29 August 2019

Preparing for an election like no other

Next year's election is looking better and better.  It seems increasingly likely that Trump and the Republicans will face the kind of blowout defeat that the worst President in history, and the party that has cravenly enabled him, so richly deserve.  But that doesn't mean we can relax.  And we need to be thinking about what could happen after the election.

Polling continues to bring encouraging news.  The most recent survey shows our top five candidates beating Trump by margins ranging from 9 to 16 points:

Biden +16 (54%-38%)
Sanders +14 (53%-39%)
Warren +12 (52%-40%)
Harris +11 (51%-40%)
Buttigieg +9 (49%-40%)

A number of Republican House seats are looking vulnerable, especially with retirements.  In the Senate, to get to 50-50 (which means Democratic control if the Vice President is a Democrat), we need to take three seats, or four if Doug Jones loses in Alabama.  We have good opportunities in Colorado, Maine, Arizona, and possibly Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Montana, Iowa, and even Kansas and Texas (if O'Rourke or Castro gets in).  In a blue-wave year, retaking the Senate is a real possibility.

But -- the historical pattern is that large leads in Presidential races tend to tighten as the election approaches.  Vote-suppression laws, Russian meddling, and the Electoral College will all be factors next year, just as they were in 2016.  If the polling continues to look like this next year, some people will think victory is in the bag and it's safe to waste their vote on a third candidate (there should be fewer such cases than in 2016, but there will be some).  The hotheads may yet stampede Congress into an impeachment that would improve Trump's re-election chances and endanger a lot of House seats in purple districts.  We need a big enough turnout to offset all those possible negatives -- and still deliver a landslide.

Because we'll need a landslide.  A mere blue ripple won't be enough to win Senate races in places like Georgia and Kentucky -- and we'll need a margin of error in the Senate, because some of the necessary steps toward restoring full democracy, such as abolishing the filibuster and enlarging the Supreme Court to re-establish its integrity, will be perceived as "radical" and one or two of the more conservative Democrats may vote against them.

But the biggest reason we need a landslide concerns the aftermath.  If Trump is defeated, how do you think the Trumpanzees and the broader wingnutosphere are going to react?

Remember, they live in an alternate-reality bubble steeped in nonsense ranging from Trump's Twitter delusions to Pizzagate and QAnon.  They believe they're the majority, or at least the majority of "real Americans" -- that is, Americans excluding minorities, atheists, and the millions of imaginary non-citizen voters and dead voters who they still think made up Hillary's popular-vote margin.  I remember Trumpanzees in 2016 telling liberals things like "Trump isn't our last chance, he's your last chance" -- meaning he was their last effort to regain dominance by legal means, and if it didn't work (that is, if Trump didn't win), they would resort to violence.  Since then, the fever swamp has, if anything, gotten crazier.

If Trump loses, I do expect scattered violence here and there from enraged, heavily-armed wingnuts.  I also expect increased talk of secession, efforts to meddle with the Electoral College, and every other crackpot reaction you can think of (and some more you can't think of).  The only way to minimize this is for the margin of victory -- popular vote as well as Electoral -- to be as large as possible, to minimize the credibility of such fantasies.  The only way back to reality for the Trumpanzees is to grasp that they aren't a majority, but just one element in a pluralistic society.  The harder their noses get rubbed in that fact next November, the more of them will start to achieve that realization, and the less damage they'll do.

So yes, your vote matters, even if you live in a state like California or Alabama whose alignment in the Electoral College is not in doubt.  The popular-vote margin must be large enough to place our candidate's win beyond reasonable question.  This will reduce the amount of trouble, and possibly violent deaths, the Trumpanzees will inflict.


Progressives need to reconcile themselves, as far in advance as possible, to the fact that the nominee will probably be Biden (or another moderate, if he falters).  After months, he still has a massive lead in the polling, which is the only hard data we have on the state of the race.  And no, it isn't just name recognition -- it's his association with Obama and the fact that he focuses his rhetorical fire on Trump rather than on other Democrats -- and he has about as many enthusiastic supporters as the other top candidates do.  Remember, there are more moderates than progressives in the party (blacks and older voters tend to be moderates), even if they aren't as heavily represented in the blogosphere and social media.  Claims that a moderate would be doomed to lose against Trump are absurd in the face of months of polls that show Biden beating Trump by a bigger margin than any other Democrat.  Progressives need to be prepared to work for, and vote for, Biden or someone like him -- because the alternative will be Trump.

Moderates need to be recognize that Biden, or another moderate nominee, is not inevitable.  It's still 14 months to the election and a lot can happen in that time.  Biden's gaffes and other signs of age are becoming an increasing concern.  Warren and Sanders are both personally very popular; if one were to leave the race and progressives consolidated behind the other, that surviving candidate would have a serious shot at the nomination.  Some moderates think a progressive nominee would be too radical to win and would be denounced as a "socialist" by Republicans -- but the data we have show Sanders or Warren beating Trump by double-digit margins, and the Republicans will yell "socialist" and all kinds of other wild nonsense no matter who our candidate is.  Moderates need to be prepared to work for, and vote for, Warren or Sanders or someone like them -- because the alternative will be Trump.

We can't risk that.  Trump is now threatening to cut Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit explosion caused by his tax cut for billionaires.  Four more years of Trump means four more years of environmental destruction, wingnut judicial appointments, mutually destructive trade wars, horrific abuses in the border migrant camps, discouragement of science, fomenting of bigotry, a cruel and impulsive ignoramus in control of 7,000 nuclear weapons, the world's largest economy AWOL from the global-warming fight, estrangement from fellow democracies and cozying up to gangster regimes, sabotage of democratic institutions in our own country, and all kinds of other terrifying crackpottery we can't even think of yet.  The worst Democrat, whichever one you think that is, would be a hundred times better than Trump.

If Biden is the nominee, I’ll vote for Biden.
If Sanders is the nominee, I’ll vote for Sanders.
If Warren is the nominee, I’ll vote for Warren.
If Harris is the nominee, I’ll vote for Harris.
If Buttigieg is the nominee, I’ll vote for Buttigieg.

And so on.  Delaney or Williamson would take some real nose-holding, but I’d still do it.  And the same should go for all our Senate and House candidates.  The Republican party as it is today is the biggest threat to the country since the Civil War.  Nothing short of overwhelming victory over it will be good enough.


Blogger Adam said...

Trump's only chance if the right wing trolls demonize the nominee like they did Hillary. Russia is hard at work.

29 August, 2019 09:55  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

A fantastic essay, Infidel--filled with some harsh truths. Hopefully, the trends that we saw in 2017 and 2018 will bode well for Democratic victories across all areas--but we must not take things for granted. Already I'm seeing the "I'm voting third party because the DNC is more evil than the GOP!!" takes, but those are quickly shouted down.

And yes, there is still a long way to go. Looking back, one can find that at this stage during their primaries, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were not even considered strong--and yet they became the nominees. Of course, it also depends on the ground game and appealing to women and POC voters.

29 August, 2019 11:04  
Blogger bluzdude said...

Another possibility when handicapping the race after nominations... I'm hoping for some top-end consolidation, like a Biden-Warren ticket. Or whoever the top two finishers are, if they can come to an agreement with each other.

Like you said, we all have to come together to support the nominee, and that includes the enthusiastic participation of those who don't win the nomination. We need all hands on deck!

29 August, 2019 11:24  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

Agree completely. A really good summary of the stakes and the duty we have as Americans to end this horror show. I also think we have to entertain the real possibility that Trump won't leave quietly or voluntarily, given what he might be facing as a private citizen, much less considering that his massive narcissism wouldn't allow him to believe he lost fairly. He's already yapping about "voter fraud" being a potential problem in 2020. So, it could, and quite probably will, get very ugly after November 3, 2020.

(And, as always, thanks for the link!)

29 August, 2019 15:41  
Blogger Victor said...


tRUMP wi!l not 'go quietly into that good night.'

If he loses, he'll claim everything we can think of as an excuse - and more!
He'll claim things like:
The "Deep State" got him.
The pro-trade "traitors" who complain about tarrifs did him in!
The Libtards (THAT, should go without saying!) werd behind it all!

If he loses, he may end-up in an Ameerican jail (PLEASE, FSM!!!!!)!
He might even face charges as an International criminal for his separating families, and opening-up concentration camps (DITTO!!!!!).!

He's a rat in a corner of his own making.
And you know what they say about corned rats, don't you?

tRUMP will tell his MAGAts to attack his enemies!
To save him, their "Chosen One!"

We may go from having an escalating "Cold Civil War," to an actual "hot" one:
Civil War II(?).

We ain't seen nothin' yet!

And the above are the BETTER options, because go avoid having to explain how he lost, and to save his ego any embarrassment, he may start WWIII!


29 August, 2019 20:22  
Blogger jenny_o said...

Well analyzed and written. The stakes are high, and outside the USA there are many of us holding our breaths and backing you up with moral support, hoping that decency and wisdom prevail.

31 August, 2019 10:43  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Let's hope that it goes the way we want and Trump is out of there.

31 August, 2019 11:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Adam: I'm seeing a lot of efforts on the blogs to warn people about machinations to divide us. I pass them along as much as I can via the link round-ups.

Marc: Thanks! I think the both-siderist fools are going to be a lot fewer in numbers this time, but they'll still try to make as much noise as possible -- and the Russian/Republican trolls will be amplifying the same bullshit.

Bluzdude: I'd love to see a Biden-Warren ticket. That would probably be the best option for unifying the moderates and progressives. When Gillibrand dropped out, she emphasized that she'd support the eventual nominee. They all need to do that.

Hackwhacker: Certainly there's no limit to Trump's assholitude. I wouldn't put it past him to deliberately whip up violent Trumpanzees after losing. But anything that might happen after he loses would be better than him winning.

Victor: Thanks! I could see him resorting to all kinds of excuses. It's mostly the farmers who are complaining about the tariff wars, though, so if he turns on them, maybe it will help wake them up.

Not sure how Trump would start World War III, though -- bomb Russia? But Putin is still his main ally.

Jenny: And we appreciate it. I know all this stuff that's going on here is very disturbing to other countries, especially our immediate neighbors.

Mary: I'm counting the days.....

31 August, 2019 12:03  
Blogger CD said...

perhaps one difference between 2016 and 2020 is the knowledge that russia is backing tRUmp and repubes, and is using unconventional means and pass through entities to influence the election results, this was all just rumor and innuendo in 2016, and is now common knowledge

that said, when the WTF controversies arise this time around, they can now be attributed to russian trolls, truthfully or not, and this will serve as a constant reminder of russian preference for repubes and tRUmp

"hey, did you see what the russians tried to pin on Biden this time? Boy the russians really must want tRUmp to stay in the Oval Office, must be making a killing off of him"

"russians must really like tRUmp in the WH, or else why would they risk so many sanctions to keep their puppet there?"

01 September, 2019 09:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

CD: Very good point. I'm certainly very alert these days for posts or comments that foment division among Democrats, discourage voting, or try to legitimize third parties. Whether they're planted by Russian/Republican trolls or not, they serve the same agenda.

01 September, 2019 14:51  
Blogger nancysjet said...

Hillary was projected to win by 90%

04 September, 2019 06:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nancy: Please. No poll ever projected she would win by such a huge margin. The consensus of polls right before the election had her winning by about 2%, which accurately forecast the result of the popular vote. We should certainly not get complacent because the polls show us ahead, but there's no value in wildly inaccurate information.

04 September, 2019 09:30  

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