Elections seem to have become increasingly contentious throughout my lifetime. I really started to pay attention to elections in 2000, the election which was marked by the controversial “hanging chads,” Florida recount, and Supreme Court decision. The 2004 election was a little more peaceful, but things started to heat back up in 2008, and I have heard every subsequent election be described as “the most important election of our lifetime.”
While the importance of any particular election can be debated, I think most people would agree that most elections are unique in their own way, and the 2020 election has certainly had plenty of excitement. To understand 2020 and what is likely to happen next, we really need to look from the beginning of Trump’s 2016 run.
When Trump first announced his candidacy in 2015, many people weren’t even sure if he was serious. It seemed more like a publicity stunt and less like the launch of a legitimate campaign for the presidency. But he continued to campaign and began to gain traction. Despite a strong slate of experienced candidates, including senators, governors, and leaders outside of politics, Trump continued to make strides toward securing the Republican nomination. It seemed impossible, but Trump pulled it off.
Once he had secured the nomination, Trump faced Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. She had expected to receive the 2008 nomination, but after Obama’s rapid rise to power, she decided to strengthen her resume and try again in 2016. To all the commentators, Clinton seemed like the guaranteed winner. She had more experience, better funding, and most importantly, better polling. Most people expected the 2016 election to be a landslide. They did not prepare for an election, but rather a coronation. Trump was not considered a serious candidate, and did not seem to have a path to victory. However, as the election results were tallied, everyone was left scratching their heads and trying to figure out how their calculations and predictions were so misguided. Trump had won. It seemed impossible, but Trump pulled it off.
After this came allegations of Russian collusion and the Mueller investigation. Again, many political experts thought this would stop Trump, but it didn’t. The early part of his term was among the most active of any president in history. The man who shouldn’t have been a candidate, shouldn’t have been president, and shouldn’t have been effective was able to accomplish all three. It seemed impossible, but Trump pulled it off.
After over two years of investigations and at the expense millions of taxpayer dollars, the Mueller report found no evidence of collusion. A few months later, the Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on unrelated charges. This happened at the end of 2019, right as the 2020 campaign was getting ready to kick into high gear. The Republican-led Senate unsurprisingly acquitted Trump of the impeachment charges in February. However, right as it looked like Trump had cleared the final hurdle, the global coronavirus pandemic hit in March and the Minneapolis police killed George Floyd in May. Those two events made for a summer and fall characterized by quarantine, riots, and national misery. And then it was time for elections. After the Mueller investigation, the impeachment, the pandemic, and the riots, Trump’s re-election bid certainly seemed impossible. Would he be able to pull it off again?
This was the fundamental question of the 2020 election. Would Trump’s pattern of overcoming seemingly impossible odds continue in spite of everything that happened over his term? On election night, things were going Trump’s way, but in the days that followed, results began to favor his challenger, Joe Biden. Trump and his allies say this was due to fraud and misconduct, while Biden and his allies attribute this to voters’ rejection of Trump.
There are a lot of moving parts to this story, and both sides continue to disagree. The Trump campaign has filed many legal challenges and they have mostly been struck down. Other Republicans have utilized various strategies to challenge the results in question and these have also failed thus far. The states have all certified their votes, the electoral college has voted, and the electoral college votes have now been certified. At this point, it looks like Biden has won and there does not seem to be any other path Trump can take to retain the presidency. Victory seems impossible for Trump, but that has not stopped him in the past. Will he pull it off again?
I don’t know. Many of the prophets say yes, and many of the pundits say no. Someone may know, but I honestly have no idea who will live in the White House in February. Right now it seems like it will be Joe Biden, but it has seemed like a lot of other people at various times in the past. I have learned that with politics and Trump, things rarely turn out how they seem.
Here is what I do know: Hiding will not make a difference, posting about it on social media will not make a difference, talking to people about it will not make a difference, watching the news all day will not make a difference, and worrying about it will not make a difference. Inauguration day is less than two weeks away. Things may seem crazy right now, but in two weeks, we will most likely have an answer. And even if I’m wrong and the chaos continues beyond then, we will eventually have an answer. Until the dust from 2020 settles, pray for God’s will to be done, pray for your leaders, and live your life independently of whatever happens in the political arena.
We are citizens of heaven and only residents here on earth. And because we’re kingdom citizens, we will be okay no matter what happens. Whoever the president may be, God will still be God, and He’s still our king. I trust Him, regardless of the political landscape, and you should too. I trust God more than Donald Trump, more than Joe Biden, more than the Electoral College, more than the Supreme Court, and more than the American people. “In God We Trust” is our national motto, but I think it’s high time we make it personal. Say it with me, “No matter what, I trust in God and He will take care of me.”