Mail-in ballots raise a host of other concerns regarding the 2020 race. Did ineligible voters – including noncitizens, barred felons, or the dead – participate? Did people registered in multiple states cast multiple ballots, or vote in the swing state they had moved from rather than the safe state they now reside in? How many people sent in their absentee ballot and also showed up at the polls to make sure their vote counted?

Given Biden’s razor-thin margins, these questions must be asked and answered. Apart from providing clarity about the 2020 result, a thorough ballot review will build confidence about future elections by determining whether fraud and error are merely political hiccups or a cancer on our body politic.

For many Republicans, Biden’s anointment by media outlets that have savaged Trump for four years seems less like a cold-eyed reckoning of the math than a partisan move to set the terms of debate going forward.

Imagine the reverse: What if Biden had had a comfortable lead on Election Day that evaporated as the counting occurred in Republican strongholds, eventually giving Trump margin-of-error wins in key states? Would the Associated Press and CNN and all the others now be declaring Trump the winner or reporting that a long battle looms to ensure that the count was fair and accurate?