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Some Brief Thoughts About Outcome of 2020 Presidential Election

November 3, 2020 29 comments

A few weeks ago, I wanted to do a short series on the likely outcome of 2020 election. But a combination of being busy with other things and the unusually high levels of uncertainty about this election resulted in my repeatedly delaying it. Since today is November 3, I thought it was a good idea to post a small and very brief version of my thoughts about the likely outcome of this election. As you will see, the levels of uncertainty are still very high.

1] Over the past few weeks, many of you have seen “polls” proclaiming that Dementia Joe has a 10, 11 or even 16 point “lead” over Orange Man Here is a short list of problem with such polls, beginning with the fact that Dementia Joe is at barely 50% in almost single one of them. In other words, all of his supposed “lead” comes from fewer people telling pollsters that they will vote for Trump. This is important because if the electorate had really got tired of Trump, it would be 60-40 or 55-45, rather than the 50-41 or 49-44, we are seeing right now.

2] Related to the problem discussed in previous point is that this race, even by those “polls”, is far narrower in the so-called ‘swing’ states than at the national level. Some of you might remember that all these “polls” and even exit polls showed Trump losing to Hillary in 2016 in these same states. The vote count showed otherwise. Then there is the issue of voters who might not like Trump as a person but will vote for him just because he is on the Republican ticket. We cannot also discount the possibility of some Trump voters are either not answering polls or being untruthful to them. And this matters a lot in those states.

3] Since presidential elections in USA are decided by the electoral college rather than number of popular votes, ‘swing’ states have mattered far more in every presidential election since 1984. To put it another way, the election is far closer than most Democrats want to believe. The way I see it, this is still pretty close to a 50-50 thing.. UNLESS there are large changes in the final turnout- something we won’t know till polls close today evening.

4] The massive increase in mail-in votes and absentee ballots caused by COVID-19 pandemic has made it much harder to estimate the likely final turnout. While it is certainly possible that we will see a robust turnout on election day leading to a record final turnout, it is equally possible that the final number might be not significantly different from 2016 (adjusted for population). This matters a lot since significant percentage of people don’t vote during most elections. We could see anything from a tight election, a blowout for Biden or Trump gaining new supporters among from traditional non-voter whites, Hispanics and younger black voters.

5] To make matters more interesting, there is the possibility of many mail-in ballots being disqualified due to a number of stupid laws and rules. We are also likely to see lots of litigation if preliminary vote counts are either delayed or uncomfortably close in ‘swing’ states. There is a very real possibility that what happens after November 3, 2020 will make the infamous 2000 election look quaint and civilized by comparison. I would not discount the possibility of armed clashes between Trump supporters and Democrats. Hopefully, it won’t get much worse than a few isolated incidents. Fingers crossed..

6] If this election turns into anything other than a blowout for Biden, it is far more likely that Trump will retain power- whether it is by winning the electoral college via ‘swing’ states, prolonged and large-scale litigation, some combination of intimation and civil unrest or all of the above. As seen through the lens of Obama’s unsuccessful attempts to nominate Merrick Garland, democrat acquiescence to Mitch McConnell filling up record numbers of federal judge positions with conservatives to their non-existent resistance over to his most recent supreme court nomination- it is clear that establishment Democrats are all talk and no action.

Let’s see what happens tonight, and in the next few days..

What do you think? Comments?