— Katherine Miller (@katherinemiller) November 8, 2020
A delightful backgrounder for last night:
WILMINGTON, Delaware — About five hours before polls closed on Election Day, 21 empty pickup trucks appeared in the parking lot of the Chase Center, sitting in two careful rows facing the stage where Joe Biden was supposed to address the nation in a victory speech later that evening.
The fleet of Jeep Gladiators and Jeep Wranglers, along with some Ford Rangers and Chevy Silverados, had been arranged in alternating colors of red, white, and blue, all with open backs or sunroofs, and hoods stamped with BIDEN–HARRIS decals. They were reserved for the family and friends who would be arriving with Biden to his socially distanced “drive-in” rally — the proverbial front row in a sea of other cars. Sitting opposite a freshly installed panel of bulletproof glass, US Secret Service protection befitting a president-elect, they had the clean and perfect look of new rental cars, windows darkened, paint gleaming in the sun. In the style of a tailgate, aides had placed a pair of blue folding chairs in the back of each truck.
By 11 p.m., it was clear there wouldn’t be a final result that night. Light-up foam batons, stamped with the campaign logo for guests in the parking lot, never got distributed. After midnight, when Biden finally did arrive, his motorcade sped into the parking lot of the adjacent Westin hotel, and his party took their seats in the Jeeps: There was his brother Jimmy Biden, Jill Biden’s sisters, and the former vice president’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, watching from the roof of a Jeep. They had waited a long time for this night. Around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, they finally got to see him take the stage, only to say “we’re going to have to be patient” and “keep the faith.” After three minutes, Biden waved goodbye, and headed home…
Throughout the week, his campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon hosted daily Zoom briefings, laying out projections for the outstanding vote. On Thursday, Biden published a transition website, saying he was dedicated to preparing for his possible administration and would “continue preparing at full speed.” That afternoon, he and Harris attended briefings on the economy and the coronavirus pandemic, which is deep in a deadly third wave that has brought the total number of American deaths to more than 236,000. On Friday, Biden aides believed they would finally get their call, going public with plans for a victory party, broadcast live on primetime television. The networks held off, and once again, Biden passed the stage, empty and waiting, to address reporters inside the Chase Center.
“As slow as it goes, it can be numbing,” he said of watching the numbers come in on TV. “But never forget: The tallies aren’t just numbers. They represent votes and voters, men and women who exercise the fundamental right to have their voice heard.”…
Biden's 'victory caused people to weep in joyful relief as they became aware of the heaviness that had afflicted their hearts, after they’d suddenly been relieved of it.' Do read this beautiful essay by @RobinGivhan https://t.co/75l50R1MvX
— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) November 8, 2020
… As the country waited for ballots to be counted, it was Biden — not the occupant of the Oval Office — who was reassuring people that this democracy was intact, that the system was working and that the center would hold. He was the voice of calm optimism in the midst of tumultuous times.
When he became president-elect late Saturday morning, he did something far more herculean than accepting responsibility for a worsening pandemic and a struggling economy. He removed a terrible, suffocating weight from the back of this nation. For the more than 74 million Americans who voted for him — and surely even for some of those who did not — Biden’s election allowed this country to laugh, to dance and to breathe. He cracked open a space where the light could shine through. Indeed, his victory caused people to weep in joyful relief as they became aware of the heaviness that had afflicted their hearts, after they’d suddenly been relieved of it…