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'It's not over until it's over.' It's over, isn't it?

And so it began on Tuesday evening and I waited, watching, listening to the cautious news anchors reminding the audience that the vote, this vote about to begin, is the cornerstone of our democracy. East coast polls were closing and tallies would be forthcoming, trends dissected, and later, projections made.

From the get-go Florida’s total would be a barometric prize, the first domino. I was ready, the voice of the people would be heard through out the night, a Doppler shout, a stadium wave, people, arms held skyward, would rise and fall in a coordinated, undulating motion while stamping their feet and singing Queen’s, “We will, we will rock you.”

My hope for this election was that it would be an unambiguous, decisive repudiation of all that has taken place over the last four plus years. How could it be otherwise? From the moment when Trump descended on the golden escalator and announced his campaign, I had to suspend my disbelief, as I did when he lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College. The basket full of awful that followed (Chaos R Us) became weeks and months and years of well, you saw the movie it wasn’t governance how to adequately describe this dysfunctional, incompetent, conspiratorial administration’s time in the White House? The all of it compounded by the arrival on our shores of the novel coronavirus that begged for a coherent, collective response to a national crisis, akin to that which was marshaled by FDR during World War II. We remain, still, desperate for a plan steeped in science, personal hygiene, social distancing, and a mask mandate, all while conducting a search for an efficacious vaccine. Instead, Trump et al. dissembled and denied while demonstrating a reckless disregard for human life.

So, given all of the above, with confidence, I anticipated, if not a massive blue wave, well, one tinged with purple at its edges. It would be a rejection of this manifestly unhinged autocrat who, week after week, stood at the edge of the now familiar rabbit hole and beckoned that we follow him (to continue mixing metaphors), onto the Trump train, his enablers already on board.

And, of course, in my naiveté, I believed that when that train pulled away from the station, this time, all things considered, most Americans would still be on the platform. That would include those voters who, in a “what the hey” moment in 2016, voted for Trump, asking themselves with a shrug, in the words of Donald, ”What have you got to lose?”

And so the votes came in from Florida, buttressed by a significant pro-Trump Cuban-American community, and the state went red. And as the evening wore on, ditto Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and so on. I was stunned. These numbers in the aggregate weren’t a “red mirage,” they represented millions of Americans who had gotten back on the Trump train. The “What the hey” rationale was long gone. This was four years later, this was, “Yeah! We know who he is, we watched, we listened, and we endorse the last four years and are ready for four more. Some of us, we’d like 12 more years.

“As for those lefties still standing at the station? Think of them as the Whole Foods crowd. We’re the Cracker Barrel crew. And there are almost 70 million of us, and there are more of us who voted for Trump this go-round than voted for him in 2016. How do you like them apples? Plus you lost seats in the House of Representatives. And regarding this election outcome it’s not over. No concession will be forthcoming. What transition? Just ask Trump and the lawyers.”

Chris Honoré is an Ashland Tidings columnist.

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