You wonder what Joe Biden may be able to do about it

Diary of the last 20 hours

8.00pm last night

The drug of watching this election gets in your veins and pins you to the spot and you cannot look away and it has been five hours and possibly I am hallucinating at this hour because is this really happening, what I’m seeing in the White House East Room?

Sure it is.

We have been waiting for half an hour or maybe three months, as George Stephanopolous and the ABC commentators deploy that perfect American skill of filling empty space with ten and fifteen and thirty minutes of perfectly formed observations and nice little human touches while we watch an empty spot in the East Room where the empty President is due to stand, flanked by approximately four thousand American flags, because if there's one thing that phoney really loves, it’s garish excess.

In troops the shabby family. There’s poor Tiffany with the smile that says words can never hurt me, even if it’s family; stupid Eric with his stupid Eric smile that says I might strangle another puppy right after this; Ivanka doing her faux smart person look; and there’s her weasel husband and there’s the sneering brother and the whole shabby collection of grifters and gold diggers and God they make the place look small.

And then a disembodied voice says ladies and gentlemen the president of the United States, like he's announcing your favorite wrestler and a tacky recording of Hail to the Chief fills the room and in He comes and if you're looking to be uplifted or inspired, try another channel, all this guy has is grievance and a swaggering disregard for the rule of law.

We were getting ready to win this election, he rasps, then sniffs. He describes the beautiful wonderful result he was watching as it unfolded, all so great, so great. 

Then he pauses, theatrically and says: and then it all stopped.

And what he's insinuating is the TV liars and the Deep State and the cheating Dems, they all stepped in when they saw my beautiful runaway victory and now they’re “discovering” all these phoney votes. He doesn't believe any of this shit but he knows what to say to the people he’s been feeding lies and mistrust for all these years and here it comes, great steaming shovels of it.

Frankly, we did win this election, sniff.

This is a major fraud on our nation, sniff. 

We want the law to be used in a proper manner, sniff.

So we'll be going to the US Supreme Court. 

We want all voting to stop.

You get the awful feeling this is going to go on and on like one of his rallies, an old man alone with his unconnected thoughts and grievances and slurs and insults, circling back again and again to cast doubt on the validity of the election.

But thank you Jesus no. Maybe it's the lateness of the hour, maybe the Covid he doesn't have is bearing down on him, but he hands it over to loyal Mike Pence and ABC breaks away.

And now it would appear they have had a prepared conversation all ready to go for just such an occasion: the President of the United States alleging electoral fraud.

They set out chapter and verse forcefully and compellingly: why the counting of votes is lawful; the absolute right of the people to have their say.

The denunciation is strong and it feels like a line is being clearly marked and every Republican who joins the conversation in the hours to follow reinforces the message: we tolerate a whole lot of his shit, but we're not letting this stand. Haven’t seen anyone ask Mitch McConnell though.

Get a load of the guy. You're going to the Supreme court? On what grounds? You know it's not like hitting speed dial for one of your crooked layers, right? 

Someone tweets: A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee.

But this is what this sorry excuse for a human being does. The only way he knows to win a fight is call in the lawyers. You get some smart tough guy to do your bidding because that's what a dim thug does.

11.30pm

Can't stop watching, keep refreshing, waiting to see if Biden’s mail votes will make up ground. Finally turn in around midnight.

4.30am

Wake to refresh to find Biden’s mail votes are making up ground.

5.30am

Wake to refresh to find Biden’s mail votes are making up more ground.

6.30am

Can't stop watching, keep refreshing, waiting to see if Biden’s mail votes will get him there.

9.30am

Still mainlining. 

The lawyers are sent out to the crucial battleground states. The instruction appears to be Stop the count where they're ahead, keep going when they're not. Rudy Guiliani is in Philadelphia asking Do you think we're stupid? Do you think we're fools? As if it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest the election is being stolen even though you have no evidence whatsoever.

10.30am

Still mainlining. 

At this hour, or any hour today, it seems, the Grifter in Chief won't come to the phone to talk to the media. But he’s pounding it out on Twitter.

They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!

There was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!

What is America supposed to say to that apart from Do you think we're stupid? Do you think we're fools? 

Midday

Feeling pretty good because Wisconsin is flipped, Michigan is flipped, Arizona is flipped, it's getting closer and closer for Biden in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Refresh refresh refresh.

2.30pm

Have been so absorbed by this thing it’s only now I recollect I’m in a different country where there’s a 1.00pm update. No new community cases. Cool. Back to America where ABC is interviewing everyone by Zoom in their homes, standing by their bookcases, because that's where America’s officials are hanging with all that Covid hanging in the air from sea to shining sea.

3.00pm

Feeling not so good because Arizona is maybe not flipped after all, and it's still getting closer and closer for Biden in Georgia but there’s not much room left, and refresh refresh refresh.

4.15pm

Someone is on ABC talking about the level of frustration and anger and distrust on each side.

They say We’re as divided as we were in 1860

Thinking about what came next in 1860. 

You keep refreshing. You wonder which of the elements of Lincoln, idealism, enmity, inequality, blind indifference, toxic racism and civil war might be lying ahead. And you wonder what Joe Biden may be able to do about it.

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