My election prediction: Democrats will be flummoxed

An April Facebook post from a friend with a Ph.D. in engineering:

Folks, regardless of your specific political orientation the choice in this year’s presidential election could not be more clear.

Biden is way behind on campaign funds. Way behind.

I just donated.

A September 1 post:

If you’re going to vote for Trump this election, unfriend me now. Sorry extended family. I don’t care who you do vote for, but if you vote for Trump you’ve lost my respect as a human being. I can’t imagine thinking that this is OK. We are in the time we have always thought “what would I do if I was alive then?” Act like it. I sure hope your tax breaks are worth it.

And, of course, it is always popular to share this meme:

“Agree to disagree” is reserved for things like “I don’t like coffee.” Not racism, homophobia, and sexism. Not human rights. Not basic common decency. If I unfriend you during this, it IS personal. We do not have a difference of opinion. We have a difference in morality.

For me, these encapsulate of the American political situation. Democrats, though they officially celebrate “diversity”, cannot imagine that anyone would have a substantially different opinion than they do regarding public policy, the appropriate role for government, etc.

There is a clear choice in this election. Moral intelligent people will vote for Biden-Harris. Only immoral stupid racist people who ignore the advice of their betters (e.g., in the media) will vote for Trump. Thus, I feel confident in predicting that if even a single person today votes for a Republican candidate, tens of millions of Democrats will be perplexed! How is it possible that the U.S. contains a substantial number of people who are simultaneously completely lacking in moral compass, cognitive ability, and racial tolerance?

What says the most-cited professor at M.I.T., whose research into Trump’s deficiencies has apparently continued despite the general shutdown? From New Yorker:

Professor Chomsky agrees with Joe Biden (see the debate transcript) that the Earth is almost destroyed and humanity is nearly finished and that this is primarily Donald Trump’s fault:

Q: The worst criminal in human history? That does say something.

It does. Is it true?

Q: Well, you have Hitler; you have Stalin; you have Mao.

Stalin was a monster. Was he trying to destroy organized human life on earth?

Q: Well, he was trying to destroy a lot of human lives.

Yes, he was trying to destroy lots of lives but not organized human life on earth, nor was Adolf Hitler. He was an utter monster but not dedicating his efforts perfectly consciously to destroying the prospect for human life on earth.

This does lead to two perplexing questions: (1) if human life is nearly extinct, why do anything at all about coronavirus, which kills only a small percentage of people when allowed to rage, and (2) how can we have fellow citizens who will voluntarily vote for the worst criminal in human history?

Update, November 4, from a Facebook friend:

I don’t care who wins. the country has already said it’s totally acceptable to be a bigoted, proven pathological liar and that is really disappointing. Those who teach our kids trump is the very example of what not to do in life are now learning america likes it and want more of it. Very sad morning irrespective of the outcome.

From a Berkeley, California resident who works in a government-funded academic environment:

How could so many Americans have looked at what’s happened over the last four years and thought, “Yeah, that’s good, let’s have more of that!”?


14 thoughts on “My election prediction: Democrats will be flummoxed

  1. One of the worst things about modern politics is not Republican vs Democrat but the doomsday hyperbole (and polarization) in thought and word. Maybe it’s always existed – but social and mainstream media fans every spark into a raging forest fire. Candidates don’t campaign on their own merits, just being “not them”. No liberals died during the Bush and Trump eras. No conservatives died during Obama or (presumably) Biden. The fate of The Republic does not hang in the balance. Crazies.

  2. People wrongly assume that voting for someone means agreeing with everything they do or say or espouse.

    Many of today’s “Liberals” (I use quotes because so many are actually illiberal) have a fundamentalist religious view that if you disagree with them politically then you are either evil, mentally ill, unintelligent, or ignorant; or some combination of all of those. It’s unpleasant and frivolous to engage in political discussions with such self-righteous people.

  3. > destroying the prospect for human life on earth.

    If chomsky is referring to the dire climate predictions of the UN’s IPCC, note that what the IPCC actually says is that if no action is taken, then over the next 100 years the Earth will warm by only 1.6C (calculated including urban heat islands, and ignoring past 30-40 year warming/cooling cycles), and the net affect in the next 50 years will be a reduction in incomes by 2% (while incomes rise by 363% in the same period).
    link to actual UN report

    • How Dare You contradict the Great Noam Chomsky! How Dare You!

      He moved to Arizona to escape the Massachusetts winters. We had our first big snowfall here prior to November and we’ve been freezing ever since! I was hoping he’d go for a long walk in Death Valley, but apparently he’s not ready yet.

  4. Not sure why your friend thinks unanimity is possible. After all, to quote Lincoln: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

    • Philip, I’m afraid I don’t remember – were you predicting 230,000 Covid deaths by now? I seem to remember that you didn’t think IHME’s modelling of deaths was plausible, but perhaps I misremember and you just didn’t think hundreds of thousands of deaths were significant.

    • Russil: I never expressed an opinion on whether deaths were significant or not. That’s a moral philosophy or religious question and I am not a religious scholar or a philosopher. The relevant question for making public health policy is whether or not deaths can be avoided. The Swedes said COVID-19 deaths likely could not be avoided, though maybe we’ve seen that we can trade some COVID-19 deaths for shutdown-related deaths instead. Certainly we haven’t found a way to cut the number of total deaths (shutdown-related plus COVID-19-related).

      In March 2020, in a comment on , I said that Lombardy was a good model for the U.S. as a starting point and that we would have 45 percent of the Lombardy death rate (dramatic reduction due to improved knowledge and drug therapy then adjusted back up for American incompetence at organizing and delivering health care). At the time, Lombardy’s death rate would have turned into 330,000 American deaths if my projection that they were halfway through their wave of COVID-19 deaths (this was, unfortunately, an optimistic projection).

      Let’s look at this method using the latest actual numbers from Lombardy. says Lombardy has experienced roughly 17,000 deaths through mid-oct out of a population of 10 million. Applying that rate to the U.S. population of 330 million, we would expect 561,000 deaths. If we take 45 percent of 561,000 we get 252,450 COVID-19-tagged deaths.

      In other words, we are not special. (Perhaps this is unfair, though; if we take out greater Boston and metro New York City (including all suburbs in NJ and CT), the U.S. has actually had a fairly low COVID-19 death rate.)

    • Phil – You keep falling back to a comparison with a country who essentially decided to do nothing, Sweden. South Korea has a per capita rate of less than 1, while the US is about 70. The difference isn’t due to a lack of ability, it has to do with ignorance and will. Trump’s strategy, like many of the people who voted for him, was and continues to be essentially “thoughts and prayers.” “Totally under control” was our leaders “plan” to combat a pandemic.

    • Senorpablo: It is the Swedes who would say that the Americans “decided to do nothing”. While we sat at home alternating between watching TV and raiding the fridge, the Swedes were (1) educating their children, (2) working, (3) going to the gym, (4) socializing among adults, (5) traveling around Sweden and, after a few months, around Europe, etc. Our Land of Shutdown is the very model of deciding to do nothing!

    • Phil – we didn’t decide to do nothing, but what we did do was so half assed and uncoordinated that in the end it may have been worse than nothing. We’ll be fumbling around with this for years, dragging out the economic and social pain. Whereas countries who’s leaders believed in and understood the threat, developed and communicated a clear and decisive plan, such as South Korea, New Zealand and Austrailia, nipped it in the bud. They endured a very strict lock down, but it’s over and done now and back to business as usual. Meanwhile, here in the US, people are too precious and fragile to wear a mask because cult leader said so.

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