We Are Consuming This Election in the Worst Possible Way

Will Leitch
4 min readNov 5, 2020

At exactly 11:28 p.m. ET on Election Night, I, after drinking too much bourbon and answering too many anguished texts from terrified friends having Jacob’s Ladder-esque Election Night 2016 flashbacks, sent out this Tweet.

I had no specific expertise to make this judgment. I had just seen former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs on MSNBC reacting to Fox News’ election analysts calling the state of Arizona for Joe Biden — a call that remains in dispute two days later, as it turns out — and that led me to playing around with the FiveThirtyEight Scenario Generator long enough that I realized Biden winning Arizona would gave him a very clear path as long as he hung on to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. (Apparently the Trump campaign felt the same way.) Gibbs looked confident, and I was a little drunk, and I was on social media, and that combination led me to make my (heavily caveated, incredibly cautious) prediction.

People reacted to my Tweet as if they were starving in the desert — as if I knew anything at all. Because my prediction appears to be coming true, I had people thanking me all day on Wednesday for helping them get through Tuesday night, for providing them a little bit of hope when they were wallowing in despair. I wasn’t sure how to react. I’m just some idiot on Twitter like they are. I was probably just trying to make myself feel better, all told.

But that they were thankful anyway, so shaken by the constant herking and jerking of the evening and morning (and well into Thursday, and surely Friday) was a reminder that there really was no worse way to experience this election than by being on social media. Which is of course where we all are.

Imagine, if you will, that it is 1988. The only way you can find out who won the Presidential election is by watching Dan Rather, then your local news, and then you go to bed and read in your newspaper the next two days what happened. On Wednesday, you wake up to the news that the election was too close to call, that there are too many…

Will Leitch

I write about these tumultuous times 2x a week. Author of five books, including “How Lucky.” NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com