It’s a Nail Biter

A couple of days ago, I wondered whether the 2020 election was going to be a landslide for Joe Biden or a nail biter with a very tight vote between Biden and Trump.

A nail biter. That’s was it was. And still is.

At this moment, there is a 20,000 vote different between Biden and Trump in Georgia. 20,000 votes. That’s pocket change votes in this country! That’s a rounding error!

Two days after the election, we still don’t know for sure who is the winner in several key states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada. Some think that Biden will get the slimmest-of-slim win in the electoral college – 270 votes.

Here’s what I am finding interesting and what is worrying me:

It’s not hard for me to understand why states like New Jersey traditionally go blue and why states like North Dakota traditionally go red. Each state has its own political cultures, economic bases, urban/rural make-ups. And Trump won easily in ND, and Biden in NJ.

I am finding fascinating the intra-state politics in this election. Within individual states, the vote is extremely 50/50. That tells me that that state-level variables don’t matter. Other variables are taking precedence.

Which gets back to the big question — why did 68 million people vote for Trump and why did 72 million people vote for Biden? Did economic interests take precedence with high income individuals voting for Trump for low taxes and small business voting for Trump because they feared more shutdowns? Or were people voting against the progressive wing of the Democratic Party? I think it is super important that we get some answers to that question in the next month.

Random thought: The mail-in votes did not all go for Biden.

Biden is going to win barring some last minute news. But he’s going to have a devil of a time getting things. He cannot say that he has a mandate. Trump is going to be a loudmouth in the wings, undermining him at every turn for four years setting the state for Don Jr. to run for office 2024. His shadow government is going to be way worse than the past four years, because he’ll have no checks, no professional bureaucrats keeping him in. He’ll have zero shits to give and that is very scary.

We have to talk about the Latino vote. A couple of weeks ago, my cousin Jeff told him that his brother, who lives in Florida, his wife, and her parents are major Trump voters, showing up to his rallies and putting big flags on their front lawn. In some ways this isn’t surprising, my Florida cousin has done really well in the oil industry; they live in a big house in a gated community in West Palm Beach. But they are also People of Color. He’s half Italian/half Indian. She is Puerto Rican, with very similar history as AOC – Bronx born, Westchester, NY raised. They don’t identify as POC.

I’ve got more, but we have some family business going on here this morning. Will be back later this afternoon.

67 thoughts on “It’s a Nail Biter

  1. For most of the people in my family, it’s socialism, cancel culture, urban looting, and the constant accusations of racism that turn us off Democrats.


    1. Not that I’m either Democrat or Republican, but certainly accusations of racism pretty much guarantee that the speaker isn’t going to convince me, and in fact, has increased the distance between our viewpoints.

      The ‘woke’ culture really only appeals to themselves – I sometimes feel as though they are all lost in a twitter rabbit hole, reinforcing their weird, trendy, lefty, more woke than thou, support group.


  2. This nail-biting brought to you in part by the Republicans in Pennsylvania. If preparation of mail-in ballots had started earlier, we could have had results on election day or at least a lot earlier than now.

    Which part of socialism? Do we just need to stop using the word “socialism” for social programs that elsewhere are called by that name?


    1. If you want UMC voters like my immediate family, then dropping “socialism” for “stronger safety net” would probably work. I haven’t noticed any disposition among the Democratic members of the chattering classes to make that change, but I guess it could happen. If you want the white working class, it’s much harder: they are very concerned that benefits go only to the deserving, and never never never to those who won’t work, which flatly contradicts contemporary liberal sensitivities.


      1. “If you want the white working class, it’s much harder: they are very concerned that benefits go only to the deserving, and never never never to those who won’t work” This is an interesting insight I got from the Vox article on Kentucky and the health care plan. Those who were just above the Medicare cut off were very very resentful of those who were eligible for the Medicare expansion (which Kentucky enacted). And that was the case even if they were getting subsidized coverage, because the Medicare doesn’t have the deductibles.

        I saw their point — having health coverage with a $5000 deductible, even if you pay little for it (because of the subsidy) might feel like having no health coverage at all, since you can’t afford the $5000. They didn’t feel they could, for example, go in to have a knee looked at, because that would cost them $100 (or more).

        Now, my answer is that I think a fair number of people want a “service plan” for medical needs and not “insurance”. And I would offer everyone Medicare (or something like it, hopefully with improved access). But that solution bumps up against the the desire for freedom to make one’s own choice, which the same population is very devoted to.


    2. af184793 said, “Which part of socialism? Do we just need to stop using the word “socialism” for social programs that elsewhere are called by that name?”

      Apologies if somebody has already said this, but there was a heated Democratic caucus call where Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) made a lot of these points.

      Erica Werner of the WaPo tweeted:

      “Spanberger on the Dem caucus call: We lost races we shouldn’t have lost.
      Defund police almost cost me my race bc of an attack ad.
      Don’t say socialism ever again.
      Need to get back to basics.
      (Is yelling.)”

      Spanberger won with only 50.5% of the vote and less than a 5k vote margin, so I can see why she feels that way.


  3. I can’t speak for Y81’s family but I know that among my second generation Russian friends, the very word strikes fear in the heart of their parents’ generation. One threatened to move to Canada if Biden won! Apparently the fact that Canada is far more socialist than the US will likely ever be as lost on them.

    I loathe cancel culture and the constant accusations of racism as well – but I see them as an annoyance I will put up with in exchange for the youthful progressive energy that comes with it. Fox news exaggerates and sells it as a monolithic agreement among all Democrats that will be the end of the republic. I don’t know how to change that.


    1. I don’t think there are actually very many socialists in the Democratic party, though there are some, and that one who calls himself that way running as the Democratic candidate and gathering so much energy hurts to Democrats. I am happy to call what I want a “stronger safety net” because it is what I actually want. I don’t think the rebranding would fix the problem because we would still disagree on the meaning of the strong safety net and how it would be implemented,. For example, I do believe (because of empirical rests) that wasting too much money on detecting “deservingness” wastes money and undermines the effectiveness of programs (Say, BC’s attempt to mitigate homelessness with cash payments, as an example, which improved lives and cost less money than the alternative housing programs).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve become convinced that the US needs a socialist/left-wing party to show them what socialism and left-wing politics really looks like.

    I heard a person calling into a radio show say that he was scared Biden would die and the left wing *Kamala Harris* would be President! Do people just confuse all prominent women politicians of colour with each other?? It’s so weird to call the Democrats in the US in their current incarnation ‘socialist.’

    I suspect it’s the medical/insurance lobby that has confused Americans over the long term, since as far as I can tell really the only plank in the Democratic platform that is actually leaning mildly socialist is medical coverage.


  5. At this moment, there is a 20,000 vote different between Biden and Trump in Georgia. 20,000 votes. That’s pocket change votes in this country! That’s a rounding error!

    Remember 2016? Four years of Donald Fucking Trump have been inflicted on us because of smaller rounding errors.

    He cannot say that he has a mandate.

    Stuff and nonsense. He’s on track to have a bigger popular vote margin than Bush the lesser had in 2004, when he most famously claimed a mandate. He could well have more electoral votes, too.


  6. Apologies for not being caught up with the thread, but I have a lot of thoughts on Trump’s gains with Hispanic voters.

    I’ve been pretty disgusted with a lot of the left’s response to the phenomenon since Election Day, which has been to immediately jump to the conclusion that Hispanics are bad/racist/white-adjacent/want to be white and that that entirely explains the phenomenon. Nikole Hannah-Jones has been a major offender and Charlie Blow has also made a notable contribution.

    Democrats have done the following to Hispanics:

    –Planned to use their growing numbers to pave the way to permanent electoral dominance.
    –Listened too much to a bunch of internet weirdos (example: Latinx).
    –Kept Hispanics at the “kid table” in terms of policy and influence.

    Oh, yes, and it’s not just Cubans and not just Venezuelans. Trump apparently gained in all demographics except white men, where he lost a couple of points. You can read the gory details in Charlie Blow’s piece, which has a nice collection of stats, but he unfortunately concludes by deciding that the explanation is that everybody who voted for Trump is racist/sexist/patriarchal/homophobic/etc, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

    I kid you not, the NYT gave the Blow piece the title “Exit Polls Point to the Power of White Patriarchy.”

    Too bad Bari Weiss doesn’t work there anymore!

    One last thing–the racism explanation is a bad one because (barring some external pressure) presumably racism is fairly constant. You can’t explain shifts in Hispanic or black voting patterns with Hispanic and black racism, because while racism could explain a baseline, it doesn’t explain CHANGES.You have to look at variables to explain changes in voting patterns. Some possibilities: assimilation, economic concerns, lack of enthusiasm over violent protests and the Democratic response to violence, irritation with “Black Lives Matters” as a slogan that suggests that their lives don’t, concerns about Joe Biden’s physical health and mental acuity, lack of enthusiasm for Biden’s political program, lack of enthusiasm for Democratic abortion policy, specific Cuban and Venezuelan concerns, issues specific to small businessmen and tradespeople, lack of enthusiasm for uncontrolled immigration, being ignored until it’s election time, bad memories from the old country involving breakdowns in public order and/or government confiscation, Trump not being in practice quite the racist devil everybody expected.

    But yeah, sure, blame racism.


    1. Back in the day, I taught a couple of ESL classes with Latin American students in suburban MD.

      We once did a textbook chapter on crime, and the Latin American young adults had crazy stories of their personal experiences with crime. A young Mexican woman had once had to lock herself in her apartment bathroom while a guy burgled her apartment and had had a couple of other harrowing experiences in Mexico (an armed robbery of bus passengers and another scary story that I can’t recall the details of, but I believe it involved her and her brother having guns pointed at them by underworld types). The El Salvadoran kid had once been on a class trip where the bus of teenage school kids had been stopped by bandits and forced out of the bus. The kids were saved in the nick of time by the approach of another vehicle, but the El Salvadoran kid said that the bandits had presumably been planning to rob them and rape the girls. You know, as is normal under such circumstances.

      Anyway, a lot of Latin Americans have personal experiences that would make “defund the police” and “abolish the police” pretty triggering, especially when accompanied by public violence. A lot of Latin Americans are used to living in much more violent societies than the US–which was often a big reason for them to leave.

      See also the survey results that said that the vast majority of black Americans want either the same or more policing.


      1. “A young Mexican woman had once had to lock herself in her apartment bathroom while a guy burgled her apartment and had had a couple of other harrowing experiences in Mexico (an armed robbery of bus passengers and another scary story that I can’t recall the details of, but I believe it involved her and her brother having guns pointed at them by underworld types).”
        That happens here too. At least, it happened to me as a child/teen in the 1970s.


      2. y81 said, “As I recall, the rising crime rate of the 1970s was a factor in the resurgence of the right in the 1980s.”



  7. Regarding the mandate. One of the biggest failures of Trump is that he took a victory that was in no way broad or representative of the American people and used it to govern with only those who voted for him in mind. I said before that I was resigned when Bush won in 2004 with the national vote as well as the electoral vote. That vote was disappointing but, but I understand that in a democracy, one shares power with people you disagree with and sometimes they win. It also showed that Bush had, while governing, convinced more people who disagreed with him to vote for him.

    Trump explicitly governed for the “Red States”: case and point, rejecting California’s request for emergency assistance after devastating wildfires. No wonder California gave him a -33% and runs up the vote total.


    1. Now mind you I think that the president should be the president of all Americans and that means talking to and considering the views of those who disagree with you. I also think that the Congressional race losses do signal that these conversations have to happen for success, even if I didn’t believe in the principle.


    2. Recognizing that I’m commenting out of my knowledge zone here.

      But my understanding is that California is a ‘Democrat’ state (so highly unlikely to go to Trump in any case) – and that Biden’s majority there isn’t a lot different to Hilary Clinton’s in 2016. Of course that may change – from the reporting I’m seeing only around 2/3 of the votes have been counted.

      That doesn’t look to me as though Californians ‘as a whole’ are outraged about the lack of support for their State – but rather they voted both tribally (Dems voting for a Dem) and a smallish chunk of swing voters shared their Dem neighbours disgust for Trump in general.

      It’s interesting to see that, even in a State with a massive swing to Democrat in the popular vote, there were still pockets of counties which went Republican.

      And, the argument that ‘governing needs to be for all Americans’, is right out of Trump’s playbook.
      It seems really clear that there are large (and in some cases, very large) swathes of the US which have felt profoundly disenfranchised by the governing policies of both Dems and Republicans (Trump is seen as an outsider – not part of the ‘machine’) – which have massively benefited States like California – those with super-large cities and their dormitory suburbs.
      [NB: I’m not saying they’re right, just that they feel that way]

      What I see in this election result (apart from the almost complete irrelevance of political polls and pollsters!) is a profound division in the US (and it’s just about 50/50) – which is growing and becoming more bitter and radicalized.

      I really hope that’s an illusion of distance, and reliance on reporting (only bad stories make good news) – and that, in the paraphrased words of your US Ambassador to NZ “people get wound up about politics, but then they sit back with a beer together and watch the game”


      1. California, like Washington State and Oregon is divided politically, with urban/coastal areas significantly more “blue” than the more rural/farming areas in the interior. The state wide races have been trending bluer as suburban areas become more Democratic, producing consistent statewide blue majorities. And, the congressional delegation is 85% blue (though only 85%, not 100%)


  8. “Within individual states, the vote is extremely 50/50.”

    I’m not sure what this means — does it mean that you are saying that in NJ, the Dem/Reps are equally represented? I’ve always wondered that about some the very liberal Eastern states. For example, with Vermont being an extreme example: +33 for Biden and +41 for their Republican governor. My kid doesn’t understand that at all and asks the question over and over again.

    In WA, we are +23 for Biden and +17 for our Democratic governor. The Republican governor’s candidate was a small town policeman/sheriff? who is a first amendment activist who has apparently just lost his job (because his town decided they didn’t want to fund it). Folks are joking that they “defunded the police” but I think they just didn’t want to spend money. My kiddo considers Culp a weirdo (he hasn’t conceded yet, for example). And, that’s most of the state of the Republican party in our state, because the non-Trumpy Republicans don’t win primaries. A few incumbents do and our the Secretary of State is a Republican. WA hasn’t had a Republican governor since 1985.


  9. I don’t understand the whole Biden is a socialist thing. Biden never said anything about social policies that were any more to left of a standard Democrat. Where did that whole thing come from?

    Actually, I wish Biden was more to the left on government providing social services. I would strongly support a stronger social safety net (housing, healthcare, education, welfare), because I know the disability community well. My kid may or may not need those services, but I want them to exist just in case.


    1. Biden comes across as very weak–dithering, doddering, and ineffectual. (One of my staunchest Democratic friends calls him, “Uncle Drifty.”) Meanwhile, many Democrats among the chattering classes have been proclaiming themselves socialists. Combine a weak leader with socialist followers and people get alarmed (though not the aforesaid friend, who is pretty much of a socialist).


      1. Which Democrats? There’s Sanders. There’s AOC. Is Omar? And if we mean chattering classes, Paul Krugman? Robert Reich specifically says he’s not, as does Elizabeth Warner.

        According to my twitter (Erica Werner’s tweet), Spanberger was yelling at people on the Dem Caucus call, complaining about defund the police, saying “don’t say socialism ever again”.

        So, clearly the discussion is happening in the Democratic party, to, as another com mentor said, to filter the ideas. Whether they happen in good faith is the question, because, as the commentor said, if the establishment isn’t listening and considering, the person with the “radical views’ can go directly to the public (and, their ideas don’t get vetted for the impact they have on everyone).


      2. So I thought Biden comes across as kind and collaborative, someone who would work with others to get things done. Say, someone who would actually listen to someone without interpreting, in the hopes that he might learn something.

        But, I can see why someone who prefers the other candidate might see those characteristics as weak and ineffectual.


  10. Here’s another clue for you all: As Laura recognized some time back, professors who cancel classes for all their little snowflakes because they’re so upset about the election results really really piss off the waitresses and welders who don’t get off work because their candidate loses. If you want to do something constructive for the Democrats, email each of those professors and tell them they are helping the enemy and they need to stop being such horse’s asses.


    1. This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve read, in a long time. Actually, around here it was the waitresses that got the day after the election off because the main water line broke so all the downtown restaurants (all 3 of them) closed. I’m not sure anyone in my small town knows if classes here have been canceled or not, nor do they care.



      1. Laura researched and wrote about this a while back. It may seem strange for working class people to care about campus follies, but it’s clear from alt-right news sites that they do. You may think they’re stupid, but they still get to vote.

        Also, let’s just be clear here about the realities of working class life: if the downtown restaurants were closed due to a water main break, then the waitresses who work there didn’t get paid. They don’t feel much kinship with the college students being told, “You don’t have to come to class Wednesday because I know you’re too upset about the election. But don’t worry, it won’t affect your grade.”


      2. Please just stop.. Some of those college kids are their kids. And most waitresses these days are 20 year olds in college or right out of college who vote Dem (except in my town where they are mostly students at the local religious college). You might want to consider how you evaluate information if you’re relying on alt-wing news sites (or comments from the two egg sandwich people our blog host talked to) for figuring out how working class people think.



      3. “This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve read, in a long time.”
        Par for the course when it comes to y81 talking about colleges.

        College is not a job. College is a place to learn. If the students can’t learn because of a temporary distraction, then there’s no point in trying to teach them. Sometimes there is a pressure valve that needs to be released so that students can focus again. This is Classroom Management 101. Experienced and agile teachers know how to handle these situations.

        For the record, I did not cancel my Wednesday class even though about one third of the class are students of color. I did stay after class in case anyone wanted to talk.


    2. I did? I write a lot, so maybe I did, but I can’t remember anything.

      Is there a lot of resentment about college professors? Short answer – Yes.

      Are those resentments based on reality? No.

      I’ve never thought that liberal college professors indoctrinating the youth was a real thing. Seems to me that there is a lot of disagreement within academia about whether or not to invite alt-right speakers to come to campus to talk.

      None of Jonah’s classes were cancelled on Tuesday, btw. Because he’s a pol sci major, the election has been a hot topic in all of his classes. Because Jersey is a very diverse state, the faculty – at least in his major – does a good job of keeping their politics close to their vest. And a number of Jonah’s buddies are Republicans, coming out of the suburbs in South Jersey near Philie.

      I do think that there are some very weird ideals about college professors, from people outside the Ivory Tower. I was talking with a friend just last week, who thought that professors made tons of money, because she’s paying big bucks for tuition even year. And she thought professors had an easy life and did no work.

      It’s all so silly, because the actual number of tenured professors are so small, after you subtract all the miserable adjuncts, to be an effect tool for indoctrinating the youth.

      But there’s perception and there’s reality. The perception of academia, as well as other high prestige occupations, is really negative by working class folks.


    3. I feel like we’re being played. It’s interesting to know that the welders and waitresses who aren’t in college might be annoyed, but it isn’t anything that can be addressed by the political system. What could we do? pass a law forbidding college professors for cancelling a class?


    4. I think the idea that college kids getting time off vs. hourly staff is an interesting one, but it doesn’t really hold up – college students are the clients, so they should be incensed that they are losing class time, if anything. I have hourly staff who are also in college, and I think they totally understand the difference between getting themselves in for a shift where I am depending on them to instruct young kids, and a day off of classes. (Although sometimes they are upset if their time is wasted getting to school to find a class cancelled – not so much these days.)

      Unless it’s that the professors are taking time off, but really in-class instruction isn’t anywhere near the full scope of their jobs.

      My dad was a university professor and I am not sure whether he dismissed classes for major events or not — except 9/11, I know he did that day — but I do know that I credit a lot of my work ethic to watching him work, grading papers (I used to help collate them in alphabetical order and enter grades) and doing research weekends and evenings and holidays for my whole life. I remember one time my grandfather was sick and we were driving down to Florida in a blizzard and my dad’s grades were due. This was pre-email, and we had to get a hotel room at an unexpected point in the drive and he dictated the grades to the department secretary…my memory is lying on one of the beds with him kind of droning on in the background, as well as how upset my mum was that we had to stop before we got there.

      For sure my dad was seen as not as hard working by some of my relatives who worked manual labour but the more I learn about these divides (which we also have up here), the more I wonder who profits from manufacturing them.


      1. As one of my professors used to say, “Education: the only business where the customer tries to avoid getting his money’s worth.” I doubt that the students are incensed about class being canceled.


      2. I doubt they are too. It’s funny; I am in charge of scheduling my hourly staff and approving vacation and everything and I am much more careful with their breaks and time than anyone has been with mine in my more office-type career. I mean on the one hand I could go to the bathroom or get coffee when I wanted, which is seriously huge. But on the other hand, I have frequently been given goals that there was no way to meet in my contracted hours of work, and the choice has been work extra, sometimes many extra hours, or be fired – events, social media, etc.

        That’s not to say that the physical labour (especially, I have to say, waitressing) isn’t harder in a lot of ways, the money often isn’t as good (welding might well be different on an hourly basis), and the rules are harsher as well.

        But I suspect if my dad had been treated the way I have to follow labour laws he’d’ve actually either been rich from overtime, or we’d have seen him more. Flexible work looks a lot like less work from the outside, I guess, and control — and respect — is huge. I’m not negating that, plus the wear and tear physically. But having made the move I guess my perspective is a bit different.

        And I suppose I’m socialist enough (heh) to think that the university professors should not have to work 7 days a week to do a good job teaching and also do research and the waitresses should be able to have a day off now and then if they want to celebrate or grieve, without losing their jobs or massive amounts of income.

        As someone who schedules bus drivers and child care providers and fitness instructors I know the inside of how it goes down in small businesses and that absences, especially unplanned ones, don’t always work out that way on the ground — and we have to stay competitive with the rates at the place down the street where maybe they don’t pay their staff the same way and so on. With Covid and Covid-related restrictions especially having put us in a precarious position I’m well aware of every dollar.

        But I do think the narrative that “real hardworking folks” are kind of precariously balanced on an edge where they are never given a day off, and that kids in school should be treated the same way, and that’s just how it should be is – suspect. I think the people driving that narrative are profiting from that view of work.


      3. y81 said, “As one of my professors used to say, “Education: the only business where the customer tries to avoid getting his money’s worth.”

        Gym memberships, too!


  11. But apparently it’s a thing….

    Daily Orange appears to be the Syracuse Uni student newspaper – not a reference to Trump (I did wonder).

    I do note it’s (reportedly) the soft sciences and arts. I suspect people studying vocational degrees and hard science are aware they’ve already missed too much of the school year to want to waste any more.

    If this is satire (sometimes the case with campus newspapers), it’s too subtle for me.


    1. If you’re voting based on whether or not a professor cancelled class you probably need to re-evaluate your priorities. I don’t doubt many professors cancelled class. Many of my colleagues did on election day so students could vote; and it was faculty in STEM leading this charge (not the humanities which people seem eager to bash fro this sort of thing). Some will make up those classes, others will not. I cancel class on my birthday, I guess that welder should be resentful…seriously stupidest reason for resentment I’ve heard. The local schools here cancel school on the first day of hunting season, bc you know killing animals is more valuable than learning. How dare they; I’m voting for the democrats.


      1. “I cancel class on my birthday,”

        Why? I tell my students. Sometimes I put it on the syllabus. 😀 😀 Someone needs to acknowledge my birthday. My husband can’t remember, so I made it our answering machine code for a while, but that doesn’t work any more in the cell phone era.


    2. Ann said, “I do note it’s (reportedly) the soft sciences and arts. I suspect people studying vocational degrees and hard science are aware they’ve already missed too much of the school year to want to waste any more.”

      Or may be missing more soon!

      It would be borderline fraud to cancel class unnecessarily this year, given the likelihood of other unavoidable interruptions.


  12. Biden is going to win barring some last minute news. But he’s going to have a devil of a time getting things. He cannot say that he has a mandate.

    Why on Earth not? The last two Republican presidents claimed a mandate based off of much narrower EV wins and a minority of the popular vote. Do different rules apply to Republicans and Democrats?


      1. What, exactly, is a “mandate” and how do you get one? It seems like the narrative pushed by the right is that they always have a mandate to govern and the left never does.

        Bush and Trump both squeaked into office with a minority of the votes and yet claimed a right to govern. Biden, with a larger majority, should do no less.


      2. Jay said, “What, exactly, is a “mandate” and how do you get one?”

        That’s a fair question.

        I’d say–do you have the votes?


    1. But the Democrats do have a better mandate than he did. And, the way to use this mandate is to “keep fighting for the rights of all the people”, as the corny drawing a friend shared on FB said:

      “But what if we loose? (says daughter)
      “Then we keep fighting for the rights of all the people.” (says mom)
      “And if we win?”
      “Oh, dear girl, it’s the same answer.”


    1. The reason this was a nail biter is because PA Republican legislators wanted to give Trump a chance to steal the election and wanted to discourage voting in people worried about Covid. That’s why my calendar has a notice for January 2021 to figure out how/where to donate in state races.


    2. I think there might still have been some bitten nails, but if PA could have counted like other mail in states, the agony would have been reduced and everyone would have gotten a lot more sleep.

      WA released its count at 8:01 on Election Day, of the ballots that arrived before election day, some 80% of the total.


      1. You can check that it was accepted, but not counted. The uncounted ones were from a batch that was messed up by a contractor (which contractor was flying a Trump flag on their building).


      2. bj said, “I think there might still have been some bitten nails, but if PA could have counted like other mail in states, the agony would have been reduced and everyone would have gotten a lot more sleep.”

        I went to bed at a normal hour election night, because a) I’m not getting paid to stay up and b) there obviously weren’t going to be any results, even by 2 or 3 AM.

        Now that the results are more or less in, I can tell y’all who I voted for.

        In the weeks leading up to the election, I was making up my mind between voting for Trump or some third party. After the ACB choice, I was feeling a bit more warmly toward Donald Trump and was thinking that I might see my way to voting for him. But then the White House COVID explosion happened, and I decided to vote for Kanye as a write-in plus a straight Republican ticket. I felt that the White House COVID thing was a “you had one job” situation–if you can’t get that right, what can you get right?

        Before the election, my reasoning was that either my vote matters or doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t matter, then I can vote for whoever I want to. If it does matter, then the election is probably so tight nationally that Trump is in huge trouble and I can’t help him, so I can vote for whoever I want.

        Biden + a strong congressional showing by Republicans has been a huge relief for me and for a number of conservatives I follow. It’s been a good week.

        I am morbidly interested in how Biden plans to keep his often-repeated national mask mandate promises, given that the only tool in his arsenal is “ask the hold-out governors nicely.” I mentioned this to my husband, and my husband said that Biden’s national mask mandate promise is the equivalent of Trump’s wall promise–a pretty decent analogy, I think. It’s the McGuffin that you wave in front of the suckers.

        I care a lot about COVID, and it’s pretty clear that Biden does not have a rabbit that he can pull out of his hat to save us all. There’s nothing that he does Jan. 20 or later that is going to substantially affect the course of the pandemic in the US. Also, even if he started today, he has no brilliant insights on COVID, just national mask mandate (not gonna happen), testing (happening right now), and vaccines and treatment (also happening right now).


      3. The multi-month George Floyd protests, the “Defund the Police”/”Abolish the Police” slogans, the uncontrolled violence and harassment, and the Democratic response (and non-response) to the violence and harassment all pushed me in the direction of being happier about voting for Trump, especially combined with ACB’s appointment.

        But then the White House COVID fiasco happened, and I realized that I was quite happy voting 3rd party. Literally anybody but Trump would have handled the White House COVID arrangements better. He’s just not who you want there in case of any kind of emergency, because his instincts and strategy for dealing with problems are just so bad.

        A lot of other people did more or less the same as me, because Republican Senator John Cornyn seems to have won Texas by more than 70,000 votes than Donald Trump won Texas.

        One last note:

        There’s been a lot of talk about how voting for Trump is clearly a racist act. I agree that Trump almost certainly has some unsavory opinions. At the same time, Biden is almost precisely of the same demographic as Trump (even a bit older), and has a long history of making statements that sound racially patronizing, condescending, presumptuous and just plain awkward. I wonder, for example, how many votes his “You ain’t black” statement cost him.

        Biden sometimes came across sounding like he OWNS black voters, just as he has often seemed unclear on the concept that girls’ and women’s bodies are not automatically at his disposal.

        There’s been a lot of internet and media talk about how voting for Trump was clearly racist. That’s simply not fair or accurate. There were a lot of other issues in play, and (even if racism and sexism were one’s major issues), that was never going to be a clear-cut distinction between the two men (at least for non-partisans). Trump and Biden are personally a lot more similar than partisans understand.

        (When I came back from voting, my husband asked me if I’d voted for the hair-sniffer or the forcible kisser. I was happy to be able to say neither.)


  13. OMG! Such agita over supposed socialist college professors hurting people’s feelings! I guess we know who the real snowflakes are. The reason I don’t vote for republicans and conservatives isn’t because they call people like me names or think people in cities don’t live in “real America” (although it doesn’t help)—it’s because their policies are bad! I’m pretty tired of hearing the right complain about their feelings—put on your big boy pants 🙂


  14. I am frankly horrified by the undermining of democracy by Republicans right now. Lindsey Graham suggesting that Pennsylvania overrule the election results? And he suggested that before Biden got the lead. The Michigan Speaker starting a “investigation”.


    1. A lot of people seem to be reasoning that only the people in Pennsylvania capable of carrying grudges are rural white ones. This is because they’ve never been here.


  15. Puerto Rico voted in favor of statehood in this election. In the past, multiple options have been presented or badly worded and boycotted. But, this one was a clear 2 alternative yes or no.

    It’s interesting that the GOP doesn’t have a platform this year, because, in 2016, the GOP said they would support statehood if Puerto Rico voted in favor:

    “We support the right of American citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. We also recognize the historical significance of the local referendum in 2012 in which 54% voted to end the current relationship of Puerto Rico as a territory, and 61% chose statehood on options for national sovereignty.”

    Now that Republicans think the can compete with the Hispanic vote (and, I also think they can) might they support statehood with more than words?


  16. And, back from a previous comment by Amy P, Texas probably can’t really split into 5 states. The provision in the 1945 admission was designed to allow Texas to enter as a state where people were enslaved (“Slave state”) even though Texas extended further west and north than permitted under the Missouri compromise.

    With a split,

    “Any states north or west of the Missouri Compromise lines would be free; in the others, a popular vote would determine whether slavery could exist.”

    “Although in theory Texas could still be divided into multiple states, any possibility of carving additional states from Texas ended when the Civil War settled the question of slavery once and for all.”

    I find the pervasiveness of enslavement in the legal mechanics of the history of the Union fascinating. Nate Silver presented the split of Texas as an amusing exercise in making a big state more comparable to the rest, but the provision is rooted in the role slavery played in so many decisions in the US.


  17. Not to be a thread hog, but here’s a common mistake that I’ve seen people make:

    1. Decide “I am voting against Trump because he is racist/sexist.”
    2. Decide “Other people must be voting for Trump because he is racist/sexist.”

    It’s basically a Theory of Mind failure, and of course there are right-wing versions of it, too.


    1. I’ve always been careful to say I cannot vote for Trump because he exacerbates racism in this country, including that directed against me and my family (“Mexican” judges can’t judge him fairly, which suggests that immigrants and their children are permanently “other” Americans).

      Those who chose to vote for him anyway don’t have to be voting for him *because* he makes racism in this country worse for me to condemn the choice. The choice reflects priorities. The person who votes for him is saying racism is OK enough that other priorities matter more.

      I understand that trade off when I see other issues that people believe are issues of moral conscience, for example, an opposition to abortion. I understand the person who chooses the person more likely to make abortion illegal even if that is the person who makes racism worse (potentially even if they would be personally affected). I don’t understand it on many other issues.


  18. So, they’ve announced Biden’s win, and I am trying not to watch cable tv news (my husband likes to turn it on now and again; I just turned it off when he left the room), but I am watching the videos of celebrations on Twitter, and what really gets me is that pretty much everyone I see in the NYC and DC videos IS WEARING A MASK.
    I feel like these are my people: outside, enjoying the sun, happy over an election… AND WEARING A MASK DURING A PANDEMIC SO THEY DON’T HURT ANYONE ELSE WHILE THEY ARE CELEBRATING.


    1. “I feel like these are my people: outside, enjoying the sun, happy over an election… AND WEARING A MASK DURING A PANDEMIC SO THEY DON’T HURT ANYONE ELSE WHILE THEY ARE CELEBRATING.”

      I wouldn’t bet on that.

      1. It’s not hard to find photos of people (including Democratic politicians) with their masks down.

      People at the street parties were doing stuff like passing bottles of champagne around…which involves taking down their masks and swapping spit, possibly with strangers.

      2. We’re heading into winter viral COVID hell right now, and this is really bad timing. I don’t know how your area is, but mine is in the middle of a nasty spike that started right after Halloween. The problem is that mask/no mask is not the only parameter for safety. You have:

      –mask versus no mask
      –outdoors versus indoors
      –socially distanced versus crowded
      –silence versus talking/singing/yelling
      –short interaction / long interaction

      A (theoretically) 100% masked street celebration satisfies the first two parameters, but may fail with regard to all of the last three.

      A couple more points:

      –The quality of mask presumably makes a difference. A lot of the masks that people are wearing are probably not that great.
      –Masks don’t provide 100% protection. If they did, our US numbers would look totally different.
      –It sets a bad example. We’re heading toward Thanksgiving right now, and a lot of people are going to look at all these packed crowds and wonder why they can’t do Thanksgiving.


  19. I don’t know if anybody will see this, but there is an important point that people here may not understand:

    Trump has been a vocal dove, and after 19 years of US involvement in Afghanistan there is a Republican audience for that. Trump has gotten a fair amount of credit (and deservedly so) for not getting the US into any new major military entanglements overseas. I see conservative people online mention frequently the fact that US veterans of the war in Afghanistan are now seeing their sons deploy to the same theater.

    Trump has functioned as a sort of “undo GWB” button for a lot of Republicans who may have initially enthusiastically supported heavy US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, but are now done.

    His administration has also midwifed significant progress with regard to peace in the Middle East between Israel and a broad range of Middle Eastern governments. Progress has happened on a scale like nothing in my entire lifetime. And amazingly, it was Jared Kushner, the Orthodox Jewish son-in-law, who pulled it off!

    (Do Trump’s business interests increase his appetite for peace? Undoubtedly–but it’s real peace.)


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