With one day to go, this is what I’m worried about.
The so-called party of law and order should want a fair election. They don’t because it means Trump loses in a landslide.
I want to do a reverse Marco Rubio. In 2016 he was ridiculed for saying “it’s fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing”. Now, we’re in a completely different world. Whether it’s a failure to focus on his core economic message, a failure to frame his opponent, Joe Biden, or a failure to handle a deadly pandemic, it’s fiction that Donald Trump knows what he’s doing. He hasn’t got a clue. He scrapped to victory against a deeply unpopular Democrat, carrying 75 electoral college votes with an average winning margin of just 0.74%. The writing has been on the wall ever since.
During Donald Trump’s term, Democrats have won statewide elections in Kentucky and Virginia while picking up county-wide gains in Mississippi and Indiana. According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, Biden leads nationally by 8.5 points, and holds substantial leads in states needed to reach 270 electoral college votes. Joe Biden doesn’t worry me.
It is not just the head-to-head polling either, it’s the issues that voters care about. According to Fox News, not only do they trust Biden more to handle Coronavirus, but half say the virus is out of control. Biden compounds his strength on questions about the Supreme Court, while only being one point behind on the economy. He stands head and shoulders above the President on personal qualities, such as who is more honest and who cares more about you. The same polls finds 56% of voters view Trump as corrupt and 53% view him as being too close to extremists. His popularity doesn’t worry me.
But, as MagaMAN1776 often reminds me on Twitter, the polls were wrong in 2016. There are several reasons why this doesn’t concern me as much as it should. Aside from the quantifiable fact that Biden’s lead has been significantly larger than Clinton’s ever was, he also has more positive favourables and polls above 50% far more often than she ever did. Moreover, the ability three party voters or undecided voters will have this time will likely be materially less.
Methodologically as well, pollsters have changed their approach. They are polling more in the ‘battleground’ states, they are weighting for education, and they are findings new ways to contact previously unreachable voters. Don’t get me wrong, they could still be wrong, but even if they are as wrong as they were in 2016, then this is still the map. The polling doesn’t worry me.
Even if Biden wasn’t polling as well as he is, Trump’s campaign that caused him to narrowly win in 2016 is now diametrically different to what it was. Four years ago, it was those on the Left who were claiming that the world would end if Trump won. Trump attacked the “prophets of doom” and asked African American voters “what have you got to lose?”
Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Donald Trump’s litany of ridiculous claims includes “Biden wants to LOCKDOWN our country”, a vote for Biden is “a vote to Ban Fracking”, and “Joe Biden has vowed to ABOLISH American Oil”. There are many more nuferious claims to plough through, but for someone essentially seeking to run for re-election as a challenger, not the incumbent he is, this shift in tone is glaring. Trump’s campaigning doesn’t worry me.
With one day to go, I am not worried about a latent, clandestine ability of his campaign to turn around its dire fortunes. I have no doubts there are more votes who want a President Biden than a President Trump. Nor am I overly concerned about a massive failure of polling.
What worries me is far more insidious and deliberate than that. My worries can be put into two complementary categories, each with multiple examples:
- Voter suppression and/or intimidation
A video has gone viral of MAGA types circling Biden’s campaign bus in Texas. A demonstration deemed so dangerous that Biden had to cancel campaign events. Let’s not belittle the significance of this. Biden hasn’t made this decision lightly; he will have been advised by her secret service protection that this is not safe. Biden and his staff thankfully have access to that protection, many millions of voters across the country who will be subjected to ‘Trump’s Army’ don’t. As always, this behaviour has been encouraged by the Republican party. What’s even more disgusting, look at this:
It’s a similarly violent story in North Carolina. According to CNN, “police used pepper spray to break up a North Carolina march to a polling place”. Of course, while the local police force calls this unlawful, they have not specified why. It is an eerily familiar picture.
2. The Courts abusing mail in and early voting
Earlier this week, Justice Brett Kavanaugh cited Bush vs. Gore 2000 for the first time since the ruling two decades ago. It was a citation that emphasises the power state legislatures have to set state election law. Although the citation was made on a case relating to Wisconsin election law, it could provide a chilling precursor for a case in Texas. According to Mark Stern, “Texas Republicans have asked a federal judge to throw out 100,000 ballots in Harris County cast through curbside voting. They drew Judge Andrew Hanen, one of the most notoriously partisan Republican judges in the entire federal judiciary”. This is also happening in the crucial Miami-Dade county now.
If Republicans can’t destroy enough ballots in time, they will simply stop counting them. Jason Miller went on the Sunday shows today to say “President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral somewhere in that range, and then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election” As you would expect, Donald Trump is saying the quiet part out loud. This worries me.
Democrats have a reputation as ‘bet wetters’, and, not wanting to mirror Trump’s “Doom-mongering”, but we are now less than two days away from an election and its credibility is being attacked as we speak.
In a free and fair election, NYT pollster, Nate Cohen, says “the President is out of time” while Dave Wasserman says “there is an excellent change President Trump is heading for the biggest repudiation of a first term President”. Neither the polling nor the candidates worry me. The ease in which the Republican party are willing to break everything in their path does.