You take it on faith, you take it to the heart. The waiting is the hardest part. The is the (slightly) abbreviated Part 1 of what will be two editions of The Will Bunch Newsletter this week. Today, a short guide on how to follow the election through the news org that, frankly, has owned 2020′s key battleground state, The Inquirer. Around this time TOMORROW comes the bonus Part 2 that will feature my instant analysis of the election — based on what we know so far. Sign up at inquirer.com/bunch to receive tomorrow’s extra edition and then get this newsletter weekly.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but today is Election Day. It also the first Election Day since the 1980s that I didn’t need to carve out some time to vote, but — don’t panic! — that’s only because I placed my ballot in a Delaware County dropbox over a week ago. That’s a reminder that 2020 is an election like no other. That, in turn, called on The Inquirer to up its game — and my news org has responded by serving as an invaluable resource throughout this fraught year. And we’re just getting started!
Here’s an overview of how you can follow the action today, tomorrow, and beyond through the most essential newsroom in America’s most essential state:
Hey, I know you’re going to be going a little crazy the next few hours, so I also wanted to share how my colleagues in the Opinion section have covered 2020 very strongly (as a certain president might say). Just in time for Election Day, we published our latest pro/con piece — on the virtues (or lack thereof) of the dreaded Electoral College. Meanwhile, do these eight Pennsylvanians give us hope for overcoming the great partisan divide?
As I mentioned, I’ll have my own thoughts about the election that I’ve essentially been covering for the last four years, but first I need to see what happens at the polls today and the early returns today. I won’t know everything, but it’ll be more than I know right now! I can’t wait to see you on the other side.
Nearly four years later, and I am still haunted by an autumn memory — one that took place amid the ghosts of a historic Philadelphia graveyard, no less. On the gray afternoon of November 8, 2016, looking for something to wrap an Election Night column around, I glommed onto two notions: That after a stressful campaign it finally seemed that America would elect its first woman president in Hillary Clinton, and that some women were starting to celebrate by paying homage to the suffragists who paved the way. I saw that crowds were leaving notes, flowers, and other mementos not just at Susan B. Anthony’s final resting place in upstate New York but also here in Philadelphia, at the gravesite of Mary Grew.
So I hopped in my car and headed to Woodlands Cemetery, on the banks of the Schuylkill in Southwest Philly. There, I met Colleen Gasiorowski, who told me: “For my mother, for Mary [Grew], for Susan B. Anthony for all the women over the years I had to be here and write something” on a white board near the tombstone. “I can’t talk about it without crying.” A few hours later, I was in The Inquirer newsroom trying to write my lovely column, even though with each passing moment it no longer matched the discordant news from CNN coming from my laptop. At some point after 9 p.m., I whipped off my headphones and turned around. About 40 newsroom staffers were looking at the TV, speechless and with a look of utter shock I will take to my own grave someday. On November 3, 2020, there is the chance to undo some of the damage, but something from that moment still seems hopelessly lost. I can’t even guess when the glass-ceiling dreams of Colleen Gasiorowski, Hillary Clinton, or Mary Grew will ever be fulfilled.