Ten Questions About Election 2020 (The Morning After)
My immediate reaction to the early results the night of the election, when Trump appeared to be ahead in many states and was favored to win re-election.
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 what 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, he 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.