The New York times reports: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Massachusetts’ 11 electoral votes”. I read a little more of the page and learned that this fact was reported with 3 percent of the vote counted. In other words, Biden won 2 percent of the votes and that was enough for the NYT to say that he won the state election. Why not report “Biden won” at 7:01 am, then?Full post, including comments
A Dutch friend asked me, during a weekend WhatsApp, to predict the election outcome. (He also asked “Why couldn’t the Democrats have run Tutankhamun or Elvis? They’re at least as alive as Joe Biden.”) I responded that it was impossible for anyone to predict anything because (1) people who support Trump would be afraid to give an honest answer to a poll-taker, (2) the U.S. “news” is now mostly propaganda designed by the editors to achieve their desired electoral results. “It’s impossible to get unbiased information about what people outside of one’s immediate neighborhood actually think.”
But maybe for fun we can have a bragging rights pool on this blog!
I will go first. I’m a big fan of the “tomorrow will be the same as today” method of weather forecasting and also that people vote their personal interest. So a Ph.D. who works in a government-funded university, a physician who benefits when the government directs more money to health care, and a lawyer who gets paid to help companies navigate the regulatory landscape will all vote for the Democrats and the promised bigger government. A working-class native-born American who is being financially injured by low-skill immigration (Harvard study) will vote for the Republicans. A small business owner who can’t afford the lawyers necessary to thrive in a heavily regulated high-tax environment will similarly vote Republican.
The one factor that I think could drive change is that Americans have been convinced that the federal government can control whether or not people become infected with COVID-19. The raging plagues all over Europe, in countries with governments previously considered excellent (if costly), can’t compete against American media constantly reminding us that Trump is personally responsible for every COVID-19 death on U.S. soil. Also, a lot of Americans are depressed after being locked down for nearly 8 months. Depressed people are willing to try almost anything to escape depression (even the antidepressant drugs that don’t work). Finally, the coronapanic and associated governor-ordered shutdowns have left more Americans than ever dependent on the government. People on welfare tend to vote for Democrats. The “Trump has no empathy” attack has been common in 2020 and it makes sense only if voters expect that the government will be their primary source of housing, health care, food, etc.
I’m going to consider WalletHub’s ranking of states by coronavirus restrictions as a guide to where Americans are eager to surrender what had been considered their freedoms and have the government take care of them. Two Trump states from 2016 that have meekly submitted to lockdowns and school closures are Texas and Pennsylvania. Florida, on the other hand, ranks high in freedom and the governor ordered teachers to teach. So I am going to predict a Trump victory in Florida and a loss in Texas. (Maybe this will be wrong because Bloomberg’s $millions for felons changed the electorate in Florida so much?) The locked-down-and-rioting population in Pennsylvania accepted Rachel Levine (“an American pediatrician currently serving as the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health. … She is one of only a handful of openly transgender government officials in the United States”) as their guide so they’ll accept Joe Biden.
Let’s look at the results from 2016: 304/227 in electoral votes. We subtract 58 for the cower-in-place folks in Texas and Pennsylvania and now Donald Trump goes home to tax-free Florida at 246 while President Harris comes in with 285.
Summarized by our unkind friends in lockdown across the pond:
Backup prediction in case the above is spectacularly wrong: Trump won’t win any state that he didn’t win in 2016. Joe Biden’s promise to lock everyone down will be too compelling for a nation that was risk-averse and is now fleeing to what it perceives as security.
Potential second theory: social media companies will deliver this election to the Democrats by driving high turnout (thought to help Democrats and hurt incumbents). I opened Facebook yesterday and almost the entire page was obscured by the company’s in-house ad urging me to vote:
- Election 2008 Prediction: Obama wins by 5 percent; we will all be depressed
- “Boston Businesses Board Up in Preparation for Potential Protests on Election Night” (NBC): unhappy Trump supporters will drive in from Indiana to riot in Boston if Biden-Harris win?
- “Shops in downtown San Francisco boarding up ahead of election” (SF Gate): angry Republicans will come from Idaho to riot?
- “NYC businesses board up stores in preparation for unrest on election night” (ABC)
- Citizens for a Planned Economy, my 2012 take on what Americans from both parties say that they want
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?
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!”?
Related:Full post, including comments
Susan Collins was the only Republican who voted against the beloved-by-Honda-minivan-drivers Amy Coney Barrett. Collins was already hated by everyone in the greater Portland, Maine region (nearly half the state’s population). At age 67, she is also subject to prejudice against the elderly (though Biden doesn’t seem to be hurting!). Presumably her vote against Barrett was calculated to enhance her chances for reelection, but I wonder if it is safe to say that this choice doomed her. To win, she needs nearly everyone in small town and rural Maine to turn out and vote against their oppression by the sophisticated credentialed enriched-by-bigger-government folks in Portland. But now that this ancient sack of muddled middle-of-the-road positions has voted against America’s SuperMom, how are the rural Mainers supposed to muster enough enthusiasm to vote?
I’m usually wrong about everything, but I am going to predict here that the 48-year-old Sara Gideon prevails. Maine will finally be represented by a politician that all of Portland supports!
(helicopter flying by me; photo by Tony)
- “Gideon raked in $39 million for Senate race in last 3 months” (Portland Press Herald, October 15): Democrat Sara Gideon raised more than $39 million for her U.S. Senate campaign in the third quarter of this year, nearly five times the $8 million contributed to the campaign of Republican Sen. Susan Collins. [We haven’t seen too many complaints in U.S. media lately about money corrupting politics; is that because Democrats are raising far more money than Republicans?]
“How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again?” (NYT, Frank Bruni, October 29) beautifully summarizes the pain that coastal elites suffer because, by an accident of geography, they are sharing a country with Deplorables and, as my Dutch friend points out, forgot to take away the Deplorables’ right to vote.
It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.
I was putting too much trust in Americans.
I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.
We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.
Except, it turned out, we weren’t.
“We” in this case means people who don’t live in Manhattan and work for the New York Times, presumably. The Deplorables are far more deplorable than the sensitive writer could have conceived:
And it was a populace I didn’t recognize, or at least didn’t want to.
Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower — or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.
And did the Deplorables see the light when the New York Times published material from Anonymous, a “senior administration official” who turned out to have no decision-making power at all (he does not look old enough to vote!).
In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.
No! There are still people in this country who prefer Donald Trump to the possibility of President Biden and/or President Harris.
This Times piece is worth reading, in my opinion, because it eloquently expresses what so many elites have been feeling. If God loves them, how could he/she/ze/they have dumped them into a redneck-filled land rather than some place where at least those without advanced credentials would recognize their intellectual superiority?
Exhibit A, someone with enough money to buy a Lexus, but without the sophistication to refrain from purchasing Alabama’s “God Bless America” plate:
Exhibit B, some folks in Easton, Pennsylvania who not only fail to boycott Chick-fil-A, but actually work there!
- Part of the same NYT series, “What We’ve Lost”, an opinion piece bemoaning the selfishness of the American people: As a nation, we’ve lost our sense of altruistic and moral purpose, a collective will to do what is decent and right and, as sociologists like to say, “other-regarding.” (but isn’t this the inevitable effect of mass immigration? Americans never cared deeply about poor people outside of the U.S. Why would they suddenly begin to care about tens or hundreds of millions of poor people merely because those people somehow made it over the border? There are some exceptions with huge hearts, such as Bill Gates, who care about all people everywhere equally. But most of us have always cared far more about the neighbors with whom we share a culture than about people in distant foreign lands.)
A signature campaign promise of the Biden-Harris campaign is to raise the U.S. federal corporate tax rate to 28 percent or 31 percent on corporations that “offshore manufacturing and service jobs to foreign nations in order to sell goods or provide services back to the American market.” (Tax Foundation) When we add in state corporate tax rates, the typical U.S. company might be hit with roughly 36 percent in taxes. Compare this to 12.5 percent in Ireland or 19 percent for a London-based company.
The Trump tax law changes of late 2017 took a lot of the wind out of the Irish inversion sails. If high corporate tax rates are restored by President Harris, though, it will again make the best economic sense for corporations to be headquartered in Ireland, the UK, or other comparatively low-tax location. Ireland has the lowest rate in the EU and everyone there speaks English (sort of). Can investors profit from a Biden-Harris election win, therefore, by buying Irish assets? Since U.S. law discourages sham inversions, the actual senior management jobs should migrate to Ireland. This should help Irish real estate, banks, insurance, etc. Under a Biden-Harris administration, an enterprise with management in Ireland and an operating subsidiary in the U.S. should have higher net profits than one in which everything is in the U.S.
Separately, how is Ireland doing with coronaplague? After more than seven months of shutdown, they’ve now entered “Level 5” double secret shutdown. Note that essentially everything is closed except for schools. Primary schools are unmasked. Once students enter secondary school they must don the hijab of the Church of Shutdown. Universities are open. Adult education is open, which includes flight schools (yay!). I was discussing this on WhatsApp with an Irish friend and I said “This is the mirror image of Massachusetts. Here almost everything is open except for the schools. And when we had almost everything closed, it was the marijuana and liquor stores that were deemed essential and kept open. Maybe this is all that we need to know to understand the difference between Irish and Massachusetts values.”
The WHO dashboard shows that Ireland, in its island redoubt, has suffered a little more than half the COVID-19 death rate compared to the U.S. or the U.K.
Ireland was already ahead of the U.S. in PISA scores (2018 snapshot). With the U.S. in the midst of what might be a multi-year education shutdown while Irish schools and universities are operating more or less normally (see Trinity College Dublin’s plan), is that another good reason to shift investment to Ireland?Full post, including comments
A likely deplorable…
Remember to vote tomorrow! Unless you’re one of the hundreds of millions of people who live in a state where the outcome was determined several years or decades ago, your vote matters!Full post, including comments
I had never seen a video of Melania Trump before and it was interesting to hear her perspective. Some excerpts:
For the first time in history, the citizens of this country get to hear directly and instantly from their president every single day through social media. I do not always agree with the way he says things but it is important to him that he speaks directly to the people he serves.
The Democrats have chosen to put their own agendas ahead of the American people’s wellbeing. Instead, they attempt to create a divide, a divide on something that should be nonpartisan and non-controversial.
While the President was taking decisive action to keep the American people safe, the Democrats were wasting American taxpayer dollars in a sham impeachment. They cared more about removing our elected president.
Joe Biden attacked President Trump’s decision to put the American people first and closing travel from China. He called it xenophobic hysteria. Now he suggest that he could have done a better job. The American people can look at Joe Biden’s 36 years in Congress and eight years in the Vice Presidency and determine whether they think he will finally be able to get something done for the American people.
Before my husband decided to run for President, the media loved him because they saw the man that I see every day. Someone tough, successful, and fair. … A man who sees potential in everyone he meets, no matter their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. … But when he decided to run for the President as a Republican, the media created a different picture of my husband, one I don’t recognize, and treated all his supporters with equal disdain. The media has chosen to focus on stories of idle gossip and palace intrigue by editorializing real events and policies with their own bias and agendas.
Apparently Melania has been paying close attention to events in Washington and beyond. She espouses a traditional (for American politicians) message of prosperity and security:
This election isn’t just about the next year. It’s about the next four years and beyond. It’s about continuing to set this country on a course of real prosperity and success. We can’t and we shouldn’t go backwards. Donald Trump is the man who will lead us and empower us to make that greater future together. Donald Trump will expand and grow the economy and keep us safe.
Joe Biden’s policy and socialist agenda will only serve to destroy America and all that has been built in the past four years. We must keep Donald in the White House so he can finish what he started and our country can continue to flourish.
And she’s kind of humble:
Thank you for taking time out of your day to be here with me.
Readers: Could Melania win a Senate race in her new home of Florida, for example? Rick Scott is 67, which is 20 years younger than Dianne Feinstein. On the other hand, maybe Scott would rather do something else in what would traditionally be considered his Golden Years.Full post, including comments
Within a few days we will know whether Biden (78 later this month) or Trump (74) will be available to work in the private sector starting in January.
According to the American voters, whose wisdom can never be doubted(!), these two are the most able administrators in our land. So… what would Trump do if he lost? Go back to chairmanship of his real estate empire? Phil Ruffin is still actively managing his real estate empire at age 85 (and was vigorous enough at 72 to marry Oleksandra Nikolayenko, Miss Ukraine 2004).
How about Biden? Leaving aside lobbying and other jobs that are dependent on connections (not to say “corruption”!), who would want him to start work at their enterprise at age 78? What would Biden be able to do?
How about Hillary Clinton? In November 2016, more than 65 million Americans believed her to be the most able administrator in the land. What has Hillary done since then?Full post, including comments
From one of our Facebook friends:
RIP, Sir Sean Connery. Your impact on my childhood and becoming a man cannot be understated. Thank you.
This led to a mystified chat discussion. The guy who posted this has been married for 25 years, works at a desk job, never does anything without first asking his wife for permission, never expresses an opinion that he and/or his wife think might upset the town’s cabal of stay-at-home moms, and is an apparent slave to his high school-age daughters. What was the connection between James Bond and the suburban soccer dad? How had Danny Dravot’s attempts to take over Afghanistan in The Man Who Would Be King inspired his trips to Costco?
Also, if Joe Biden delivers on his promise to shut down the United States, do we start calling Anthony Fauci “Dr. No”?
- Wikipedia reveals the inclusive nature of the U.K. Connery was knighted by the Queen in 2000 despite (a) living in the Bahamas to minimize income tax liability, and (b) supporting Scottish independence.