Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Bad And the Good Heading Into the 2020 Elections (w/Update)

(Update: many thanks again to Batocchio for linking this site to Crooks and Liars' Mike's Blog Roundup! Please stay and enjoy the dip! (checks fridge) Wait, the dip isn't ready y... NO DON'T GO! Um, uh, maybe if I plugged in my Xbox and share my violent video games...? No? Dammit, where's the pizza I ordered...)

As the primaries heat up and as trump debases our nation further, I am dismayed and heartened by certain thoughts:

trump remains a remarkably unpopular President Loser of the Popular Vote. Ed Kilgore at New York magazine pointed out:

Civiqs shows the president’s net approval ratios being underwater (i.e., negative) in 10 states he carried in 2016: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. ...And it’s not as though he’s on a knife’s edge between victory and defeat in all these Trump 2016 states where he’s doing poorly: He’s underwater by 12 points in Pennsylvania, 11 in Michigan, and nine in Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. (Note: the narrow wins in PA, MI, and WI are where the experts think trump pulled off the Electoral upset) And there’s virtually no indication that states that narrowly went for Clinton in 2016 are trending in Trump’s direction: His approval ratios are minus 18 in Colorado, minus 15 in Minnesota, minus 12 in Nevada, and minus 27 in New Hampshire. These are, by the way, polls of registered voters, not just “adults,” so they should be a relatively sound reflection of the views of the electorate...

That seems like good news, but then the cynic in me remembers that polling, for all the numbers behind it, is still an inexact science. A lot of factors still determine who wins in November, and Kilgore considers most of them:

If you credit these polls at all, Trump’s reelection will require (1) a big late improvement in his approval ratings, which is possible but unlikely based on long-standing patterns during his polarizing presidency; (2) a campaign that succeeds in making the election turn on theoretical fears about his opponent rather than actual fears about a second Trump term, which won’t be easy either; (3) a big Republican turnout advantage, which is less likely among the larger presidential electorate than it was in 2018; or (4) some diabolical ability to thread the needle despite every contrary indicator, which superstitious Democrats fear for obvious reasons.

What Kilgore is referring to in 4) is the likely interference of Russian meddling, especially considering how Mitch McConnell is refusing to lift a finger to pass election security measures. And don't forget the Republicans' own efforts to suppress voters they know won't vote GOP.

But if the voter turnout still achieves maximum efforts...

The hope is that the best way to counter Republicans' efforts to cheat with the elections is to overwhelm their ability to fudge the numbers. They can cheat, but only to a point. If the polling (which Republicans can't entirely control) is saying their boy trump is ten percent under the Democratic candidate, and the margin of error in the polling is about four percent... if trump ends up winning that state by one percent - when he should have been losing by six at best - well outside of that margin, the stink of it will be impossible to hide. So if the Republicans want to cheat they have to do it in small pieces, to better hide the evidence of it. If only 100,000 voters show up which is often just the extremists, they could well hide their efforts and eke out a win... But if 1,000,000 show up and most of them know damn well who they're all voting for, it gets harder to pull that off...

I still think of the likelihood of voter turnout mimicking the numbers of 2018, when the midterms exceeded the norms and we saw about an eight percent jump in turnout. If there's a similar jump - with similar percentages of Democratic-over-Republican voting - there's a good chance the Electoral College will flip away from trump. Both Kilgore and Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly referred to a Tweeted projected map using the 270towin app which showed this:

From pundit Matt Rogers 

To LeTourneau, these numbers show a trend that highlights trump's overall unpopularity:

I can’t think of an example in my lifetime where a sitting president went into re-election in worse shape than Donald Trump... Trump isn’t merely an overgrown toddler, he’s also terribly unpopular with most Americans. As we’ve seen, he’s bleeding support all over the country, including among lifelong Republicans in Texas. It is also important to keep in mind that it isn’t just that so many Americans disapprove of Trump. As Jeet Heer suggested, “what is more striking is the measure of intensity, which shows that those who dislike Trump do so with a passion.” Doing as Roberts suggests would send a “we hear you” message to all of those people who find Trump’s behavior deplorable...

There's a reason why Rogers tweets a map that shows even Texas, Georgia and UTAH flipping away from trump. The Great Orange Shitgibbon has done nothing to appeal to the moderate voters who oppose his actions on immigration, tariffs, and tax cuts. This is a man who has YET to crack the 50 percent approval ratings on the majority of professional polling services out there (only the ones that lean hard Conservative had him getting over that hump). He's done nothing like the previous Presidents have done - even Dubya - to present himself as a bipartisan incumbent who deserves a second term. He's got more people angry at him during the first term than I ever saw under Carter (who suffered from poor decisions and middling leadership) or Bush the Elder (who suffered re-election during a recession and on the cusp of a Far Right Culture War he couldn't lead).

And yet... and yet... I still have intense anxiety about the sonofabitch cheating just enough to steal a second term.

There's still a lot of time between now and November 2020 for things to get bad one way or another. For every sign of something that could hurt trump electorally - like the oncoming recession - there's always the reality that most of the voters who supported him in 2016 are likely to do so again. They're not driven by practical realities, or their own hardships - tariffs killing off businesses farms and jobs for example - under trump's reign. As Rude Pundit noted back in 2014, the Republican voting base are compelled to vote against the damn dirty hippies in spite of their own needs.

It's why I don't believe that tweeted map just yet. Why I fear Utah - filled with hard conservative Mormons - will NOT vote Democratic blue when the time comes. Why Texas and Georgia can be hopeful possibilities but GODDAMN do the Democrats need to get the VOTE OUT in those states.

And I'd love to think my home state of Florida will come back to their damn senses and vote like they did for Obama in 2008 and 2012... but I am residing in such a deep Red county that I can't help but despair...

These early polling and analyses are helping me cope. But GODDAMN, Americans, you NEED to show up to vote in 2020 and you NEED to vote Democratic across the board.

trump is already campaigning on a racist, hateful, bloody platform. How bad do you think it'll get before we even get to 2020 anyway?


dinthebeast said...

Georgia, Texas, and Utah seem kinda optimistic to me, at least this time around.
2032, after the yearly aged-in electorate has been majority-minority for a decade, perhaps, but I feel like we have to fight this particular battle on the same terms as the last one, only with the dire circumstances we currently inhabit to motivate us.

Remember, 2016 was at the end of eight years of calm, competent leadership that once you got past the historic nature of it, was pretty much boring.
Which is as it should be.
Nobody needs to have to worry what the goddamn president is going to threaten or embarrass them with every damn day.
It gets Fergus the attention he craves, but it's no way to run a country.

Also, we won a few governorships in 2018, so the cheating will be harder to do, and Michigan is pretty much a must-win if Fergus is to squeak out another electoral college victory. I don't see him picking up any new states, and his hold on the ones he took last time have come down to racism and partisan spite, which we have to fight against always and every time.

So perhaps the anxiety we are all feeling will fuel our attention spans through 2020, and perhaps we will nominate a candidate who will find room in their schedule to campaign in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin...

-Doug in Oakland

Unknown said...

Bitecofer's election model from the 2018 election seems a more likely result, she predicts 278-197 with 4 states too close to call: AZ, FL, IA, and NC.

Her model shows the extreme partisanship associated with Trump triggers turnout in both parties. But Dems are more disgusted and motivated.

Jim in Charlotte