News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
MOST READ
Andy Manis/Getty Images

Record voter turnout included a doubling in the number of mail-in ballots, including this stack being counted in a school gym in Sun Prairie, Wis.

Plenty of warnings in the turnout numbers, even though voting surged

To quote the great 1970s power ballad: Two out of three ain't bad.

That Meat Loaf gold record provides a good summation for the record-breaking turnout in the presidential election: It looks like almost exactly two out of every three eligible Americans voted.

That's an estimated 159.4 million adult citizens, 20.5 million more than the previous high four years ago. And it's the strongest turnout rate since 1900 — when, by the way, women still did not have the franchise and most Black citizens and other people of color were effectively blocked from the ballot box.

Why the "ain't bad" summary, then? Because the total nonetheless means nearly 80 million people who had the right to vote decided not to. Because this year does not change how the United States still ranks near the bottom of the world's developed democracies when it comes to election participation. And because while the youth vote increased significantly, half of the population younger than 30 still did not go to the polls for a presidential election highly consequential to their future.

Keep reading... Show less
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Big Picture
The White House/Getty Images

National Security leaders from both parties are urging President Trump to allow the transition to begin in order to head off another 9/11. Above: Biden watches a live feed of the raid that lead to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

National security veterans warn of transition delay as Trump digs back in

An all-star cast of national security officials from Republican and Democratic administrations on Monday pulled out what they hope will be the "Trump card" that compels the incumbent president to concede the election and permit his successor to start receiving intelligence briefings and build his team of experts.

Their ace-in-the-hole argument: Remember Sept. 11.

But the pleas from the likes of two former secretaries of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Michael Chertoff, continued to fall on deaf ears. On the 10th day since election results made it clear he had lost, President Trump was back on Twitter claiming "I won the Election."

Amid his flurry of six tweets pressing various conspiracy theories, Trump's lawyers appeared to abandon their only legal argument involving enough votes to potentially upend the outcome in one of the states decisive in his defeat. In this case, Pennsylvania.

Keep reading... Show less

Navigating the Electoral College process this year could be like playing Chutes and Ladders.

The next steps in the electoral process could be simple – or not

So, if this were a normal presidential election year, the country would already be focusing its attention on the next big event in the life cycle of our democracy — Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, with Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th American president.

But almost nothing about this election has been normal, of course. Witness, most recently, President Trump's refusal to concede defeat in the face of overwhelming evidence he's lost decisively. And his stubbornness, buttressed by the passions of millions of fervent supporters and the passiveness of the Republican Party's other leaders, makes it important to understand the presidential contest's complicated path over the coming weeks.

One way to think about it is like a game with really arcane rules but a usually predictable outcome: "Win the Electoral College." The players move their pieces along the right path, hoping to reach the finish without taking dangerous side trips that set them back along the way.

Usually it works that way, but not always — a bit like an analogous kids' game, "Chutes and Ladders." Here's what the board looks like:

Keep reading... Show less