The Note: Sleepless night sets up nightmare scenarios

Election night played out like the nightmare scenarios predicted.

November 4, 2020, 6:04 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

There was no wave, there was no finality, and the “blue wall” looked shakier than ever. But there is even more than that at stake now.

Election night played out like the nightmare scenarios predicted, in ways that shook Democrats with memories of 2016 and should shake all Americans with what might happen next.

As of Wednesday morning, the final electoral count can still swing in wildly disparate directions. States in the balance include Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona – and, of course and as always, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is hoping for votes to come through out of Democratic strongholds, in an election that was generally disastrous for down-ballot candidates. It won’t be quick, and it won’t be clean.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is suggesting – without evidence – that Biden is looking to “steal” the election, while lawyers prep for battle across multiple states.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, early on Nov. 4, 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, early on Nov. 4, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Biden is calling for patience. The president is declaring premature victory, before millions of votes are counted, while spreading misinformation about the integrity of an ongoing vote.

Whatever else, this wearying election revealed almost unfathomable divisions – along gender, racial, class and geographic lines. The divisions have long centered on a president who has never sought to heal them, and who did bring out new voters in large numbers even if he has not clinched an electoral victory.

This is a dangerous moment. An anxious country now has to wait – with anger near a boiling point, and the presidency and so much more in the balance.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Heading into Election Day, Democrats not only felt good about their chance at taking the White House but also liked their odds flipping control of the Senate, too.

By Wednesday morning it was increasingly clear that their chances of gaining a majority in the chamber were slim to none.

Yes, they flipped Colorado and felt confident they were on track to win a second Senate seat in Arizona, but they fell short in Montana and their candidates in Maine and North Carolina Senate races were trailing as well. The party’s pathways to the majority narrowed all night with smaller states and more rural voters sticking with the GOP.

Many of those Democratic candidates had tried to keep the races about local issues and their close connections to the state, but the gravitational pull of Washington likely meant national names and party identification won out in the end.

Still, it was local officials and those hyper-local election processes that became the center of attention and will remain in the limelight for days to come. Writing in response to the president’s shocking statements about the election being over, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers said, “our clerks and election workers are continuing to do their important work after millions of Wisconsinites cast their ballots to make their voices heard. An election doesn’t end when an elected official says they won—it ends when every vote has been counted.”

PHOTO: Jill Biden waves as her husband Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., early on Nov. 4, 2020.
Jill Biden waves as her husband Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., early on Nov. 4, 2020.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning’s special edition of "Start Here" will lay out what we know about the election results so far, what states are still in play and how the campaigns are reacting. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast.In the final pre-election installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew takes a final look at the data, reflects on the stories that defined the 2020 campaign and offers a guide for what to follow on election night.https://apple.co/23r5y7w

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • More than 300 "Count Every Vote" rallies are planned across the U.S. if President Trump contests election results.
  • ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl will appear on ABC's The View at 11 a.m. ET.

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