Neither Party Has Control Over This Election
There are billions of possible outcomes that our tiny little brains are incapable of considering until they happen.
I have noticed a lot of people in my social media circles expressing worry and concern over the possibility that Trump could be re-elected. I am empathetic to their concerns and I totally understand how they might feel if their worst nightmare were to come true: 4 more years.
I’m agnostic as to the outcome in the pending election. My obvious preference is for someone other than Trump (or Mike Pence) to occupy the White House next January, but I have considered other possible outcomes. Primarily though, I have considered that I have little confidence in any predicted outcome.
I am agnostic as to the outcome. I prefer to reserve judgment in order to avoid the fatigue that I might incur while engaging in the mental gymnastics required to make predictions about the election. Anyone who thinks they can predict the outcome of November 3rd with any certainty and says so in public probably knows something the rest of us don’t. And if that kind of person were to speak out now, he’d cast suspicion on the results. So I don’t think we’ll be hearing from that person. If I were looking for a prediction or betting odds on the election, I’d check out FiveThirtyEight.com.
No one really has control over this election. All this wrestling over the post office is probably a distraction for some other attempt to gain control over the results of the election. Yes, Democrats are polling heavily in favor of voting by mail, and Republicans are polling in favor of voting in person. But Trump’s loyal base has developed a reputation for being untruthful in their response to polls. Does the term, “Closet Trumpers” ring a bell? The numbers at C-SPAN suggest that there is a large contingent of Trump voters lying in wait that the pollsters missed.
I note also that the efforts to restrain the United States Postal Service are at cross purposes in this pandemic. Older conservative voters face greater peril to vote in person than younger people. I’d think they’d want to vote by mail more than their younger opposition. I really don’t see how this is going to work out for Trump to win the election. Unless of course, the older voters that Trump depends on actually do turn out to vote or, they get favored for absentee ballots in states where Trump needs them.
There has been some rumor that Trump has suggested a 3-day election holiday to ensure that people will vote in person. I’ve never seen anything about that. There is an ongoing controversy over the mail sorting machines, but the Post Master General Luis Dejoy has assured us that the machines that have been removed will not be replaced. No controversy there. He’s expressed a conviction that volume has dropped sufficiently that the sorting machines that were once in service, are no longer needed. Huh. If I was a businessman, I’d leave the machines there, powered off but ready to go just in case.
Luis Dejoy has no prior experience with the Post Office, yet somehow he managed to get the job. Representative Katie Porter proved this point in a recent exchange on Capitol Hill. I’m sure DeJoy’s fundraising skills had more to do with his nomination than his experience with the Postal Service.
I remember 2016 so well. I remember how confident the Democrats were that Hillary would defeat Trump. I remember the acrimony over Trump losing the popular vote. I remember the closet Trumpers who resisted the polls and fooled the polls. Boy, was that a surprise.
This year, a new trend has emerged. A movement for a national popular vote compact among the states has taken shape. This is an agreement among the participating states to cast all electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. That is to say, at the end of the election, these states will look at the popular vote and give their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote. So far, they have 196 electoral votes in hand. That’s not a decisive majority, but that is more than enough to tip the electoral college one way or another.
There has been some talk of an October Surprise. I think we get that every election year, too. They say that nothing in politics is accidental. It has been suggested that Biden is mentally incompetent to run for president. By some appearances, that could be the case. I’ve seen him ramble and get lost on camera. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s lost his marbles. Maybe that’s the surprise that we should expect in October.
I think there should be debates so that we can see for ourselves. Trump would do everything he could to stump Biden. He would try to trip Biden up. Biden has been at this for 50 years, Trump, maybe 5 years. I have to wonder why anyone would believe in Biden in the first place if his mental capacities were lacking. I’ve seen people who were sharp as a tack in their 80s and 90s. So I’m willing to give both of them a pass, but I do want to see them in a debate, on the same stage, together.
I want to console those who worry that Trump might win. Let’s consider some of the possible outcomes where Trump wins. It is entirely possible that Trump could win the White House and find himself facing a deep blue House and a Senate with a firm Democratic majority. FiveThirtyEight says the odds favor the Democrats picking up a few seats in the Senate. Real Clear Politics says that there are 10 tossup seats in the Senate.
If Trump were to lose the Senate, he’d face a real prospect of impeachment, only this time it could be done right as the scope of the last impeachment was intentionally narrowed by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. I wonder if she had this in mind, you know, to save a few issues for later just in case they win the Senate and Trump gets another four years. If the Democrats get control of the Senate, that would make Trump more than a lame duck, he’d become a prize for the next midterm election.
Alternatively, Trump could win the Senate again and still lose the House. The House has tended to lean Democratic in the last few years. In this scenario, Trump might get another justice to the Supreme Court, giving his evangelical base a reason to celebrate. They may very well try to overturn Roe v. Wade. But the GOP’s cynicism about the right to life is palpable. They played lots of games with the pandemic, promoted the war with Iraq and Afghanistan, and many people died at their hands, yet they defend the life of the unborn. This will be remembered by the Millennials and the Zoomers, two demographics that will become a real force to reckon with for the GOP in the next decade. They are progressive and very liberal, hence the laser focus of the current Senate on packing the courts with conservatives. The Senate Republicans can see the train coming.
See, the Republican Party has become a party that is all fight and no real principles. They are about owning the libs, fighting Black Lives Matter, fighting Fake News, fighting illegal immigration, fighting anarchists, and the welfare state. But I don’t see them fighting for the things I want.
I don’t see them fighting for health care as a right. I don’t see them fighting for the freedom of speech, they’re suing people to prevent it. I don’t see them fighting for a living wage. I don’t see them withholding patents for inventions produced on the government dime. I don’t see them opening up professional occupations like doctors, dentists, accountants, and lawyers to international competition. I don’t see them fighting for universal broadband with fiber to every address in the country.
I do see the GOP very much at work to give wealthy people a bigger tax break without giving the working man a raise. I do see them fighting for dark money. I do see them fighting for the Conservative Nanny State. I do see them fighting for the right to discriminate against others. And way off into the fringe, I see them fighting a religious war, a holy war as if their religion is the only true religion. I see some of them fighting for a theocracy that promotes their favored religion.
So even if they win this fall, there is a way out. There is a way to survive for those who think they can’t handle another four years. Remember that it’s all temporary. Whatever the GOP won in the last three and a half years, it can all be taken away. They can’t hold the Senate forever. And Trump is a once in a generation, maybe two, president. They won’t have much to work with once Trump is gone. Given his alleged crimes, he and some members of his family might spend some time in prison. And more than a few people would like to see him land there.
Even if no one is indicted or prosecuted, the Trump presidency will be hard to forget for a rising generation of progressives. They have seen the Reagan way and found it wanting because they see what was left for them to work with. And they don’t want to go back. Those who studied history know well that FDR did the right thing. We need another FDR and Biden could be that guy. He might not want to be that guy, but the rest of us can make him that guy.
Now I know some of this is pretty fanciful thinking. When I get in that place, I remind myself that what we want might not even be what we know about. I’ve seen this happen over and over again. There is always a silver lining, there is always something that we can find of value in any situation. The universe is not a zero-sum game. For me, seeing Trump and his family alienate millions of people, well, that says Democratic majorities for at least a generation. I’d be OK with that. The judges that Trump has packed into the courts can only rule on what is placed before them. They don't get to make law.
So I’m not fearing the worst. I’m thinking about all the people who will rise up against the establishment, and that includes Trump, when they've had enough. I’m thinking about all the progressives who will run for office in the next decade. I’m thinking about universal basic dividends (it’s not free money), like the Alaska Fund. I’m thinking about universal health care that is not tied to my employer, you know, for real economic mobility. I’m thinking about getting big money out of politics and making election day a national holiday, with the Citizen Equality Act. I’m thinking about ending the class war between the banks and the rest of us when we implement Postal Banking for the millions of unbanked citizens living in this great country. I can see the Fed converted into the world’s largest public bank. And that’s just the stuff I know about.
There is so much that we don’t know about the pending election, that I am not focused on any single outcome, I am focused on keeping my mind open to the possibilities. I keep my wishes and prayers as open-ended as possible, to increase the number of positive outcomes that could happen. I do my best to keep my puny brain out of the way.