Election 2020 - Here we go again

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:47 pm

"You're the president, Donald" does seem like a pretty good line to run on. Cuts to the heart not just of Trump's projection but also his refusal to take responsibility for anything. (Are there campaign ads with the "I take no responsibility, none whatsoever" soundbite yet, or are they saving those for the last week in October? Pretty much the only political ads I see are for Mark Kelly.)

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Mongrel » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:41 pm

Looks like they're gonna push this theme hard. Oh lordy ahahaha

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:16 pm


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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:18 pm

538's got their Senate forecast up, along with an accompanying podcast episode titled Why Our Forecast Says Democrats Are Slightly Favored To Win The Senate.

Keep in mind what I said before about their forecast not accounting for greater-than-typical levels of voter disenfranchisement, and why I think that means they're overrating the Democrats' odds. Still, there's a lot to fuel cautious optimism here. The likeliest Democratic pickups:

Gideon beats Collins in Maine (53%)
Cunningham beats Tillis in North Carolina (62%)
Hickenlooper beats Gardner in Colorado (68%)
Kelly beats McSally in Arizona (78%)

The only likely Republican pickup is Alabama (73%).

A net gain of three seats plus the vice presidency is a majority. So a lot could come down to Maine.

Boy, how'bout that Arizona number, huh?

It's too soon to tell if I'll like Sinema more or less if her party's in the majority. She could see this as a mandate to move to the left, or she could see it as an opportunity to get a lot of power and attention as a swing vote. My money's on the latter, but she could always surprise me I guess. Either way, I'd still rather have her as a swing vote than Collins.

(And of course as long as the filibuster exists, a Democratic Senate majority with a Democratic president is going to look a lot like the current Republican Senate majority with a Republican president -- Biden will get to appoint whoever he wants without much friction, but actually passing legislation is probably a non-starter. Though presumably since the Trump tax scam was passed with a simple majority through budget reconciliation, it can be repealed the same way. I do not see Schumer having the stones to eliminate the filibuster, but again, maybe he'll surprise me. I never thought I'd miss Harry Reid.)

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:20 pm

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg Has Raised Millions To Help Florida Felons Vote

Well, Mike, you're still an asshole, but this is a much better thing for you to be doing than running for president.

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Mongrel » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:40 pm

Huh.

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Brentai » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:42 pm

He's doing it to help his favored political candidate win, don't get all starry-eyed about it.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Mongrel » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:47 pm

Brentai wrote:He's doing it to help his favored political candidate win, don't get all starry-eyed about it.

Oh I don't think any of us have any illusions about his motives.

But however ill Bloomberg's intentions are and no matter how the election goes, this will provide a real and lasting benefit to thousands of people who've been wronged and then silenced.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:03 pm

Brentai wrote:He's doing it to help his favored political candidate win, don't get all starry-eyed about it.

Well, the GIF is a confessed murderer expressing admiration for a fellow inmate's skill at forgery and money-laundering...

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:41 pm

North Carolina extends deadline for mailed ballots as election court fights continue

(Reuters) - Election officials in the battleground state of North Carolina on Tuesday said they will count any absentee ballots that arrive up to nine days after the Nov. 3 presidential election, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

The agreement, which would resolve a Democratic-backed lawsuit if approved by a judge, is the latest legal development extending the deadline in various states amid concerns that mail delivery slowdowns could delay the arrival of ballots.

Courts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - all states expected to be critical to the November contest between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Crab Juice - have ordered officials this month to accept late-arriving ballots, in each case over Republican objections.

Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania said in a court filing on Tuesday they plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the state Supreme Court’s decision.

The request could be the first high-profile election dispute to arrive at the U.S. high court after the death last week of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal stalwart whose passing has sparked an intense struggle in Washington over Trump’s intention to replace her ahead of the election.


Bears repeating we shouldn't expect the election to be called on Election Day. And Supreme Court fuckery -- before or after the election -- was a strong possibility before and just got a lot likelier.

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:30 pm

Report: Trump Campaign Actively Discussing Radical Measures To Bypass Election Results

A jarring new report from The Atlantic claims that the Trump campaign is discussing potential strategies to circumvent the results of the 2020 election, should Crab Juice defeat Donald Trump, by first alleging the existence of rampant fraud and then appointing electors in battleground states where Republicans maintain a legislative majority, whom Trump would ask to bypass the state’s popular vote and instead to choose electors loyal to the GOP and the sitting president.


I've heard a lot of implausible theories about what Trump could do to steal the election.

This one is plausible.

I'm not saying it's likely, necessarily, but it's believable in a way that canceled elections and military coups are not. Especially if the election comes down to just one state (say, Wisconsin).

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Friday » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:45 pm

And if he does steal the election, what then?

No, seriously, I'm asking you what you think will happen. You're one of the best political minds I've met, and while I don't always agree with you generally I take your predictions more seriously than pretty much almost anyone else.

So, yeah. Actually asking what you think will happen if Trump steals the election.

Keep in mind "I have no idea" is a perfectly valid answer.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby hngkong » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:48 pm

Democrats will tweet #resistance until the police start openly killing dissidents get off without punishment, but it will be on direct White House orders this time. Then the Democrats will say that we will be able to fix it next election while the death squads start killing "undesirables".

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:00 pm

I really don't know. The cynic in me says that it's going to look a lot like 2000, with a large percent of the electorate knowing the election was stolen but, by and large, accepting the results and going along with them.

A shitload more people die of COVID-19. Violence against minorities and protesters continues to escalate. Civil unrest continues to increase.

If the Supreme Court is interested in keeping up appearances, they continue the strategy of chipping away at Roe without actually overturning it outright. If they don't, if they do overturn Roe outright, I think that's very likely to throw the Overton window wide open and bring formerly-fringe positions like eliminating the filibuster, granting statehood to DC and PR, and packing the Court into the mainstream.

I think the last two years of Trump's second term probably look a lot like the last two year's of Bush's: financial collapse, a plunging approval rating, a midterm rout, and the party scrambling to distance itself from him and pretend they never liked him anyway because that's their best shot at winning the next election. I could be wrong -- his approval rating has been a lot more consistent than Bush's, and while I think there's a lot of overlap between his devotees and Bush's, Trump's support has a cultlike aspect to it that Bush's never quite matched -- but I think past is probably prologue and most of his fans are fair-weather. 55% of Republican primary voters voted against him in '16; once he became the nominee and then the president, they flipped to support him, but once he's no longer useful to them I think they'll flip again and act like that was the position they always held.

That all sounds so fucking ordinary, when I put it like that. I think people have a tremendous capacity to act like everything is normal no matter how abnormal it is. Especially people who aren't personally and directly affected by all the bad stuff that's going on.

It won't be normal. The pandemic will continue, the riots will continue, the atrocities at the border will continue. The fires and hurricanes and environmental devastation will continue, and there may not be any coming back from it. People getting rounded up and thrown into unmarked vehicles will continue. A lot of people are going to die; a lot more are going to suffer.

I think Washington will continue to operate much as it currently does -- not very well, but with Democrats still, by and large, behaving as if everything is normal. (Though I won't rule out the possibility of a second impeachment.) The usual voter disenfranchisement problems will continue apace, complete with redistricting and all-new gerrymandering. I don't think it's going to be enough to give Republicans the House in 2022, but they'll try. (I'm assuming for this scenario that Democrats keep the House in 2020. Because it's unlikely we'll see a scenario where Democrats lose the House and Trump has to resort to a scheme like the one in the linked article in order to get re-elected.)

I guess that's a depressingly conventional answer but I think it's a plausible one. Things continue to get worse for the most vulnerable; civil unrest increases; people in Washington and in state legislatures keep doing what they're doing and act like everything's normal; eventually Trump's support does collapse, but not due to any particular egregious act on his part, just because he's going to be term-limited out and the party has no use for him anymore except as a scapegoat for everything that's gone wrong. Just like Bush. (Trump has blathered about running for a third term, but that's one of those things he says he's going to do that he doesn't actually have the power to do. If he tried, there would be enough states refusing to grant him ballot access that he wouldn't be able to pull off a win, and I find it hard to believe that even a SCOTUS with 2 Bush appointees, 3 Trump appointees, and Thomas on it would rule that we can just ignore the 22nd Amendment.)

I think that's the safe bet. Could be I'm wrong though. Could be he dies in office. Could be there's a full-on civil war. I think "most people act like everything is normal and wait for this to blow over" is the most depressingly likely scenario, but it's one among a whole kaleidoscope of possible outcomes.

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Mongrel » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:50 am

Don't forget the dementia.

You think he has poor impulse control now? Yikes.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Friday » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:45 pm

I think "most people act like everything is normal and wait for this to blow over" is the most depressingly likely scenario, but it's one among a whole kaleidoscope of possible outcomes.


I don't disagree at all, especially because:

That all sounds so fucking ordinary, when I put it like that. I think people have a tremendous capacity to act like everything is normal no matter how abnormal it is. Especially people who aren't personally and directly affected by all the bad stuff that's going on.


this is very true. Very, very true. And I'm sure it was a big factor in how the Nazis took over Germany, the fascists took over Italy, the fascists are currently taking over America, etc.

However, I just have a hard time believing, and maybe this is my long dead optimistic child-Friday inside of me, that when confronted by the news media saying "Trump stole the election by using legal mumbo jumbo bullshit in this one state", that the lefty youth in this country will just shrug and go home.

Now, you can just assume they'll continue to be a disorganized, decentralized movement that gets the cops to shoot tear gas them at them and nothing much else accomplished for the next four years, but I just don't see that as a likely outcome.

As much as Trump has his cult-like 30% that will never leave him, there's got to be at least 30% of the country on the OTHER side, where they just absolutely hate his fucking guts. So the question isn't "is there enough people to get a real mass movement of civil disobedience" it's "is there an ability to lead them to a path that isn't just marching, getting tear gassed, and being angry."

There's no doubt in my mind, that with conditions as they are in the world and the US now, that a leader would change everything. It's just a question of if one emerges, somewhere. People need a figure to rally around.

So basically what I'm saying is, in my mind, I think the likeliest outcome IS what you outlined, with mass civil unrest going on and on and on as the next four years unfold. But four years is a long time for someone to start making speeches. And this is all assuming that Trump doesn't escalate his shit, which I mean, he will absolutely do. Who knows what fresh horrors await us in another four years of Trump, but I do know that they'll be a lot worse than what we have going on now.

If we've determined that Americans will basically tolerate what Trump is doing now, we have not yet determined if Americans will tolerate what Trump will do in two years, or three. When it comes to the political reality of Washington, I defer to your expertise, (and also the fact that the Dems are a bunch of spineless simps for the Republican party) but there's a real thing going on in the streets. To say "America is a tinderbox waiting for a match" is an obvious fact that has been true for a while now, and as time goes on and the suffering and atrocities mount, that match finally igniting becomes more and more likely.

I don't know the future, and I think if I was forced to bet on the outcome I would probably bet that "nothing happens." But the trouble with continuing to bet on not rolling a 20 on a 1d20 is that, even though it's obviously the correct bet on any particular roll of the die, eventually, you're going to roll a fucking 20. Unlikely and even extremely rare events DO occur. The fact that always betting against them occurring is "always correct" fails to account for the fact that sometimes, stuff happens. And when it does, it doesn't happen out of the blue.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:26 pm

Yeah, I think that's a pretty good summary of some of the unpredictable variables we're dealing with.

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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Brentai » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:00 pm

Adolf Hitler only won 36.8% of the vote in 1932. In 1933 he essentially rigged a special election through a campaign of massive voter disenfranchisement, and four months after that essentially made any opposition to the party illegal.

As for that opposition? There were easily hundreds of individual groups within the country dedicated solely to opposing the Nazi Party. Most of them were youth-centric. They clearly didn't make it very far without help.

So no, I'm not particularly soothed by the idea that "only about 30%" of one particularly violent and drug-addicted coalition is trying to rewrite the rules of our government. Historically that's been more than enough, much more.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Mongrel » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:11 pm

While that's important, it's worth pointing out that the Germany of 1932 and 1933 was a multiparty rather than a two-party state.

Normally I'd say that being a two-party state is much shittier, but this is one of the rare instances where that does in fact work to raise the threshold required, even if only somewhat.
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Re: Election 2020 - Here we go again

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:35 pm

Mongrel wrote:While that's important, it's worth pointing out that the Germany of 1932 and 1933 was a multiparty rather than a two-party state.

Normally I'd say that being a two-party state is much shittier, but this is one of the rare instances where that does in fact work to raise the threshold required, even if only somewhat.

There's also federalism to consider. Having national elections run by a patchwork of states with their own individual rules isn't an ideal circumstance either, but in this instance it's a check on federal interference. The election is going to have to break just right in order for the "persuade swing state(s) to fire the electors" strategy to be viable. I mentioned Wisconsin -- well, forget Wisconsin; the Republicans have a majority in the legislature but not enough to override a veto from the Democratic governor. Same goes for Pennsylvania. So I'd say that leaves Florida as the likeliest state for that strategy to succeed.

Which starts to sound familiar, but the map is different in 2020 than it was in 2000. Florida was must-win for either candidate in 2000. It's only must-win for Trump in 2020. Biden can get to 270 with just states that are bluer than Florida. The odds of this election turning on how Florida comes down are low.

I think the nut of it is that Trump can, and will, undermine any results that show Biden winning the election, and that's incredibly dangerous and there will be violence as a result. But that's not the most viable path to his staying in office. The most viable path is all the other voter disenfranchisement efforts he's been engaged in -- undermining the USPS, suing in multiple states to prevent mail-in ballots from being sent or counted, and the usual GOP disenfranchisement efforts focused on preventing minorities from voting.

It's disturbing to hear that Trump's people are planning new and experimental ways to undermine democracy. But I think it's the tried-and-tested ways that will make the most difference. Much as the Russian interference in 2016 is disturbing but ultimately not nearly as influential a propaganda effort as Fox News.

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