Where we stand

11/5/2020, 6 p.m.
The American nightmare isn’t over just yet.

Unfortunately, instead of waking up Wednesday morning to a new dawn in America, we find ourselves in a state of high anxiety awaiting the nail-biting results from a handful of states — Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia and Alaska. The voter turnout in those states ultimately may decide whether we must endure another four years of President Trump or hopefully return to some sense of normalcy under a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration.

The Trump madness — and assault on our nation’s basic democratic principles — was on full display when the president addressed an applauding group of family and supporters about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday in the East Room of the White House.

He claimed victory even though millions of ballots hadn’t been counted in several key states; railed against his favored FOX News for declaring Arizona had gone for Mr. Biden, saying that state needed to finish counting the votes; and then said he would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene to stop the ballot count elsewhere.

“We don’t want them to find ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning,” President Trump said.

Even his sidekick, Vice President Mike Pence, had the understanding of our democracy — and presence of mind — to say that the ballot count would continue.

Sounding more presidential, Mr. Biden urged patience as the count continues, but said he feels confident that when all the ballots are counted, he will be named the winner.

It should be crystal clear now why President Trump and his Republican minions in the U.S. Senate rushed to seat conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court just eight days before the election.

We have difficulty understanding how so many people — white, Black and Latino — would vote against their own interests in supporting President Trump. He still lacks a national policy to protect the American people against the spiraling COVID-19 pandemic that has stricken more than 9 million people and killed more than 230,000 in the United States.

At the same time, he is working to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurance companies from dropping or rejecting for coverage people with pre-existing medical conditions like the coronavirus.

He still plans to build his border wall; reject immigrants from Black, brown and Islamic nations; strip the Social Security system; give further tax cuts to the wealthy; and plunge more people into poverty.

An initial review of the vote thus far highlights the deepening divide in America based on race and ethnicity; the desire of some self-loathing Latinx, Asian and Black factions to assimilate into the white culture; and the resentfulness that caused some white women to vote for a misogynist like President Trump rather than support a Black woman for vice president.

The election also points out that we cannot believe the polls — a lesson we learned in Virginia in November 1989 when they predicted L. Douglas Wilder would win the governor’s race by 10 percentage points. Gov. Wilder actually won by a mere 6,741 votes — less than 1 percent of the votes cast. Nor can we let the polls guide our actions or persuade our thinking.

The race also shows that we must continue to be engaged and work for justice, equity and progress, no matter the election’s outcome.

We expect U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, who has won re-election to another six-year term, and Congressional Reps. A. Donald McEachin of Richmond and Abigail A. Spanberger, who have won re-election to another two-year term, to redouble their efforts in the coming term to represent the interests of Virginians against the tyranny of another possible Trump administration and the GOP lawmakers who back him.

The three Democrats must continue to work strategically and with passion and energy to meet the coming challenges.