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"It ain't over till it's over," that late baseball great Yogi Berra famously said. He was talking about a baseball game, but he could just as easily have been describing the 2020 presidential election.
With tens of millions of votes counted and millions more to go, the presidential race went into extra innings early Wednesday morning as votes were still being counted. We can expect legal challenges from the losing candidate and protests from his supporters.
The media’s orange crush never happened. Journalists freaked out online that President Trump was running a strong race, particularly after he was declared the winner in Florida— a must-win state for him.
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It didn’t take long before another Berra quote came to mind: “It was deja vu all over again.” And the night had some of that feel of 2016, when Trump surprised almost everyone by defeating Hillary Clinton.
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Officially, the media were nearly unified in its support for Biden. Newspaper endorsements supported Biden by a count of 88 to 7 or 93 percent.
The left started worrying even before Election Day. USA Today contributor Sally Kohn complained about the Electoral College the day before the final vote. She tweeted: “THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS A HORRIBLE, RACIST, REGRESSIVE MECHANISM OF REPRESSING DEMOCRACY.”
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In 2016, it had been Kohn’s comment that opened the floodgates and let liberal tears go pouring across the landscape when she tweeted: “IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Tuesday night legal analyst Midwin Charles tweeted her own version of the Kohn tweet. “It shouldn’t be this close. That will bother me until the end of days.”
Feminist author Jessica Valenti followed as Florida fell to Trump, tweeting: “I know it's early but it's hard to feel anything but PANIC.”
That reaction was reflected on TV. NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd stammered on air as he explained: “Florida is looking … is looking a little red tonight.”
The New York Times “Election Needles” shifted sharply around 8:30 p.m. EST for three states, leading pollster Frank Luntz to tweet: “The Needles have turned sharply toward Trump.” That included Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight site followed with a sizable update soon after. “If Florida goes to Trump, though, his chances of winning the Electoral College would go up to 33%.”
All eyes turned to the remaining states and Pennsylvania, which announced it wouldn’t finish its vote count Tuesday night.
By 10 p.m. EST there was more talk of a possible Trump victory. Columnist Andrew Sullivan owned up to it, tweeting: “I just marked the time – 10:11 pm – when I began to accept that Donald J Trump could win re-election.”
And by 10:23, Kohn commented: “BREAKING NEWS: I'm gonna need more Xanax.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper credited Trump’s hard work and reminded viewers that too many people paid attention to the “most Trump-hating pundits” who had predicted a “landslide.” He added that “you can't get high on your own supply” before noting that the election still was far from over.
And New York Times columnist Ross Douthat tweeted the scariest result of all: “269-269 entirely in play.” In other words, chaos.
National Review Senior Writer David Harsanyi tweeted: “Whatever happens, the fact that Trump has likely improved his support among Hispanics and Black voters in the South after four years of media treating him like Hitler is quite a story.”
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Even in the stress, some found humor. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple tweeted that “@CNN county czar John King just said that this is why ‘elections are fun.’” Then he added a truism: “My sense is that the country is now united in a consensus that elections are no longer fun.”
The news media had initially treated Trump as a fun distraction in the 2016 race. They gave him billions of dollars’ worth of news coverage — more than all the other candidates combined. But then he made it clear he was in it to win it. The left-wing press has been fighting him every moment since.
That’s more than four years in an open and declared war against Trump. Allegedly unbiased journalists have done everything in their power to destroy him, his family, his administration and all of his supporters.
It has been one of the darkest moments in the history of journalism. The foundational principles of news reporting have been thrown into the trash. Concepts like neutrality and accuracy flatly rejected.
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The bile that flowed from the anti-Trump news media was so vicious, it would have destroyed ordinary candidates. Trump was called “racist” and a “white nationalist” so often that the terms lost all meaning. He was depicted as everything from “criminal” to “dictator,” and often described as treasonous and in league with Russia.
Officially, the press was nearly unified in its support for Biden. Newspaper endorsements supported Biden by a count of 88 to 7 or 93 percent. The Washington Post editorial whined that “For the past three-plus years, the country has lived — and suffered — in Donald Trump’s America.” The New York Times was equally unsubtle. Under a headline of “CORRUPTION ANGER CHAOS INCOMPETENCE LIES DECAY” in huge type, the paper called to “END OUR NATIONAL CRISIS.”
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