November 4, 2020 at 9:22 am EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Take a breath, votes still out for Biden/Harris
election 2020, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Take a deep breath and then slowly let it out. Try to release the stress of the last year. Yes I know if you are a Democrat that isn’t working. You hear Donald Trump declaring victory and calling for voting to stop. Yes he is outrageous and even Vice President Pence and others like Chris Christie said he must wait to count the remaining ballots.

The race is still up in the air and the mail-in ballots are still being counted and it seems like it will take forever. But reality is we will know by Friday who won and that isn’t bad when you consider the millions of ballots that must still be checked and counted. We are waiting for results from Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Whatever the result the people will have spoken. What must happen now is we need to ensure every vote is counted.

It appears Biden will win the popular vote and we are looking at the Electoral College for the answers. That is a sad state of affairs.
I admit I gave up watching the results last night getting scared there would be another 2016 on election night. Back then, I was in the Javits Center in New York when around 10:30 p.m., Debbie Wasserman Shultz told us there weren’t enough votes in Broward County to make up the difference for Hillary in Florida.

This year is different; while we lost Florida again as I write this on Wednesday morning the votes still remaining to be counted in many states will decide the election but it looks like most will go to Biden. What we as Democrats and actually every Republican should be fighting for is to ensure every vote is counted. Let’s show respect for the people who have taken the time to exercise their right to vote.

If Biden wins it is my hope Sen. Mitch McConnell will repeat what he tweeted back in September when he promised a smooth transition. The time has come for us to move on from the Trump presidency and reclaim our democracy. We must say it loud and clear using the hashtags #everyvotecounts and #democracyrising when we speak of this election. We must show respect to all Americans and tell them #countonus.

While we wait for the final result of the presidential election it’s time to celebrate all the amazing local election results. Among others they include the first two gay African-American men going to Congress from New York. It includes Sarah McBride becoming the highest-ranking transgender official in the country, having won a Senate seat in Delaware.

We should congratulate all the voters who turned out in record numbers despite a pandemic, an economic collapse, and so many attempts to stop them.

When Trump declared victory before all the votes were counted it was like calling 2020 an amazing year in February. It could be compared to George W. Bush declaring “Mission Accomplished.” In our democracy, the voters pick our leaders, our leaders don’t get to choose which votes they want to count.

As we move toward the final certified result for the presidential election there is the crucial vote for who controls the Senate and it looks like Democrats will fall short. If that happens it will make it very difficult for a President Biden to move his agenda forward.

If this campaign has seemed endless it is because it was. It has caused many to feel the type of stress they never felt before. It has been a totally different campaign as it had to be mostly virtual. Whatever the results kudos to the Biden team, which did a yeoman’s job. Most of them working from their homes and never meeting the people working with them around the country in person. Those like finance director Katie Petrelius and her staff who managed to raise more money than any previous campaign had ever done all without the lure of donors getting to meet the candidate.

So once again, take a deep breath while you wait for the final results. When they are in I think Democrats will be able to celebrate.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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