The election that keeps on giving ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

November 11, 2020

Understand more. Argue less.

The most effortless news experience of your week: both sides, no exhaustion.


The Show Goes On

Katherine Chuang

After more than 20 presidential candidates and $14 billion dollars spent, the Associated Press declared Joe Biden the President-elect on Saturday. In elections past, the drama would end there. Not this year. 

After months of alleging voter fraud, President Trump is putting his money where his mouth is. He’s filed over a dozen lawsuits that challenge ballot counts in at least five key states where Biden has been declared the winner (AP). While it seems likely that Biden will withstand these allegations and remain the President-elect, legal proceedings have ignited a media firestorm that’s consuming both sides. With stakes this high, fierce partisanship is neither new nor surprising; in 2016, only 36% of Democrats considered the election ”free and fair” compared to 73% of Republicans. That flipped in 2020, as 90% of Democrats considered it “free and fair” versus 26% of Republicans (Morning Consult).

Here’s what you need to know.


  • Official? The General Services Administration has yet to officially announce Joe Biden as President-elect. Until that happens, Biden can’t access federal agencies and records, meaning the transition of power will not begin. (AP)

  • Count It Again. There will likely be recounts in many of the close states. However, Trump’s lawsuits would have to overturn vote counts in three states (one being PA) in order to change the outcome of the election. 

  • Do Recounts Matter? On average, recounts change the final outcome by about 430 votes in either direction; the largest margin shift ever in a recount was 0.11% in a statewide race. While that’s below the margin needed to flip any of the states Trump needs to win, record turnout could lead to a record recount. (Axios)

  • The Investigations Begin. Attorney General Bill Barr has instructed the DOJ to investigate all substantial election fraud claims. This has caused the Election Crimes’ Branch Director to resign over concerns that the move is partisan. 

  • Third Party. As it stands, the majority of fraud allegations have yet to be substantiated. (AP) The Organization of American States, an international observer that Trump appointed to oversee ballot counting, declared that they did not directly observe any counts of voter fraud. (WSJ)


How It's Being Spun

Katherine Chuang

Here are the narratives from both sides, along with supporting headlines and article snippets. These are not necessarily factual, but instead illustrate the news coverage that solidifies each narrative. The bias ratings refer to news outlets as a whole, not a specific article.

If you're reading on mobile, the Right's narrative will appear above the Left's. Next week, we'll switch it up.

Narrative from the Right

When the Democrats lost in 2016, they whined and complained about “Russian Collusion” and a rigged election. Now, when we do our due diligence to make sure that Biden’s slim margin of victory is legit, they whine and complain again. If they’re so sure they won, why be afraid of a legitimate investigation?

Headlines & Snippets

McEnany: 'Unlike Our Opponents, We Have Nothing to Hide'

McEnany told reporters. "There is only one party in America that opposes voter ID. One party in America that opposes verifying signatures, citizenship, residency, eligibility.” (Newsmaxx)

Trump Campaign's Latest Pennsylvania Election Lawsuit Will 'Prevail': Tim Murtaugh

On Tuesday, Murtaugh claimed that “Democrat voters in Philadelphia were called and said, you better come on in, there might be a problem with your mail-in ballot and they were invited to come in and cast a provisional vote before Election Day. That is not allowed,” he stressed, "Republican voters were not given that same opportunity." (Fox News)

AG Barr Authorizes Federal Prosecutors To Pursue ‘Substantial Allegations’ Of Voting Irregularities

"I provide this authority and guidance to emphasize the need to timely and appropriately address allegations of voting irregularities so that all of the American people, regardless of their preferred candidate or party, can have full confidence in the results of our elections." (Daily Wire)

Narrative from the Left

This is exactly what we expected. Donald Trump lost, but won’t accept it. He’s making baseless claims of voter fraud, which does nothing but waste time and is dangerous to the future of our democracy. Thankfully, once January 20th rolls around we’ll be back to having an actual adult as commander in chief.

Headlines & Snippets

Biden: Trump's Refusal To Concede Is An 'Embarrassment'

President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that Donald Trump is sullying his legacy by refusing to concede and instead dragging out the electoral process with legal challenges. (Politico)

Trump Push To Fight Election Uses Courts In Attempt To Legitimize Unfounded Claims

On Monday night, the Trump campaign brought a new lawsuit in federal court that seeks to stop the Pennsylvania secretary of state from certifying Biden's win and the 20 electoral votes he's set to receive there. Experts say the newest case is very unlikely to succeed, especially because it seeks to invalidate millions of votes cast in good faith in Pennsylvania. (CNN)

Bill Barr's Top Election Prosecutor Quits After Barr Indulges Trump's Fraud Lie

The DOJ is the latest instrument of government being used to indulge the president’s fantasy world where he won the presidential election and it’s being stolen from him, rather than the reality that he was beaten in the Electoral College and soundly rejected by a margin of millions of people and counting. (VICE)

But, It's Not All Bias 

Sometimes, the news gets it right. Here are two instances of biased outlets that reported with civility by conceding a point to the other side's narrative.

Non-Partisan Board Calls On Trump To Begin Transition

“This was a hard-fought campaign, but history is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors,” the group said. (New York Post)

Biden Coalition Built On Broad But Unstable Foundation

It failed to deliver a Senate majority, left the Democratic House majority weakened, and face-planted in legislative contests in states like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina. (Politico)


What Does It All Mean?

Even though many have anointed Joe Biden as the president-elect, Trump still has a slight chance of victory through litigation. Regardless, this election will be finalized on January 6th when Congress counts the certified Electoral College votes (AP). Unless the Trump camp presents substantiating evidence, Biden will most likely remain President-elect and be sworn into office on January 20, 2021.

  • If your news outlets lean left, you see very little evidence that there was any fraud, and instead view Trump as a sore loser who can’t give up his grip on the GOP. You’ll see a fundamental problem with Republicans accepting Congressional election results from the same ballots where they think Biden cheated. You’re more than happy to accept Joe Biden as the rightful winner of the White House.

  • If your news outlets lean right, you see a lot of legitimate reasons to be skeptical of Joe Biden as the President-Elect; just because the mainstream media calls an election doesn’t mean it’s over. Between the claims of fraud, irregularities, and razor thin margins in a lot of states (and Democrat-run cities), you’ll see a slew of questions that need answering before a winner is actually finalized.

This is just the election that keeps on giving. Biden has claimed victory and wants to start the transition process, while Trump has yet to concede the election. The Trump campaign has called for recounts in almost all battleground states. He awaits the results of multiple lawsuits, alleging various failures in the vote counting system. Most notably, they refer to alleged ballot machine errors in multiple states and the legality of counting mail-in ballots after election day in PA. So far, Trump’s lawyers were successful in another Pennsylvania case that allowed election observers to stand closer than six feet away from ballot counting. That being said, there has yet to be a significant legal decision that would dramatically shift the results of the election. Some of the lawsuits have been already shut down by various state courts.

While legal experts are doubtful that litigation will be able to overturn the margins in swing states, the Senate majority is still very much in play. With the Democratic contender conceding the race in North Carolina and the Alaska race all but over, control of the Senate will come down to two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5. The Republicans currently hold 50 seats, and will cement a majority with one win in the Georgia runoff election. While the White House appears to be a more significant win (if it stands), it’ll be difficult for Biden to get many of his policy priorities passed with a Republican-controlled Senate.

The Presidential race will hopefully wrap up soon, so we can all focus on the next act of the seemingly never-ending election show: The Georgia Run-Off.

Let's Argue Less

Now that you understand more about the election, you're ready to take the next step.

Weekly Civility Challenge

Are you taking a step back from politics this week? Have you noticed your conversations being more civil?

Reply to this email with your response and we’ll feature the winner next week!

Last Week's Winner

Here's the best response we received. Thank you Susan Turner!

"In a democracy we get the government we deserve. The losers deserve to lose because they were either flawed candidates, had flawed ideas, or just failed to convince voters of their competency. The winners deserve to win for just the opposite reasons. 

The other miracle of politics is, that it is self-correcting. It may take a few years or a decade, but sooner or later, as long as we have a free press, the majority party’s flaws will become self-evident, and new candidates will emerge with what voters believe are better ideas. Democracies are a miracle. A self-healing, self-correcting miracle. Almost more important than the rule of law to a democracy, is a free press (like Civil!)."

Want to Learn More About Civil?

Until next Wednesday, that's all from us. Thank you!