US Elections open thread

by John Quiggin on November 2, 2020

Just about 24 hours until results start coming in. As was said when the same two sides (with different names) faced off in Kansas more than 150 years ago, may victory go to the side which is stronger in numbers, as it is in right.

{ 45 comments }

1

nastywoman 11.02.20 at 10:26 pm

HOPE!

from US – to y’all:

https://youtu.be/8w2zjKmj-QE

2

Lee A. Arnold 11.02.20 at 11:46 pm

It looks like Biden may get as many as 12 million more popular votes than Trump. If Trump manages to win the Electoral College, the viability of the Electoral College will finally become a widespread, durable public issue.

3

J-D 11.03.20 at 12:15 am

As was said when the same two sides (with different names) faced off in Kansas more than 150 years ago, may victory go to the side which is stronger in numbers, as it is in right.

Just so; but also, may it happen with less blood shed than in Kansas at that time.

As I mentioned on your blog, another country which has an election within the week is Burma/Myanmar. Of course that’s less important for the people of the world than the US election, but it’s still probably a more important event for the people of Burma. I think Burma can also serve at this juncture as a salutary reminder of two things: one, that bad as things are in the US, they could be worse; two, that they could get worse.

4

craig fritch 11.03.20 at 1:43 am

I am in Canada. But have voted & watch with bated breath. Yes, Hope.

5

Hidari 11.03.20 at 6:27 am

Predictions:

Biden will win (it’s now essentially impossible for Trump to win, unless something unprecedented happens in the next 24 hours).

Probably (who knows? But probably) it will be a clear victory for Biden, so there will be no Bush type ‘supreme court’ shenanigans.

There will be no major civil unrest (let alone ‘civil war’). A few idiots might wave guns about in staged events which go viral on Twitter, but that’s it.

Trump will not ‘fail to leave office’.

Trump will not declare himself to be a dictator, or a Russian Manchurian candidate, or whatever else has been predicted by deeply silly academics and journalists with too much time on their hands.

The Democrats will take Congress, possibly even the Senate (although that is unlikely…more likely nearly take it but not quite).

After the election, things will continue pretty much as they were before. It’s kind of in Trump’s and the Republican’s interests now to badly mismanage things (I mean even more than they have done so up until now) so that Biden faces a deeply problematic situation when he comes into power, so fasten your seat belts until January.

In the new year….things will continue pretty much as before. Biden will probably be slightly better than Trump on the domestic economy, probably (if anything) slightly worse on foreign policy in terms of actions (although not in terms of treaties and diplomacy more generally). Probably slightly better on environmental issues. He won’t magically solve the covid-19 problem because the US’ mismanagement of that problem has a lot to do with the US’ private health care system, and the destruction (begun by Reagan) of the public sphere, so that train is going to keep on rumbling down the track for the next 2,3, maybe even 4 or 5 years.

Anyone who deviates from the new neoconservative/neoliberal consensus will be smeared as a Russian/Chinese agent, and most ‘liberals’ will go along with that. The pivot to China will continue, preparatory to the inevitable war or wars, which (here’s hoping!) won’t actually break out for another 20/30 years or so.

And that’s it. Not a particularly consequential election, nor an interesting one. It never looked for one second as if Trump might win, and the most astounding thing about this election and the run up to the election is how dull it’s been.

6

nastywoman 11.03.20 at 8:33 am

Predictions

and picking up where @five left US –

After the election, things will completely change and Biden faces a deeply problematic situation when he comes into power, so fasten your seat belts until January.

As Biden will have to convince my fellow Americans to believe in Science and wearing masks.

AND most important to believe in Climate Change.

BUT at least he will – right away – rejoin the Paris accord and the so called ”civilised advanced democracies” of this world.
AND right away stop the stupidity of ”the wall”
AND get the US unemployed their 600$ per week back.
(if hopefully the Senate also will have turned democratic)

AND then there is this this ”thing” about Racism – where I -(and my mixed – race friends) can return to our homeland because my fellow Americans won’t have this role model of a Racist Right Winger anymore – who made Racism so… so… am I allowed to say – fashionable?

And that’s not only it – as a famous German Philosopher (ME) would say:

”The Dark and Evil Times Are Over”.

As it was the utmost consequential election in ALL of our Lives – and WE ALL knew it – and voted like our Lives depended on it!

7

nastywoman 11.03.20 at 8:37 am

”The Dark and Evil Times Are Over”.

and I nearly forgot we defeated THE STUPID with ”Germangate”:

https://youtu.be/bzx1MmP-nqw

8

John Quiggin 11.03.20 at 8:53 am

@Hidari Taking environmental issues as an example, do you mean that Biden will fail to deliver on his stated policies, or that those policies are only slightly better than Trump’s ?

9

Alex SL 11.03.20 at 9:12 am

Lee A. Arnold,

With the usual caveat IANAU (I am not a US-American), I really don’t see where you are coming from there. Even a cursory examination of what Republican politicians say and what their supporters write on social media demonstrates that one half of the US considers the fact that a minority of the population regularly gets to determine the president and the composition of the senate as a desirable feature of the system. Item one, the usual maps colouring counties by their political leanings followed by the conclusion that those tiny blue specks (which contain >60% of the population) shouldn’t “dominate” the majority of the country (i.e. mostly empty space). Item two, “we are a republic, not a democracy”, as usually entirely unencumbered by any understanding of what the word republic means.

I have no idea what will happen except that I strongly doubt Trump will win comfortably. I expect that one of two possible scenarios will unfold. Either Biden will win so comfortably that Trump has to concede. Or the result on election day will be narrow or a slight Trump lead, as voters coming in on election day lean R and many D’s have already voted early by mail. This then followed by Republican attempts to shut down counting of the mail ballots in any state where they think they can get away with it and Democratic leadership too timid to do anything beyond appealing to judges chosen by Trump for just that eventuality.

More generally, and this thought is certainly not original to me, I am afraid that the best that can be hoped for is a respite for two to four years while things return to supposedly ‘normal’ (meaning Democrats governing as what would be an economically and foreign-politically conservative party in Europe against Republican scorched earth obstruction) and none of the structural deficiencies of the US system are reformed – Senate, electoral college, massively politicised judiciary, money-driven election campaigns, gerrymandering in the absence of independent electoral commissions, arbitrary purges of voter lists, arbitrary closure of polling places, arbitrary ID requirements without making it easy to get ID, etc., and that is not even mentioning real problems such as global heating or economic inequality.

And in four or eight years there might be another Republican president who thinks Democrats should never be allowed to win any election but who is more competent than the present one, and that would then be that.

10

bad Jim 11.03.20 at 9:30 am

Most of us can easily distinguish chicken salad from chickenshit.

11

John Quiggin 11.03.20 at 9:47 am

@J-D “Just so; but also, may it happen with less blood shed than in Kansas at that time”

Too late for that.

Deaths in Bleeding Kansas (according to Wikipedia) 200. Deaths due to rightwing terrorism in US in last decade, over 300 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-far-right-extremism-terror-attack-white-supremacy-death-toll-a9364096.html

12

Doug 11.03.20 at 10:28 am

Dixville Notch, the first US locality to report official results, has said that all five of its voters chose Joe Biden. This is the first sweep since 1960. In 2016 the township had more voters: four chose Hillary Clinton, two Donald Trump, one Gary Johnson, and one wrote in Mitt Romney.

Larger significance is left as an exercise for readers.

13

J-D 11.03.20 at 10:33 am

More generally, and this thought is certainly not original to me, I am afraid that the best that can be hoped for is a respite for two to four years while things return to supposedly ‘normal’ (meaning Democrats governing as what would be an economically and foreign-politically conservative party in Europe against Republican scorched earth obstruction) and none of the structural deficiencies of the US system are reformed …

It is clear that many people are hoping for better than what you describe, and therefore it would not be correct to say that what you describe is the best that it is possible to hope for. If you expect those hopes to be disappointed, your expectation may be fulfilled, but hopes and expectations are (and should be) different things.

14

J-D 11.03.20 at 10:59 am

Taking environmental issues as an example, do you mean that Biden will fail to deliver on his stated policies, or that those policies are only slightly better than Trump’s ?

The question of whether the difference between two stated policies is slight or great is too poorly specified for discussion to be enlightening. It’s like asking whether a stated measurement is long or short: no matter how long it is, there’s a longer measurement, and no matter how short it is, there’s a shorter measurement.

15

Lee A. Arnold 11.03.20 at 12:07 pm

Alex SL @9,

Three things. 1. The U.S. is becoming more Democratic demographically, and people open to Enlightenment tendencies are born into red states too. 2. Gore beat Bush by 1 million votes, Hillary beat Trump by 2.9 million, and many people still do not know this. 3. Most people in the U.S. revere the concept of fairness, while social media enables a politicized minority who do not reflect this.

Re-election of an unfit boor, this time by an even smaller minority, will not easily be forgotten by the majority. The Electoral College will emerge as a long-term campaign issue to try to win enough seats in Congress and the statehouses to pass an amendment to the Constitution. (There are other possible amendments which also could be added as campaign issues, to win seats to pass them: candidates must release their tax returns, for example.)

This would be a very long political game. Of course liberals and progressives are evidently much worse than conservatives at long-game strategies. And of course there are many other short-term campaign issues which will emerge (or be manufactured) to become salient in any particular election.

But conservatives are facing long-term political headwinds that will serve to continually remind the majority of the flaw in a Trump re-election. Take for one example a long game that conservatives like to think they have won: SCOTUS is now more likely to come down with decisions on social policy that the majority does not like.

Should the Democrats sweep the White House & Congress today, then they’re only guaranteed of two years of unobstructed power. So they should take a page from Obama (ACA, DACA) and pass things that are difficult to reverse, so can serve as future campaign issues. Short-term moves in the long-term game.

16

Tm 11.03.20 at 12:27 pm

The Bavarian radio (*) just played “God Save America”, followed by Aretha Franklin singing “God save the Queen My Country tis of thee”. Whatever it takes to help out “our American friends”, as they used to say (but I haven’t heard it said in a while…)

I want to go peacefully to bed tonight and wake up to an end and a promising beginning. What strikes me about this election is how different the atmosphere seems, compared to four years ago. Then, a cacophony of pettiness and hatefulness drowned out the sane and reasoned voices. This time (from a distance and an outside perspective) I perceive a sense of purpose that gives me hope. To the defeatists, who now predictably and preemptively are offering their same old prophecies of the same old, let me remind you that what happens next doesn’t depend on the one guy who is declared winner of that one election (btw there are thousands of elections happening in the US at all levels these days and each is important), it depends on all those who care to make their voices heard and mobilize and organize and work for the change they want and need so badly.

Peace.

(*) Actually a decent classic radio, no ad breaks, little talk, and doesn’t play only the same populars all the time; plus you can watch or listen to whole concerts on demand, a great solace in Covid times of cultural starvation. http://www.br-klassik.de.

17

Hidari 11.03.20 at 1:46 pm

@ 8

Interesting question, and hard to answer. I watched an interview with Branko Marcetic, author of ‘Yesterday’s Man’ who made some interesting, points, chief of which is that Biden isn’t as bad as you think. He was actually against (apparently) the invasion of Libya and the, so to speak, slow motion invasion of Syria.

The problem is that the Democratic Party are in hock to Wall Street, to corporations, to Silicon Valley, and that Biden will be surrounded by absolutely the worst people on God’s Green Earth, almost all of whom have a vested interest in pushing him to the right.

Biden seems to understand the need for a genuine global New Deal, and I presume in the first few years, he will make moves in that direction. But he is going to face ferocious kickback not just from the Republicans but from inside his own party.

Watch this video:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=613904715985054

specifically from 16 minutes onwards.

Tl;dr the Democrats had an excellent, highly progressive climate policy until about 2 weeks ago until eventually the DNC simply removed it from the website (I don’t know if it’s still there) apparently under corporate pressure.

Then there was the ‘I’m against fracking and by against, I mean in favour of’ imbroglio.

Don’t get me wrong, Biden is wholly and completely superior to Trump on the environment, at least on paper, but how much he will actually be able to get done is a moot point. As with his foreign policy, his key achievements in the first few months will be symbolic (re-joining the relevant international agencies and treaties) although maybe that would still be an achievement.

18

matt regan 11.03.20 at 2:27 pm

I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky (I mean Pennsylvania)

19

Tm 11.03.20 at 3:34 pm

I’m sorry but the Bavarian Radio is just playing God Bless America (the same recording with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus) for the second time. Are you listening, God? ;-)

20

Alex H 11.03.20 at 3:59 pm

“Biden will be surrounded by absolutely the worst people on God’s Green Earth.”

Worse than those Trump surrounds himself with? Stephen Miller is pretty bad.

Are we already memory holing the Trump administration?

21

Barry 11.03.20 at 4:54 pm

Craig:

“In the new year….things will continue pretty much as before. Biden will probably be slightly better than Trump on the domestic economy, probably (if anything) slightly worse on foreign policy in terms of actions (although not in terms of treaties and diplomacy more generally). ”

I’m amazed at just how little some people have learned in four years.

22

alfredlordbleep 11.03.20 at 6:23 pm

d&eacutej&agrave vu
Just when you thought they’d crash
the White House victory party tonight
Jerry Falwell jr., Stormy, . . .,
the dear departed (left from Halloween)
The 1790s returned—behind high walls

to keep Jacobin insurrection away

23

alfredlordbleep 11.03.20 at 6:39 pm

déjà vu

(encore)

24

Omega Centauri 11.03.20 at 7:15 pm

We’ve seen that Trump was able to do a lot of harm with executive orders against the environment and other stuff, so even if Biden doesn’t have a Senate majority, at least he can remove tariffs on solar panels, and stop locking up kids on the border. Getting substantial things done that require legislation will probably be a bridge too far.

25

Alex SL 11.03.20 at 8:18 pm

J-D,

I am not a native speaker of English, so I am sorry if I got that wrong, but I had assumed that “the best you can hope for is…” is a way of saying that any more optimistic hope than that is extremely unrealistic.

Lee A. Arnold,

I don’t agree with all that – e.g., I am always pessimistic about the idea that young voters will grow up while maintaining their left-wing policies, when past generations grew up shifting to the right – but the key point I made is not contradicted by what you wrote. It is that the Republicans, including their rank and file, are very openly saying that the Gerrymanders-by-design that are the senate and the electoral college are desirable and good and Just as Things Should Be, because otherwise there would be Tyranny Of The Mob. None of them will look at a third or fourth failure of the most popular candidate being elected and conclude that something is wrong.

And given the current institutional arrangements favour them, they are in a good position to defend those arrangements. I agree completely that this would have to be “very long political game” and that Democrats are at best “only guaranteed of two years of unobstructed power”; in fact, that was my point, although I did not explicitly mention the mid-terms. In the long run we’re all dead or at least busy with other problems such as starving and fleeing from flooded coastal cities, and I just have no hope whatsoever that they will make good use of the two years they have.

They are already making noises that the imperative is to return to bipartisan compromise and to be kinder to each other, which demonstrates that they still have not understood the nature of the other side.

26

Harold Henderson 11.03.20 at 8:22 pm

Biden/Harris will need to do things that we all can point to. If there are aid checks, put Biden/Harris’s name on them. Don’t make it complex and obscure. We’ve had 40 years of lies and treason (including 2 Democratic presidents who never quite realized that they were up against fascists), and it will take more than 40 to undo much of the damage. Every time a hurricane or a pandemic hits, people need to see the clear-cut comparison between what Biden/Harris do and what Bush and Trump didn’t do in similar circumstances. And 2022 cannot be a repeat of 2010. If leading Democrats and donors don’t understand this, then Biden/Harris need to sideline and ignore them.

27

Hidari 11.03.20 at 9:58 pm

‘I’m amazed at just how little some people have learned in four years.’

Me too. Me too.

28

J-D 11.04.20 at 12:00 am

I am not a native speaker of English, so I am sorry if I got that wrong, but I had assumed that “the best you can hope for is…” is a way of saying that any more optimistic hope than that is extremely unrealistic.

That is a reasonable interpretation, and in that case my response is still germane. What basis is there for supposing that all the people who are in fact hoping for better are being extremely unrealistic?

29

J-D 11.04.20 at 12:43 am

… I just have no hope whatsoever that they will make good use of the two years they have. …

The fact that you have no hope whatsoever is insufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that there is no hope whatsoever.

30

nastywoman 11.04.20 at 6:33 am

@21
‘I’m amazed at just how little some people have learned in four years.’
+@ Me too. Me too.

It’s not so much about some ”learning” – it’s more about – that so many of my fellow Americans still like or even love ”Trump” (the Worlds Word(s) for ”Evil Stupid”) and I had hoped and thought that my fellow Americans would reject and refute such ”Evil Stupid” in far more HUUUGER numbers.
And however this finally will end – it’s not ”good” enough for lure US back to ”the homeland”

31

nastywoman 11.04.20 at 6:52 am

”it’s not ”good” enough for lure US back to ”the homeland”

and there is this movie called ”the Wolves of Wall Street” where ”Trump” says:
”Let me tell you something – there is no nobility in poverty – I have been a rich man and I have been a poor man and I choose rich every f… time – even if it’s the utmost ugly fake rich.

And for members of ”the Cult of Less” -(like US) – that’s just… too…?-
MUCH!

32

Alex SL 11.04.20 at 9:18 am

J-D,

Bit pointless to still reply perhaps, given that the probability distribution has now shifted to “looks like Trump might win, but certainly the Republicans retain the senate”. But as I wrote, the evidence is statements from leading Democrats that they didn’t intend to do anything big even if they had won all three.

Given current results the best case scenario has, of course, collapsed to: Biden narrowly becomes president and can do precisely nothing beyond a few executive orders as the senate blocks all major legislative initiatives and nominations.

33

Orange Watch 11.04.20 at 7:33 pm

<a href="" Lee A. Arnold@9:

1. The U.S. is becoming more Democratic demographically, and people open to Enlightenment tendencies are born into red states too

Define “more Demographically democratic”, because that sounds dangerously like the US is getting larger percentages of ethnic minorities that skew significantly more culturally conservative than the US as a whole, but have historically have skewed Democratic in elections. Should the GOP jettison the racism but keep the theocracy and corporatism, that demographic shift immediately backfire… and even if they don’t, the more Democrats rely on catering to those demographics, the more they’re incetivized to pay attention to predominant cultural conservative tendencies therein.

The whole idea of demographic inevitably favoring the left seems to rely on some very confused and inconsistent essentialist identitarian thinking – as well as naive conceptions of the core values that the Democratic Party will never compromise on.

34

J-D 11.04.20 at 9:12 pm

But as I wrote, the evidence is statements from leading Democrats that they didn’t intend to do anything big even if they had won all three.

‘If I am elected to office I don’t intend to do anything big’ said no politician campaigning for election ever. That’s not the kind of thing that happens.

A politician in office not doing anything big is the kind of thing that does happen, often. If somebody tells me that a politician in office is not doing anything big, it might be true or it might not: I can’t immediately be sure. If somebody tells me that a politician is saying ‘I’m not going to do anything big’, I can tell right away that it’s not true.

35

nastywoman 11.05.20 at 7:49 am

and why can’t we just say:
In conclusion – my fellow Americans just like a Racist Science Denier faaaar toooo much.

And they like him sooo much – that we have decided to stay away from them for a while – UNTIL they like Racist Science Deniers –
AGAIN –
as little – as in Obamas Times.

36

J-D 11.05.20 at 8:01 am

Define “more Demographically democratic”, because that sounds dangerously like the US is getting larger percentages of ethnic minorities that skew significantly more culturally conservative than the US as a whole, but have historically have skewed Democratic in elections. Should the GOP jettison the racism but keep the theocracy and corporatism, that demographic shift immediately backfire… and even if they don’t, the more Democrats rely on catering to those demographics, the more they’re incetivized to pay attention to predominant cultural conservative tendencies therein.

The whole idea of demographic inevitably favoring the left seems to rely on some very confused and inconsistent essentialist identitarian thinking – as well as naive conceptions of the core values that the Democratic Party will never compromise on.

You are right to point out that this is a complex issue (or set of issues). A few points occur to me that seem worth making.

If the population of the US is divided demographically into the categories of ‘non-Hispanic white’ and ‘Hispanic and/or non-white’, then it’s clear that of those two categories it’s the faster growing one which votes more Democratic and the slower growing which votes more Republican and, as far as that goes, the demographic trend is in the Democrats’ favour. One important qualification to this is that if the category of ‘Hispanic and/or non-white’ is divided into subgroups, not all of them are equally favourable to the Democrats and some favour the Republicans; but anybody who invokes that qualification should also acknowledge that the category of ‘non-Hispanic white’ can also be divided into subgroups, not all of which are equally favourable to the Republicans and some of which favour the Democrats. What the political implications are of this kind of finer grained analysis I don’t know.

It’s true that if the Republicans changed their policies, they might attract more votes from some groups which currently give them little support, but–depending crucially on what those changes were–it’s possible that you or I might prefer the Republicans if they changed their policies! You don’t think so? If the Republicans returned to their original policies of the 1850s, they might attract substantially different support from what they do now, but would you worry about that if you agreed with me that in the 1850s the Republicans had better policies than the Democrats? Less unrealistically perhaps, the possible policy change you discuss is a rejection of racism, but why doesn’t it occur to you that racism can be a reason for supporting a party as well as a reason for rejecting it: that a party which abandons a policy of racism might lose some supporters by doing so as well as gaining some?

There are also other ways of analysing a population demographically. If we break down the US population into groups by religious affiliation, we find that the group which provides the strongest support to the Republican Party consists of white evangelicals, while the group which provides the strongest support to the Democratic Party consists of those with no religious affiliation: and the present demographic trend is that the fastest growing group is those with no religious affiliation, a trend which is favourable to the Democrats.

Given current results the best case scenario has, of course, collapsed to: Biden narrowly becomes president and can do precisely nothing beyond a few executive orders as the senate blocks all major legislative initiatives and nominations.

If Biden is elected President but faces a Republican-majority Senate, do you suppose that there is no strategy available to him but to spend the next two years sitting around the White House pathetically lamenting his inability to advance a Democratic agenda because of Senate opposition? The fact that politically inexperienced I can’t immediately suggest what the alternatives would be is insufficient basis for concluding that they don’t exist.

37

nastywoman 11.05.20 at 8:44 am

AND –
soo we had a long talk – all 16 of US and we canceled our planned ”Celebration Trip” to Miami in January -(even as we know – that Trump will be gone) –
As we came to the conclusion – that – if it would have been for Florida – The Racist Science Denier wouldn’t be gone –
Right?
And as we had such a Great Time in Little Havana last January – but saw this morning on CNN -right in front of the restaurant where we used to hang out – these unbelievable Trump Celebration –

We thought: We can’t go back there?
As each time we would have to ask: ”Did you guys REALLY vote for a Racist Dude who – did nothing else then constantly insult y’all”?
And each time we would meet one of our Cuban Sisters – we would have to ask her:
”How can a Cuban Woman vote for Trump”? –
Or better said:
”How can a American woman in general vote for Trump”?
And when she – probably – would have answered: ”If it would have been up to US – (Cuban) women – Trump wouldn’t have been President in the first place –
AND then we – probably – would have to have a word with their (macho) boyfriends –
who LOVE Trump –
(because they might yell: He has ”YUUUGE Cojones”)- And as WE never don’t think so – we probably would get into a fight with some of them –
(like last year) – about something as STUPID as US politics” – while we actually just hate the hate Trump distributed.

And so we will stay in Europe – and hope – that under Biden – Florida – will become a lot less hateful and racist in the coming years – and if we are going back to the homeland – we will go just back to CA – where ”Trumpism” never had a chance.

38

Hidari 11.05.20 at 8:55 am

As usual, I watch the American media (and, increasingly, the British media now well infected with American hysteria), with a sense of bewilderment.

If one excludes the chaos of the American vote counting system (indicative of an Empire in long-term decline), it is absolutely clear, and has been from the first second that counting started, that Biden will win. There was never a second, either since counting started, or from about March, where it looked like Trump would win.

As I write, Biden stands at 264 electoral college votes and Trump stands at 214 (according to the Guardian). Biden is a clear 4 million votes ahead in terms of the popular vote. Biden needs only one more state to win. Biden has received more votes than any other Presidential candidate in American history. Trump’s attempts to ‘stop the vote’ and ‘go to the Supreme Court’ are typical Trump bluster (and no, Normiecrats, they are not an attempt by an aspiring dictator to seize power: grow up): these attempts (not even attempts really, just random tweets) will go nowhere, as they have no legal basis.

There has been little violence (indeed, next to no violence, so far as I can tell) and if you thought this would situation (or any American political situation since 2016) would lead to a civil war or a dictatorship: get a life, you spend too much time on the internet. Take up gardening or some other hobby that will be a better use of your time.

The Democrats hold on to their majority in the House (as I predicted), and will just fail to take the Senate (again, as I predicted).

Giving that the Presidential candidate was Joe Biden the Democrats haven’t actually done too bad. The polls were not wrong, any more than they were in 2016. The current results are well within margins of error (and no, a Blue Wave was never going to happen. The polls didn’t predict it, and the only people who thought it would happen were Democrats getting high on their own supply).

As Bernie Sanders pointed out in a video that went viral, initial results were always going to favour the Republicans because Republicans were more likely to vote in person, whereas Democrats were more likely to use mail-in ballots which take time to count, so this is precisely what was anticipated, this was always going to happen, there’s nothing untoward or unexpected happening here. As the count continues the ‘process’ begins to inexorably favour the Democrats.

Biden has already (quite properly, as he will win) set up his transition website, and here it is:

https://buildbackbetter.com/

39

Lee A. Arnold 11.05.20 at 11:16 am

Orange Watch #33: “The whole idea of demographic inevitably favoring the left”

I don’t equate the Democratic Party with the left. And Trump 2020 has expanded the support among non-college young male POC which began in 2016.

There’s a lot to unpack here, some of it already treated in this remarkable, rather eye-opening interview published three months ago:
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/david-shor-cancel-culture-2020-election-theory-polls.html

I cannot type a lot right now, but if you can spare the time, I am very interested in your reaction to it.

40

nastywoman 11.06.20 at 7:22 am

AND what is it with you guys?

Did I – ME call Trump:
”An Obese Turtle Flailing In The Sun”?

I just called him ”Evil Stupid” and you… you not ”turtles” – won’t post that –
is it because… BE-cause I#m stupid too but not even close the the STUPID Obese Turtle – OR – I’m not Anderson Cooper?
But I wouldn’t mind being Anderson Cooper…

41

Lee A. Arnold 11.06.20 at 10:42 am

I should have written that more clearly: Trump 2020 has expanded HIS support among non-college young male POC which began in 2016.

42

Hidari 11.06.20 at 12:21 pm

@8

Incidentally I don’t know if you are still interested, but here’s a good Guardian piece about good things and bad things about Joe Biden, vis a vis the environment.

Tl;dr he’s not that bad, as these things go, but it is entirely possible that it will simply not be enough.

The problem with the environment is not denialism, as such. Trumpian denialism is going out of fashion, and will be inconceivable in 20/30 years time.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/29/joe-biden-climate-jobs-plan-gamble

The problem is ‘Herbert Hooverism’: Hoover did quite a bit to deal with the Great Depression (contrary to popular belief) but it just wasn’t enough and he was overwhelmed by events. If Biden is unlucky, he will go the same way.

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Alex SL 11.07.20 at 5:19 am

J-D,

Think back to Obama’s terms and you will see that it isn’t a lack of political experience that restricts one’s ability to formulate a strategy for Biden. With the caveat of me not being a US-American, to my understanding the presidency is very powerful, but mostly in terms of foreign policy and war. There are a few other things around the edges where the federal level is responsible, e.g. National Parks and some regulations that can be set by executive order or suchlike, but the Senate can (and will) block any major legislation one could use as an argument for voting Dem in 2022 or 2024 and all nominations of federal judges, as they did during Obama’s later years. They may also cause trouble with budgets, as they did when they threatened to default on the US debt.

The reality is that ever since the ascendancy of Gingrich during Bill Clinton’s administration, the Republicans have seen any Democratic governance as illegitimate in principle. I hope one day the Democrats will realise that they cannot collaborate in good faith or seek compromise with people who believe that they and their supporters are not Real Americans and ideally should not be allowed to have any say in what happens.

Hidari,

That is one of the points I tried to make earlier – I doubt that a Biden administration would have the guts to do what it takes even if it got the trifecta. But that was about electoral reform and stacking the supreme court, because, in all fairness, and as important as it is to do something, the last moment where it would still have been possible to do enough on the environment was probably the 1980s. We are now starting to see ecosystem collapse around us. I doubt that a new dark age with displacement and starvation of billions and widespread societal disruption could be staved off even if all governments on the planet were, right now, to commit to carbon neutrality by, let’s be realistic about how long it takes to achieve that, 2050.

I can believe that denialism will be gone by 2040/50, as you suggest, because by then people will be surrounded by vegetation that looks completely different from how it was in 2010-20, significantly changed weather patterns, and increasingly flooded coastal cities, and they will be unable to doubt what is going on. (I am told back in Germany city landscapers are already planting Mediterranean saplings because they know temperate ones won’t be able to survive by the time they’d be grown trees, as beech and spruce forests are beginning to die off en masse.) But well, by 2040/50 even more heating will be baked in, and that is not even mentioning land clearing, soil erosion, groundwater depletion, and other issues that are being ignored.

I sometimes wonder what those who deny not the problem per se but its severity, those who say “when it gets bad They (?) will come up with a solution”, think will happen in practical terms when it Gets Bad. I can only picture somebody sitting in a refugee camp after they left a Miami that is by then under 1-2 m of ocean saying to themselves, “okay, now that it has affected me directly, let’s stop using fossil fuels, then the water will go away again and I can move back home”.

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Tm 11.07.20 at 8:33 am

LAA 41: can you be more explicit about that claim and the evidence for it?
And secondly, what do you mean by „populist“ elements in the Republican Party (on the other thread)? I take it you refer to economic populism. I haven’t seen the slightest hint in that direction in Trumpism. (That Trump‘s Macho bullying appeals to a certain segment of young male POC isn’t all that surprising but his base remains overwhelmingly white).

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J-D 11.08.20 at 12:58 am

J-D,

Think back to Obama’s terms and you will see that it isn’t a lack of political experience that restricts one’s ability to formulate a strategy for Biden. … the Senate can (and will) block any major legislation …

Either I’ve understood you properly or I haven’t. If I have understood you properly, you are predicting that a Republican-controlled Senate will block any significant legislative proposals of the Biden Administration and that the Biden Administration will be unable to do anything about it. If that’s how things turn out, I won’t be entirely surprised, because I can envisage that possibility, but you seem sure it’s a certainty, and your confidence in that conclusion seems to me to exceed what’s justified.

I hope one day the Democrats will realise that they cannot collaborate in good faith or seek compromise with people who believe that they and their supporters are not Real Americans and ideally should not be allowed to have any say in what happens.

The fact that you hope for this indicates that you think it would make a difference if it happened, which in turn suggests that you think there is something a Democratic Administration could do about Republican obstruction if only they were willing. Well, which is it? ‘There’s nothing they could do even if they wanted to’ and ‘they aren’t willing to do anything even if they could’ are not synonymous. In any case, whichever of these more accurately represents your position, your level of confidence in it seems to exceed what is justified–except that, in order for you to hope for the Democrats to change their approach, surely you must believe that it is at least possible?

Again, ‘the chances are not good’ and ‘there is no chance at all’ are not synonymous, and you make it difficult to be clear about which of them (if either) is your position.

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