By Jim DeFede

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Headaches, nausea, and overall feeling of exhaustion – while they are certainly symptoms of the coronavirus, they also represent how Americans feel about this year’s elections.

2020 has been a year like no other – and the same went for our politics.

Joe Biden was indeed elected President, as more than 81 million Americans cast ballots for him, beating Donald Trump by more than 7 million votes.

More importantly, Biden garnered 306 electoral votes.

Trump however steadfastly refuses to acknowledge reality, claiming fraud without proof.

“They know it was a fixed election, it was a rigged election, they know it,” Trump said on numerous occasions, subscribing to the theory that if you repeat a lie often enough some people will believe it is true.

And while there were bizarre and funny moments, such as Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani holding a press conference next to a porn shop and a pet crematorium, there was an even odder cast of characters. The best example may have been Melissa Carone whose testimony during a fake hearing became a parody of itself.

LAWMAKER: “We’re not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes.”

CARONE: “Why, what did you guys take it and so something crazy to it.”

Nevertheless, there is nothing funny about the potential damage done by undermining faith in the election system, a point Biden made when he was asked what people are witnessing in Trump’s actions.

“I think they’re witnessing incredible irresponsibility. Incredibly damaging messages sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,” Biden said. “I just think it is totally irresponsible.”

Yet while Trump lost, his impact shall remain, especially here in Florida where he will hunker down in Mar-a-Lago and plot his 2024 return.

Trump not only won the state decisively but also helped foster a Trump wave through South Florida that swept out two Democratic members of Congress – Debbie Mucarsel Powell and Donna Shalala.

In their place, former Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and former TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar.

Republicans hit a chord in Miami Dade by branding all Democrats as Socialists. It cannot be underestimated how effective this strategy was – or how much South Florida swung toward Trump and his style of politics.

While Gimenez moves on to Washington, Miami Dade has a new mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, the first woman to hold that position.

Broward also saw some historic election results, as voters elected the first African American public defender, Gordon Weekes, and the first state attorney, Harold Pryor.

And in a race that had more twists and turns than a Hiaasen novel, Gregory Tony was elected Sheriff of Broward, even after it was revealed he had killed a man in self-defense when he was a teenager.

And in one of the closest elections in the history of the state Senate, Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez lost his seat to Ileana Garcia, the founder of Latinas for Trump.

A recount showed she won by just 34 votes out of more than 215,000 cast.

Florida voters also passed a statewide constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage over the next few years to $15 an hour.

Jim DeFede