October 18, 2020

We’re a little more than two weeks out from the presidential election and there is some weird you-know-what going on. Anyone who knows exactly what’s going to happen on November 3 is kidding themselves. For one thing, sixteen days in an election cycle is a lifetime in politics, even more so this year because voting has already started both in person and by mail in many states. So what you’ve basically got are the “official” polls on one side and on the other side folks attempting to project the final vote tallies by the number of mail-in ballots already received based upon party registration.

The problem with the polling is, as Richard Baris and others will tell you, is that nothing appears to have changed since 2016. The mainstream media’s pollster darling is Nate Silver. He didn’t get anything near right in either 2016 or the 2018 midterms, but still the media flocks to him like pigeons to a statue not yet hauled down by the likes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Now, Baris and others will give you all kinds of reasons why Silver’s methodology sucks, but they’re not in the mainstream media, so their voices are like the psalmist crying out in the wilderness.

As for those attempting to interpret the results of the voting already going on, The Great White Shank has been following the Twitter accounts of Larry Schweikart, Cotto/Gottfried, and M. Joseph Sheppard, among others. I like these guys because, while most certainly supporters of President Trump and the conservative cause, they’re not afraid to link to similar election watchers on the Democratic / liberal side of the aisle. I’ve also got my GOP insider guy who has been kind enough to drop me a text every once in a while when he thinks there’s information worth sharing.

So what do the tea leaves tell me at this point? First, let’s discuss two possible outcomes available to us at this point:

1. A “blue wave” fueled by a combination of Trump hatred and semi-enthusiastic support for “Slo’ Joe Biden. Certainly, the same pollsters who projected a Hillary win in 2016 are saying something similar for 2020. The Biden campaign is flush with cash from Wall Street, the unions, Hollywood, and Big Tech, and the early vote-by-mail numbers appear to heavily skewed in favor Democrats. These are all fairly persuasive, but I look at the Biden campaign and I see far more evidence to the contrary: it has started telling voters not to trust the pollsters, that the race is far closer than it appears. Just two weeks ago, the Biden campaign, which up to that point had been emphasizing social media out of COVID-19 concerns, started opening GOTV offices in several “battleground” states. And then there was Friday’s announcement that Barack Obama was going to hit the campaign trail on his behalf in places like Philadelphia and Detroit; that tells me that there are concerns about black voter enthusiasm, crucial to a Biden win.

And then there’s the issue about the Biden rallies. Even given COVID-19 concerns, his rallies generate little in the way of interest and enthusiasm, both online and in-person. The evidence is out there there for everyone to see, and it’s non-existent. Especially interesting to me is the lack of down-ballot candidate presence at Biden’s rallies. Politicians know the importance of aligning themselves with winners: were Biden so popular you’d think he’d have candidates running in close races beside him to gin-up interest. Larry Schweikart wonders if the Democrats’ campaign of COVID-19 fear-mongering will have a dampening effect on voter enthusiasm, most especially on the youth vote with so many colleges being remote this year. Sure, the rabid Trump haters will come out in droves – and perhaps that’s what the Biden campaign is counting on – but in an election that will come down once again to the Electoral College and not the popular vote, I’m not sure that’s a winning strategy.

2. A “red wave” fueled by Trump enthusiasm and a hidden Trump vote amongst Democrats and independents not being picked up by the pollsters. Anecdotally, judging by the Trump campaign’s “peaceful protest” rallies and the crazy number of Trump “flash mob” car and boat rallies taking place every weekend across the country, one has to wonder if once again the pollsters are missing something akin (or even greater) to what happened in 2016. Certainly, the enthusiasm of Trump voters is off the charts, and his rallies are heavily attended both in-person and online (for example, the Carson City, NV rally tonight already has nearly 900K online viewers). And if you watch any of the Trump rallies you know there are any number of down-ballot candidates more than willing to share the locale with him. Another difference between 2020 and 2016 is that the Trump campaign appears to have chosen to emphasize its GOTV effort over traditional media buys. How this will play out on November 3 is anyone’s guess, but I can tell y’all this: if the Trump ground game in other “battleground” states is anywhere near like it appears to be here in Arizona, his campaign is going to get people to the polls.

Conventional wisdom, of course, is that this is going to be another close election, one determined by whose campaign is able to get their base out the most. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think anyone knows what is going to happen this year. Between the COVID-19 lockdowns and the increased vote by mail, any models and projections based upon returned ballots and voter registration will be purely speculative.

My tried-and-true approach is to infer where the race stands by watching what the campaigns are doing. And it is here I have to admit I have no clue what the Biden campaign is doing. I don’t understand Biden’s decision to stay off the campaign trail for the next four days so he can do “debate preparation”. I don’t buy it – why would a Washington swamp creature with nearly a half-century of political experience require any more debate preparation time than he’s already had? And I don’t think he’s doing it duck the New York Post‘s Hunter Biden corruption allegations; surely he knows Trump is going to make them an issue at Thursday night’s debate. Unless Biden has no plans to debate Trump on Thursday night, but I honestly can’t see him ducking that. So I don’t know what the hell is going on – maybe thebradfordfile is right: he’s giving up. But if he feels he doesn’t need to campaign because he’s confident of a win, well that doesn’t jive with his campaign’s other recent actions mentioned above. You know Trump will be everywhere doing multiple rallies between now and Election Day, so his strategy is obviously to keep the enthusiasm meter running on the red, nail down his base, and attempt to extend that enthusiasm (and therefore expand the electoral battlefield) with independents and whatever undecideds there might still be.

Of course, given that this is 2020 I still think there’s something going on out there that I’m missing. There are just too many variables. What impact will any additional Biden family corruption allegations have on independents and undecideds? It’s a given that Biden will announce his intention to pack the Supreme Court if elected as soon as Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination is approved. What impact will that have with independents who haven’t yet voted? Are there other “October surprises” out there? And if so, will they make any difference at this point? If the Thursday night debate actually occurs, what – if any – impact will it have? What will be the impact of the Democrats front-loading their vote with vote-by-mail? Does it only serve to cannibalize their typical Election Day voting numbers? So the Biden campaign’s body language and general strategy seems strange to me.

I just think at this point we haven’t seen the end of 2020’s surprises. Which is why I’m having a hard time getting answers from the tea leaves. Plenty of questions, tho…

———-

[UPDATE} ….and here you have two different sources for the same thing – early indications that what the Schweikart link about is talking about. From Democratic mouthpieces like Politico and theThe New York Times, no less. Possible indications that the Dems know they are in trouble? Perhaps thebradfordfile is right?

Biden/Harris rally in Minnesota.
Harris rally in Orlando.
Yep, the enthusiasm is palpable! Hence today’s headlines above.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:01 | Comments (0)
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