What America wanted was an answer. What it got was: “Wait and see.”

That’s how rhetoric scholar John Murphy describes election night in his essay on how news organizations conveyed to viewers, listeners and readers the uncertainty of the 2020 presidential election. “They used metaphor to shape public expectations about their election night reporting,” says Murphy. From “mirages” to enhanced “transparency” by the news media, those metaphors were all about ways of seeing.

In other election coverage, W. Joseph Campbell, a scholar of presidential poll history, provides a critical perspective on 2020’s election polling. He cites a poll that seemed like it had an odd result – that 56% of Americans said they were better off now than they were four years ago – but could prove to have been an indicator of better news for candidate Donald Trump than many had predicted. And in a story about the “rainbow wave” in the 2020 election, Timothy Bussey writes that in a year that saw more LGBTQ candidates running than ever before, both the candidates themselves and LGBTQ rights were on the ballot.

At The Conversation US, we will be watching along with you as the results continue to come in, and doing our best to help you understand the world we live in, which increasingly looks like a divided nation.

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

It’s hard to be patient. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

‘Wait and see’ is an unsatisfying – but accurate – way to present election results

John M. Murphy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Media outlets used visual metaphors to explain to the public how election results would emerge.

Voters wait to cast their ballots Tuesday at Johnston Elementary School in the Wilkinsburg neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

A Q&A with a historian of presidential polls

W. Joseph Campbell, American University School of Communication

An expert on the history of polling has a first take on how pollsters did this year.

LGBTQ candidates made strides on Tuesday. Marc Bruxelle / EyeEm

‘Rainbow wave’ of LGBTQ candidates run and win in 2020 election

Timothy R. Bussey, Kenyon College

Delaware's Sarah McBride made history on Tuesday when she won a state Senate seat, becoming the US's highest-ranking transgender politician. A record 1,006 LGBTQ candidates ran for office this year.

Sen. John F. Kennedy speaks to supporters at Chicago Stadium four days before the 1960 election. AP Photo

A history of contested presidential elections, from Samuel Tilden to Al Gore

Robert Speel, Penn State

The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history.

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