Tuesday, 10th November, 2020

[Day 239]

It seems hard to believe we are actually one week on from the American election and here we are with still some votes uncounted – Arizona and Georgia remain the two key states yet to complete their counting whereas Alaska, firmly in the Trump camp, seems to be a law unit itself. Away from elections as such, some of the political attention has shifted to the US Supreme Court where a large mass action on behalf of several Republican states is threatening to overturn the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Even though the Supreme Court has a massive conservative majority, whether they want to rip the heart out of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic and with two-thirds support from Republican voters themselves is a fascinating question. It could well be that the Supreme Court will act totally ‘politically’ rather than ‘judicially’ I,e, it could decide that the social disruption to the body politic at this particular time is not a wise thing to do. Of course, they might just sit on their hands i.e. do nothing, until they can see which way the wind blows. Trump still refuses to concede, by the way, supported by most of the Republican Party whose line at the moment is that the president is quite within his rights to pursue whatever legal remedies he can.

It was quite a mild day today as we walked to the park. We decided to call in at the park first and have our elevenses to sustain us as we knew that we have to venture out onto the High Street where we needed to bank a cheque (an incredibly rare event these days – but the supervisor in the branch of Santander guided me how to do via their machine although no doubt I will have forgotten it all by the time I have another check to bank) Thence we trudged our way home, through the cemetery and, compared with our normal walk, we seemed to have covered a fair bit more distance and were pretty tired when we got home. I have no Pilates today was I normally would on a Tuesday (owing to the lockdown) so we looked forward to a lazy afternoon, reading the newspapers. In the late afternoon, we Skyped on of our ex-Winchester colleagues and his wife and we had a long, long chat about the American election results. As they had both spent some post-doctoral time in the States, they were well informed and we marvelled at the way in which the modern American media has the ability to drill down within a state to examine the counties (or electoral districts) from which a further tranche of ballots is due to be added to the main totals. Of course, we do not know how the next few days will pan out as the American prospectors used to say but I am pretty sure we will have recounts and then legal challenges which will prolong the agony even further. To try to understand the delay, the following from The Guardian website is instructive and helps to provide an explanation:

There was no early processing in multiple key battleground states this year, however, because Republican-led state legislatures refused urgent requests from local elections officials to pass new laws to allow extra time for ballot processing. Such a refusal in Pennsylvania produced enormous backlogs in cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which has gone from counting about 6,000 mail-in ballots in 2016 to more than 350,000 this year.

Yet later in the afternoon, we FaceTimed some of our ex-Waitrose friends with whom we had not been in contact for a few days. We received some reassuring medical news about a mutual friend of ours who has just had a test for cancer turn out negative but she still has procedures to be undergone at the end of the week. We communicated news about new car and, for some reason, they chose not to believe me when I said we had it written off within 20 minutes when we turned into the path of an on-coming lorry. We are in the rather unusual situation of not having any holidays booked, or even visits to friends planned in view of the lockdown, so the car’s first really full outing will have to wait for a few weeks more yet.