Tag Archives: us elections

Monday morning humour – Saturday Night Live’s take on Biden and Harris’s win

We’re all in need of a laugh these days.

Enjoy Saturday Night Live’s brilliant reaction to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning the US election:

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ICYMI – Biden and Harris offer comfort and joy in first speeches

I did sigh a bit when it was announced that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden would be speaking at 8pm local time that night. After four days of sitting up till the wee hours waiting for that count to move off 253, I could have done with an early night.

There was no way I was going to miss it though. Especially as I’d sat up on Thursday to listen to Trump’s outburst. I had planned to go to bed at 11pm but at 10:50, he outgoing President (how lovely it is to write that) announced a press conference at 11:30.

I knew I’d regret if if I missed it almost as much as I’d regret it if I watched it. It was worth it for the reaction of the media. I don’t think we’ve talked about how huge a thing it was for MSNBC to actually pull away from him, saying that they weren’t going to broadcast his speech because what he was saying was false. CNN’s banners basically saying that he was alleging electoral fraud without evidence were a delight to see.

I knew that the Biden and Harris speeches would be much more edifying. Friday night’s hilarious episode of Gogglebox helped me stay awake and I poured myself a weird cocktail of maraschino cherry liqueur and amaretto. It’s kind of like a cherry bakewell… Strangely, I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even find out the Strictly spoiler.

Harris and Biden did not disappoint.  Kamala Harris’s speech which I mostly sobbed my way through brought so much joy. Her touching reference to Joe Biden’s son Beau, a friend of hers who died in 2015 was particularly poignant, as was the way she talked about the history she was making and how it should encourage girls to ‘dream with conviction and lead with ambition.

But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message:

Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way.

Watch here:

Read the whole text here.

Joe Biden was much more inspiring than I expected, reaching out to all of America, including those who supported Donald Trump. We haven’t seen any of that these past four years. He has a good idea of what he wants to do at this challenging point in history:

Folks, America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time where we’ve made hard decisions about who we are and what we want to be.

Lincoln in 1860, coming to save the union. FDR in 1932, promising a beleaguered country a New Deal. JFK in 1960, pledging a new frontier. And 12 years ago, when Barack Obama made history, he told us “Yes, we can.”

Well folks, we stand again at an inflection point. We have an opportunity to defeat despair, to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can.

I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. And what presidents say in this battle matters. It’s time for our better angels to prevail.

Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. We will not lead … we will lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example.

I’ve always believed — many of you’ve heard me say it — I’ve always believed we can define America in one word: Possibilities.

That in America everyone should be given the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them.You see, I believe in the possibilities of this country.

Watch the whole thing here.

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Why does it take so long to count votes?

Embed from Getty Images

I’m not an expert on elections in the USA, but am I the only one to be puzzled about the length of time it is taking to count the votes?

I have been seriously drawn into this election, staying up for a silly length of time watching CNN, which does seem to give the clearest coverage. I do appreciate that each state sets up its local voting arrangements, and that this privilege is enshrined in the Constitution. As a result, states vary enormously in how efficient they are at counting ballots.

The rules about mail-in/absentee/postal voting vary, so that in some states (and crucially in most of the swing states) they are only opened after the in-person votes are counted.

In the UK, postal votes are opened and verified in batches as they arrive at the Council, then locked away securely. Verification involves checking that the ballot paper is a genuine one and that the signature matches the one given on the application form. At the count, after the polls close, the ballot papers from the polling stations are verified by being counted and the total checked against the numbers of electors recorded at each polling station. But once the postal and non-postal ballots have been verified they are all mixed together, so that each counting officer is given a random collection of ballot papers to sort into baskets labelled with the candidates’ names. (Apologies to you activists who know all this already…)

Postal ballots must reach the Council before polling day, or can be handed in at a polling station on the day. Unlike the situation in some states in the US, postal votes that arrive late in the UK are not counted.

Having attended many election counts in the UK, some as a candidate, some as a counting agent, I can see how labour intensive the process is. In spite of that, most of our counts finish overnight, only occasionally spilling over into the next day, even though polling goes on until 10pm. So, apart from the necessary delay in dealing with late arriving mail-in votes where they are allowed, why are the American ones taking so long?

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4 November 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Attempts to undermine US democratic process must be condemned by UK Government
  • Fixing test and trace must be priority for Government during national lockdown
  • Tories have betrayed their promise to protect British farmers

Attempts to undermine US democratic process must be condemned by UK Government

The Liberal Democrats have warned any attempts to undermine the democratic process in the US must be condemned by the UK Government.

The call comes in response to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab failing to condemn Donald Trump’s incorrect claims of victory in the US election.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said:

We must not come to any premature conclusion about the election result, regardless of what the President or his campaign are saying.

Now is the time for peace and patience in the US, and for trust in the democratic process.

Any attempt to undermine that must be condemned by the UK Government and the international community in the strongest terms.

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Even through bleary eyes, I can see a blue wave

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Well, I’ve stayed up, clicking refresh like a hyper-ventilated gerbil for the last six hours, so you didn’t have to….

The Democrats have comfortably won control of the House. The Republicans have gained ground in the Senate. The Democrats have so far flipped four governor’s mansions, including in Kansas, where Laura Kelly beat Kris Kobach.

Is it is a Blue wave? Taegan Goddard of Political Wire says it is, quoting some convincing figures. The New York Times estimates the Democrat vote margin, based on nationwide House votes, as +7.6%. These last elections were considered “waves”:

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Perhaps the world needs Donald Trump. But we will have to learn our lessons the hard way

Just how much of a shock was Donald Trump’s victory in the US Presidential election? As we had seen with the UK general election in 2015 and, to a lesser extent, this year’s EU referendum, the polls and last minute predictions were confounded. But, for this observer at least, the sense of shock has worn off.

Trump’s success not only corresponds with the widely documented social unrest of white Americans (working class or not – https://i.redd.it/dei5tr2kuatx.png), it fits into a far wider picture which we have seen develop across the western world in recent years. Trump’s use of Brexit to further his own campaign is, of course, no secret. But the trend goes beyond this. A world which has seen the rise of the Front National in France, Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, UKIP in the UK and the New Flemish Alliance in Belgium to name but a few, appears to have been hurtling towards this moment – towards what Trump would call the liberation of the white working classes, or the reclaiming of national identities.

As we witnessed in the aftermath of the EU referendum, such groups will be heartened by Trump’s triumph. They will perceive his presidency as an opportunity to further their own ambitions and to ride the wave of his success in their own countries. Indeed, we have already seen the triumphant response of members of the Klu Klux Klan to Trump’s win. Many comparable groups around the world will feel vindicated by the US public’s apparent acceptance and endorsement of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and minority groups. It appears inevitable that their power and influence, in the US, the UK and beyond, will only increase over the course of Trump’s presidency. No one can say what the world will look like by the time of the next US election in 2021.

But the purpose of this article is not to scaremonger. Quite the reverse.

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It’s about Hillary – not Michelle

voice_hillary-clinton

I was in the room normally used for phone banking when I heard the speech drifting in from the TV screen next door.

This was the Virginia Democrats office and I was listening to Michelle Obama.

The First Lady was laying out a clear argument for putting her friend Hillary in the White House.

To some extent I knew arguments already. I had watched the TV debates, listened to the commentators, heard Hillary surrogates tear apart Trump’s ‘locker room banter’ nonsense and soaked up every detail of the policies a Clinton Presidency would pursue.

But this was different.

Something in Michelle Obama’s message reminded me of why I got involved in politics in the first place.

Every word spoke to my convictions, my hopes, the dreams I fear my generation will fail to deliver for our children.

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New Get out the vote tactics in the US: Vote, or we’ll be interested in why you didn’t

GOTV, that final part of an election campaign where you make sure that all your supporters actually get themselves to the polls, is vital. Elections can be won or lost by the effectiveness of your GOTV operation. It’s all about giving them a reason to get down the polling station. It could be out of a genuine desire to see your fantastic candidate elected. It could be because you really don’t want to let the other one in.

Everyone will be familiar with the “It’s a two horse race, every vote will count” and the breathless “it’s too close to call, vote before 10pm or the Daleks will win” messages. Ok, I made the last one up. But nobody would ever dream of suggesting a direct consequence for the voters themselves. Until now.

Brooklyn musician Jonathan Coulton tweeted a picture of a letter he got purporting to be from the New York State Democrats today:

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