How I Plan to Survive Election Night: November 3, 2020

Two lovely friends asked how my wife and I planned to survive election night. I’m talking about the evening of this coming Tuesday.

Here are several things I’ll do and actions I’ll try to avoid. They take the form of a letter to myself:

Dear Self,

You’ve done your part. You traveled to Wisconsin to register voters. Postcard writing to encourage others to vote was worthwhile too. Peruse your credit card statement to find the names of all the candidates and investigative journalists who received financial support out of your pocket.

Like a fine fisherman, you cast your ballot. Not into the water, of course.

Write another check to a food bank. Here’s one you gave some money to: Greater Chicago Food Depository.

They all need more. Donate as much as you can.

Exercise early. Keep exorcisms for another day!

Time to distract yourself, especially in the waning hours of the big night. Read fiction. Watch situation comedies. Or launch a riviting mini-series and binge-watch. Glad you chose “Queens Gambit,” by the way. Thanks for the recommendation, Joan (the producer’s mom).

Fastening your eyeballs to the TV’s election report or your ears to the radio’s version won’t change the outcome. The power is not in you to jinx it. The result won’t be in your hands once the polls close.

Remember the strategy you used when the Cubs — your team — played Cleveland in the 2016 World Series? Rain delayed the last game in the 7th inning. No one knew how long the precipitation would last. What did you do? The contest was tied, but the hour was late, so you went to bed. You believed someone would set off fireworks if they won. The tiny explosions woke you; you smiled and slumbered on. The patient video recording waited for your attention in the morning.

Don’t drink. Ok, I realize you aren’t a reflexive drinker, but don’t start now. The liquor might knock you out, but a few hours later it’s likely to jolt you awake again.

Meditate. You know how to do this, and you do it every day. Maybe a little more is required.

The sun will rise early each day. Yes, if the bunch you voted against prevail, the climb back to normalcy will be tougher. Even if the gals and guys you’re rooting for win (an outcome you expect), the march forward will still be a challenge. You need to martial strength either way.

No matter the final tallies, no matter when they come, the people you love are there. The people who love you still live. Those departed continue in memories. Books wait for you to read them. Jobs need doing, and help should be given. There are jokes to share, classes to attend, and people to talk with.

Remember to blow the snow off the driveway when it arrives. The moon will keep you company until lengthening days begin to stretch their arms in a welcoming embrace. Sun and summer maintain their steady approach. Count on it.

The world needs healing, but you’ll do what you can, then pass the baton.

You remain a lucky man.


The Wikipedia Foundation created the top voting box image. Shizhao transferred the second one from Ukraine Today to English Wikipedia. They were both sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

14 thoughts on “How I Plan to Survive Election Night: November 3, 2020

  1. Seems we’re all trying to stay sane during elections, as well as safe from COVID. It’s a lot to handle, and we don’t even have fires or hurricanes to worry about. Re elections, I’ve built in “CDC-guided” meet-ups four days next week to maintain (or regain) sanity. That’s a big deal during the virus! I don’t take leaving the house for granted anymore. Risk vs benefit always in my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. An excellent article Dr. Stein, and you seemed well prepared for Tuesday night. I will be making pizza from scratch, which we enjoy, and the ice cream has been purchased. We will most likely stay up all night watching the returns, and hopefully we will retire to bed at 6 AM with a pleasant sense of a coming victory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nancy. Cooking is a wonderful idea, in part because it takes your focus off of whatever else is going on. Hold your last thought, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been a stressful night and the results have so far not gone as expected. It’s after 3 AM and heading off to bed. Even if Biden wins, there still will be great rancor in this country and I was hoping 2016 was an anomaly. I guess not and I am now questioning why half of our population supports someone as evil as he is. I guess I view the world and our problems differently.


    • Nothing about this has been easy, Nancy. We humans are infinitely complex. No easy answers either, but we shall see how things look once all the outcomes are clear. Rest up if you canl

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to spend some of the later hours in my natural habitat: with other lefties listening to my favorite podcaster, Ben Joravsky, and his frequent guests. One will be David Faris a political science professor at Roosevelt. His latest book is: The Kids are all Left. I’ll probably lift my glass (diet coke) to Bernie. And, then turn in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I trust Ben will keep you hopeful, Joan. Question — you said you will “turn in,” but what will you turn into? Whatever it is, the lovely core on your being will stay the same!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sound advice to self! I plan to adopt a similar approach. I’ve done all that I could on the lead-up. Yesterday, I reminded my Trump-supporter son that I still love him and will always love him, regardless of his political choice. Regardless of who wins, the need for repairing our divisiveness as a nation will have to be addressed. I stand ready to do my part in the healing process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your excellent reminder of the importance of personal outreach, Rosaliene. Our differences will not disappear without that sustained effort.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those look like some good strategies. Of course election night turned into an election week, but its nice to see it called at least.


    • Good to hear from you, Daniel. Hope Alaska is treating you well. Yes, the “night of” turned into lots of waiting. Now we wait for an unpredictable transition. I’m guessing more normalcy in the process than might be expected. Clothed or not, the emperor will find at least a few of his happy band looking for another place to land. New candidates to claim his sceptor will eventually begin to elbow him out to gain center stage. Such is life. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

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