The World and Everything in It — November 4, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Election Day has come and gone but not all the counting is done.

NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk politics on Washington Wednesday.

Plus sounds from the polls as WORLD reporters check in on how in-person voting went yesterday.

And as we’re doing this week, your prayers for the nation.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, November 4th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Presidential election still too close to call » Even amid the pandemic, voters shattered turnout records in many places on Election Day. Those who didn’t vote early braved long lines Tuesday to cast their votes. But they went to bed without many answers. 

Shortly after midnight, former Vice President Joe Biden told his supporters…

BIDEN: 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! 

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the White House. As of about 3 a.m. this morning, Biden had 225 comfortably locked up to President Trump’s 213. 

But that was with several big swing states still counting votes and too close to call. Those states are Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Georgia. 

As of early this morning, Trump was leading in all five of those states.  

And at 2:20 a.m. the president commented from the East Room at the White House. 

TRUMP: This is without question the latest news conference I’ve ever had. 

The president said he believes he has won the election and that Democrats are trying to steal it. 

TRUMP: So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.  

Some fear an ugly legal battle lies ahead reminiscent of the 2000 election. 

It could come down to outstanding votes in Pennsylvania. And speaking with Fox News, George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley called that a “nightmare scenario.” 

TURLEY: And the reason is because the Pennsylvania laws and their standards are an utter mess. And we will look with great longing back at the age of hanging chads. 

The Supreme Court turned away a legal challenge to mail-in ballots received after the election in Pennsylvania. 

As of now, multiple states will count mail-in ballots received for several more days … as long as they’re postmarked no later than November 3rd.  

Senate still up for grabs » It was also unclear this morning which party will control the U.S. Senate. 

Democrats flipped a seat in Colorado where incumbent Senator Cory Gardner lost to former Governor John Hickenlooper. 

HICKENLOOPER: Tonight, your message is loud and clear. It’s time to put the poisonous politics of this era behind us and come together to move forward. 

And in Arizona, it appears former astronaut, Democrat Mark Kelly, has unseated Senator Martha McSally—though she is not yet conceding the race. 

Republicans gained a seat in Alabama where Tommy Tuberville beat Senator Doug Jones. 

GOP Senator Joni Ernst held off her challenger in Iowa. And fellow Republican Senator Steve Daines also won reelection.

DAINES: We’re so grateful tonight that the voice of Montana has been heard loud and clear. 

Another incumbent Senate Republican, David Perdue won his race in Georgia. 

But the state’s other Senate seat will head to a runoff election on January 5th.  

Two Republicans ran for the seat, splitting the GOP vote. But in a head to head runoff, Senator Kelly Loeffler will be heavily favored against Democrat Raphael Warnock. 

Republican senators are leading races in several other states that are still too close to call. 

To take control of the Senate, Democrats need a net gain of four seats or three seats plus the White House. 

Democrats will keep control of the House, but it’s still unclear if they will add any seats to their majority.

Death toll rises in Vienna as authorities arrest 14 following attack » The death toll from a terror attack in Austria rose to five on Tuesday, including the gunman. That as authorities investigating the attack arrested more than a dozen people. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The shooter was a 20-year-old dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, who had a prior terror conviction. 

The Austrian government sentenced him to 22 months in prison last year for trying to join ISIS in Syria. But authorities granted him early release in December.

Unconfirmed video showed him shooting seemingly at random in the city center Monday night. He killed four people and wounded 15 others before police fatally shot him. 

It’s not clear whether he acted alone, but investigators conducted 18 raids and arrested 14 people on Tuesday. 

Following the attack in Vienna and earlier ones in France, the UK raised its terror threat level to severe on Tuesday.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Cruise lines to drop anchor for rest of 2020 » Cruise ships are dropping anchor for the rest of 2020. 

The Cruise Lines International Association represents 95 percent of the world’s ocean cruise capacity. And on Tuesday the group announced that its members are suspending operations until next year. 

In a statement, it said members will use the rest of the year to install—quote—“extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety”

It remains to be seen if major cruise lines will set sail again in January.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: historic context for this year’s unusual campaign.

Plus, a visit to the polls in three different states.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Wednesday the 4th of November, 2020.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: the 2020 election draws to a close.

Votes are still being counted across the country, but last night marked the beginning of the end for the 59th American presidential election. Americans first cast ballots for president in 1789. George Washington won that contest—unanimously. We’ve had several other landslide elections since then. But most of the time, the electorate has been much more divided. Twice the U.S. House \has had to step in to choose the winner.

EICHER: This year’s election has certainly given us some memorable moments in a most unusual year. But is it as momentous as the pundits would have us believe?

Well, it is Washington Wednesday. It’s Washington week, really. But joining us today to provide some perspective on the 2020 election are two of WORLD’s most experienced political reporters: editor in chief Marvin Olasky and national editor Jamie Dean. Hey there!



EICHER: Marvin, let’s begin with context. We keep hearing the word “unprecedented.” But we’ve had contentious presidential campaigns in the past. And this isn’t the first time we’ve elected a president during tumultuous times in the culture.

But for you, what previous elections have really stood out as similarly fraught?

OLASKY: I’ll give you three: 1800 when some said Thomas Jefferson would overthrow Christianity in American. 1860 which led to the Civil War. And 1876 which ended Reconstruction as armed men headed to Washington. Republicans made a deal, they got a president, and stopped protecting ex-slaves in the South. Nothing hugely militant since then. 

EICHER: Yeah, and yet our nation survived all of those. Still, returning to the idea of an unprecedented year, does it feel different this time around?

OLASKY: Most polarized since I started voting in 1972, but we have been told in every election since 2000 that if the candidate we prefer doesn’t win, America is down the drain. I hope we’ll survive this one as we’ve survived the others. Although at some point, the sentence on a tombstone in the Princeton cemetery kicks in, “I told you I was sick.” 

EICHER: Jamie, you’ve covered many of the recent elections. Does it feel different to you this time?

DEAN: Well, I think in general this year feels different than any year I’ve been working as a reporter. But when I think about the last few presidential campaigns that I’ve covered, I think one of the themes that floats to the top is how much hope and how much weight Americans of all political persuasions often put on one man or one woman to make things right—whatever their idea of right might be. That’s not true of every voter, but I’ve seen that thread running through the last 12 years. In 2008 with then-Senator Barack Obama and then in 2016 with Donald Trump who appealed not only to many Republicans but he appealed to some Democratic voters disenchanted with how things had worked out for them. Here was a man who could maybe make the country great again. In 2020 I think there were voters still certainly steadfastly devoted to President Trump and those who were enthusiastic about Joe Biden, but I got the sense that plenty of voters on both sides weren’t feeling that same kind of hope that they had in the past. No doubt some of that has to do with the very difficult circumstances we’re all enduring this year. But in varying ways, it seems like both sides were largely trying to avoid what they feared most about the other side. And that doesn’t mean that one side might not have a better argument for how to govern the country, but it may mean that Americans are being reminded that no one man or one woman can carry the kind of weight that we sometimes put on them. 

EICHER: In a recent online column, you quoted a pastor named Adam Mabry, who has written about this kind of Christian response to politics. Talk a little about what you learned from him.

DEAN: Yeah, I’ll just quote from his book “Stop Taking Sides” because I really think it’s quite helpful. Mabry wrote this before the election was underway. He said, “While the world may lose their collective marbles when an election goes ‘wrong,’ may it never be so for the church of Jesus Christ. Remember, your King is on the throne already. While the outcome may change the moment, it changes neither the mission nor eternity. The world is desperate for a people who are secure enough in grace that they can flourish under Caesar, whoever he or she may be.” 

EICHER: Marvin, the divisions we’ve seen in the church this year are in some ways disheartening. But maybe in the fractures we’ve seen an opportunity for healing. Do you think God is planting seeds of renewal?

OLASKY: I hope so. It needs to start in churches. Here’s a suggestion for everyone listening: Next Sunday, say to someone in your church who disagrees with you politically what Abraham Lincoln said to the South in 1861, “We are not enemies, but friends.” It didn’t do much good then, but our chief goal should be to glorify God and enjoy him forever and not just elect someone for four years. And we can move towards glorifying him and enjoying him by not making politics ultimate and not breaking fellowship because of relatively unimportant things. 

EICHER: How does this set us up for the future? Do you think we’ve entered an age of high levels of tension and division or is 2020 an outlier and we’ll simmer down?

OLASKY: News media are such a big problem now. That’s our occupation, Nick, but this is trouble because networks and big newspapers used to make money by going for the middle. Now lots of them make millions of dollars by providing propaganda. And if they keep doing that and people keep buying it, we’re in trouble. 

EICHER: Well, let’s talk about that, actually, before we go. I think you’ve raised something that I’d like to pursue just a little bit because there are lots of races—House races, Senate races, the Presidential race. We just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until all of the counting is done and possible legal challenges to it. I think we can declare, can’t we, Marvin, that the media are the big losers here? 

OLASKY: Yes, and big media are going to keep losing. The technology has changed, there’s real opportunity for others to come in and win an audience and we at WORLD should be in that competition. 

EICHER: I mean, I think if you were simply to look at the national news media in the run-up to this, you wouldn’t have anticipated what happened tonight. This was supposed to be absolutely over for Trump and it was going to be a blowout win. And instead we’re still—late in the game—still kinda counting. That’s another big miss and you can’t just lay it at the feet of pollsters. You really do have to lay this one at the feet of the news media.

OLASKY: Well, I was flipping channels among the major networks and the look of glee upon some faces when there were promising developments for Joe Biden were really—as in 2016 with Hillary Clinton—really strange. Well, not strange at this point. We’re used to it. But just totally unprofessional. So, yeah, this is a big problem. They’re not wearing the striped jerseys of referees, but they’re wearing blue blazers and blue uniforms and saluting particular Democratic candidates. As long as that continues, that’s going to be bad.

EICHER: I mean, and honestly, can we not say that from the time Trump was elected—big surprise, Trump was elected—I remember in those early days, there was all of this talk, “We need to sort of understand that middle of the country that we never understood. There’s something here that we don’t know about. We need to explore that.” That just never came to pass with the media and that’s a fact. 

OLASKY: There was a tiny bit of parachuting into the middle of the country and venturing into those places where—as Hillary Clinton put it—the “deplorables” live. It didn’t last very long. And, yeah, we’re back to the same old-same old of just among the major networks, with the exception of Fox, of just being cheerleaders. Fox I looked at tonight some and actually it really was more fair and balanced than I’d seen before and that we’re getting from the other networks. 

EICHER: Jamie, in your Dean’s List column posted Monday on WORLD’s website, you noted another momentous time in our country’s history when God’s people disagreed about the best path forward. Remind us of that.

DEAN: Sure, that was long before 2020. It was actually 1620. This month marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage. On November 9, 1620, the 100 or so travelers aboard the Mayflower spotted the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts after just a miserable two months journey from England. And before they ever set foot on land, they were disagreeing about the best course of action to take. They did know they wanted religious freedom to worship according to the Scriptures. But they also knew what fellow passenger William Bradford wrote about them later. Bradford said, “They knew they were pilgrims.” And I think as Christians that is such a critical reality to remember about ourselves. In whatever age we live, whoever our leaders may be, we know that we are pilgrims. And I think we can give great thanks to God for that. 

EICHER: Jamie Dean is WORLD’s national editor and Marvin Olasky is our editor in chief. Thank you both for joining us today!

DEAN: Thanks, Nick. 

OLASKY: Amen. 

NICK EICHER: As we head toward winter, some of us have preparations to make.

Like buying a snowmobile.

One young man in northwest Wisconsin found himself a real bargain, but had a problem. 

How to get it home?

So he called upon his own American ingenuity: He muscled the 500-pound beast up onto the roof of his Toyota Corolla and headed out on the highway.

A state patrolman saw him, stopped him, but ended up confirming it was strapped down safely enough and he wasn’t technically breaking the law, so he let him go.

The driver explained it’s pretty common up in these parts.

And he’s right about that.

AUDIO: Well, I didn’t have a snowmobile trailer.

This guy did the exact same thing last winter. The audio from WISN television.

AUDIO: You know this seemed like a nice, cheap way of doing it. And the car that I use is kinda on its last legs. So, you know, not more damage to be done.

Words to live by.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, November 4th. 

Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. 

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

More than 97 million Americans cast their vote early this year, either by mail or in person—that’s nearly two thirds the total ballots cast in 2016. Yesterday, millions more went to the polls to “pull the lever” for their preferred candidates. Voter turnout was very high.

EICHER: Three WORLD reporters stopped by their local polling places to see how things went. 

We begin with Correspondent Bonnie Pritchett, in Houston, Texas.

ELECTION JUDGE: The way you have it set up here is much, much better…

BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: Before the polls opened on election day, more than half of registered Texans had cast their ballots. Ryan Rowley, election judge for a southeast Harris County polling site, said presidential elections typically draw about 1,000 voters to this location on election day.

RYAN ROWLEY: I’m expecting at least double that. There’s a lot of voters out here who only vote on election day.

Blanca Falcon tried voting absentee but missed the posting deadline. So, with her completed ballot in her lap, she rolled her wheelchair into the lengthening queue. At 66, Falcon said voting is worth the effort.

BLANCA FALCON: I try to do my best. If I want to have a voice there’s no other way to do it but voting…

An hour before the polls opened, Genobre Russell is in line–second behind a 24-year-old college student who had an hour drive ahead of her. Seated in a lawn chair, the African-American in her 70’s wished citizens took voting more seriously.

She said high voter turnout should be the norm.

GENOBRE RUSSELL: Yes! This should have been a long time ago. You know, you should raise your children up to vote… Just do what you’re supposed to do.

Pablo Hernandez would probably agree. From the parking lot he saw the 40-plus people in line and turned to go to a different polling location—or the iHop—and return here later. The 87-year-old Cuban-born American is deeply concerned about the ideology reflected on the ballot.

PABLO HERNANDEZ: We are really going through some really hard times. My concern is the, you know, is everything we hear from the Democrats – and I’m talking at a very, very high level, the highest levels – really, is Socialism. And that would be terrible for this country.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett in Houston, Texas.

REICHARD: Senior Correspondent Kim Henderson stopped by a polling place in Centerpoint, Mississippi. 

WIGLEY: See that stump on that hill over yonder? I’ve done measured five times, and it’s 149 feet…

KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Woody Wigley has worked the polls at Centerpoint for 25 years. He’s here at 6:30 in the morning. As a school bus passes by, Wigley walks through the gravel parking lot. He’s spotted three political signs within the 150-foot regulation.

WIGLEY: So they got to be 150 feet out…

Centerpoint is a rural precinct in a state that’s voted for Republican presidents since 1976. But this county, Copiah, has a mind of its own. Hillary Clinton took it in 2016.

Mississippi’s ballot includes votes on marijuana, a new flag, and a state senator. But the line of voters stretching through the gravel parking lot are focused on presidential issues.

HENDERSON: What do you see as the main problem?

CASEY: Not giving the immigrants so much…

PASTOR: Don’t allow people to mistreat nobody, no matter what race they are…

BALIFF: The coronavirus, you know…

LAWLER: I don’t want socialism…

BROTHER: Well, especially the healthcare…

SISTER: Want to make sure veterans get what they’re supposed to…

SMITH: Laws that are being changed for abortion…

Beth Schmitz was in line by 7 o’clock. She’s concerned about losing freedoms.

SCHMITZ: I love my freedom of religion. I’m born and raised Catholic. So I’m, I’m passionate about religion. Um, Second Amendment. And I’m afraid all of that will go away with the other administration.

Pastor Herbert Gustavis sees his vote as a way to address problems that continue to surface. 

PASTOR: Sometimes hate comes for a reason. We can do a better job and see how things are, and that’s what makes a change.

Kaylon Watson said she’s concerned about Christian issues like sanctity of life and religious liberty. But she let everyone in line know her trust is in God, not elections. 

WATSON: He’s the same yesterday as He is today and going to be tomorrow. Put it in God’s hands and let Him handle it.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Centerpoint, Mississippi.

EICHER: And finally this morning, we head to Bureau County, Illinois, to meet the man who makes sure everything runs well on election day for voters in North Central Illinois. Here’s Paul Butler. 

PAUL BUTLER, CORRESPONDENT: It’s been seven and a half hours since Illinois polls opened. There’s a welcome calm at the Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton, Illinois. 

EGGERS: I am Matt Eggers. I’m Bureau County Clerk and Recorder. 

Matt Eggers smiles as he stands behind a plastic shield and chats with his staff. They’ve been preparing for this day for months. Training election judges, staffing early voting stations, mailing out ballots and for five weeks now, counting postmarked votes.

EGGERS: They’re opening up the envelopes, verifying the signatures. And if everything matches they put the tabulator and the ballot gets counted.

Many early voters were concerned about COVID-19. There are at least a handful of people in Bureau County who now wish they’d been more concerned for they unexpectedly couldn’t vote this time around. That’s due to quarantine protocols as they were recently exposed to, or tested positive for, the illness. 

EGGERS: I called the State Board on it to see what they would do, and unfortunately the State Board of Elections just told me there’s nothing we can really do without putting other people in danger.  

About 30 percent of all registered voters in Bureau County did vote early. Even so, in person turnout is surpassing last presidential election numbers by a noticeable margin. Eggers expects more than 80 percent engagement by the time it’s all said and done. He hasn’t seen that kind of interest since the 1990s. 

EGGERS: People are just wanting to make their voices heard and want to make sure that their vote counts. 

When asked if he waited to vote till today. He laughs…

EGGERS: I’ve already voted. I voted a couple weeks ago…

He knew he’d be busy helping others vote on Election Day.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler in Princeton, Illinois.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, November 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, prayers for our nation.

Bringing you today’s selections are Marcia Johnson, Hannah Gardner, Kathryn White, and Cynthia Longabaugh.

REICHARD: And rounding it out is David Bahn reading from the Lutheran Service Book.

MARCIA JOHNSON: For our nation, I pray from Psalm 46: 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way,
though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

He says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Amen

HANNA GARDNER: For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:16-18

KATHRYN WHITE: Lord, we thank you for your ultimate control, regardless of who is elected. As you say in Proverbs 21:1—The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He will. 

Please have mercy on us and help turn our nation’s hearts and minds toward you.

CYNTHIA LONGABAUGH: Lord God, we remember that you are the God who raises kings and deposes them. And so Lord we pray that you would raise up this president. That the president that you raise up is the one we should have and the one who will lead in a manner worthy of you. Lord, that you would surround this president with those who also would seek to please you and that he would receive good advice and wisdom.

Lord, we pray that for every election, up and down the ballot, that you would raise up men and women who want to lead this nation in a manner that honors you and lines up with your Biblical principles. Lord, protect us and fight for us. We ask that this election would be true and fair and that when all the votes are counted the winner is the one who won. And that no shenanigans would be allowed to prevail. Amen, Jesus.

DAVID BAHN: Almighty God, you have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember your generosity and faithfully do your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion. From pride and arrogance and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations, with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties. And give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of governance, the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful. And in troubled times, do not let our trust in you fail. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Analysis of the election results, from Capitol Hill to Main Street.

And, memorable concession speeches from the past. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Thanks for listening, and go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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