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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Biden Close To Victory As Counts Continue In Arizona, Georgia, Nevada And Pennsylvania. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired November 7, 2020 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to CNN's breaking news coverage, Election Night in America continued. Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon here with you at 5:00 am in the east. Saturday morning. But it is now just absorbed into the period we all know as waiting for the election to end.
But Joe Biden is moving in the right direction. But it's not over. This is about math and method. And we are watching, Don, and we've had changes on our watch.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: We certainly have. If you didn't say what day of the week it is, I don't think many people would have known because I feel like you, America, have been glued to the television, sitting in this chair, it feels like, for months. But it's only been a week, four or five days, additional votes coming in, in Georgia.
In Pennsylvania. And we heard from him, Joe Biden, in a late-night Friday address expressing confidence and unity. The Democratic nominee said we don't have any more sometime to waste on partisan warfare. We'll have to see if this sticks. There are too many serious problems to tackle like COVID-19, racism and then he stopped short of declaring himself the winner but saying it's clear where this race stands.
CUOMO: The one thing that's immutable is he's right about we have no time, we're in the middle of a pandemic. The only numbers more impressive than the turnout in the election is the turnout in the virus. The numbers of cases and hospitalizations, people losing.
LEMON: Both record-setting.
CUOMO: Worst ever. We have no time to waste. Let's get on with what we know that's election, my brother, and have a key race alert.
Georgia, 16 electoral votes, 7,248 votes separate the men. Very important for Biden to win, why?
Because if it goes to Biden, Trump does not have a path to the Electoral College.
And can Biden hold on to Pennsylvania?
If so, he is our next president-elect. If he gets that number up, he can move up out automatic recount zone a much better glide path to victory.
Arizona, 11 electoral votes, 29,861 votes separate the two. The question is, can Biden hold off Trump? Arizona, an interesting look at this race and our country.
Nevada, six electoral votes, 22,657 votes separating the two candidates. This has been fairly stable for Biden.
Does it matter?
In combination with Arizona, yes.
If Biden wins Arizona and Nevada, he is our next president-elect. Let's look at the big map, no change, you know why?
We haven't called anything. The white spaces are the places we're still looking at. I know other organizations have a different number for Biden and Trump. We don't all call it the same way. Everybody does it their own way. You can judge. We just don't want to get it wrong.
Preparations for a potential Biden administration are underway. But the key is not in the rush, figuring it might soon be on their way to Washington. Why?
Let's catch up with M.J. Lee in Delaware, at the Biden campaign, at the place they're supposed to be holding the celebration, if they have one.
M.J., good morning.
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
Well, the Biden campaign is certainly waiting for that official call, hoping they can eventually get over that 270 electoral vote threshold. And they very much expect to get there. But it is worth pointing out, even while we don't want to get ahead of ourselves.
LEE: You're right, preparations for a would-be Biden administration have been in place for a number of months now. A Biden transition team has been working since earlier this summer, doing everything a transition team would do.
We are talking about things like, you know, coming up with a list of personnel appointments. Thinking about people Biden might put in top administration positions. Researching policy implementation and also just thinking about different executive orders that a President Biden might put in place in the earliest days of the presidency. But what CNN has been told by multiple sources heading into Election
Day is that, yes, Biden has been kept informed of some of the major work that the transition team has been doing but that he is superstitious and that he is not inclined to make any major decisions on the transition fund until he knows for sure that he is the winner.
Also, he has said -- and we know this because he has talked about this publicly -- that he would like to have a cabinet that looks like the country. So we're talking about, you know, geographical diversity, racial diversity.
He obviously has been very public about wanting women in top positions. This comment seems especially notable, given what we heard from Biden himself last night in Wilmington, when he said he wants to be a president that represents all of America.
So not just people who supported him in this election but people who also did not support him as well -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, M.J., thank you very much.
For a study in contrast, let's go to Ryan Nobles in Washington, D.C., tracking the Trump campaign and administration.
Ryan, where do you think we are on the chaos-o-meter in terms of the president's desire to blow it all up if the election doesn't go his way?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good question, on a scale of 1 to 10, we're in the 8 or 9 range. Because we just do not know what President Trump is thinking beyond what we're seeing from his Twitter feed.
The big question is when will we hear from President Trump?
He has nothing scheduled publicly today at all. That's rare for the president. We haven't seen or heard from him since that speech he gave in the Briefing Room shortly after the election results started rolling in, where he made a number of baseless claims about the vote count and suggested that somehow the election was being stolen from him.
Meanwhile, the president is still trying to figure out what his next move is. He does have a team of lawyers across the country. He's promised lawsuits in all of these key battlegrounds. And there's no indication that he or his team is planning to back away from that in any way, shape or form.
There's also the option of a recount. And it's clear his team is ready to move forward with recounts in the states, where that will become available for them. What's interesting for the president, it's rare for him to go too long without responding to a political opponent.
Of course, it is the former vice president who had the last word after that speech last night. Even though the former vice president never mentioned Trump by name, he certainly alluded to the fact that the president has yet to make note of the reality of the race at this point.
And that's something that President Trump normally would just not allow to go unanswered.
Then there's also the broader point about the practical implications of governing. And no matter what the outcome is of this race, President Trump is still the president of the United States and will be for 70 or so more days.
And the coronavirus is still a real and growing threat to this country. And it's one growing right in the White House behind me. The president's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, testing positive for coronavirus. Meadows has been seen on a number of occasions in the past week, around staff, in close contact, without wearing a mask.
He was at the Trump campaign headquarters on Tuesday morning, the day of the election. Then at the Election Night party at the White House, Meadows was once again there without a mask.
We're also told by sources in the White House that Meadows has been in and out of the West Wing and the residence without a mask on.
So there are two serious realities that the president is dealing with this morning, the fact that his political future is slipping away and the fact that he still has a major responsibility and still governing this country for the next couple of months. Chris.
CUOMO: Ryan, thank you very much. M.J., thank you very much.
It's down to four key states, in Pennsylvania, 20 electoral votes if Biden wins, he's the next president-elect. Let's go to Kristen Holmes at the voting desk.
Good morning again, what are we looking at?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris, let's talk about what is left to count everything. Because as you have said, you know, this has been lasting for four days and everyone is ready to see some sort of finale here.
So the big question, of course, is we see Biden leading in all of these states and whether or not President Trump can catch up.
HOLMES: If we start in Pennsylvania, right now, the margin is 29,000 votes.
What's left to count?
There are 89,000 ballots and 101 provisional ballots. We have talked about those. It's going to be a slower process. When we get to the end of the ballots, 89,000 outstanding ballots, a lot of those are up for review. A group of people has to decide what the voter intent is. They have to scan them, check your rips or tears. Some of them are counted by hand. The other part is these provisional
ballots. Now these take longer for a different reason. They are essentially put aside when a voter comes in and their eligibility is in question. If they had a name change or weren't listed on the voter rolls in that precinct.
It can take one to 20 minutes to process one single provisional ballot, depending on how much information they had to find.
Let's look at Georgia. Where it's looking slimmer, 7,248 votes; 4,000 ballots plus, give or take. That's what's left there. And then 13,000 provisional ballots. We got our first batch of provisional ballots this morning. That is what widened the margin, giving Biden a bigger lead there. Again, watching that very closely.
Arizona, now, there's a lot more left in Arizona, we're about 29,861 as the difference between the two candidates. And there's a lot still outstanding. There's 126,000 ballots that need to be processed as well as 47,000 provisional ballots.
Maricopa County, one that Phil loves talking about, they're going to have an update at 12:00 pm Eastern. We expect a lot of numbers out of that. Lastly, Nevada, 124,500 ballots left. And this is still close, there is room for growth here, in terms of President Trump catching up with former Vice President Joe Biden.
If we add up the provisional ballots and the regular ballots, there's about 200,000 ballots that are outstanding. Now where they're coming from and where we're looking at in terms of mail-in ballots, we are expecting to see a lot of them skew Democratic.
But again, looking at the margins here, we do expect an update in a few hours, 11:00 am. A lot of people are hoping to see a bigger wave out of Nevada -- Nevada, said it right that time. It has been a long go of it from that state, Chris.
CUOMO: You have nothing to apologize for. It is amazing how much information and insight you've been able to own, especially on these hours. So thank you.
One quick thing, in Georgia, the military ballots, the president said, hey, what happened to them?
Isn't it the truth, and the truth that the president should know as president, that the military ballots, maybe 1,000 of them, they were sent out. They only get sent back in if the particular recipient wants to do that, right?
HOLMES: Right. And the idea that there's some kind of large margin of missing military ballots is just silly. I mean, we know that. We know that they go out. And people don't choose to send them in or they come in later than Election Day. And there is room for that. That's not illegal.
There's often a time period in which military ballots are allowed to be kept because we have service men and women serving across the world. And it takes time to get that ballot back.
You know, I was reading through some of these stories of what our servicemen and women go through in order to cast a ballot. And some of it is just incredible. They're going through enormous speeds at bases in remote parts of the world to make sure the votes count.
And our system, most state systems, allow for extra time because they know that these military men and women are going through this process. So the idea that there's somehow 1,000 military votes missing in the ether, it's not true.
CUOMO: Thank you very much, Kristen. Appreciate that insight. Let's go to Phil Mattingly at the magic wall.
The president is the one who said that military ballots shouldn't be counted when he said everything after Election Day can't count. Many of those military ballots come in after Election Day because of what Kristen was just describing. And that kind of hard work and value of the franchise, when you talk to veterans and when you ask what you can do for them, very often they say vote.
So the president knows how it works. Once again, suggesting where did they go, he is pushing fugazi fraud. If he did have real proof, you know what he'd be doing? Not tweeting, he'd be in court. And your obsession with Maricopa County, which we'll talk about later, what is the statement here?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a clarifying day. This will be a clarifying day. We know that a number of ballots --
CUOMO: This day being Saturday.
MATTINGLY: This day being Saturday. We have lost track of the day.
CUOMO: Saturday is a big day?
MATTINGLY: Saturday is a huge day. Kristen told you what is outstanding.
The reality, when you go through things, is Pennsylvania.
CUOMO: Uh-oh, here we go.
MATTINGLY: Georgia, Arizona, Nevada. Look at them now. They're all blue, Joe Biden holds leads in all of them. The big question is, can he hold on to the leads. When you look at the trend, when you look at where that outstanding vote sits, you start to get clarity, clarity that should be made concrete throughout the course of the day.
You talk about Pennsylvania right now, this is the ball game, 20 electoral votes, Joe Biden has 253. Add 20 to 253, math majors, unite, that is over 270. Where are you looking right now? The story of Pennsylvania is not trying to flip a bunch of counties, the story in Pennsylvania is running up margins in strongholds. What we've seen over the last 36 hours, Joe Biden, as he eliminated a very large President Trump lead, is running up margins via strongholds via vote by mail which is mostly Democratic.
You look at the blue southeast Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia into the suburbs, ballots have gone at even higher margins that Joe Biden is winning those counties where it stands. One of the biggest places outstanding, Allegheny County, home of Pittsburgh, 30,000 ballots outstanding there.
Allegheny County has been coming in at 77 percent, 78 percent for Joe Biden over the course of the last 24 hours. Look at what the margin is all around. That means what's coming in is only adding to Joe Biden's total bigger than we've seen up to that point.
CUOMO: Question, this is something that a lot of people are still laboring under a misapprehension.
CUOMO: The president put out there, even though he knows the answer, boy, I don't know, I was winning by 600,000 votes and all of a sudden it starts to disappear as if there was something mysterious.
What is the obvious answer as to why the race went this way?
A keyword we heard early on was red mirage.
MATTINGLY: President Trump's Election Day vote was huge. Their campaign focused on the ground operation, the turnout. They got what they wanted. The problem was Democrats did also. However, they voted via mail. President Trump told his supporters to vote in person.
So in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, they're required to count their mail-in ballots after Election Day votes. So the Election Day vote is what we saw first. President Trump ran up huge margins. And then you've seen them chopped down.
It's in red counties where President Trump is winning by a significant margin. You talk about clarity or getting clarifying moments is, in Trump's strongest counties, Joe Biden is still winning. What it underscores is, in Pennsylvania, when you look at what's outstanding and what's coming in, even in the reddest counties, Joe Biden is gaining votes.
So that margin, when you look at what's outstanding and what's happened in the last 24 hours, only room for Joe Biden to grow in the course of the last 24 hours.
CUOMO: All right. Let's take a look at what we learned. But first a break. When we come back, the latest on the state of play in the biggest election in a long time. Stay with CNN. Good morning. (MUSIC PLAYING)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves very slow and it's -- it's as slow as it goes, it can be numbing. But never forget, the tallies aren't just numbers. They represent votes and voters, men and women who exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard.
And what's becoming clear each hour is that record number of Americans, of all races, faiths, religions, chose change over more of the same. They've given us a mandate for action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, a mandate for action with us, Nia-Malika Henderson, John Avlon and Margaret Hoover.
Nia, I said to you earlier, this is going to be a big job if indeed it is going that way for a President-Elect Joe Biden because he has to gain people. He's going to be the president for everyone, including the people that didn't support him.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
LEMON: So how does he get those people to come over, because we're so divided?
That's why I think it's a huge job for him.
HENDERSON: Well, I think he has to improve people's lives. America right now is going through a terrible health crisis, a pandemic. We're getting 1,000 deaths a day, record number of cases a day. And then this horrible economic crisis as well as a result of the pandemic.
So I think that's what he has to do. A lot of presidents come into offices, come into office saying they're going to be the repairer of the breach. They're going to unify the country. It's incredibly difficult to do because there are vast policy differences between the two sides.
But I think in tone, the way he keeps talking about, I'm not going to be the president of blue America, I'm going to be the president of all. I think that's a good start. We'll see if on the other side, not only followers, Mitch McConnell is likely to be the Senate majority leader.
Is he going to come in saying he wants to block everything that Joe Biden wants to do in the way that he did for Barack Obama? LEMON: He wanted to make Barack Obama a one-term president.
HENDERSON: This is a tough --
LEMON: Which means he wanted to make Joe Biden a one-term vice president, right?
LEMON: What does it look like?
What does governing look like under a possible --
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, it's continuity with the closing arguments. You couldn't have had a clearer contrast. Biden was running to reunite the nation, the traditional role of the president. It's a duty of care. I'll be a Democrat, proud American president first for everyone.
Donald Trump doubled down in divisiveness and playing to the base. So we have a mandate, Joe Biden got more votes than anyone who has ever run for president.
AVLON: Even at this point, by a lot. So it's a big Biden win, even if it's lower than the expectations that were set. What you've got to do, you've got to go in and make good on that promise. Reach out in good faith to people who have shown bad faith.
But do what Lyndon Johnson did when Southern governors came into his office, he said, Do you want to be known as someone who hated or someone who built?
Let's bring up a couple things, infrastructure, a stimulus bill for COVID. Maybe immigration reform. Republican proposals like Lindsey Graham said, let's put them forward and do the business of the American people.
I got a sneaking decision that for a lot of Republicans in the Senate, Joe Biden will be a figure they fixate on less negatively --
LEMON: You think so?
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Here's why. Here's why.
HOOVER: The posture that Mitch McConnell takes is going to be everything, right?
I think so much comes down to the interpersonal relationships that Joe Biden has built for decades in the Senate. And that has translated for Lyndon Baines Johnson and also the most successful presidents who came from the Senate. I think you see that in how Bernie Sanders came over and the progressive Left came over for Joe Biden in this election.
Joe Biden has something that's just agreeable. People like him. People want to work with him. So we'll have to see what Mitch McConnell does.
HOOVER: One case about the mandate. There's a quibble Republicans have that Joe Biden has a sweeping mandate. If Republicans held the Senate, picked up seats in the House, held their state legislatures and flipped some, there's a center-Right mandate or at least a centrist mandate. We can quibble over what a mandate is. But it's not the blue wave that was --
LEMON: Do you think we're more or less divided than Barack Obama's administration?
HOOVER: I think there's no question that our country, our politics, our culture is divided more. But there was something -- I know my husband is going to jump down my throat -- there which something about Barack Obama only being in the Senate two years.
LEMON: but Joe Biden was there --
HENDERSON: -- to bridge that divide, right?
HOOVER: And he was the only one that could do it.
LEMON: What makes you think he can do it now, when we're more divided as a country than then?
HOOVER: The only time -- remember when the government was shut down and Obama couldn't reach a deal? Who did they send in?
Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell to negotiate, to end the freeze in the government. Joe Biden is the one who is -- he's the one that ripped the votes for the Affordable Care Act.
LEMON: So it was Barack Obama they hated more than Joe Biden?
AVLON: Oh, God, yes.
HOOVER: There are many reasons for that.
AVLON: One of them, by the way, was race. Lyndon Johnson had to deal with the John Birchers of the world. But they never had a power force inside the Oval Office. What we're seeing now, we can see the trend, the race has not been declared but this creates a window for disinformation.
And the president trying to stoke the fears and flames because he would rather ruin if he cannot rule. That is very clear. And that will cast a pall on the legitimacy of this election, on the minds of many people unless we push back on that with facts clearly. And Biden has to make good on his core promises.
Quickly, let's have a fight with them.
HENDERSON: I think it's pie in the sky.
LEMON: I love you guys but I think it's pie in the sky.
HENDERSON: Yes, Joe Biden, he's a Democrat. You know, Mitch McConnell --
LEMON: "He's a Democrat, a socialist. He's too far to the left in these policies" --
HOOVER: Are you kidding, Mitch McConnell has to get two more people elected to the Senate in the next 1.5 months.
What's he going to do?
Be on his best behavior.
HENDERSON: No, he's going to want to say we want to get these people in the Senate to stop Joe Biden's agenda.
HOOVER: But we have to pass a budget, we have to pass another stimulus bill.
LEMON: OK, and we have to go to the break, otherwise, Chris won't be able to do his key race alert.
LEMON: So we're going -- we just talked about what it would look like, with Biden closing in on the presidency. Nothing is certain yet. I know it's been like that for a while, 253 to 213. I promise you at some point, it's going to change. Just hang on. The race can change at any moment. It is Saturday morning, people, I know you've been up since Tuesday.
LEMON: So we're heading to two key Western states that everyone will be watching today. So make sure you stay with us.
CUOMO: All right, as we're working through the permutations and combinations, we come up with this suggestion, what it Joe Biden's lead collapses in Pennsylvania and in Georgia, then what?
Then we still have a path for Biden. It is Trump pinned in by Georgia, 17 electoral votes from Arizona and Nevada would be enough. That's why, as Phil Mattingly told you once, today, Saturday is a big day, because there are too many states getting too close to critical mass that can call this election. Let's check in with the teams in key spots. Dan Simon in Las Vegas.
But Stephanie Elam, how are we doing?
The rain stopped?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The rain stopped. Chris, you're acting like Saturday is some other faraway day. It's now. We're here in Saturday. What that means is we're going to get through some more ballots. The state overall has 173,000 ballots left to count.
Of those, 92,000 are here in Maricopa County where Phoenix is, the most populous county in the state. We also know we're expected to see two drops of numbers, one coming at 9:00 am local time, Mountain Time here. And one at 7:00 pm local time here today. We're expecting, according to Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state here, they're expecting to get the ballots this weekend.
ELAM: Then all that is left will be those provisional ballots, which take more time, as you heard Kristen explaining why. Those take more time to go through and they'll work on those throughout next week. But we have been saying that Trump has been clawing back some gains against Joe Biden. However, it's not been enough to overtake him.
Right now, if you take a look at the numbers here in Maricopa County, Biden has 50 percent, Trump has 48 percent. Overall in the state, Biden is leading by less than 30,000 votes or about 1 percent. Obviously, as we get closer and closer to finding out who the president will be, this is what people want to know.
Is Arizona going to go blue for the first time in many, many years?
CUOMO: Thank you very much, Stephanie. I only mark time by meals. For me, it's only known as breakfast right now.
Let's check in with Dan Simon. He's in Las Vegas, a very important place to be because that's where the vote is going to come in last in Nevada because that's where most of the vote is.
How's it going?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's going OK, Chris. The next batch of results expected around noon Eastern time. So it will be interesting to see what those results look like and whether or not CNN and other news organizations will soon be able to make a projection on this race. I can tell you that right now, Joe Biden currently has a 22,000-vote
lead. But still a lot of ballots are outstanding. The majority of them here in Clark County which, of course, encompasses Las Vegas and the surrounding area; 124,500 ballots remaining.
We'll get this count at noon Eastern time. The other thing I think we can expect to see, Chris, are more Trump supporters. They came out in force Friday night, making these baseless allegations of voter fraud. No reason to think that they won't be back again on Saturday night -- Chris.
CUOMO: Dan, thank you very much. Appreciate it. A little demonstration of state of play. Let's see how it looks on the magic wall with Phil Mattingly.
All right, so, we know we're getting close. We know that close is defined as can Biden hold a lead in a way that won't matter, no matter with the ballots that come in. The top line is...
MATTINGLY: Two states. Arizona, Maricopa County, largest county in the state, 60 percent of the population. We see Joe Biden has a lead. The bulk or half of the outstanding vote in Arizona comes from here.
President Trump going into this day, going into the outstanding vote that remains, needs to win 54 percent to 55 percent of the ballots in this county. When you look at the margin right now, that's an uphill climb. That's a climb over several batches, he's starting to fall off, making Democrats comfortable that Arizona will stay in their hands -- or actually flip to their hands compared to 2016. The big question is will that maintain?
Can Joe Biden put Arizona in the Democratic column?
Counting through Nevada, Clark County, home of Las Vegas, 72 percent of the voting population lives here, it's the same deal, except wider margins. Democrats are right on the verge right now. The bulk of the vote will be coming from Clark County. The last drop, batch of votes from Clark County that were tabulated and released, Joe Biden had the edge.
If he holds the edge or matches this or does worse than this, President Trump needs to win 55 percent or 56 percent of the outstanding ballots to have a chance to catch up.
Another state, Democrats feel comfortable here because of the composition of the state, as it currently stands, Arizona and Nevada. We should have clarity where it's going and if it can be called. If Joe Biden wins Arizona and Nevada, that's 270. Regardless of what happens in Pennsylvania, regardless of the recount in Georgia, 270, just these states.
ENTEN: One thing that's interesting to me is not just the what but the why. You go to Arizona, it's a close race now but, Phil, as you were saying it's more likely than not that the lead is going to hold up in Arizona. The why -- I was reading, Derek Archer (ph), a former data analyst with the secretary of state's office in Arizona -- he since left that position but he said, quote, "Just so we're clear, the Cindy McCains of Arizona are on the cusp of giving the state to Joe Biden."
He was getting at that there are former Republicans, women who seem to be just very upset with the president of the United States, perhaps for many of the same reasons that Cindy McCain was upset with the president of the United States, just his attitude, who traditionally voted Republican.
That type of small difference, that movement in that bloc, at this point, is making a difference in less than a 30,000-vote race.
CUOMO: Question, question, all right, here we are, 5:40 in the morning. Day 67, imagine what the electorate would look like in this country.
CUOMO: Instead of two parties, a binary system, you had four or five so that the Cindy McCains of the world and other demographics that don't like the box that they're put in as Democrats and Republicans are increasingly saying they're independents, that's why so much of the electorate is identifying as independent, they had a party that suited their agenda so you had power sharing and you add that our Congress passes term limits in the House and Senate, how different do you think politics looks in America?
MATTINGLY: I didn't think we were going to get into this conversation until day 123.
CUOMO: We think about this all the time.
MATTINGLY: You think about it, yes, it would be a very different moment.
CUOMO: Right, we would not be here?
MATTINGLY: It's the truth.
CUOMO: We would not be here.
MATTINGLY: But we are here.
CUOMO: And we're living in it now and we're trying to figure out how to avoid it and get better.
Right, Harry; right, Phil?
All heads moving the same direction. When we come back, we'll look at what is coming in and why today could be the day.
CUOMO: Well, here is something that is very common sense but you haven't heard in a long time. Joe Biden says, as president, he would want to push this message.
We have to put the anger and demonization behind us. And he urges that what we need is to come together and face our common challenge. Pretty common sense. Haven't heard it in a long time.
Will it resonate?
We'll see. This race keeps moving in his favor. He is not there yet.
What are we looking at?
Let's be -- into this conversation now with Laura Barron-Lopez, Toluse Olorunnipa and Ron Brownstein.
Toluse, I'll start with you. What a challenge; you got an election that's automatically going to be challenge by the incumbent, not legitimately but more dangerously, illegitimately.
CUOMO: How tough a task is Joe Biden faced with if gifted with the opportunity to be our next president?
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's an incredibly difficult task, in part, because the person he's taking over from, the incumbent, President Trump, is not leaving gracefully. He's not someone who is going to hand over the reins of power, saying I wish you the best for the country. I hope you do well.
He is going down fighting and he is willing to take down the democracy of the country with him. And he has a great amount of sway over his voters, over Republican lawmakers. And we've already seen pressure put on Republican lawmakers to fall in this line this week.
Instead of saying, let's welcome in a new president-elect, let's try to get things working for the country, they're all lining up behind Donald Trump to say this election was fraudulent. Joe Biden is not a legitimate president-elect.
And, you know, the election was stolen from him and trying to govern in that kind of environment, where half of the country or half of the lawmakers who are going to be leading in Washington believe alternative facts or try to push alternative facts, it's going to be very difficult for Joe Biden to even get off the ground.
He has a very uphill task in terms of trying to bring the two sides together. I don't envy him at all because it will be very difficult to, with President Trump continuing to be a force in his party, continuing to lead his party, maybe even continuing to hold rallies around the country against this presidency.
It's going to be a very difficult task for him to try to do what he said he was going to do in terms of restoring the soul of America. He definitely has a very uphill task with that.
CUOMO: It is an interesting theory. Laura, a lot of people are operating on this chop off the head and the
snake is dead idea. But no, you had the head of the RNC call a press conference to talk about how there's fraud. When asked for proof, she said, oh, yes; I've been told to hold off on it. Come on, talk about enough is enough.
But what's the reality for Biden?
Maybe the problem isn't Trump; it's going to be that whole party that's too invested in a culture of opposition. It's worked for it for too long.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, so far as Toluse has said, we have not seen any major indication or a big variety of Republicans coming out in force against the president and against his baseless claims of voter fraud.
Instead, you're seeing more of them fall in line. You're seeing senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin say that half of the American public is not going to accept the election results and saying, look, I'm not saying -- alleging voter fraud. But there are some irregularities in the same breath. And he also has no evidence, like the RNC chairwoman.
It's spurred little bits of opposition within the Republican Party but again, you're not seeing it writ large across the party. There was a Republican clerk in Michigan that came out against the RNC chairwoman's comments and said she was very disturbed as a Republican by the fact this was happening and that these accusations were being made with no evidence whatsoever.
I talked to former Republicans who since -- are not in elected office. And they've told me that they aren't convinced that the party is going to actually make a turn away from quote-unquote "Trumpism" or what they've turned into with Trump as the president.
So I think it's a very long road for Republicans, on whether or not they decide they want to change course or they want to continue in the vein of Trump and push forward candidates that try to imitate his policies and politics.
CUOMO: Ron, is this the right road for them?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think I agree with Laura, this is the road that they're going to be on. What happened with the election, the trench between metro and nonmetro America got deeper. And the Republican Party, even the candidates who won, were more dependent on kind of Trump country for their victories.
Other than Susan Collins, it wasn't like the senators build different coalitions. And Thom Tillis ran well in Mecklenburg and Raleigh and Durham, he was dependent on Trump to win. And I think across the board on these senators. So I think President Biden, if he is President Biden, has a very difficult task to get Republicans to come along on almost anything.
The party is now defined, as you say, by opposition but also by viewing kind of blue America, Trump has conditioned them to see blue America as a threat, its agenda as a threat to the America they have known. And all of that is really challenging.
On the other hand, they are talking to a minority of the country. Democrats have won the popular vote in seven out of eight. The problem I think is Republicans who wanted a different direction, Chris, who said we're heading into a demographic cul-de-sac, trading the places that are growing for the places that are shrinking.
BROWNSTEIN: The magnitude of the vote that Trump was able to turn out, I think will make it harder to make a case inside of the Republican Party for finding a different direction. That's why the Georgia Senate runoffs are so critical to what the next couple years look like for Joe Biden, assuming he wins.
CUOMO: Boy, oh, boy, as complicated as this sounds, at the end of the day, the questions are fundamental?
Who are we?
What do we want?
How do we speak to one another?
Where do we want to go?
What matters most?
We don't have the answers and I don't know that this election provided them.
All right. Thank you, everybody. Appreciate it.
This could be the day. Why?
There's just not enough vote left in too many places. And the people processing them are doing such a damn good job. We're watching all of the key places this morning from Philly to Phoenix. Right back.
CUOMO: D. Lemon, is today the day?
LEMON: What day is it?
LEMON: It's Saturday morning. I do think today is the day, hopefully. Listen and I'm not saying that just to string people along.
LEMON: And I think people should also realize we're not doing this just to string you along. As soon as we know who is the projected winner, we will project it, right?
This is not about ratings. We just don't know. The math just isn't there yet. So it's frustrating, I understand, for people at home. They're ready for us to reach the finish line.
CUOMO: I mean, look, they've been abused, they have every right. Everything is so ugly, so toxic, so much lying, so much fighting.
Is today the day?
No, today is not the day. Even if the election gets decided today, we're still nowhere. We're in the middle of a pandemic.
LEMON: But I will say this, I will say this, we are, I think, for good reason, there's probably a time in the not so distant past, that we would have projected a winner already.
But I think with journalism under attack, news networks and all that, I think it's more important for us to be careful in this moment. I think maybe if we in a different time there would be a projection. But there's so much at stake. This is a presidential election.
CUOMO: I'm with you. It matters a lot. The process is a positive one for us. People are together, they're watching. We're all looking for things. We're valuing facts. We're looking for truth. This is a good step for us, no matter what direction it takes us.
What do you say we do this again, maybe today?
CUOMO: Maybe tonight, let's see.
Don't go anywhere, CNN's nonstop election coverage will continue. A team, John Berman, Alisyn Camerota, you cant do better than that, right?