Former Vice President Joe Biden became president-elect Saturday, as Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes put him over the 270 he needed to win.
In the wake of Biden’s win, there were intermittent celebrations of honking on Lincoln Memorial Drive and Prospect Avenue on Milwaukee’s East Side. Elsewhere, people who support Biden and who support Donald Trump were out on Saturday to have their voices heard.
On Saturday afternoon, the Wisconsin GOP organized a “Defend Your Vote” rally at American Serb Hall on Milwaukee’s south side. They were signing people up to watch the canvassing of votes in Wisconsin. Speakers included former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, Milwaukee County GOP chair David Karst and other Republican activists.
“I’m here with everybody for a fair election,” says Brian Basile of Mukwonago. He was wearing a Trump hat, mask and sweatshirt.
Trump has been repeating unfounded conspiracies and incorrect information about voting in recent days. But Basile believes what the president is saying.
“We believe they stole the election,” says Basile. “There's fraudulent votes coming in everywhere. Dead people are voting — 250,000 people on a voter register that either passed away, have moved, relocated, no votes for multiple years, they should be off their voter registration.”
Basile also expressed reservations with Wisconsin’s policy that allows indefinitely confined voters not to provide a photo ID to vote.
Meanwhile, the incidents of proven voter fraud in Wisconsin have been negligible. And elections experts had explained that there might be a “blue shift” once mail-in ballots were counted after the election, as mail-in voting was disproportionately preferred by Democrats due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We feel that all the states that Trump was leading in, we went to bed and all of a sudden he's behind, which is wrong,” says Basile. “He kept the votes open, the states open. So, they waited for the other votes that come in to see how many they needed.”
When asked what it would take to unite the country, Basile says the left is mostly to blame for division, that the left is causing chaos and confusion.
“We need to all work together as one and become united. We’re never always going to agree on every issue. That's the human mind," Basile says. "We have differences of opinions, but that doesn't mean it has to come to the levels that it's coming. We need to have peace and tranquility and let the system play out fairly and equally for everyone.”
Black Lives Matter supporters from Milwaukee showed up to the event to have their voices heard, and a sea of police divided the BLM activists from the Trump supporters. As the activists chanted “Black Lives matter,” the Trump crowd chanted “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter.”
Kenny Jackson says he was in the neighborhood. When he saw the ruckus, he came over to be nosy. He says the nation is so divided.
“It’s really sad that we're in a situation that no one can accept the victory peacefully,” he says. “Time has to change. We can't continue to have all this hate in this in this nation. I mean, we got the police, we have more police here than we need. We got people who are mad on both sides, you know, even though I don't agree with Trump, the people had a right to protest just like we have the right to protest. We just have to learn to accept people as they are.”
Jackson voted for Biden. While a lot of people are happy that Biden won, there are also many that aren't. But Jackson says he understands that.
“In life, we have sore losers. You know what, I might have been a sore loser if Biden lost. So, that's all it is, you know, it’s done. You know what? I wasn't happy when Trump won, so I wanted to do stuff that I couldn't, but they just feel the same way I felt four years ago. It's good to be on the other side of the table though,” he says, laughing.
Biden edged out Trump in Wisconsin, but the Trump campaign has indicated it will request a recount.