Too Many Provisional Election Musings

 

I’ve been biting my tongue on Facebook and Snoozing friends as fast as most of them can opine on the election. Feelings there are still running strong on all sides; informed opinions are few and far between. My ADHD has been pulling me in multiple directions, but the last thing anyone there needs is that “well, akshully…” guy.

But I have to say something, somewhere. So here are some of my observations and opinions about the “state of the race” just so I can speak my mind without nuking my friends list on FB. I can’t claim any great originality or insight, but I needed at least a couple of steps back to look at things outside the bonfire and gather my thoughts.

  1. I understand both the “just get it over with already!” crowd and the “it ain’t over ’til it’s over!” crowd. I empathize with both, in fact. I vacillate between them myself several times a day.
  2. But my stance, to both camps, is that it isn’t over when the media says it is; it’s over when the votes are certified. Whether or not it’s sporting for Trump to wait until it’s official, he remains perfectly within his legal right and I refuse to criticize him for choosing to not Just Concede Already.
  3. There are, as Erick Erickson notes, voting irregularities. Fraud does indeed happen, and there’s a lot that stinks. Accusations should be investigated. Every person who commits election fraud should be mercilessly prosecuted. Every legal vote should be counted.
  4. The operative question is whether the known shenanigans are sufficient to make a state flip officially to Trump. As of this moment, I’m open to that possibility existing in enough states to matter…but I’m not convinced it’s inevitable. It’s why I’m content to wait for certification – I can honestly respond “we shall see” without taking a stand. (I’m not a lawyer, so I have no power to influence those knee-deep in the process other than to cheer them on.)
  5. I don’t have the confidence to say Trump won in a landslide, and all contrary evidence is fraudulent. Some do. I don’t. From my perspective, this is a close race.
  6. In my view, the most important thing is for us to reach consensus by the time the votes are certified – love or hate the outcome, both sides should agree that the numbers reflect a legitimate victor. I’m enough of a realist to accept that’s not likely to happen.
  7. As a Dodgers fan, I grew up on “Wait ’til next year!” 2016 aside, that’s still my general approach; hate to lose, but there’s always next time. That we’ve begun to treat every election as The Most Important in the History of Ever is an indication that Washington has too darn much power, and if we want to make America less insane, that’s a good place to start. #MakeElectionsNonapocalypticAgain
  8. Election Day was an unholy mess this year, because it was took closer to a month from start of early voting to close of the polls. And too many next-day 4 a.m. arrivals cast understandable suspicion on the integrity of the results.
  9. There were vast differences in how and when votes were counted, and that just added to the confusion. If we want to make Election Day relevant again, we have to eliminate – and I do mean eliminate – the multi-week delay in the initial counting, and tighten up the early voting window so all votes can be counted within 24 hours of polls closing. But make the start of early voting late enough so we stop all those Google queries for “how do I change my vote?”
  10. I’d also like to see a firmer standard on voter identification. I’m not above the idea of purple paint (for fingers) and cigar cutters (for violators). I have a friend who lost multiple fingers in a table saw accident who has eagerly volunteered his hands as poster-stumps for voter fraud.

Now, a few observations about the numbers so far.

  1. It’s a really close race. Per this site, Biden leads by about 5 million votes nationally. Biden leads in California by…about 5 million. That’s his entire popular vote margin.
  2. (California remains the top argument in favor of retaining the electoral college. Biden won California; the stupidly lopsided score is one reason why we left.)
  3. Third-party votes dropped from 2016’s Perot-era 8.3 million to 2.7 million this year. Two-thirds of that are for the Libertarian party, which has earned over a million votes the last three cycles, a solid positive trend for them. Conversely, the Green party faded back to relative obscurity from its Ralph Nader heyday and Jill Stein’s resurgence.
  4. The arguments for a binary-choice election were much stronger this year. The choice for most Republicans was not Hillary or Trump, but Trump or None of the Above. He was a known personality, but not a known politician. Now he had a record to run on, and against.
  5. Give Trump credit: he will likely earn 10 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016. He can rightly boast that he pulled in more votes than Obama did in 2008, and unlike Obama, he didn’t lose support four years in. Trump expanded his popularity. This is beyond dispute.
  6. It was a good year for Republicans generally: gains in House seats, gains in state legislatures, and the Senate at least tied and likely to remain in Republican hands. The GOP vastly outperformed expectations in November.
  7. The other side of the coin is that Trump vastly expanded his personal unpopularity. Biden/Harris will finish at least 12 million votes higher than Clinton/Kaine.
  8. Along with his two wins with Obama, Biden topped 50% of the popular vote for the third time. Bill Clinton didn’t manage a true majority either time he ran. But this is skewed by California’s insane 2-to-1 margin.
  9. I’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly. (And sniffy. But I digress.) He may be a joke to many, even on his own side, but for many it’s affectionate. And for a nontrivial number of voters, the idea of a president who locks himself in the basement and shuts up for days on end is a welcome relief from Sir Tweets-a-Lot.
  10. This will have been an election won and lost at the margins. Forget the “popular” vote; while California’s choice for Biden was never in doubt, its 5 million vote surplus is meaningless…at least until more of those yahoos move to other states. [Says the recent CA escapee.] In most states, it’s darned close. (Yes, it’s a point I made previously, but it’s one I keep thinking about.)
  11. If Trump loses Arizona, I’ll personally blame his grudge match with the late Senator McCain, with an assist from the unimpressive, soon-to-be-former Senator McSally. I’ll deny Jeff Flake any credit whatsoever.
  12. If Trump loses, he loses a heartbreakingly close race, against daunting circumstances. In the same year he was impeached; in the same year as a global pandemic and significant economic crisis; at the end of four years of the media baying for his blood and lying shamelessly about him; with social media hyperactively conspiring to silence any news even remotely favorable to him or negative about his opponent. Yes, he made plenty of unforced errors, but the organized tide arrayed against him was downright biblical, and I really wish Dante were around to update his travelogue through the Inferno.
  13. If Trump is declared the winner after every attempt to stop him, I’ll cheer for him. And buy a Liberal Tears mug. Extra large, because we’ll need it.

So, that’s where I sit. Somewhere near the middle, but with both feet on the right. More sympathetic to Trump than four years ago, and energized against many of the same things he rages against, but not blind to his self-inflicted wounds. He hasn’t lost yet, and he’ll fight every step of the way. But the certification deadlines are approaching and he faces an uphill battle to reverse the current margins.

Published in Elections
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There are 26 comments.

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    But the thing is I don’t think it was close at all, not really.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    But the thing is I don’t think it was close at all, not really.

    And there’s the rub.

    • #2
  3. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Look, if its close, I want to know how really close, so if there are illegal ballots, anywhere, they should be ferreted out. 

    Otherwise, the election fraud and rigging will expand. 

     

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Look, if its close, I want to know how really close, so if there are illegal ballots, anywhere, they should be ferreted out.

    Otherwise, the election fraud and rigging will expand.

    Especially if judges decide that only stacks of physical ballots with “I Am Fraudulent” written on them and signed and notarized, count as “evidence.”

    • #4
  5. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    There are still states that can flip.  PA is one.  I agree McSally was weak.  She should have won in 2018.  No debates and lots of late votes that year,

    • #5
  6. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Jim Wright: It’s a really close race. Per this site, Biden leads by about 5 million votes nationally. He leads in California by…about 5 million.

    I did not notice that.  It is quite unbelievable and yes, California is the top reason for keeping the electoral college.

    • #6
  7. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Jim Wright: ’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly.

    Do you feel the same about Kamala?  Because that’s the problem.

    • #7
  8. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: ’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly.

    Do you feel the same about Kamala? Because that’s the problem.

     Kamala is Satan and still cuddly compared to Hillary.  Bill should have been impeached for having sex with Hillary, not for having sex with Monica.

    • #8
  9. Jim Wright Inactive
    Jim Wright
    @JimW

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: ’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly.

    Do you feel the same about Kamala? Because that’s the problem.

    I’m not a fan of Kamala. Neither were most Democratic party primary voters. I’ve never met her, but I was glad to leave the California that thought she was a great Attorney General.

    But my concerns about a Harris administration are nothing compared to the DNA-deep fear I had for my country at the thought of Hillary and Bill back in the White House. Yeah, I think Harris has bad ideas and will pursue bad policies (personal opinion: ineffectively) if given the chance.

    But Kamala couldn’t even hold her own against Tulsi Gabbard. Hillary is Baba Yaga, the bogeyman of my political nightmares.  

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: It’s a really close race. Per this site, Biden leads by about 5 million votes nationally. He leads in California by…about 5 million.

    I did not notice that. It is quite unbelievable and yes, California is the top reason for keeping the electoral college.

     

    • #10
  11. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Except there was MASSIVE fraud. Biden didn’t win this election. No way. This is unprecedented and blatant. There’s absolutely no reconciliation possible.

    Have a nice day.

    • #11
  12. Jim Wright Inactive
    Jim Wright
    @JimW

    Franco (View Comment):

    Except there was MASSIVE fraud. Biden didn’t win this election. No way. This is unprecedented and blatant. There’s absolutely no reconciliation possible.

    Have a nice day.

    I sincerely hope that’s proven to be the case and that Trump is certified the winner. If anyone is up to fighting until the last dog dies, it’s Trump. He’s fighting.

    Serious question. If the massive fraud succeeds and vote certification goes Biden’s way…what then? If no reconciliation is possible, what is your response, and to whom?

    I don’t have a good answer for myself. Most likely passive-aggressive whining and mass-forwarding the James Woods tweet.

    • #12
  13. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: It’s a really close race. Per this site, Biden leads by about 5 million votes nationally. He leads in California by…about 5 million.

    I did not notice that. It is quite unbelievable and yes, California is the top reason for keeping the electoral college.

    It was worse in 2016. Hillary got 2.9 million more popular votes in total, but won California by 4.3 million.

    • #13
  14. Jim Wright Inactive
    Jim Wright
    @JimW

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: It’s a really close race. Per this site, Biden leads by about 5 million votes nationally. He leads in California by…about 5 million.

    I did not notice that. It is quite unbelievable and yes, California is the top reason for keeping the electoral college.

    It was worse in 2016. Hillary got 2.9 million more popular votes in total, but won California by 4.3 million.

    Yes. I’ve been banging that drum for four years now. “But Hillary won the popular vote!” Yes, by blowing a lot of money on advertising in California, a state she would never, ever lose.

    It’s the final piece of why she lost – she fundamentally misunderstood the race she was running. She spent good money and time to win a popular vote that meant nothing, at the expense of the states she needed to win for the race that mattered: the electoral college. She made the same mistake in 2008 – she beat Obama in the raw primary vote, but his strategy was to win the most delegates.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim Wright (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: It’s a really close race. Per this site, Biden leads by about 5 million votes nationally. He leads in California by…about 5 million.

    I did not notice that. It is quite unbelievable and yes, California is the top reason for keeping the electoral college.

    It was worse in 2016. Hillary got 2.9 million more popular votes in total, but won California by 4.3 million.

    Yes. I’ve been banging that drum for four years now. “But Hillary won the popular vote!” Yes, by blowing a lot of money on advertising in California, a state she would never, ever lose.

    It’s the final piece of why she lost – she fundamentally misunderstood the race she was running. She spent good money and time to win a popular vote that meant nothing, at the expense of the states she needed to win race that mattered in the electoral college. She made the same mistake in 2008 – she beat Obama in the raw primary vote, but his strategy was to win the most delegates.

    Oh, now I understand!  That’s why Hillary is a genius!

    :-)

    • #15
  16. Jim Wright Inactive
    Jim Wright
    @JimW

    I highly recommend the latest episode of “Verdict with Ted Cruz.” He gives a good rundown of the latest state of the race.

    • #16
  17. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Jim Wright (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Except there was MASSIVE fraud. Biden didn’t win this election. No way. This is unprecedented and blatant. There’s absolutely no reconciliation possible.

    Have a nice day.

    I sincerely hope that’s proven to be the case and that Trump is certified the winner. If anyone is up to fighting until the last dog dies, it’s Trump. He’s fighting.

    Serious question. If the massive fraud succeeds and vote certification goes Biden’s way…what then? If no reconciliation is possible, what is your response, and to whom?

    I don’t have a good answer for myself. Most likely passive-aggressive whining and mass-forwarding the James Woods tweet.

    I don’t know, but the first thing should be to purge the traitors in our midst. That should be pretty easy. They’ve made themselves known. 

     

     

    • #17
  18. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Superb summary.

    • #18
  19. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: ’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly.

    Do you feel the same about Kamala? Because that’s the problem.

    Kamala is Satan and still cuddly compared to Hillary. Bill should have been impeached for having sex with Hillary, not for having sex with Monica.

    Webb Hubble thanks you for the support.  Look at a photo of him and one of Chelsea.

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: ’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly.

    Do you feel the same about Kamala? Because that’s the problem.

    Kamala is Satan and still cuddly compared to Hillary. Bill should have been impeached for having sex with Hillary, not for having sex with Monica.

    Webb Hubble thanks you for the support. Look at a photo of him and one of Chelsea.

    On the other hand, it seems like Chelsea now looks more like how her mother looks now.   (Not a compliment, sadly.)

    The Clintons are/were also a bad national example for demographics.  Two parents having just one child is a road to demographic collapse.  Donald and Melania Trump have 1 child so far, Donald and Ivana had 3, and Donald and Marla Maples had 1 together.  That’s much better for demographics.

    • #20
  21. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Trump absolutely has the right to contest the election. Members of his party (in the electorate– citizens) have serious questions about the election and if only for their sakes he should raise them. That’s fine, no matter how much CNN cries. Here is where I will get into trouble though. 

    There are ways to do this and ways not to do this. And well, Trump’s twitter behavior is the way not to do it. It’s another mini case study of why he lost and why we are in this very moment. He’s way too often at an 11 when a 7 will do (h/t John Nolte).

    There have been investigations into his supporter’s concerns about the election. It appears there were a lot of screw ups in the big cities and a lot mistakes went the democrats’ way. The mistakes can do that because there is fraud and/or also because a lot more people voted for democrats, especially by mail. In the mixture of that the later explains far more variation and the former won’t flip a state. Trump lost. And he lost because of just this type of behavior.

    Trump isn’t calling for election accountability as a general matter. He thinks fraud explains Joe’s margins over him. Again, had he done the former frequently than the later, fine. But, in (re)tweeting  everything that suggests he lost due to fraud he’s validating all the people who voted against him or left the topline blank even as they voted for other R candidates and he’s basically stripping away, in real time, any rhetorical arguments about Bush v Gore, Kerry in 2004, Hillary, and Stacey Abrams. It’s an all around waste. Any personal capital he has left (and I don’t dislike the guy) should be for getting troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas and getting every right leaning, non-socialist person registered to vote in GA– not pushing people away with this vote stealing narrative. 

    • #21
  22. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Jim Wright: ’m sure there are strong feelings around Biden, but compared to Hillary Clinton he’s downright cuddly.

    Do you feel the same about Kamala? Because that’s the problem.

    Kamala is Satan and still cuddly compared to Hillary. Bill should have been impeached for having sex with Hillary, not for having sex with Monica.

    Webb Hubble thanks you for the support. Look at a photo of him and one of Chelsea.

    On the other hand, it seems like Chelsea now looks more like how her mother looks now. (Not a compliment, sadly.)

    The Clintons are/were also a bad national example for demographics. Two parents having just one child is a road to demographic collapse. Donald and Melania Trump have 1 child so far, Donald and Ivana had 3, and Donald and Marla Maples had 1 together. That’s much better for demographics.

    When Chelsea was a little girl she looked like both Bill and Hillary.  Strangest coincidence I’ve ever seen.

     

    • #22
  23. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Goldgeller (View Comment):

    Trump absolutely has the right to contest the election. Members of his party (in the electorate– citizens) have serious questions about the election and if only for their sakes he should raise them. That’s fine, no matter how much CNN cries. Here is where I will get into trouble though.

    There are ways to do this and ways not to do this. And well, Trump’s twitter behavior is the way not to do it. It’s another mini case study of why he lost and why we are in this very moment. He’s way too often at an 11 when a 7 will do (h/t John Nolte).

    There have been investigations into his supporter’s concerns about the election. It appears there were a lot of screw ups in the big cities and a lot mistakes went the democrats’ way. The mistakes can do that because there is fraud and/or also because a lot more people voted for democrats, especially by mail. In the mixture of that the later explains far more variation and the former won’t flip a state. Trump lost. And he lost because of just this type of behavior.

    Trump isn’t calling for election accountability as a general matter. He thinks fraud explains Joe’s margins over him. Again, had he done the former frequently than the later, fine. But, in (re)tweeting everything that suggests he lost due to fraud he’s validating all the people who voted against him or left the topline blank even as they voted for other R candidates and he’s basically stripping away, in real time, any rhetorical arguments about Bush v Gore, Kerry in 2004, Hillary, and Stacey Abrams. It’s an all around waste. Any personal capital he has left (and I don’t dislike the guy) should be for getting troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas and getting every right leaning, non-socialist person registered to vote in GA– not pushing people away with this vote stealing narrative.

    Here is an interesting rebuttal.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1120/hanson111220.php3

     

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Goldgeller (View Comment):
    not pushing people away with this vote stealing narrative. 

    I don’t know if anyone is actually being “pushed away,” unless they simply refuse to consider the evidence; but that’s on them.

    • #24
  25. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Goldgeller (View Comment):

    Here is an interesting rebuttal.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1120/hanson111220.php3

     

    I skimmed it. I must confess that I don’t really find it to be aimed at what I was saying. Davis makes a descriptive argument about why people let themselves get bothered by what Trump says as opposed to paying attention to what Trump does. That’s fine. I’ve agreed with that several times. But Victor is in the minority. We know this because Trump did lose. For the reasons Victor bemoans. Will Trump or “Trumpism” have a second act as he muses? Could be. I wasn’t addressing it. 

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Goldgeller (View Comment):
    not pushing people away with this vote stealing narrative.

    I don’t know if anyone is actually being “pushed away,” unless they simply refuse to consider the evidence; but that’s on them.

    Alton Brown. And I know a couple of secret Republicans who told me the same thing. I can’t go through my old tweets (I screenshot but don’t like or retweet or tweet) but it is not an uncommon sentiment among some center right people who were hoping for a Trump win. Now we can argue about where someone like Alton Brown or people I follow are in the distribution (maybe they aren’t predictive) but I think his behavior has grated on many people. Which, again, I think is an important reason why he lost. 

    • #25
  26. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    wrong thread.

    • #26