04 November 2020

Worse than it should be, not as bad as you think

First off, obviously it's disappointing that the election didn't yield the fast and clear-cut result we hoped for.  The failure to unambiguously repudiate the most corrupt, malignant, and incompetent president in US history tells us some disturbing things about the country -- the Trumpanzees and people willing to tolerate Trump's attacks on democracy for the sake of policies they prefer, while still a minority, are a larger minority than we thought.  The polls in many cases appear to have been further off the mark than in 2016, despite pollsters' claims that they had fixed the problems that led to their errors that year.  We'd be fools ever to trust them again for future elections.

That being said, the odds are still good that Biden wins eventually, assuming vote-counting proceeds as normal.  He's well ahead in Arizona and has moved into a narrow lead in Wisconsin.  The number of ballots left to count in Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and (to a lesser extent) Pennsylvania and Georgia, and the preponderance of early votes among them, give him a better than even chance of winning some or all of those states.  Maine and North Carolina look like they could go either way.  His odds of winning the Electoral College are still better than Trump's.  He's also ahead in the popular vote among votes counted, 69.1 million to 66.8 million (and no, despite some reports, there are not 300,000 ballots sitting in limbo in the postal system).  Who gets the Senate majority is impossible to predict at this point, and may end up depending on run-offs in Georgia later in the year.

Trump has already declared his intent to get the vote-counting stopped in the states where it is still going on.  Under normal conditions, such a request would be laughed out of court.  This is not like the Florida situation in 2000, where the Supreme Court stopped recounts in a state that was effectively a 50-50 tie.  This would mean refusing to count valid ballots cast on time, which simply hadn't been counted yet because officials hadn't gotten around to them yet.

The question, then, is whether Trump has sufficiently corrupted the courts that he can get one to issue an injunction to stop further counting when there is clearly no legal basis for doing so -- and whether the Supreme Court itself would back this up when Democrats appealed it there.  If that were to happen, the further question is whether the states which are still counting ballots would obey such an obviously baseless ruling.  If they did, it is possible that Trump could steal the election.

But that would be unambiguously stealing the election, by refusing to count votes legally cast, a very different matter from the Republicans' usual use of gimmicks to prevent votes from being cast in the first place.  It would be an explicit abandonment of democracy.  If it were to happen, there would be a real question as to whether the blue states and cities, the powerhouses of the economy, would feel obligated to recognize a flagrantly-illegitimate regime.  Even some institutions of the federal government might refuse to recognize Trump as legally president.  I think the Supreme Court, even given its current make-up, is unlikely to put its imprimatur on a such crude coup d'├ętat with such massive potential repercussions, based on nothing more than Trump's say-so.

So Biden will probably win the presidency in the end.  Of course, if we don't get the Senate majority, the Democrats' ability to carry out necessary reforms and repair the damage Trump has done will be limited.  We will have another chance in 2022, when Republicans will be defending more vulnerable Senate seats than Democrats will, but two more years of Moscow Mitch retaining his power to obstruct will do undeniable damage.

There were a few positives downballot on cultural issues -- Oregon and DC legalized psilocybin mushrooms, and Oregon also decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard street drugs.  New Jersey and Arizona passed marijuana legalization measures.

If Trump loses, I'm not all that worried about violence from armed Trumpanzees.  Yes, there will be isolated cases of mayhem and murder, similar to what we've already seen over the last few months, but not anything on a large enough scale to have a political impact.  They're too inept and disorganized.  (The same applies to violence from left-wing fringe elements if Trump wins.)

In short, it will take several more days to learn definitively who has won the presidency, and perhaps longer to be sure who has the Senate majority.  But we've known all along that that was a real possibility.  What we've seen so far is grounds for disappointment, but not for losing hope.


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I read you and my state of mind is a little bit better. I've been in a state since yesterday. Ugh. Can't wait until Cheeto is gone. He's stacked the courts but maybe the people will redeem this wait.


04 November, 2020 08:02  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Good post, thanks!

04 November, 2020 08:36  
Blogger Mike said...

I hope there is no path through the court system where all the judges are his appointments.

04 November, 2020 11:16  
Blogger Martha said...

Thanks for this great post. Holding our breath here in Canada...

04 November, 2020 13:57  
Blogger Kay said...

Wow! This is such an awesome, perfectly written post. Thank you very much!

04 November, 2020 18:48  
Anonymous Wendell Corey said...

Its so absurd and pathetic, imagine if Trump and Biden received EXACTLY the same number of votes and it literally came down to one last postal vote that hadn`t been counted, that persons vote would then (completely at random) decide the entire fate of America and the American people for the next 4 years ! ! !, like i said, absolutely ludicrous.

05 November, 2020 00:33  
Blogger Lady M said...

My shining spot in this is that Hink gave Gardner the boot for Colorado's senate seat. Bye bye Cory - it wasn't nice knowing you. I heard on NPR that states like Pennsylvania are so behind because they would not even let ballots be processed before election day i.e. wouldn't even let the envelopes be opened or prepared in any way for counting. That was the GOP state legislatures doing, that so of course we are going to wait for results. Colorado also gave the late term abortion the boot by a healthy margin.

05 November, 2020 07:40  
Anonymous NickM said...

Excellent as usual. I think I know more than most Brits how you guys work it but does Trump have any legal case here in the very technical sense? Clearly he has zilch in terms of the morals or indeed the spirit of the law... But can he techically swing it?

I mean he has the bases loaded at the The Supreme Court... But as you say would they violate the constitution? Because from where I'm sitting the only way Trump could stay on is to turn the USA into Peron's Argentina.

Part of me would quite like to see him try and Seal Team 6 (who he dissed, didn't he?) drag the fucker out by that thing he calls hair.

Is he the worst Prez? A good question. If he isn't I am embuggerated as to was worse.

My fave is Harry S Truman. Been to his house on Key West. He was quite the character.

05 November, 2020 07:42  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

I don't know if I should cry or get drunk..........
or both...

05 November, 2020 09:22  
Blogger Lady M said...

Oh sorry meant to say the late term abortion BAN.

05 November, 2020 10:36  
Blogger Tundra Bunny said...

Thanks for the insightfulness and analysis in your post today. I appreciate all the info since I've never fully understood the U.S. electoral system!

Our parliamentary system is simpler in many ways. The federal election winner is always called on election night (a tremendous accomplishment, given Canada's size!). There are sometimes a handful of ridings too close to call and vote counting goes on through the night, but this never affects the outcome. First-past-the-post has its benefits, but proportional representation is gaining support here. Some of the urban ridings in my home Province of Saskatchewan were gerrymandered a few years ago by Conservatives and although 35% of the popular vote supported New Democrats, all 13 MPs were always conservative! Luckily, the ridings were overhauled and now we elect one or two non-Conservative MPs.

All things pass, even kidney stones, so keep your chin up for a Biden win!

05 November, 2020 12:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence. Glad to be of help. Things are definitely looking better than Tuesday night.

Debra: Thanks!

Mike: Most legal experts think his lawsuits are hopeless. There are limits, even for most Trump-appointed judges.

Martha: Thanks. It must be frustrating being affected by all this but not even being able to vote on it.

Kay: Thanks, I do try.

Wendell: Fortunately that's not very likely. Now if it came down to a tie of Electoral votes, we'd have a real mess.

Lady M: I was glad to see the results from Colorado. Blue states keep making progress.

NickM: Thanks. The legal efforts Trump is making are utterly without merit. The only way they'll get him anywhere is if he gets a judge who's willing ignore the law completely and just do what he wants. There may be some judges like that, but not many. And yes, turning us into a caudillo-state is exactly the logical end-point of what he's been trying to do.

JackieSue: Either would be quite understandable at this point.

Bunny: I'm not sure anybody fully understands the US electoral system. It's quite a baroque 18th-century antique. I assume that in your system, at least the candidate who gets the most votes wins. It's absurd how often the opposite happens here.

05 November, 2020 16:01  

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