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Posted by on Nov 4, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 2 comments

Ten Questions About Election 2020 (The Morning After)

 

 

Ten Questions About Election 2020 (The Morning After)

 

Note: This post is based on news as of 9 am PST on Wednesday morning.

 

1.   I can’t understand how OHIO ends up Trump +7 (winning by 450,000 votes), yet MICHIGAN and WISCONSIN, which are very similar demographically based on the racial breakdown, urban-rural demographics, common economies, etc., look they will break in Biden’s favor. Someone please explain this to me.

 

2.   Last night, I blamed the FLORIDA Scarface vote (rabid Cuban exiles) for costing Biden a shot to win there. In retrospect, that was an oversimplification. Trump won the state handily (by FLORIDA standards). Anyone who can make a case for Democrats wasting any more time at the presidential level in FLORIDA in future elections based on this red political shift, go ahead. I’m listening.

 

3.   I follow NEVADA politics as closely as anyone, but I still can’t explain why the (apparent) margin is so close. Biden should end up winning the Silver State by a few points. However, this race was far closer than anyone expected, and by contrast, neighboring ARIZONA clearly surpassed Biden’s most optimistic projections. NEVADA has been getting bluer every election, but that hit a wall in 2020, no matter that the final results show. No one could have expected the margin in NV would be smaller than in AZ. Armchair politicking welcome. I’m baffled.

 

4.   Popular vote looks like it will be similar to 2016, though Biden will stretch the “victory” out to more than 3 million votes. I interpret this number cynically. Given Trump’s character and record, many expected he’d lose the popular vote by at least double, and perhaps triple the previous percentages. That apparently won’t happen. Though this next comment is admittedly partisan (whereas most of what’s here is intended to be objective), I’m devastated by the results and the failure of the nation to issue a decisive rebuke to Trumpism. Very disappointing.

 

5.   In the election post-game, pollsters and political pundits will get hammered, with some justification. But I do think much of the intense criticism is unwarranted. If anyone can show me a better method of measuring public opinion, I’d like to hear it. Polling methodology takes on many forms and is adjusted accordingly for new factors. Polling may include interpersonal interviews, automation (“for Trump, press 1”), and various tabulations of online surveys. Not only do I believe there is/was a SIGNIFICANT “Shy trump voter” that was undercounted, but also (more important)…..and listen to this because I have given much thought to this and I think I’m right….there’s what I call the “political wind feathers.” These are fickle voters who blow with the wind. I believe that perhaps 5 percent of voters on election day wake up and aren’t quite sure who they will vote for. Given the passion of Trump voters are clearly higher than Biden voters, peer pressure probably shifts 2-3 percent of spineless low-information voters over into the Republican column. In other words, if they weren’t put off by Trump after 5-6 years of his antics, they weren’t going to suddenly become upset with the incumbent on election day and vote him out. Rallies and parades and other public spectacles *DO* matter in the sense they likely swing a few undecideds and susceptible supporters to go Trump over Biden. I’d be glad to consider plausible alternative explanations.

 

6.   Don’t even get me started on offshore betting markets. There are some dumb MFers out there betting on elections. Trump was -700 at one point last night. What was the pro-Trump market thinking? -200? Sure. -300? Maybe. -700? I wish I wasn’t so vested emotionally in the politics of this election. There’s a ton of money to be made by scoping out the landscape, fading public overreactions to what’s reported early in many states, and even “middling” on multiple occasions. That’s now 4/6 presidential elections which offered live “in-game” bettors significant arbitrage opportunities.

 

7.  It looks like Republicans will keep the Senate. Any chance for Democrats now rests in GEORGIA. For those who want to tackle the GEORGIA runoff early (it will happen in January), please go ahead. How do the two Republican Senate candidates carve-up a 7 point win (combined), yet it looks like the state will be a toss-up in the presidential race? Perdue wins by a higher margin than was expected in one race, and the other (headed to the runoff) defies logic. I’m not familiar with GEORGIA politics and didn’t follow those races, so I’d love to hear my friends offer an explanation.

 

8.   I bashed the networks last night and gave high grades to a few surprises (ABC was unexpectedly strong in every facet of coverage). Credit them for doing a really good job on the overnight desk with the lesser-known talent. After the big names went to bed, I left the TV on and tried to sleep with one eye open, flipping channels and dozing. It reminded me of the time I was watching World Cup games in South Africa at 5 am. Each time they played that music (“breaking news”), like Pavlov’s dog, I salivated. By 6 am, I couldn’t sleep. I’m a wreck. Oh, and I haven’t had a drink in 48 hours. Anyone else shares my predicament?

 

9.   I will try to remain objective. So, let me phrase a comment and question this way. If anyone can justify Trump’s comments at 330 am last night, declaring victory and hurling accusations of fraud, I’d like to hear it. Please state your case, and please skip the wacko conspiracy sites that are churning out anything that might stick as I type. I’d like to hear IN YOUR WORDS any justification for Trump’s words and actions.

 

10.  Republicans maintaining control of the Senate (likely) is a serious blow.  Had Democrats won the Senate, Mitch McConnell’s phone calls don’t get returned.  He’s treated like a rusted can of spoiled pork and beans at a picnic.  Unfortunately, him in charge of the Senate and the legislative calendar sets up yet another Obama impasse scenario where the Kentucky glob can just park himself in his office and stop any bills from passing.  Major defeat.

 

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Posted by on Nov 3, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 1 comment

Ten Takeaways from Election Night

 

Nolan Dalla Politics

 

Ten Takeaways from Election Night

[Note: This post is based on news as of 10 pm PST on election night and is cut and pasted from my Facebook page]

1. The fracking gaffe in the second presidential debate may end up costing Joe Biden the election. It’s doubtful a prospective Biden Administration would actually reduce, let alone eliminate fracking. But that unnecessary blunder at the worst possible moment (just enough time for the Trump campaign to turn it into a major issue) could swing enough voters in Pennsylvania to end up losing that critical state. I listed this #1 because I believe, if Biden loses, it was probably the straw on the political camel’s back that swung the outcome.

2. With several states still uncalled and uncertain, Ohio’s results (looks like Trump winning by 3 percent) is a terrible bellwether for Biden’s chances. One expects the same demographics and turnout to apply to other “rust belt” states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, which are also critical. I don’t see how Biden can lose by perhaps 450,000 votes in Ohio, but somehow make up those numbers in states with similar populations.

3. The Democratic Party ran a smart campaign, nationally speaking. Ads were upbeat and well-targeted. Strategic targeting went after Trump’s numerous and obvious vulnerabilities while staying positive. Unlike 2016, when the DNC and its cohorts ran a horrendous campaign on all levels, no matter what happens, I’m not sure the party and many of the down-ballot candidates could have done much better and improved the numbers.

4. Purely in Machiavellian terms, Trump’s campaign ran a brilliant campaign — wisely targeting just a handful of swing states and blitzing those key semi-rural districts with rallies and other events which generated genuine enthusiasm and motivation to go and vote. The peeling away of some traditional Latino support (especially in South Florida) and Black males (some of whom mistrusted Biden) also proved effective. The Trump campaign knew it had no shot of a landslide, nor even winning the majority of the popular vote. So, instead — they wisely went after several key counties in swing states — WI, MI, OH, NC, OH, and FL — and feasted on the spoils of that enthusiastic support. When I earned a degree in political science 36 years ago, I wrote a thesis titled “political surgery.” Funny, I had not thought of that title in many years. But what Trump (and the campaign) did in this election was “political surgery.”

5. Even if Biden somehow pulls this election out and wins, forget the notion of Republicans tossing Trump onto the ash heap and hitting a reset button. This is now the party of Trump. Whatever faint hopes still lingered about the Republican Party returning to the grace and civility of Bush and Reagan, is now completely shattered. Trump’s victory, or even a narrow defeat, erases any notion that the GOP voter base wants a shakeup. This represents a fundamental shift in American politics. Trump was not an aberration. The consequences of this reality will be monumental, and long-lasting.

6. It’s inconceivable that Trump’s approval numbers hovering at around 38-44 percent nationally have not shifted in four years. Let’s see: We’ve had an impeachment, several scandals, a pandemic that’s killed a quarter-of-a-million, 20 million Americans have lost jobs, and what can only be described as mass “fatigue,” yet Trump’s numbers have not declined. They haven’t really increased, either. So, the election results can only be described as “shy Trump supporters” being under-counted. Again, it appears Democrats will win the popular vote, perhaps by 3-5 million votes. This quandary will drive political scientists crazy for the next 50 years. It’s impossible to figure out an explanation (aside from the ongoing debate about the fairness and utility of the Electoral College)

7. Message to Democrats: Don’t waste a dollar or a second in the state of Florida in future elections. That state is getting redder by the year. It’s a waste of time and money. 2020 results prove this.

8. I was going to credit Trump for being uncharacteristically civil and even presidential on election day, but then he just tweeted out an accusation “they (Democrats) are trying to steal the election.” Winning with grace, or even being ahead and showing a little class was apparently too much to ask.

9. I played the gambit of major networks on election coverage tonight. I was pleasantly surprised at how crisp in terms of content and visuals both CBS and ABC were, and was just as disappointed by CNN’s coverage, which I found very repetitive. It also seemed gutless to not call Florida and Texas sooner in the evening. There was no reason to delay those inevitable results. None. The drag on calling states which were obvious really detracted from the network’s coverage on this night, when they typically are strong. MSNBC was also weak, though some of the map forecasting and analysis was arguably the best of any network. I spent little time on FOX and no time on NBC, which I refuse to watch.

10. It’s hard to predict how long this will go before we know a definitive winner and loser. I would venture a guess, but that would just be a parroted summation of what others are saying. I do think PA is a serious problem for Biden, and am greatly concerned the results in OH will be some indication of similar states, including WI and MI, which Biden almost certainly needs to win. Biden needs major help in those states, and I don’t think he’s got enough support to make up the differences in tallied results, so far.

Two more points:

  1.  Betting markets were all over the place on Tuesday night.  There’s money to be made exploiting overreactions if you can remain politically neutral.
  2. This could still be a political win for Democrats.  But it wasn’t the slap in the face to Trumpism that many Biden supporters hoped for, and so in many ways, no matter what happens, this night will be a tremendous disappointment.

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Posted by on Nov 3, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Why Either Outcome is a Win for Progressives

 

 

I’ve been asked what I’ll do if Donald Trump wins re-election.

Easy answer.

I’ll continue doing what I’ve done my entire adult life, which is to fight for the things I believe in. That’s also true of Joe Biden wins. The fight doesn’t end, no matter who wins or loses. The strategy is just a bit different given who’s in power.

One very cynical (but realistic) way of looking at a Trump victory is as follows: Trump winning would be an absolute bonanza for progressives. It would be the best thing possible for the far-Left. How is this so? That sounds absurd. Here, I’ll explain.

A Trump victory absolutely ensures worsening divisions, graft, cruelty, and hardship. A Trump victory guarantees another economic crash, and probably a depression. Want evidence? Look at history when conservatives get their way — conservative economic policies (deregulation, tax cuts, etc.) ALWAYS fail. Conservative economic policies, when unchecked, ALWAYS crash the economy, at least eventually — proof in 1929, 1987, 2008 (all after long periods of conservative dominance of government and economy).

Even without COVID, most analysts saw a “correction” coming.
Trump’s so-called economic “boom” was due to bust. It was already slowing down. So, add in all the ingredients — including more trade wars and crippling national debt, not to mention (okay, I’ll mention it —– the incalculable cost of COVID nationally and globally, which will be paid by taxpayers at some point) — and the United States economy will certainly CRASH like an egg rolling down a mountain. Slow steady growth (like under Obama-Biden) was the ideal recipe for success. Pumping the patient with steroids — tax cuts, giveaways to the rich — might look good for a short period by inflating markets, but then the real cost of abuse will become evident, and the pain will be real. This was an economy addicted to steroids and hooked on opioids.

The horror of a Donald Trump second term would be so calamitous that the predictable backlash could be political instability and perhaps even a revolution. Part of me welcomes this possibility. Another part of me is terrified of that level of discord and chaotic aftermath. But the bottom line is — it’s inevitable in a post-Trump America. 100 million disenfranchised Americans, their lives in ruin, WILL do something about it. A crashed economy, authoritarian crackdowns on protests, loss of civil liberties, international instability, environmental disasters (which might be inevitable, no matter who wins), staggering levels of corruption for Trump and his cronies, government agencies dominated by Trump-loyalist flunkies, a warped judiciary (especially on corporate crimes), more SCOTUS appointments, expanding corporate power and influence at the expense of the working class, depressed wages (especially for the lower class)…..the list of Trump disasters is endless and incalculable.

Accordingly, if the system can’t take another stress test, it likely means a progressive tidal wave, certainly in 2024 if we make it that far. It fundamentally changes the Democrat Party from a centrist, corporatist, milquetoast coalition into a far more laser-focused party that will champion real progressive causes. If it doesn’t, then progressives will form a new party and Democrats will be left in the dust. And working-class America, the true victims of Trumpism, will largely embrace those Leftists ideals in the same way an entire generation of Americans — black and white and young and old — all flocked to FDR’s New Dealism during the 1930s and became proud lifelong Democrats. America saw what happened when Hoover and Republicans destroyed the economy, ruined millions of lives, and they NEVER forgave that party for it. The same would happen if Trump wins re-election.

Indeed, the best way to win is to lose. Sometimes, letting the other side win and govern proves all our points and gives evidence to our warnings. Then, we come in and pick up the pieces.

My only fear is — there might not be any America that remains, as we know it, *if* Trump wins. That’s the real fear. The disaster might be so catastrophic, that we cannot recover and no ideologically-driven agenda can return us from ruin.

Nonetheless, if this election does not go as we hope, progressive ideas shall continue to endure and thrive as a younger generation gradually takes over and recognizes the arc of history always bends towards advancement, despite the reactionary forces intent to slow the inevitable.

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Posted by on Nov 1, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

“The Election” [Video Podcast]

 

An Intelligent Conversation

 

A few months ago, Matt Lessinger and I created “An Intelligent Conversation,” a weekly discussion about issues, ideas, and current events.  The goal was to talk about things we think are interesting — without the shouting and divisiveness.  We also hoped to have lots of fun.

Well, mission accomplished.  We’ve now completed our 7th show. 

This special edition runs nearly 3 hours and includes 4 excellent guests. We discuss the 2020 presidential election in some detail, along with our predictions.

We also added some guests on this show.  The all-star panel includes Dr. Arthur Reber (former professor of psychology at Brooklyn College); Dr. David Croson (full professor of economics at the University of Minnesota), Larry Greenfield (attorney and investor and former head of the Ronald Reagan Institute and the Claremont Institute); and Vin Narayanan (former USA writer and editor and elections analyst).

The first 45 minutes is a one-on-one face-off discussion of possible election issues.  Then, the next 1:15 includes a full round-table conversation about the election.  The final 45 minutes or so is a free-for-all, with far more give and take.  Our final election predictions are included in the final 15 minutes.

This unscripted conversation was recorded on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, and runs about 2:58 minutes.

 

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Posted by on Oct 26, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Video 1, What's Left | 0 comments

An Intelligent Conversation (Podcast): How Does the Media Impact Us?

 

 

Here’s our latest edition of the weekly podcast, “An Intelligent Conversation.”
A few topics we discuss include:
— Can we trust the media?
— Is the media fair-minded?
— Is the media biased?
— Which is better to be informed: print media or electronic media?
— Is social media a contributor or a distraction?
— How has media changed and how will it impact us in the future?
— Does the media have a responsibility to provide a public service, or are they like any other for-profit entity?
— What does a Biden win vs. a Trump re-election in 2020 mean for the media, and us, and seeking the truth?
0:05 – Intro
5:36 – Nolan’s first job in the media lasted only seven hours!
8:42 – Newspapers vs. other forms of media
13:15 – How has televised news evolved?
25:32 – Media has evolved into partisan cheerleaders
30:46 – Where’s the accountability for fake news?

34:12 – Walter Winchell and the history of American media as entertainment
45:57 – The peddling of misinformation
53:09– Has American media historically leaned conservative?
1:00:37 – What does it take to trust a particular news outlet?
1:09:01 – When was the last time you saw an American reporting live from a foreign country?
1:13:29 – Will the media remain the same after Trump leaves office?
1:17:53 – Can the public be convinced to consume news in a better way?
1:28:51 – What does the future hold for us?
Matt Lessinger and Nolan Dalla attempted to answer these questions and more in the latest edition of “An Intelligent Conversation.”
This unscripted conversation was recorded on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 and runs about 90 minutes.

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