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Win or lose, Trump and his politics look like they're here to stay

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: President Donald Trump speaks about the early results from the 2020 U.S. presidential election in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 4, 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks about the early results from the 2020 U.S. presidential election in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 4, 2020.Carlos Barria / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Whether or not President Trump ultimately wins or loses — and the remaining vote appears to be strong for Joe Biden — Trumpism looks like it’s here to stay.

Democrats were hoping for a repudiation of Trump; that a GOP loss so big would force Republicans to the negotiating table, to try to compete for votes in Urban/Suburban America, and to dial down the scorched-earth politics over the last few years.

Instead, even if Trump doesn’t win, Trump might have helped the GOP keep their Senate majority and pick up House seats when Republicans looked destined to lose them. (More on those down-ballot races below.)

Bottom line: Even if he’s voted out of office — as we continue to count the votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — Trump and his brand of politics aren’t leaving the political scene.

Urban versus rural. Those with college degrees versus those without. Women versus men.

And those divides will affect how this country tries to recover from a pandemic, an economic recession and social/racial tensions across the country.

Waiting for the rest of the votes to come in

It also will likely affect the state of the American democracy. Around 2:00 a.m. ET last night, Trump falsely claimed that he had won the election and that the remaining ballots were fraudulent.

“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment,” Trump said. He added, “Frankly, we did win this election.”

For his part, Biden said earlier: “We knew this was going to go long,” he said. “But look, we feel good about where we are. We really do. I’m here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election.”

As we said before, there was always going to be a disparity between the mail-in ballots (which were Democratic leaning and were going to take longer to count) and the Election Day ballots (which were GOP leaning and were going to be counted faster).

So as Joe Biden gains ground — and even overtakes Trump — in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — none of it should be surprising.

And none of it is fraud.

The major uncalled presidential states as of publication time

  • Arizona: Biden 52 percent, Trump 47 percent (82% in)
  • Georgia: Trump 51 percent, Biden 48 percent (92% in)
  • Michigan: Trump 49 percent, Biden 49 percent (86% in)
  • Nevada: Biden 49 percent, Trump 49 percent (86% in)
  • North Carolina: Trump 50 percent, Biden 49 percent (95% in)
  • Pennsylvania: Trump 55 percent, Biden 44 percent (75% in)
  • Wisconsin: Biden 50 percent, Trump 49 percent (97% in)

Data Download:The numbers you need to know today

47 percent: Donald Trump’s job approval rating in the national exit poll. (As we’ve written before, this marker has historically been closely linked to an incumbent’s reelection vote percentage.)

12 percent: The share of Black voters who voted for Trump, according to the national exit poll. That’s compared with his 8 percent four years ago.

42 percent: The share of white voters who voted for Biden in the national exit poll, compared with 37 percent for Hillary Clinton four years ago.

32 percent: The share of Latino voters who voted for Trump in the national exit poll, compared with his 28 percent four years ago.

47 percent: The share of Latino voters in Florida who voted for Trump. That’s the highest for a Republican since George W. Bush in 2004.

29 percent: The share of white voters in Georgia who voted for Biden. That’s the highest for a Democrat since Bill Clinton got 32 percent in 1992.

532,409: The number of votes Trump has received so far in Miami-Dade county, compared with 333,999 votes four years ago. (Biden has received 617,201 in the county so far, versus Clinton’s 624,146 four years ago.)

Nearly 2 percentage points: Joe Biden’s lead in the popular vote at the time of publication.

7-9 days: How long it could take determine the winner of the Maine Senate race if Susan Collins does not surpass 50 percent and ranked-choice voting is triggered.

62 days: The number of days until the January 5 Senate runoff in Georgia between Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler.

At least 100,722,619: The number of people who had voted early as of 1pm on Election Day, either by mail or in person, according to NBC and TargetSmart.

9,461,848: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 80,605 more than yesterday morning.)

233,571:The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,026 more than yesterday morning.)

149.76 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

50,340: The number of people currently hospitalized for Covid-19 in the U.S., per the Covid Tracking Project.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: A disappointing night for Senate and House Democrats

Democrats were favored to win control of the Senate and pick up additional seats in the House.

Neither seems likely to happen — at least once all of the ballots are counted. And that’s big disappointment for Democrats, even if they end up winning the presidency.

Democrats picked up Colorado’s Senate seat and are ahead in Arizona, but they lost a seat in Alabama (as expected), and they lost the Toss Up races in Iowa and Montana. And they’re trailing — right now — in North Carolina and even Maine.

Now the potential good news for them is that Georgia’s special is headed to a January runoff; Georgia’s other Senate could go to a runoff as well if the remaining vote pushes Sen. David Perdue below 50 percent; and Maine’s ranked-choice balloting could still topple Sen. Susan Collins.

But that’s not how Democrats wanted the night to go.

As for the House, while NBC News has been cautious on calling House races before all the vote is counted, we know that incumbents like Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Kendra Horn, D-Okla., have lost, while some other incumbents appear to be in trouble.

NBC News projected that Democrats will retain control of the House, but it sure looks like Republicans are on their way to picking up seats.

And you have to give the GOP credit for that in a pretty tough political environment.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

New York Times: Turnout soars, along with suspense, as nation in tumult delivers verdict.

Wall Street Journal: Swing states are tight.

Miami Herald: Race too close to call.

Raleigh News & Observer: Biden clings to a narrow lead in NC thanks to absentee votes.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Too Close To Call.

Columbus Dispatch: Now, America waits.

Arizona Republic: Divided nation waits.

Detroit Free Press: Nation in suspense.

The markets certainly aren’t sure what to think of all this uncertainty.

Politico writes that, even if Biden wins, he’ll face a rough political environment.

Here’s how Trump’s bet on Latinos in Florida paid off.

Twitter flaggedTrump’s comments casting doubt on the remaining votes.

There ultimately weren’t significant cyber threats on Election Day.

It looks like Uber and Lyft are going to win in that big-dollar ride-sharing ballot initiative in California.

Mississippi has replaced its Confederate-themed flag.

There will now be a transgender state senator for the first time in history.