.

And there was great rejoicing.




Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

17 thoughts on “Election Night: Then and Now (#305)”

  1. Would love to win Georgia just to make sure. I don’t trust the guy. I cried when I heard the results on Saturday and was hoping my 4 years of health issues would calm down. I consider us lucky that we are not in a war. It’s not even a party thing but a decency and ethics thing. I’m stunned so many people fell for his rhetoric although I understand it’s about lowering taxes. I’ve lived a long time through many presidents and administrations. Sometimes the taxes are a bit higher and sometimes a bit lower but it’s never been enough to choose deceit and lies over honesty and ethics. I am ashamed that the republicans are not supportive. Does he have them by the gonads or don’t they have any. Locally one said he would support Biden and then back pedaled. Seems weird to me. Like an email went out on how to act.

    1. Well, our taxes went up considerably under Trump, as they did for anyone else with property living in CA or NY (unless they made way more money than we do). It was both funny and pathetic to watch Republicans realize that they were in the same boat–but they hadn’t changed their withholding and were now going to have to fork out thousands.

      The Republicans have devolved from the party of small government into the party of the rich. All they care about is power and money. Everything else is window dressing.

      Yeah, my friend JM keeps the Trumpers on her feed and she said they were all lying to pollsters about flipping to Biden and laughing about it.

      1. My take is that most Trumpers are embarrassed to go public with their leanings unless they drive a pick-up truck. Or maybe that’s just in my state. I swear the few houses that had signs for him looked like little Appalachia with pick-ups with oversized wheels in the driveway. (We have no dunes here.)

  2. I was heartbroken when tRump won the 2016 election. I knew his time as President would be a failure, but like you said he exceeded my worst expectations. Now as we wait for Joe to officially become President, I’m bouncing between joy and angst. I so want things to go smoothly, but fear that may be impossible with a mentally unhinged despot wannabe still making trouble.

  3. Makes me wonder how people like you and I so clearly get it and yet, 70 million others still don’t…even after four years of seeing what this incompetent asshole has done to our country. Spoiler alert: it was the exact opposite of making America great again. NOW we have to make America great again, for real.

    But we will. I believe that. I have to. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane.

  4. I wasn’t surprised by Trump. I knew he was a grifter, a failed businessman, a racist, and a narcissist. And yet, I was continually surprised by him. Day after day he did something else. I never imagined that anyone would be so cruel as to take children away from their parents and put them in cages. I never imagined that so many of my fellow Americans would be all right with that. Of course, I could go on and on.

    Listening to Biden speak gives me hope and happiness. But I won’t soon get over the knowledge that so many Americans would vote for someone like Trump

  5. When the results were final I popped champagne and played the “F*ck Donald Trump” song, full blast. I can only hope my conservative Utah neighbors heard me (in Utah right now).

    So happy this tyrant is on his way out. Let’s hope everything goes smoothly on inauguration day.

    1. Yes, let’s! I expect the orange pustule to storm out in a huff or something. He’s already doing his petty best to make the next 4 years difficult for Biden, especially internationally.

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