Delaware politicians bury a hatchet in post-election ritual

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — This week’s midterm elections spawned bitter rancor across the nation, as Republican President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats continue sniping at each other in Washington and candidates from Georgia to Arizona are now fighting in court over races that were to be settled Tuesday.

But on Thursday in the tiny southern Delaware hamlet of Georgetown, the electoral winners and losers shook hands and embraced one another in a show of goodwill known as Return Day, with nary a frown on any face.

It’s a time-honored, post-campaign ritual to settle their partisan differences, at least for the moment, a temporary healing that participants say might offer a useful example for the entire country.

On Return Day, Sussex County residents traditionally “return” to their county seat to hear local election results, as they first did more than 200 years ago.

Over the decades, Return Day has become an opportunity for reconciliation and reflection. Winners and losers from up and down the state ride together in horse-drawn carriages and local party leaders join hands and symbolically “bury the hatchet” in a box of sand, a show of nonpartisan goodwill before politicians return to their respective corners to prepare for the next political battle.

“I think the whole country could use a Return Day,” said U.S. Senate Tom Carper, a vocal Trump critic. He won a fourth term Tuesday by defeating Sussex County councilman Rob Arlett, who served as…

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