Today was election day, and although we don't mention political stories so much on this blog, this day is somewhat important to note, as it is the day that all of the United States gathers together to vote. Or, at least it's the day votes are counted. Mommy and Daddy voted weeks ago, but some friends chose to vote today - the lines were enormous. By some accounts, it has been the largest voter turnout ever. This is obviously good for the nation, as we all do have a say, and there even if you're not as impassioned about either candidate, at least you are sharing your opinion by way of that all important vote. It's something citizens of many other nations don't have: a say in the direction of the country.
So, what happened? The answer wouldn't come until morning. Although there have been slight indications that things were not as lopsided as the media and polling have indicated all along. In fact, well over ninety percent of the polls have been substantially, dramatically, surprisingly wrong.
But we didn't know that going into today. No, all we know is what we hear, and what we heard is that by 9:30pm - 10:30pm on this very day, we'd be learning our next President was Hillary Clinton. So we enter the day, and watch people go to vote. Exit polls are informal tallies from people who have voted, who are willing to share who and why they voted. But just like the other polls, these were useless. Nobody knew what was about to happen on this day.
Like the astronauts orbiting the dark side of the moon, there was an eerie sense of peace and quiet before we could emerge to see the light and truth of what the people of our country were thinking. And it's been dark, that's for sure. And we had no idea what was going on for real. We just had to keep our faith that the present course would lead us to a destination where everything would be fine, and we would survive.
And despite the unknown, our family was remarkably at peace tonight. There was a calming presence about the whole thing, although I admit I had been feeling pretty down leading up to all of this. It has been a contentious election season, the darkest one we've faced in quite some time. There are two dramatically different directions to go, and there was a war, a battle over which way we would go.
It was piano class today, one where Madison played on the piano fully her rendition of "Silent Night." This features a larger keyboard than the one she has now - the song needs notes that are two octaves up the keyboard. Madison played them beautifully. She's been practicing this, and she's also been practicing for her upcoming spelling bee on Thursday. I think Mommy and Daddy are more nervous than she is about that one. We love our little girl.
Tonight when getting home, it was cool enough to put a fire in the fireplace, and that we did. We watched a Christmas movie together, "A Mom for Christmas." Madison chose this one, because she enjoyed seeing it last year. We'll add a few new movies this year to Madison's list. But this one was nice. Daddy got popcorn, and hot tea for Mommy. The fire was roaring, and the lights on the tree were up, as you can see.
A little taste of Christmas, and a little taste of such a peaceful presence tonight.
Madison went to bed, and before bedtime, we checked the electoral map. Everything seemed to be going in a predictable pattern: by Madison's bedtime, Indiana and Kentucky were called for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Vermont was called for Hillary Clinton. This is that thing we do every four years, wait on each state, waiting on who wins each one, adding up the electoral votes along the way. Early on, if Clinton wins Florida, or North Carolina, it's pretty much over. But these states weren't called yet. It was time for Madison's bedtime.
We read to Madison again tonight, first from the devotional, then from the Brave Pilgrims book. We read about John Howland falling overboard, and of course Mommy and Daddy talked about how there was a destiny about this man, an ancestor of many, including a few Presidents of the United States. We prayed for our nation, for the right leadership, and for all of us to return to God once more. "If my people…"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
It was off to bed for Madison. And for Mommy and Daddy, it turned out to be a very long night. You see, the election wasn't over with by 9:30pm - 10:30pm. Florida was close, and so was North Carolina. Both had Clinton ahead in the number of votes early on, but look at Ohio: Trump was dominating there. And Trump was doing better with Georgia's votes, although Georgia wouldn't be called until later on. There was a commentator that said Trump had to "thread the needle" to get enough states to win the election. And one famous major newspaper put his chances of winning this election at 15%. Hillary Clinton had a 85% chance of winning, which are pretty good odds. Right?
But Florida looked like it was going to Trump. That kept him alive, at least. And North Carolina started leaning towards Trump. And what was going on in Pennsylvania? That's a blue state, isn't it? Virginia was leaning Trump, and if that went his way, then that was something else. But Virginia was called for Clinton, which was what everyone was expecting all along. And similarly, the usual states started adding up in the favor of the usual places. Northeast states went for Clinton, and Southern states and Midwestern states went for Trump. No surprises there. When Ohio went for Trump, then we sort of knew this would be a different election. And North Carolina finally went for Trump, as did Florida. Donald J. Trump was still in this election. He just had to pick up a blue state or two.
That's when Wisconsin went to Trump. Of all places, Wisconsin. Daddy saw the Republican Senator get re-elected there, and knew there was a shot. And then we saw Michigan actually leaning towards Trump, which is just crazy. The famous newspaper that had those odds at 15%? They changed within hours to Trump now having a 93% chance of winning the election.
It was pretty late though. We were tired, but we decided to stay up to see what would happen next. Wait: Pennsylvania is still close? Soon, the western states also started lining up in their predictable patterns. The west-coast states went for Clinton, along with Colorado and New Mexico. And everywhere else, the electoral map was turning red, from Idaho to Texas and Louisiana and all the states in between. But what about Michigan? And Minnesota? How can Minnesota even still be in play? And why haven't they called Pennsylvania yet? New Hampshire too - that one is still too close to call. What a night. Like this blog post, the night went on and on!
It was somewhere after 1:00 am that Pennsylvania was actually called for Trump. There was a whole lot of celebrating by the conservatives, but wait. It wasn't officially called yet. But there was also Michigan with 87% counted, and Trump with a slight lead there as well. Would one of these states fall for Trump, or would they go Clinton as predicted? This was the mindset for an hour or so. Things appeared to be in Trump's favor, but we weren't completely sure.
Clinton's spokesperson came out to address her waiting supporters. They were upset. They were crying. He calmed them down, letting them know that every vote was not counted yet. We have to count every vote, he urged, and we'll know in the morning. Go home and get some rest, and we'll figure this out in the morning. What?
The irony of this was that Trump was asked a few weeks ago if he would concede the election if he lost, and was hammered about this very issue. Now the shoe was on the other foot.
Trump hadn't spoken yet to the public yet. The world was waiting for his take on things. Meanwhile, the votes were still being counted. Would Michigan go to Trump? Alaska's votes were coming in, and they would help. But he needed Michigan. Or maybe New Hampshire, Arizona and Alaska… if they could just get their votes counted already. The impatience was looming.
At 2:40 am, the answer finally arrived. It came from Pennsylvania. Of all places, this traditionally blue state went red, and Trump was the declared winner. There were some close votes out there though - legally Clinton could ask for a recount. This could go on and on. We went through that before in 2000, and the memories of this are vivid.
But no. Clinton graciously conceded, and did not put the country through day of fighting one another. Instead, she called President-Elect Trump. The election was now finally over. For millions, it was an upset in every what imaginable. People will be asking this question for a long time: how did it happen? Every single poll and sign went towards Clinton. There were a few things that did not. Schools do elections each year as a civics lesson, and there were Minnesota schools that had students all voting for Trump. And if they voted for Trump, it would stand to reason that their parents did too, right? The psychic goat picked Clinton, but that goat's reputation is now tarnished. So is the tie-in between the results of the LSU-Alabama game this past weekend, which apparently has been a predictor of elections. Several expert analysts had picked Trump early on, using computer models and so forth. And so did a measurement of social media posts. But every single poll, day in and day out, showed Clinton with a substantial lead. In certain places, it looked insurmountable. Clinton wasn't the only one who lost today: the polling companies will forever be looking back to figure how they missed this one so much. After all, in four years when we all do this again, nobody will really trust the polls like they used to. And there were several media sources that were revealed to show blatant support for one candidate or the other. More losers, these media outlets have such a battered reputation that currently Congress has a higher favorability than the media. And that says a lot.
So who won, besides Trump? We the people did, because we all voted. One way or another, there were more voters this year than usual. And that means that we all had a say in how this country will be moving forward. It was a night to remember. We were texting and talking over the computer with our friends all night long - all of us will be tired in the morning, surely.
But we stayed up a little longer, because the President -Elect came out to express his gratitude, and accept the results of this election. It was a good speech. Trump admitted he was tired from the battle, but 2016 was a wearisome year for all American citizens. The battles, the ups-and-downs, the political fight for control of this nation… is over. We rode through yet another predictable orbit of darkness and uncertainty, but are emerging into the light.