Electoral Math -- The Final Stretch

[ Posted Monday, October 26th, 2020 – 18:38 UTC ]

Welcome to our penultimate Electoral Math column. Next Monday, I will post my own final picks for the 2020 presidential election, for better or for worse. And I promise, in the final column, there will be no tossup states at all -- I'll make a prediction even for those I've got to flip a coin to decide.

The biggest campaign news of the past week was the second and final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. As a measure of how Trump has normalized political chaos, the big takeaway from the debate was that Trump behaved normally. Which was, of course, shocking (for him).

Did it move the needle at all? That remains doubtful. Polls taken after the debate showed the public thought Biden was the clear winner, although Team Trump thought it landed a knockout blow by getting Biden to say he was going to "transition away" from fossil fuels. Trump even crowed about this during the debate itself, asking voters in Texas and Pennsylvania whether they had just heard that.

But once again, overshadowing all of politics was the coronavirus pandemic. The United States hit their highest day of new infections since the pandemic began, and Midwestern states are getting dangerously close to running out of hospital beds. To underscore the seriousness of the "third wave" of the virus hitting the country, several people who work closely with Mike Pence tested positive.

Last week I discussed this emerging dynamic:

The biggest unknown, at this point, is really how bad the next wave of the pandemic will become in the next two weeks. If daily cases start posting higher-than-ever numbers (roughly 75,000 cases a day or worse), then this could be very bad news for Trump. If Trump sticks to his: "we're turning the corner" line while Biden counters it (as he has recently been doing) with: "we're not turning a corner -- instead Trump has gone around the bend," then it's going to be painfully obvious which candidate is living in the real world and which is trapped inside some fantasy of his own creation.

We have now passed that point -- the new worst-day-ever mark is now over 80,000 cases a day. And Team Trump continues to double down on the gaslighting. "Everything's fine, pay no attention to all those tens of thousands of people getting sick" is -- amazingly -- Donald Trump's closing campaign message. It's all the media lying to everyone, according to Trump. As I predicted, this may be the real "October surprise" -- and one that is quite obviously beyond Trump's control.

Of course, conservatives are celebrating confirming a new Supreme Court justice, but what they may not have factored in is that because they rushed this Senate vote before the election, it is now a done deal. Nothing will change no matter how anyone votes, in other words. They can't dangle it as a post-election treat anymore. So it's doubtful if it'll move anyone's vote. It may motivate more Republicans to actually cast a ballot, but then again the backlash against the nomination may motivate more Democrats to vote.

But we've got a lot to get through today (including a fun surprise at the end), so let's just dive right in. All of our data comes (as always) from the incomparable website, which provides polling information for the presidential race in the only way it really matters -- state by state. National polls mean nothing to the Electoral College, which is why we write these columns in the first place. But we simply wouldn't be able to without the trove of polling data from

We begin with an overall look at the two candidates. Our first chart shows the Electoral Votes (EV) for both candidates, relative to each other. Biden starts from the bottom and Trump starts from the top. Whichever candidate's color crosses the 50 percent line in the middle should win, if all the polling is correct.

Electoral Math By Percent

[Click on any of theses graphs to see larger-scale versions.]

There was a decent amount of activity this week, which started at the end of a little plateau. The first day, Georgia moved from Biden's column to Trump's. The next day, however, Ohio flipped from Trump's column to Biden's. The day after that, Ohio flipped right back again to Trump, while Texas moved from Trump to being perfectly Tied.

But the rollercoaster ride wasn't over yet. The next day, Texas moved out of Tied into Biden's column, while Georgia moved back to Tied. Things stayed the same for a few days, until today, when Georgia moved back into Trump's column.

The net result for the week was that Biden lost Georgia's 16 EV, while picking up 38 EV from Texas, for an overall gain of 22 EV. Biden's total went from 356 EV at the start down to 340 EV, then finally up to 378 EV. Trump began with 182 EV, dropped all the way down to 144 EV, and then recovered somewhat at the end, to finish at 160 EV.

By the percentages, Biden clearly had the better week. He now has a whopping 70 percent of the Electoral College in his column, while Trump sank down to only 30 percent. This was down from the perfect one-third/two-thirds split of last week. But -- and it's an awfully big caveat -- Biden's number currently includes Texas, while actually winning the state is in no way guaranteed.

So let's take a look at a more-granular breakdown of Biden's relative strength in all the states. The categories are: "Strong" (10 points up in the polls or better), "Weak" (from 5 to 10 points up), and "Barely" (less than a 5-point lead).

Biden Electoral Math

Over the past week, Biden's topline number has bounced down, up , down, and then way up again. However, when you look closer you can see that where it counts Biden has been pretty stable. Pennsylvania wobbled from Weak Biden to only Barely Biden, but it was just one day's poll and by the next day subsequent polls firmed things back up again. For one glorious day, both Michigan and Minnesota moved from Weak Biden to Strong Biden, but then the very next day returned to where they had been. Once these two spikes (one up, one down) reversed themselves, both Biden's Strong and Weak numbers remained exactly where they had started. Biden's Barely numbers moved a lot more, as he lost Georgia and then picked up Texas. Ohio also moved into Barely Biden, but only for one day before moving back to Trump.

For the week, Biden began with 217 EV in Strong. This moved up to 243 EV for that one glorious day, but then fell right back again to 217 EV. Biden's Weak numbers went from 62 EV down to 36 EV and then right back to 62 EV, for no net change for the period in either category. Biden did improve in Barely, moving from 77 EV down to 61 EV, then back to 77 EV, back to 61 EV, before finally (with the addition of Texas) racing back up to finish at 99 EV.

The line I watch closest, however, is the "Strong Plus Weak" line. While there was no overall change here, what I'm wondering is whether Biden can move any of his Barely states up in the final week of the campaign. Such movement would indicate a last-minute surge for Biden, so I'll be watching this very closely. Of the states currently in this category (Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas), the two most likely to make such a move -- based on polling performance all year long -- seem to be Arizona and Florida. Arizona may be the harder of the two right now, but you can bet I'll be watching the numbers out of Florida like a hawk for the next week.

Let's take a look at how Biden's Strong Plus Weak line stacks up against the previous three Democratic presidential races.

Democrats Strong/Weak

As noted, Biden neither improved nor fell back in Strong Plus Weak, with the exception of a one-day dip due to one weak poll in Pennsylvania. However, this dip moved Biden to his lowest point of the entire campaign in this category, at only 259 EV. His previous low had been 269 EV, just one shy of winning, which he previously hit twice (at the middle and end of September).

Now, that's a little concerning, but when put in perspective it really isn't all that bad. This chart doesn't show any real swing states, after all. And both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (in both his races) hit far lower points during their own campaigns (down around the 200 EV mark for all three, as you can see). For Biden to have maintained such a high and stable line on this chart has meant his campaign has been a whole lot more stable than the past three races overall.

But it does show in graphic detail the importance of Pennsylvania. With Pennsylvania (and Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota), Biden may well be unbeatable. But if Trump somehow snakes Pennsylvania away, the race could be a whole lot closer and Trump may even have a chance of winning. No wonder he was so gleeful when he thought Biden had torpedoed his chances of winning there with that comment about transitioning away from oil.

However, I'm not so sure Trump has much of a chance in Pennsylvania. Biden has led the polling pretty consistently for the past few months, and the state just seems more and more solid for Biden as time goes on. This may be my own subjective impression, however.

What would really be nice to see would be a spike upwards in Biden's line on this chart, as Barack Obama managed to do in 2008 (except for that final day's dip). Biden moving Florida into at least his Weak column as the race enters its final days would definitely sew up the race for him, because I don't think Trump would have any path to victory without Florida -- even if Biden lost Pennsylvania.

By the numbers, Biden began with 279 EV in Strong Plus Weak, dropped down to 259 EV with the loss of Pennsylvania, and then rebounded right back to where he started. Obviously, 279 EV is nine more Electoral College votes than he would need to win the race outright, without even taking into account any of the tossup states.

To compare things, let's take a look at Trump's chart with one week to go.

Trump Electoral Math

We started the week halfway between the little "cat ears" (or, if you prefer, "Batman ears") section of Trump's topline.

Trump's numbers shifted around in all three categories this week in a noticeable way. He started out by gaining Georgia, strengthening in Arkansas, losing Ohio (but then getting it back the next day), and losing Texas. He then weakened in Kansas and South Carolina and lost Georgia to Tied. But he ended the week by moving Georgia back to Barely Trump, but overall his numbers took a downward turn.

From the bottom category, Trump's Strong numbers went from 82 EV up to 88 EV but then back down all the way to 73 EV, for a net loss of 9 EV. His Weak made up for this loss, by rising from 38 EV to 53 EV by week's end. But his Barely numbers were all over the map. He started with 62 EV in Barely, improved to 72 EV, then fell all the way down to 18 EV over the course of three days. At the end, adding Georgia back again improved his Barely number to 34 EV, down 28 EV for the week.

His overall total went through a real rollercoaster ride as well. He started with a total of 182 EV, rose to 198 EV, but then fell back to only 144 EV. Georgia's addition moved this back up to 160 EV today, where he finished. Now, 198 EV is one of the highest numbers Trump has managed to post, by 144 EV is a lot closer to the lowest end of Trump's scale, so that trend has got to be worrying Team Trump. Trump saw a net loss of 22 EV for the week, and Trump just doesn't have all that many to spare so late in the game. With only 144 EV, Trump is still a whopping 126 EV away from the goal line.

The good news for Trump (what little of it there was) was his Strong Plus Weak number improving from 120 EV up to the grand total of 126 EV. This is still far less than half of what Joe Biden has in this category, of course. So let's take a look at how Trump's Strong Plus Weak stacks up historically to other Republican candidates.

Republicans Strong/Weak

Trump improved somewhat this week, but only relative to Trump's first run. And you'll note that Trump's first run ended with a wild climb upwards as Hillary Clinton dealt with the fallout of James Comey's announcement about her emails. This time around, no such game-changing event seems likely to happen (unless you count COVID-19 entering its third peak, which isn't exactly helpful to Trump).

Trump's 126 EV is still worse than the worst number John McCain charted, at the very end of his run (132 EV). It is far worse than any number Mitt Romney saw (Romney never fell below 170 EV for his entire run). But what is perhaps most notable is how flat Trump's graph line is, this time around. There have been no real large changes since the beginning of September. His line is about as flat as it gets. He has shown no movement at all, even in states Republicans traditionally have a pretty easy time winning.

Of course, the standard caveat is always necessary. Take a look at Trump's line for 2016, and then remember please that Trump won. So anything's possible. But at this point, such a come-from-behind surge doesn't seem very likely.


My Picks

After being perhaps overly-bold last week, I'm going to get a wee bit more cautious this time around. Next week, of course, will be the final column in this series, where I make my final picks in every state, leaving no tossups at all.

The categories in this section have different labels, to indicate that I'm not just looking at raw numbers but also adding in my own gut feelings about each state. Each candidate gets "Safe," "Probable," and "Lean" categories, with a "Too Close To Call" tossup category at the end. A full list of data is available at the end of this column, with the Electoral College total for each state, broken down by category. And, as mentioned, we're going to end with a little bonus graphic this week.


Likely States -- Biden

Safe Biden (22 states, 249 EV)
Last week, I seem to have mixed up Nevada and Minnesota in my write-up and in the final tallies. But it doesn't matter this week because both have now moved up to Safe Biden, so they're together again. In Nevada, Biden is polling up by 9 points, and the last three polls in Minnesota showed Biden with a lead of 10 points, 6 points, and 9 points, so it seems that both really deserve to be considered Safe Biden at this point.

However, Wisconsin doesn't seem quite as strong, so I'm moving it down to only Probable Biden. Biden is still showing a lead of 5 points, but seemed to trend downwards a point or two in the most recent polls. My gut tells me Biden will take the state pretty easily, especially considering they are one of the biggest pandemic hotspots around right now, but for the time being I'm moving it down to Probable Biden.

The good news here is how strong Michigan is looking. Many still see it as a swing or battleground state, but the polling has shown a steady edge for Biden of between 7 and 12 points, so I think it's a pretty safe bet for him, at this point.

Probable Biden (2 states, 30 EV)
Nevada moved up to Safe Biden, while Wisconsin moved down. The other state still in this category is Pennsylvania. Now, an argument can be made that Pennsylvania is no more than Lean Biden at this point, but the polling has been so steady here (Biden with a lead of between 4 and 6 points) that my gut tells me it's going to go for Biden next Tuesday. I sincerely hope my gut is right and we don't have endless legal battles in the Keystone State, because at this point it is living up to its nickname -- it could very well be the key state for the entire Electoral College (in more than one scenario). But I think in the end they'll go for "favorite son" Joe Biden.


Likely States -- Trump

Safe Trump (19 states, 123 EV)
Trump got one addition to his Safe states this week, as we finally got a new poll out of Arkansas. It showed a very strong Trump lead, so the state moves all the way up from Lean Trump to Safe Trump, adding its 6 EV to Trump's safely-banked total.

Other polls from Kansas and South Carolina looked weaker for Trump, but I just can't see either one of them (even if the Democrats win their Senate races) actually going for Biden next week. So the two states stay as Safe Trump.

Probable Trump (1 state, 3 EV)
Last week I moved Montana down to just Probable Trump, and while my gut tells me to lump it in with Kansas and South Carolina, the polling doesn't really justify it, as it has been surprisingly weak for Trump (for such a red state). Montana is one of the few states left where ticket-splitting is still a very big possibility, so at best I have to consider the state only Probable Trump.


Tossup States

Lean Biden (3 states, 55 EV)
Last week we experienced a fit of optimism and moved Georgia up from Too Close To Call to Lean Biden. This proved to be overconfidence, however, and this week it slips right back to the ultimate tossup group. Of the past four polls, three were exactly tied, meaning the state is now the closest of any in the country (in the polls, at any rate).

The other three states here remain the same, however. Arizona used to be stronger for Biden, but the race has gotten a lot closer in the past few weeks for some reason. Maybe Trump's rallies have helped him? I really don't know why, but all the polling shows a tightening race (even the Senate contest there is tightening). An argument could even be made to move it down to Too Close To Call, but my gut tells me to leave it here for now.

North Carolina also stays here, as the Biden edge seems to be about 4 points right now. The polling has been incredibly close (and incredibly frequent) for the entire race, so anything could be possible here, but the advantage seems to be in Biden's court.

The big decision (as always) was whether to move Florida back down to Too Close To Call or not. There was one disconcerting poll from the state that showed Trump with a 4-point lead, but the chances are good that it was an outlier. The other four polls from the past week or so showed Biden with a lead of 7 points, 4 points, 4 points, and 3 points. So I'd have to say Biden still has an edge here, although (also as always), Florida will likely be a nail-biter next Tuesday night. Thankfully, they count their absentee ballots before Election Day, so we will likely have an announced winner here before the night is over, one way or the other.

Lean Trump (1 state, 18 EV)
This was the most active category this week, as the two states previously here moved out while another moved in to take their place.

Arkansas was the best news for Trump here, as a new poll moved it all the way up to Safe Trump. But Texas had to move down to Too Close To Call, due to the polling actually showing Biden with a very slight edge (last three polls showed Trump down by 3 points, 1 point, and 1 point). I still believe that Trump will win Texas in the end, mostly because of being disappointed here so many times in the past, but for now it has to still be seen as Too Close To Call.

However, Ohio moved up from Too Close To Call to Lean Trump. Polling shows Trump with a slight edge here, although Biden still has a decent shot of an upset. But for the time being, the advantage seems to be Trump's.

Too Close To Call (3 states, 60 EV)
There was quite a bit of movement here this week as well, as two states moved in while one moved out. Georgia weakened for Biden, while Texas weakened for Trump, so both must be seen at this point as Too Close To Call. At the same time, Ohio moved up to Lean Trump.

The one state that stayed put in this category this week was Iowa, which has been flip-flopping back and forth in the polling. At this point, it seems like Biden has a razor-thin edge overall, but the state could really go either way.


Final Tally

This week we have an addition to our graphics, although it is one I really should have been providing all along. Last election cycle, I ended our "picks" section with a nice map from, but have inadvertently omitted this feature from this year's Electoral Math series.

Well, better late than never. Here is what the Electoral College map looks like, when all of the above picks are filled in with my picks:

My Electoral Map

Clicking on the map gives you a bigger image of it (as with all the other graphics), but if you would like to play this game at home, check out and make your own predictions. That link should take you to the same map you see above, or you can direct it to start with a number of other pre-filled templates.

With only one week to go (and one more of these columns to write), the race has entered the home stretch. Biden still holds a commanding position in the polls and in the Electoral College. With just his Safe and Probable states, Biden already has 279 EV, which is all he will need to win. To put this another way, Biden can afford to lose Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas and he will still win the race. Trump only has 126 EV locked up, meaning he's got to win 144 EV more to prevail. That is not just a tall order, that is pretty farfetched.

Even when you add in the Lean states, Donald Trump only comes up with 144 EV. When you do the same for Biden, he winds up with 334 EV. And that's without counting Georgia, Iowa, or Texas.

Almost 60 million Americans have already voted. That is almost half the total number who voted the last time around. By the time Election Day rolls around, that number could be over 100 million. This is mostly due to the pandemic, of course, but it will certainly go down in history as the biggest remote-voting election of all time.

If Joe Biden can successfully "rebuild the big blue wall" in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, that may be all he needs to become our next president. If he picks up either Florida or North Carolina early on the night of the election, then the race will effectively be over. With one week to go, that's a pretty good place to be in. And with Trump choosing to end his campaign by trying to convince the voters that the pandemic isn't even still happening, Biden's numbers could go a lot higher in the end, if late-breaking voters move to his side.


[Full Data:]
(State electoral votes are in parenthesis following each state's name. Washington D.C. is counted as a state, for a total of 51.)

Joe Biden Likely Easy Wins -- 24 States -- 279 Electoral Votes:

Safe States -- 22 States -- 249 Electoral Votes
California (55), Colorado (9), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (20), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (14), New Mexico (5), Nevada (6), New York (29), Oregon (7), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Virginia (13), Washington D.C. (3), Washington (12)

Probable States -- 2 States -- 30 Electoral Votes
Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10)


Donald Trump Likely Easy Wins -- 20 States -- 126 Electoral Votes:

Safe States -- 19 States -- 123 Electoral Votes
Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arkansas (6), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Missouri (10), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3)

Probable States -- 1 State -- 3 Electoral Votes
Montana (3)


Tossup States -- 7 States -- 133 Electoral Votes:

Tossup States Leaning Biden -- 3 States -- 55 Electoral Votes
Arizona (11), Florida (29), North Carolina (15)

Tossup States Leaning Trump -- 1 State -- 18 Electoral Votes
Ohio (18)

Too Close To Call -- 3 States -- 60 Electoral Votes
Georgia (16), Iowa (6), Texas (38)


Polling data gaps:

Polled, but no recent polling data -- 6 States
(States which have not been polled since the middle of September, with the dates of their last poll in parenthesis.)

Connecticut (5/24), North Dakota (3/5), Massachusetts (8/27), Mississippi (2/28), Tennessee (5/22), Vermont (9/15)

No polling data at all, yet -- 6 States
(States which have not been polled so far this year.)

Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Wyoming


-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


62 Comments on “Electoral Math -- The Final Stretch”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    The only reason that Trump's shitshow Presidential campaign isn't quite D.O.A. yet is Repug fear of a Democratic victory, not Repug affection for Trump.

    Trump's problem is that Joe Biden was and is the least likely of all of the two dozen Democratic contenders for the nomination to be regarded as some wild-eyed Socialist.
    As much as this Bernie Bro was disappointed that Joe prevailed, I do see the wisdom in his selection.

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Once again, my Dear Elizabeth, fear not: Trump has never once had even a 50% approval rating and there's no place to find the votes.

    Not after Trump gave America:

    The worst pandemic since 1918
    The worst economy since 1929
    The race riots of the late 1960s

    ...all at one time!

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    MtnCaddy [1] -

    Yeah, as a Bernie supporter myself, I find myself, when attempting to second-guess Biden, saying: "OK, Joe, you seem to know what you're doing and the consensus was you were the safest bet against Trump, so I'll reserve judgement..."

    If you know what I mean. Biden's persona seems to have gotten him pretty far, so more power to him, for now.


  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Biden was the ONLY bet against Trump and for America.

  5. [5] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    This is all very interesting but since it fails to take into account that republicans cheat, none of these numbers mean a thing.

    Human beings have this extraordinary ability to blind themselves to inconvenient truths. Even though some of the republican cheaters in NC were caught and charged, there's this persistent belief in the fantasy that America has fair elections. It's pretty much considered unpatriotic to suggest otherwise.

    But the fact remains: republicans cheat. Not only in their flagrantly unfair gerrymandering of districts and racial bias in making laws and regulations designed to suppress minority voters, but in out-and-out cheating.

    I don't know how many times it's been demonstrated that voting machines and tabulators are easy to manipulate. All evidence that there was 2016 cheating in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Florida that put Trump in the White House and gave the GOP a majority in the Senate is ignored. It's this wilful blindness that may well prove to be the final death knell of the republic because it prevents Americans from doing anything about it.

    But this lie about US election security is not an outlier. There's that persistent lie about Comey:
    Also of note, we are now exactly as far away from Election Day as we were four years ago when James Comey essentially threw the election by announcing there were more Hillary Clinton emails under investigation.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    i'm concerned about vote-counting too.


  7. [7] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    I did my part to swing Texas into Biden's column yesterday. Interesting thing I noted though, there were 5 or 6 races where a democrat was running unopposed, but not a single one where a republican was. Now, I'm in Harris county (includes most of Houston and it's surrounding area), so it's more liberal than Texas as a whole, but that still surprised me. 8 years ago when I lived in a neighboring county, a bunch of races had unopposed republicans or republicans only opposed by libertarians. Maybe it's the different county, but it seems like that might be an indicator of either how far the state has swung or how energized Democrats have been this year.

  8. [8] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Damn! I clicked on the wrong button. Ah well, to continue...

    This lie about Comey - he didn't make any announcement about Clinton in October 2016. In a confidential communique, he reported to the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee as he'd been directed to do. It was the Chairman who broke the rules by publicly revealing the existence of that communique and dramatising what it contained. He was up in front of the House Ethics Committee because of it and chose to resign rather than be thrown out of Congress for what were serious violations of Committee and House rules.

    But do any of you mention this? No. For reasons I cannot fathom, you'd all rather protect the republican at fault and blame James Comey in his stead.

    Then there's this other zombie lie that refuses to die, the one that falsely claims John Boehner was forced out of Congress by the tea party. Even when confronted with the truth, Americans still prefer the lie. I would've thought the Left would welcome the truth but they don't.

    I'm wondering if human beings in every country have the same problem with the truth that Americans do. I guess we must since we're all human beings and this flaw is a human one.

  9. [9] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    In reply to [6] JL:

    What is it about vote-counting that concerns you?

  10. [10] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    MtnCaddy [1]
    "As much as this Bernie Bro was disappointed that Joe prevailed, I do see the wisdom in his selection."

    I think Biden is the best choice for even the most liberal agenda. Rapid and severe change has a tendency to create backlash. Obama wasn't super liberal, but the perception that he was, combined with his race, felt like a very big shift to a lot of the country, and that created the backlash that got us Trump. Going from Trump to someone as liberal as Sanders would be an even bigger shift, and probably create another conservative backlash.

    Biden, on the other hand, is a very moderate democrat. He will be a return to normalcy, which is what the country needs most, but which will also better set the stage for future progress. Biden has a much better chance to convince independents and even more moderate conservatives that the democratic party isn't the evil that the republicans have been trying to portray them as. That's going to be super important to make their more progressive policies much more palatable to the whole country going forward.

    Essentially, Sanders might have fought for very progressive policies, and maybe even gotten some of them passed, but odds are the conservative backlash would have torn them all down in short order, and possibly set the progressive cause even further back the way Trump has after all Obama did.

  11. [11] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    In reply to [10] Bleyd:

    So now it's Obama's fault that Trump is in the White House? It constantly amazes me how the Left will twist itself inside out to lay the blame for republican malfeasance at the feet of a Democrat or all elected Democrats.

    What is it that you have against Democrats? Why this constant endeavour to make them accountable for every ill? Really, the republicans need do very little when the biggest threat to Democrats comes from the Left eating its own.

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    what concerns me is that there's generally no paper record of the vote tabulation, and the software is incredibly vulnerable to manipulation - either by outside actors or by the companies who make the machines. i saw hbo's hacking democracy documentary back in 2007, and since then not a whole lot has changed.


  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    in addition to DC and PR, we should also offer statehood to guam and the virgin islands. southern california should form its own state, and south florida should secede from flaw-duh to form its own state. i don't know enough about texas to judge its viability for separation, but splitting that state in two might also be beneficial to making sure voters are truly represented in the senate.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i feel like adding justices to the supreme court wouldn't be worth the time, for exactly the reasons biden outlined.

  15. [15] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    [12] @nypoet22

    Now I understand and these are my concerns too.


    Sounds like a good idea to me! Let's start with DC and the territories first.


    I'd rather impeach one or two of them and get rid of them that way. Doubt Dems will have enough of a majority to do it though... unless we can get statehood to DC and at least 4 territories!

  16. [16] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    Mopshell [11]

    How did you get that out of what I said?

    Obama was portrayed as a big change, in part because he ran on a platform of change (Hope and Change), and the republicans were able to leverage that into conservative backlash. It's not his fault, it's the challenge that progressive agendas will always face, simply by their nature.

    Most people, by nature, fear change, so they are going to be naturally fearful of progressive platforms unless they're slowly and steadily convinced that it's the right thing. The greater and faster the change, or at least perceived change, the more most people will resist and the easier it is for others, like the republicans, to stoke the fear of further change. Republicans did that for practically the entirety of Obama's two terms, which got the conservatives and even many moderates in the country so afraid that they were willing to turn to a conman like Trump to keep them safe.

    Liberals too often want their change right away, but they need to remember that not all of the country is liberal, and so many of them will be resistant to that rapid change and can't just be forced to accept it. It's not the democrats' fault that human nature is the way it is, but it is their fault if they refuse to acknowledge these facts. For all their support of science and fact, that's something they often ignore.

    You can't force people to be better, they'll reject you on principle. You have to convince them to want to be better, then they'll accept you with open arms.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    while we're fantasizing here, I think California and New York should try for becoming part of Canada and make us one big blue state. Heh.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Are you on the Trump payroll, perchance? Ha!

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    That was very well said! You have captured the essence of politics and progressive change.

    And, it reminds of a favourite Robert Kennedy quote:

    Progress is a nice word but, change is its motivator. And, change has its enemies.

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Will America ever get transmission of SARS-COV-2 under control and what would that look like?

    I'm hearing a lot of emphasis on wearing face coverings to the exclusion of other critical mitigation measures. That will get a country nowhere, fast with this virus.

    Controlling this virus is all about following fundamental public health science, not rocket science, after all.

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Biden has a much better chance to convince independents and even more moderate conservatives that the democratic party isn't the evil that the republicans have been trying to portray them as. That's going to be super important to make their more progressive policies much more palatable to the whole country going forward.

    That is spot on!

    And, knowing Biden as I do, there is no one better to set this course for the future.

    And, it's even more important now that the Supreme Court is set to make progressive change very difficult that Biden bring along as many Americans as possible - R, D and I - if any progress is to be made on critical issues like healthcare and the climate apocalypse.

  22. [22] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller [20]
    "Will America ever get transmission of SARS-COV-2 under control"

    We'll hopefully find out in about a week.

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    This lie about Comey - he didn't make any announcement about Clinton in October 2016. In a confidential communique, he reported to the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee as he'd been directed to do. It was the Chairman who broke the rules by publicly revealing the existence of that communique and dramatising what it contained.

    But do any of you mention this?

    Ah, yeah ... once or twice. ;)

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We'll hopefully find out in about a week.

    Indeed. :)

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I would love to see Biden be successful in persuading Bill Gates to head up the COVID-19 response and make him a kind of czar of pandemic preparedness and response.

  26. [26] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    [16] Bleyd

    My apologies, I did misunderstand what you said and I understand what you're saying in [16] too. However, liberal progress is not always greeted with backlash.

    Take the example of the 1930s when Franklin D Roosevelt introduced the New Deal. That was a massively progressive change at the time yet there was no backlash at the polling booth. Roosevelt got a third term, the only president to do so and, when Eisenhower took over from him, he too was re-elected for a second term. Again no backlash for the New Deal which brought enormous change to the country and ushered in the beginnings of a middle class.

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think the point was that backlash would indubitably occur in the context of the here and now. Ahem.

  28. [28] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Miller

    [17] I think this is a great idea! I think Californians and New Yorkers will agree if SCOTUS returns power to Trump and the GOP. American Democrats certainly won't want to live in a Trump'n'GOP America so if they do intend to leave, it's only fair that they bring land and wealth with them.

    [18] Are you trying to make me throw up?

    [23] True. You said Friday that Comey did not announce it publicly. You're the only one here who did and no-one else acknowledged that you'd said it. Everyone else is still covering for Jason Chaffetz. I can't imagine why they'd want to protect him given the trouble he caused. Maybe it's because they all hate Hillary Clinton even more than you do. :)

    Incidentally, what do you think of Biden's running mate?

  29. [29] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    Mopshell [26]

    FDR is a major exception, as his unprecedented presidency occurred during unprecedented times. While people are naturally resistant to change, the exception to that rule is when the present condition is completely unbearable. Remember what I said about convincing people that they want to change, and they'll welcome you with open arms? FDR took over in a time of crisis where the majority of the nation was already begging for radical change, so they were willing to accept whatever FDR had to offer. By the time FDR left office, his changes had become the new normal, so when his successors largely stuck to his policies, it was no longer implementing change, but maintaining the status quo.

    While there are many who are desperate for change now, their is still a large swath of the country who doesn't, or at least doesn't want the kind of change the democrats are promoting. Unlike in FDR's time, they aren't desperate enough to accept anything, they still need to be sold on the changes democrats want.

  30. [30] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Miller

    Since that's evidently obvious to yourself, Bleyd and others, isn't it also likely to be obvious to Democrats as well? And if it's obvious to them that they will suffer political backlash for trying to do good, are they then to some extent responsible for the backlash?

    But I'm not convinced there was a backlash against Obama in 2016. After all, Hillary Clinton did get the second highest vote total in US election history and the republicans did cheat.

  31. [31] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    The orange ignoramus is Twittering this morning:

    CAN I CHANGE MY VOTE? This refers changing it to me. The answer in most states is YES. Go do it.

    This is almost certainly going to result in a stampede of Biden voters trying to change their early votes to Superspreaderman.

  32. [32] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    @ Bleyd

    Okay, yes, I can see what you're saying and there's no denying that the Great Depression was unprecedented and required radical change if most people were to have a chance at surviving it.

    Isn't it odd then that republicans are still determined to eradicate Social Security, the change at the heart of the New Deal? That's like mega-delayed backlash. They really know how to hold a grudge, don't they. And if returned to power, I think they will get rid of it along with the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Also, what changes did Obama make that caused a backlash in 2016? And can it really be called a backlash when Hillary Clinton won the second highest vote total in election history and the GOP had to cheat to win?

  33. [33] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Ever heard of the teabaggers?

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Incidentally, what do you think of Biden's running mate?

    I think Biden chose well. It felt good to me the minute he announced it would be Senator Harris. Admittedly, she wasn't my firsh choice. Mostly because my first choice was a man. But, what are ya gonna do? :)

  35. [35] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Bandy X Lee MD and Editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump tweets:

    Just as those who are completely without conscience can pursue power without concern over destroying a nation and its history, those who are completely without attachment to legality, propriety, and norms apparently experience no impedance to taking an illegitimate appointment.

    Perhaps that is the reason why a justice who is so apparently lacking in mental capacity to be a justice had to be chosen, just as a president totally lacking in mental capacity to be president was necessary for the advancement of illegitimate ends.

    The remedy for this? Boundaries! It is important to recognize that the lack of mental capacity exists, often undetectable (especially when they have what Harvey Cleckly called “the mask of sanity”), and a simple mental fitness test would get rid of this problem.

    And, if applied universally, it would get rid of 99.9% of atrocities in the world!

    I like to see both a civics test and a mental fitness test administered to all candidates running for office from local to federal.

  36. [36] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Anybody else around this hellhole of economic ignorance, rabid partisanship and misguided ideology, find it even slightly distressing that our choice next week is between a venal, over-the-hill mediocrity, and an even more venal, greedy and moronic asshole of a human being???

  37. [37] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Miller
    Biden promised early on that he'd choose a female running mate and I wondered then how you'd feel about it.

    I agree that he chose very well.

    In thinking about his cabinet, I hope he'll consider Marie Yovanovitch for Secretary of State, and either Preet Bharara or Glenn Kirschner for AG.

  38. [38] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Oh, look! A Republican using the word venal as if he's never heard of Mitch McConnell.

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


  40. [40] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i don't see biden as particularly venal, at least as washington politicians go.

  41. [41] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    Biden and all his kids, family, in-laws and out-laws, are all millionaires, and most all of them never had an honest job.

    Of course, when you say "as Washington politicians go", perhaps that validates your point!

  42. [42] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    One stop shopping for today's videos, boys and girls!

    From my heroes at The Lincoln Project:


    Last Call

    Biden's Moment

    Brave Women

    Fairy Tale

    How to Talk with Your MAGA Friends & Family



    Y'all welcome!

  43. [43] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    So does that mean you're actually going to vote for Trump? Or are you simply as dissatisfied with your choices in 2020 as you were in 2016?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    i added the qualification because one has always had to be at least a little for sale in order to be successful at ANY level of politics. to think otherwise would be more naive than you could possibly take credit for.

    a politician with integrity is not one with no transactional behavior, it's one who does his transactions on issues that aren't all that important so he can serve the People and refuse to do business on things that truly matter. this is how i see joe biden.


  45. [45] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    CRS already cast a ballot for biden, and we both congratulated him for it.


  46. [46] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [41] CRS

    Looking over Jill Biden's [nee Jacobs] biography, it's pretty hard to see why you say she's venal and has never held an honest job, unless you consider waitressing, public HS English teaching, and community college teaching (which she continued to do as a day job while Joe was VP) to be dishonest and venal professions.

    Can you provide some insight?

  47. [47] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Alright -- cool.

    Heya CRS, I feel ya! Although I have warmed to Biden since he won the nomination (thanks, Elizabeth Miller!) I myself remain a Bernie Bro at heart.

  48. [48] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    I really didn't intend to include any of the 3rd party candidates in that post. Talking Trump and Biden exclusively. No 3rd party candidate ever has a chance in our system.

  49. [49] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Beau Biden was in the military. I'm not a fan of our military machine, but I'm under the impression that most Republicans consider that to be an "honest job".

    I think maybe CRS gets his info from the conservative entertainment complex.

  50. [50] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Jill Biden is not a third party candidate. She's Joe Biden's wife.

  51. [51] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Getting paid to write books and make speeches as a private citizen doesn't seem the least bit shady to me.

  52. [52] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


    I never intended to imply that Mrs. Joe Biden is venal, or actually to make any comments about her whatsoever. I thought you were talking about the Jill somebody who ran in 2016.

  53. [53] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John FC

    In reality, most of the books that non-presidential grade politicians (and even some presidential-grade) write, and the speeches they are paid to make actually do serve as proxies for political bribery.

    Do you think perhaps the $gazillion speeches that Hillary delivered to the people at Goldman-Sachs were intended by G-S to train their people on how to make smart market trades?

    And it's common knowledge that people seeking political favors buy politician's books at inflated prices by the thousands without any intention of anybody ever reading them. Simply disguised bribery.

  54. [54] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John FC [49]

    Beau Biden has been dead for more than 5 yrs. I wouldn't know if he ever profited from Dad's political connections, and didn't mean to imply that he had.

  55. [55] 
    John From Censornati wrote:


    We can only go by what you said and you said "Biden and all his kids, family, in-laws and out-laws, are all millionaires, and most all of them never had an honest job."

    All and never are words that don't leave a lot of room for nuance. I'm glad you cleared that up. Hunter Biden took advantage of his father's name. That hardly indicts the rest of the family.

  56. [56] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Once again, you seem to want to ignore the real big money man. His name is Mitch McConnell and he runs the GOP. He's openly for sale and all about making and keeping enormous amounts of dark money legal. Book sales are peanuts in comparison.

  57. [57] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Nothing like a good Keith Olbermann rant to get the blood heated up!

    This one is The 50 Worst Trump Atrocities

  58. [58] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    The fact that I haven't discussed McConnell (and a multitude of others) does not imply that I absolve them from the sort of behavior Trump and Biden both engage in. Aren't ALL politicians in it for personal gain? The old "public servant" thing was ALWAYS a myth. And I contend that if you or I were in the political game, we'd both be doing the same thing.

    That's my main point, that Biden is every bit as guilty as all other politicians.

  59. [59] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John FC

    In reality, most of the books that non-presidential grade politicians (and even some presidential-grade) write, and the speeches they are paid to make actually do serve as proxies for political bribery.

    Do you think perhaps the $gazillion speeches that Hillary delivered to the people at Goldman-Sachs were intended by G-S to train their people on how to make smart market trades?

    And it's common knowledge that people seeking political favors buy politician's books at inflated prices by the thousands without any intention of anybody ever reading them. Simply disguised bribery.

    Agreed. None of these guys pay that kind of money out of "Civic duty" or some such. It's very much "pay to play" IMO and a reason that we need Public Financing of elections in America -- to include the top FIVE vote gathering Parties so we can get the views of Parties that aren't one of the "tweedle dee and tweedle dum" Parties as Ralph Nader phrased it.

  60. [60] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Aren't ALL politicians in it for personal gain?

    No. I don't agree with that at all and the point about McConnell is not that he is enriching himself personally. He married into money. The point is that he is the main facilitator of political corruption and he's openly proud of it.

  61. [61] 
    John From Censornati wrote:


    You are confused. Hillary wasn't financing an election by making paid speeches at G-S, so how is public financing of elections relevant? Who finances a campaign with book sales?

  62. [62] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    CRS -

    [55] JFC's comments are what spot on what I was saying, so I leave it at that. Hope you are doing well; Idaho having a real COVID surge now.

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