US citizens went to bed, if they did at all, not knowing who would be the next President of the United States and unsure of which major party would control the US Senate. Democrats were well on their way to securing the US House of Representatives — the more popular house of the federal legislature, in which Congressmen represent citizen-constituencies organised according to electoral district — but control of the Senate was down to as-yet undecided races in a few key states.
Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden spoke from his home state of Delaware shortly before 1 am EST on Wednesday morning, saying he was confident of eventual victory.
“We knew this was going to go long, but who knew we’re going to go into maybe tomorrow morning, maybe even longer,” Biden said. “[W]e feel good about where we are,” he added. “I’m here to tell you tonight, we believe we’re on track to win this election.” Biden also expressed confidence in the American people and the electoral process. “We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying the votes is finished,” Biden told supporters, “and it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
US President Donald Trump also spoke early Wednesday morning, from the White House.
“We were getting ready to win this election,” Trump said. “Frankly, we did win this election.” Citing ongoing efforts to count ballots in several states, the President of the United States said, “This is a fraud on the American public,” and “an embarrassment to our country,” before promising to ask the US Supreme Court to order counting halted.
“We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list,” he said. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he asserted. “We want all voting to stop,” he explained. “To me, this is a very sad moment,” Trump told the people in the East Room of the White House shortly after 2:30am on Wednesday, adding another expression of confidence in eventual victory and stating his belief the business is done. “As far as I’m concerned,” Trump said, “we already have [won].”
Analysts, experts, and people in the commentariat from across the spectrum of political opinion were quick to note the unprecedented incendiary character of the President’s election-night utterances. The claims of victory were certainly premature. The issue remains very much in doubt, with key states still counting ballots — especially those from key electoral districts — and the races therefore too close to call.
Both candidates had support from Catholics, who supported their favourites and opposed the other for a host of reasons.
Biden and Trump both made late pitches to Catholic voters, but there was no monolithic Catholic vote this time around. In the current climate of sharp division — frequently though not invariably along party lines — the US bishops repeated their calls for responsible exercise of citizenship informed by faith. Whatever the outcome, this election cycle has exposed deep fissures in American polity. The manner in which the people respond to whatever comes in the days and weeks ahead will further test the strength not only of American institutions, but also of popular resolve.
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