Is This A Real Political Campaign?

              It was Karl Marx who said, “History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.” As far as I’m concerned, this year’s election certainly proves Marx to have been correct. 

              Let’s go back to 1988. George H. W. Bush runs against Mike Dukakis, the latter starting off with a huge lead. Bush is a nice guy but he’s no Ronald Reagan, even though that’s who he pretends to be.

              So what does Bush do?  He demonizes the opposition by running an entire campaign around a decision by Dukakis to grant a furlough to a lifetime felon named Willie Horton who left the penitentiary in Massachusetts and celebrated his release by committing armed robbery, kidnapping and rape.

              The Bush campaign began running an ad which had Bush saying he supported the death penalty followed by a picture of Willie Horton and a voice-over which said that the bad guy was released from jail because of a furlough program devised by then-Governor Dukakis who also had refused to sign a death penalty bill.

              Bush’s numbers began climbing from being 17 points behind in August to a victory in which he got 53% of the popular votes and carried 40 states. You can read a good column about this race written by Adam Nagourney in The (failing) New York Times.

              The 1988 Presidential campaign is considered the first national election campaign that was basically won by using attack ads. Which is exactly what Trump did in 2016 against Hillary. His entire campaign was just a series of personal swipes against her, including but not limited to the so-called ‘corruption’ of her husband’s foundation, the emails, the death of Vince Foster and everything else.

              Trump also got some last-minute help from James Comey, whose announcement about more emails re-invigorated the issue that dogged her entire campaign.

              Clinton spent the entire campaign reading from various briefing books that contained voluminous research on all sorts of policy things. Nobody cared at all. The 2016 campaign was devoid of even the slightest bit of debate about policies, it was simply a question of who could make more noise.

              So what Marx said about history first repeating itself as tragedy is a good way to understand what happened in 2016. We ended up with a President who not only didn’t get a majority of the popular vote, but received the lowest number of electoral votes since the 1960 election which produced the ill-fated Presidency of JFK.  

              What did Trump do after he started lying about the size of his inaugural crowd? He spent the next three years holding more than 90 mega-campaign rallies until the virus shut down his road show back in March. And at every rally he went on and on about how he was leading a growing ‘movement’ to bring America ‘back again.’

              Here’s a guy who, thanks to Ross Perot, gets elected with the smallest percentage of popular votes since Clinton’s first campaign in 1992. And he’s leading this big, new political movement? Covid or no Covid, Trump was a sitting duck.

              What do you do when you really can’t get past the fact that not only did the pandemic occur on your watch but it’s getting worse every day? You do what George Bush did back in 1988 – you demonize the other side.

              This time history’s repeating itself not with tragedy but with farce. And the reason this campaign’s a farce is what I heard both Trump and Rush Limbaugh say yesterday, namely, that Joe is a ‘tool’ of the ‘international Communist movement.’ Is there anyone alive except me who even remembers when there was a Communist movement anywhere at all?

              We’ve known the importance of social distancing to control pandemics since Boccaccio wrote The Decameron in 1348. But when the President of the United States wraps an entire campaign narrative around the idea that we don’t need to do anything about the pandemic because we’ve already ‘turned the corner’ without a vaccine, we’re not engaged in a political campaign.

              We’re engaged in a farce.

              VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN!

Can Trump Fix The 2020 Election?

              My two greatest Americans are pictured above – Arnold Rothstein and Richard Nixon. Why? Because as a guy who occasionally takes the short odds on point spreads, I love the fact that one fixed a World Series and the other fixed a Presidential election.

              Rothstein’s plan was very simple.  Give some cash to a bunch of underpaid, hayseed farm boys playing for the Chicago White Sox. A dropped fly ball here, a wild throw there and the deal was done.

              As for Nixon, he headed into the 1972 campaign knowing that if he could just get the centrist candidate, Ed Muskie out of the way, he could mop the floor running against a far-out, Lefty like George McGovern, which is exactly what he did. Muskie’s campaign collapsed before the New Hampshire primary when operatives from Nixon’s campaign sent a phony letter to the major New Hampshire newspaper alleging a meeting with Muskie where the Maine Senator compared French-Canucks to Blacks.

              Who was one of the guys that planned and executed ‘dirty tricks’ for Nixon during the 1972 campaign? Roger Stone. And who was one of the Trump gang that was involved in the attempts to dig up dirt about Joe Biden in The Ukraine? Roger Stone.

And by the way, one of Stone’s closest associates is none other than Michal Caputo, who until he was sidelined with cancer as well as for accusing CDC scientists of ‘sedition,’ was an essential part of the team that downplayed the threat of Covid-19 right from the start.

The only mistake that Trump and his bunch made, however, in trying to fix the 2020 campaign, was that they couldn’t figure out a way to buy off the virus.  The problem with a virus, any virus, is that it “exists only to reproduce. When it reproduces, its offspring spread to new cells and new hosts.” This definition was published back in 2017.

              The point is that you can’t stop a virus from spreading by saying something about it that isn’t true. You can’t stop a virus from spreading by claiming that we’ve ‘turned the corner’ and the virus is going away. Yesterday, Trump held three super-spreader virus events in Pennsylvania, a state where the polls show that just about everyone who plans to vote has made up their mind. And he’s not winning in Pennsylvania.

              In fact, Trump dipped back under 45% in today’s poll, Joe sits at 50.2%, and the dog-shit vote is 4.9%. In the three counties where Trump told his adoring, unmasked fans that voting for Joe would be as bad as voting for Stalin, or Hitler (Trump uses words like ‘communism’ and ‘fascism’ interchangeably, sometimes in the same sentence), more than 16,500 people happen to be currently hosting Covid-19. 

              Do we have a plan to prevent any of those 16,500 corona virus hosts from giving the virus an opportunity to find and attach itself to a new host? No. Do we have a plan to figure out where someone goes after a test shows that the virus is using their body as a host? No.

              What we have is a President who mentions the pandemic as infrequently as possible because he knows for a fact that we will have a vaccine available in the ‘next several weeks.’ The fact that Anthony Fauci says the very earliest a vaccine will be distributed is 2021 – what the hell does he know? He’s just another one of those ‘idiots’ with an M.D. degree.

              To Roger Stone’s credit, when he started working for Nixon and spread lies around that would help his boss win a Presidential campaign, at least his efforts were done in secret. Now the lies have become the open and official narrative of the Trump campaign.

              Thank goodness the virus can’t vote. Because if it could, Trump would win in a landslide. Make no mistake about that.


Weekly Poll Report.

              Here’s the good news. Remember that just a couple of weeks ago the Trump people were saying that he had time to catch up. And they cited as proof of their rosy picture how the polls started moving towards their man over the last several weeks of the 2016 campaign.

              Over the last week, in fact, the polls have started moving towards Trump. Except there’s only one little problem. The movement in Trump’s direction has been so slight that you need a microscope to see any real change at all.

              First the national aggregate polls.  On October 14th, 538 had Joe ahead by 52.2% to 42%; RCP had it 51.5% Joe versus 41.3% Trump. This morning, the 538 national poll is 52% for Joe and 42.8% for Trump.  RCP’s numbers today are 50.8% Joe, 42.9% Trump. So in both polls, Joe has dropped slightly and Trump has improved by a bit.

              Now let’s look at the battleground states.  Here’s what we have from 538:

Chart, bar chart

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Joe is ahead in 11 of 13 battleground states. On October 12th, he had a slight lead in Ohio, where the polls have jumped back and forth, so he had a lead in 12 battleground states. Joe’s overall average on October 12th was 49.43%, now it’s 49.42%. Trump has gone from 44.67% to 45.26%.  So just like in the national polls, in the battleground states Trump has also moved up a bit.

Now here’s the number that really counts. In the 538 national poll, the dog-shit number is 5.2%, the lowest it has been. RCP has the national dog-shit at 6.3%. The battleground dog-shit number according to 538 is 5.31%, on October 16th, it was 5.89%. 

Back in 2017, Nate Silver found that “the more undecided and third-party voters there are, the more volatile and less accurate the polling has tended to be.” But he also found that as the dog-shit number decreased, the percentage of voters who made up their minds as they went to vote the day of the election also went down.

In other words, right now Trump can only win the battleground states by convincing voters who have already decided to vote for Joe, to change their minds and vote for him. Given the way we are setting records for daily Covid-19 infections, that’s easier said than done.

Want to know the names of two rather important individuals who have announced that they are no longer interested in rooting for Trump? Try Bibi Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin, who let it be known that Trump was no longer their man. On Friday, Trump directly asked Bibi whether ‘sleepy Joe’ could ever do for Israel what Trump has done and the Prime Minister of Israel refused to take the bait. The previous week, Putin said he would work with whomever occupied the Oval Office next year.

Trump has spent the last four years kissing the rear ends of these two guys every chance he got. Know what he’s gotten for all his hard work? Gurnisht, as my beloved Grandmother would say, which means nothing, not a g.d. thing.

Want the best line of all from the two political camps? It has to go to Jared Kushner, the dipshit son-in-law of the President who told Fox & Friends that his father-in-law had done wonderful things for Black Americans, but that Trump couldn’t help Blacks be successful if they didn’t want to be successful.

I guess what Jared was thinking is that the disparity between Black and White Covid-19 mortality rates is due to the fact that Blacks who catch the virus just don’t know how to get cured. Or even if they do know, they don’t care. I’m assuming, of course, that Jared or for that matter his father-in-law is capable of any rational thought at all.

One week to go, folks, one week to go. Get online. Vote early, vote often, said Al Capone. I agree with Al.

What If Trump Wins?

              I was born in 1944. Which means I was 9 years old when the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education in 1953. I remember it very well because until 1954, I was a student in a segregated school whose student body then became more Black than White within one year.

              I didn’t attend a public school in Louisiana, or Alabama, or one of those Southern states. My grammar school, West Elementary, was located on Farragut Avenue between 13th Street and 14th Street, right in the middle of Washington, D.C.

              That’s right. The District of Columbia, the seat of the Federal Government, was segregated not by custom but by law. I lived less than three miles from the National Archives which displays an original copy of the Constitution containing the 13th Amendment which says that Blacks are just as free as Whites, but until Brown v. Board, Blacks couldn’t live in my neighborhood, they couldn’t go to my school. Not by choice, but by law.

              Slavery was and remains a curse on this country. This is because our slave system was the most draconian and punitive of any slave system ever devised. We were the only society which enforced a slave system that had no grounds for manumission at all. Once you were a slave, you were always a slave, and not just for the span of your own life. Every Black person living in the United States in 1865 was a slave, even though the slave trade ended in 1808.

              My family moved from D.C. to New York in 1956. I went on a Freedom Ride in 1958. Our bus took us to a diner on U.S. Route 40 in Delaware which didn’t serve Blacks. When you drove across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and got on Route 40, because I-95 didn’t yet exist, the first roadside stand where you could stop to pee had a sign prominently displayed: ‘Colored – around back’.

              When Black kids showed up in the 5th grade of my grammar school, I remember that some of my White classmates began using words like ‘nigger’ to express how they felt about this change. I had never heard that word used before but I knew from the anger and fear I felt from these White kids that the word meant something very bad. Something scared them, something had gone wrong.

              From that day to this day, I have never understood how or why anyone believes themselves to be better than anyone else. I simply don’t comprehend how such ideas can swirl around in anyone’s head. But there’s lots of other things I don’t understand about how humans think and behave. We really do have feet of clay.

              That being said, I also believe that the worst thing that will happen if Trump is re-elected is that we will have to put up with his daily exercise in demeaning the office and stature of the Presidency for another four years. We won’t lose our Constitution; we won’t lose our civil rights. I don’t even think women will lose their right to choose. I’ll just spend the next four years watching movies instead of CNN on my TV.

              Friends of mine keep telling me that Trump is a ‘fascist.’ I lived in Spain during the worst, most repressive years of the Franco regime. That was Fascism. This is nothing more than a bloated, reality-TV personality who figured out that anyone can become President if he can find two-tenths of one percent of the total votes cast in three rust-belt states.

              I really hope Trump gets his assed kicked in and takes his new movie-star buddy Rudy Giuliani along with him when he leaves. But if he somehow manages to find another two-tenths of one percent of the votes in some swing states I’ll survive and so will you.

              Which is to say you’ll survive if you remember to wear your mask.

What Happened Last Night? Nothing Happened.

 Five minutes into last night’s debate I had to live up to yesterday’s declaration and I sent Joe his thousand bucks.  That’s how long it took Joe to mention Trump’s China bank account and to go after Trump for never releasing his tax returns. And as far as I’m concerned, the debate ended right then and there although I watched through to the end. 

You would have thought, by the way, that Joe was the incumbent and Trump the challenger, if only because to deflect attention from his own failures, Trump kept brining up what Joe did and didn’t do when he and Barack were running things between 2008 and 2016.

One point needs a bit of clarification right now.  Trump kept saying again and again how he had created this wonderful, historically-strong economy and he used as his ‘proof’ how the Dow has moved upwards since 2017.  In fact, since he was inaugurated, the Dow has gone from 19,864 to its current close at 28,363, an increase of 43%.  On January 30, 2009, the Dow was at 8,000. By the time Barack and Joe left office, the Dow had climbed up by more than 140%. Who’s kidding whom?

What was evident last night is that Trump’s ability in 2016 to speak to the ‘fuck you’ voter was the perfect script when you’re challenging a long-time Establishment figure whom nobody liked. It doesn’t go down when you now represent the Establishment, even though Trump claimed again and again that he’s not a ‘politician.’ As far as I’m concerned, every time he tried to pretend that he was still some kind of outsider, he fell flat on his face.

As of this morning, the polls still don’t show any  beginnings of a last-minute surge for Trump. On October 15, Joe’s lead over Trump was 10.5%, 52.4% to 41.9%. As of this morning, Joe’s lead is 9.8%, 52% to 42.3%.  In 2016, the national aggregate polls had Hillary up by 45.3% to 39.3%, a gap of  6%. But note that almost 16% of respondents hadn’t yet made up their minds. But nine days before the actual election on November 8th, Hillary was still at 45% but Trump was at almost 41%, and 4 days before the election, he had narrowed the gap to less than 4%. And there were still 13% Sedaris dog-shit voters out there.

I don’t see any kind of movement like that this time around, and neither do polling professionals who have a lot more experience than me. None other than one of the GOP’s most heralded pollsters, Frank Luntz, predicted yesterday that Trump simply doesn’t have enough time to catch up.

Luntz also made the point that in the final statement by both Trump and Biden, the latter talked about bringing the country ‘together,’ the former just went through some usual attacks on Biden again. This script worked for Trump in 2016 because he truly was an outsider. So this time around Trump changed his delivery style somewhat but the message was the same.

Last point: When they started arguing about medical care, Trump accused Joe of just following the Bernie push for ‘socialized’ medicine and mumbled something about the ‘terrible’ medical situation in Vermont. In fact, Vermont with its ‘socialized’ medical-care system has the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases of any state by far. The national rate per 1,000 people is 25,657; Vermont’s rate is 3,172.

The real reason that Joe is (hopefully) going to win the election is because as my accountant father used to say, figures don’t lie but liars sure can figure. And when Trump once again lied by saying that he ‘couldn’t’ release his tax returns while they were under audit, he was just replaying his same, tired old script again.

What Should Joe Talk About Tonight?

Back in 1980 or 1981 I went down to D.C. on a business trip. Flew into National Airport (it hadn’t yet been renamed after Reagan), rented a car, and drove out to an appointment in Georgetown. 

So I’m sitting at a red light on Wisconsin Avenue, the main shopping drag that cuts through Georgetown up to the National Cathedral, and an elderly guy shuffles past my car carrying a quart of milk in one hand while his other hand holds a leash.

“Holy shit!’ I said to myself, ‘that’s John Mitchell.”  It really was.

Mitchell had gone to jail for 19 months in 1977 following his involvement in the Watergate affair. He came out of prison completely broke, discredited, disbarred and with no place to live. Some kindly, old widow rattling around in a Georgetown town house took him in, with the understanding that he would run daily errands and walk her dog.

So here was the guy who had been the chief law enforcement officer in the United States who now had to get up every morning, dust around the house and stand there in the street while the pooch took a shit. I remember this incident from forty years ago as if it happened today.

I would give anything to go back to D.C. in a few years and see the current chief law-enforcement officer shuffling around. I’m not talking about Bill Barr.  I’m talking about his boss, a guy named Donald Trump. Because the fact that Trump continues to go around both behaving and talking about the virus as if it’s not a threat to health, opens him up to both civil and possibly criminal liabilities which should be followed up.

We don’t have a virus which is once again moving towards 1,000 daily fatalities because the health threat is ‘under control.’ We don’t have an economy in tatters because we shouldn’t let worries about the virus ‘dominate’ our lives. And we certainly don’t need to wear masks because Trump knows for a fact, that masks are a  threat to public health.

An attorney who is a recognized expert on healthcare law put it this way: “it is established law that a person who knows (s)he has an infectious disease and deliberately or recklessly infects another can be civilly liable, even criminally so. HIV, AIDS, and HPV (the human papillomavirus) lawsuits quickly come to mind. A $1.5-million verdict awarded by an Iowa jury to an unsuspecting woman who claimed her boyfriend infected her with HPV stands out as but one example.”

When did Trump possibly infect others with Covid-19? Virtually every day since he checked out of Walter Reed and never bothered to go into quarantine. He now claims that he’s ‘immune’ to the disease so it doesn’t matter whether he gets near anyone else or not. And where does his knowledge about viral immunities come from? The same place he gets his ‘facts’ about everything else. From nowhere.

The courts have also held that the President cannot be charged for civil or even criminal offenses while in office, but there’s also the court of public opinion which will be convened if Trump shows up for tonight’s debate. And I hope that Joe spends as much time as possible reminding everyone that more than 200,000 Americans have died because Trump continues to spread malicious and ill-informed information about Covid-19.

As of today, the CNN poll for Pennsylvania shows Joe with a 10-point lead. The latest Fox poll for Pennsylvania has Joe up by 5, Siena says the gap is 7, Quinnipiac says it’s 13; in other words, the polls are all over the place. But we haven’t seen a single poll by any pollster for Pennsylvania that puts Trump close to the lead.

Meanwhile, Luzerne County, which went for Trump by almost two-thirds in 2016, just spiked with a 4% viral fatality rate, which happens to be twice the national rate, even though the infection in Luzerne County is below the national infection rate.

Should Joe talk about anything other than the virus tonight? 

Who Says The Election Is So Close?

If I had a nickel for every pundit, expert, spieler, and media noisemaker who has predicted that the winning margin on November 3rd will be razor-thin, I really could spend all my time at my golf club and forget about doing any work. As of this morning, RCP has Joe ahead by 51% to 42.5%; 538 says that Joe’s at 52.2%, Trump’s number is 42%.  Let’s split the difference and say that Joe’s up by 10.3%. 

As for the battleground states, let’s average the two surveys together again and we have Joe at 5% in Pennsylvania, in Michigan the gap is 7.6%, in Wisconsin the difference is 7.2% and in Minnesota, it’s 6.75%. Don’t forget that in these four states, Trump won three by 32,979 votes, or .002% (that’s two one-hundredths of one percent) of all votes cast. And the so-called political experts are all united in saying that Joe’s lead in the battleground states is very thin?  Some thin.

Right now, RCP is saying that Trump has a tiny lead over Biden, something around 1/10th of 1 percent, in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. In the last week, guess where Trump’s held all those bullshit rallies? I say ‘bullshit’ because in their debate, Trump claimed that he was drawing crowds of 35,000 people, when in fact the events were pulling in around 3,500 mostly unmasked fans.

Trump held events in Nevada last week, as well as in Florida. Today he’s going to North Carolina. But Joe doesn’t need Nevada, Florida, or North Carolina. He only needs Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota plus New Hampshire, where right how he enjoys a double-digit lead.

Every pollster always says that their poll results should be taken with a ‘margin of error’ of 3%. That’s fine, except for this. First, the 3-point error margin is arrived at with about as much scientific certainty as what my late mother-in-law would have referred to as hai cock and a bubba, meaning there’s nothing certain about it at all.

And even if there is some numerical validity to the 3-point spread, how come it’s only used in one way? How come none of the so-called political experts take Joe’s national lead of 10 percent and say that he may be leading by as much as 13 percent? If Joe were to rack up a national vote that was 13 percent higher than Trump, it would be the biggest landslide since Reagan’s re-election in 1984.

Just for the heck of it, let’s give Joe every battleground state where the margin either way is right now under 3 percent. Joe ends up with 373 electoral votes. Not 273, which is one vote more than he needs. Three hundred and seventy-three electoral votes. The last President to hit that number was George Bush in 1988. 

Oh no. This can’t happen. There’s no chance. Says who? The same experts who keep telling us that we shouldn’t underestimate another last-minute surge for Trump?

Take a look at the details from the last New York Times/Siena poll, a national poll which is generally regarded as being the best and most accurate poll published each week. This poll has Joe leading Trump by 51% to 40%, with the Libertarians and ‘other’ candidates getting 3% and 6% still haven’t made up their minds.

But what happens if we take the 3% error margin and assign those votes to Joe? What if the 48%-47% split in Trump’s favor on who would do a better job of managing the economy was a 50%-45% margin for Joe? Forget who would do a better job dealing with the virus – Joe’s already 12 points ahead, 52% to 40%.

No survey can ever clearly catch what and how people will behave when the veritable push finally comes to the veritable shove. I can only hope that the media has more invested in making the contest appear close because otherwise everyone would tune out and the click-rate would collapse.

Let’s hope this explains why everyone keeps saying that the race is so close.

How Accurate Are The Polls?

If I weren’t so spooked by what happened in 2016, I would assume at this point that the 2020 election is over and done. But being Jewish first of all means that I suffer from a congenital conditions known as kayn ayin hara, which means beware of the evil eye.  I’m also something of a compulsive analyst of data, a combination of having been raised by a father who was an accountant and a college minor in stat.

Here are the numbers today: In the national polls, Joe has a 10.3% lead (52.2% versus 42%) in 538; in RCP his lead is 8.6% (51.1% versus 42.5%). A week ago Joe was at 52.4% in the 538 aggregate, and 51.6% in RCP’s aggregate poll. Slightly down in one, slightly up in the other. In other words, basically the same.

Where things get a little dicey is in the must-win states.  Here is where Joe sat on October 13, RCP in blue, 538 in red:

Here is where Joe stands today, again RCP in blue, 538 in red:

Note that a week ago, 538 had Joe above the magic 51% mark in 3 of 4 states. Note that today he’s at 51% in only 1 of 4 states. RCP had Joe at or above 50% in 3 of 4 states on October 13; now he’s hit that mark in only 1 of 4 states. So the race has ‘tightened,’ which is what all the media people would like you to believe. Because if you didn’t believe it, why bother to tune into their shows? Better watch the jewelry auction or how to cook fat-free food.

The good news is that the slight decline in Joe’s must-win states has not been matched by an increase for Trump. He has gone up in Pennsylvania from 43.8% to 45% in the 538 number, but in the other 3 crucial states, Trump’s either the same (MN) or slightly below where he was on October 13. As for the results from RCP, Trump’s down slightly in Michigan, and up a bit in MN, WI, and PA. If the statewide polls continue to move for the next two weeks the way they moved in the last week, Joe easily wins all 4 states.

Despite what is usually said about the lack of valid statewide polls in 2016, this belief is only partially true. In Michigan, for example, Hillary went into the last week with a 7-point lead. But the dog shit number was still above 7%. In Pennsylvania, statewide polls gave Hillary a 5 or 6-point lead, but the dog-shit number was between 8 and 10 percent. This is why I never discuss the polls without reminding my readers that what counts most of all are the respondents who haven’t made up their mind, if they have a mind, for how they are going to vote.

Pardon my sarcasm, but if you still haven’t figured out what a disaster Trump would be if he held onto the Oval Office for another four years, you probably don’t have a mind, or at least not a functioning mind.

The biggest problem with any attitudinal poll is that many respondents haven’t necessarily thought about the issue for the first time until the moment they pick up the phone. So to compensate for this problem, the pollsters analyze as much previous data as possible, tie the results to the various identifier categories they have on each voter (age, gender, race, income, etc.) and compare the most recent answers to the way this particular individual voted in the past.

This year, according to Nate Silver, most pollsters are paying more attention to educational attainment for voters because they believe that the non-college voting population was undercounted in 2016.

In the 2016 exit polls, voters who never went to college went for Trump by 51% to 45%. But voters whose annual income was less than $50,000 went for Hillary by 52% to 42%. So how do these numbers explain the fact that Trump won Pennsylvania and Michigan by a grand total of 65,000 out of 10 million votes cast in those 2 states? Sorry Nate, it doesn’t.

Can we trust the polls this time around? It really won’t matter what the polls say if our side makes sure to get out the vote.

What Do The Polls Say Today?

Okay folks. Here it is. The last 14 days.  And like it or not, there’s still a chance that Trump could wind up with a big W on November 4th, or whenever they finish counting the votes. But the chance of this happening as of today (but not necessarily tomorrow) are slim to none, and even his own campaign staff are beginning to look for other jobs.

That being said, I always start looking over my shoulder during the last several weeks of any political campaign because no matter how accurate the pollsters all claim to be, the moment that someone starts using regression analysis to predict results, you’re in something of a la-la land, whether you like it or not.

Regression analysis is fine when you want to explain or illustrate how two or more trends moved against each other over time. But it’s not all that accurate or reliable when you use regression methodologies to predict the outcome of any event before the event takes place. And the reason for this lack of reliability is very simple – there’s always a chance that the particular event will turn out to be what Nassim Taleb first called a ‘black swan.’

And no matter how unique and rare the appearance of the black swan happens to be, it happens and there’s no way to predict when it might happen again.

In compiling this week’s report on pre-election polls, I thought I would double down on the possibility that what I have been describing to date might turn out to be totally and completely wrong. So this week I’m going to give you the national and swing-state numbers from two aggregators, Nate Silver’s 538 and the independent political blog, RCP.

It turns out that both aggregate national polls ended up at just about the same number in 2016, with Hillary coming out slightly under 3% more than Trump, which is exactly where things ended up. Both polls also had basically the same odds of a Clinton win on the eve of the election itself, with 538 saying that she was 71% in the bag and RCP outing her number at 69%.

One more point before I give you the numbers. All the pollsters today have Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin as a Democratic ‘lean.’ All the pollsters had the same three states leaning blue in 2016. All three states ended up going to Trump by a total margin of less than 2/10ths of 1 percent.

Here are the battleground numbers from 538, Joe blue and Trump red:

Here are the numbers from RCP:

With the exception of New Hampshire, the numbers from 538 look better for Joe than the numbers from RCP.  The difference isn’t all that great, except that Joe has hit the magic 50%-mark in 6 battleground states according to 538, he’s only at 50% in 3 battleground states according to RCP.

Taken together, Joe’s battleground average in the 538 polls is 49.52%, but in the RCP overall average his number is 48.52% – Trump is 4 points behind (44.8) according to 538, the polls from RCP have him only 3 points behind at 45.08. I know it’s only a nit here and a nit there, but let’s not forget the size of Trump’s winning margin back in 2016.

For me, here’s the most worrisome point in these two aggregate results. The dog shit number from 538 is 5.61, it was 5.89 last week. That’s a good thing to see. But the RCP dog shit number is 6.4, which means that at least half of the dog-shit still haven’t made up their minds. If all those dummies go for Trump, he could win again. At least that’s what we see in the RCP polls, the 538 numbers are somewhat more positive for Joe.

The point is this. Nothing’s done until it’s done. Which means we all have serious work to do for the next two weeks. Money, phone calls, ZOOM, whatever it is. Do it. Just do it.

The Accidental President.

              As of yesterday, the RCP national aggregate poll has Joe at 51.3% and Trump at 42.4%, a gap of 8.9 points. The 538 aggregate poll scores it 52.4% for Joe, 41.9% for Trump, a gap of 10.6 points. Take your pick. Either way, Biden is doing a lot better this time around than Clinton was doing in 2016.

              On October 17, 2016 the RCP national aggregate poll had Clinton at 46.2% and Trump at  Clinton got 48.8% of the popular vote, Trump ended up with 46.09%, the increase in Trump’s number coming largely from Libertarian voters who decided at the last moment not to waste their vote.

              Why have we put up with Trump for the last four years? Because he won the electoral votes in 3 states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – which have delivered their electoral votes to the Democratic in every national election since 1992. Move those 46 electoral votes from Trump to Hillary in 2016 and guess who would be running for re-election on the blue line?

              That’s kind of depressing isn’t it? Wait a minute – it gets worse. Add up the votes cast for Hillary in those 3 states, then add up the votes for Trump and here’s what you get: 6,577,816 versus 6,655,560, a difference of 77,744 votes. What did these 77,744 Republican voters accomplish in 2016? They gave Trump 46 electoral votes without which he would have ended up 14 electoral votes short of what he needed to win.

              Want to get a little more depressed? The difference between what Trump got in those 3 states and what we got was – ready? – less than two-tenths of 1 percent of the total votes cast in those states. We have had to put up with the most vulgar, racist, divisive, insulting, stupid and reckless rhetoric ever to come out of the mouth of any President because we, that’s right – we, couldn’t figure out how to convince 77,000 voters in three states that a vote for Trump was the wrong thing to do.

This morning, our friends at The (failing) New York Times seem to have finally figured this out. They posted a story which details how and why voters who didn’t vote for Hillary in 2016 are going to vote for Joe. And in every case, what they are saying is that they simply didn’t like Hillary because she was too arrogant, too distant, too this and too that. Fine. That was a reason to vote for Trump?

It’s not as if Trump made any attempt back in 2016 to hide who he was. He couldn’t wait to jump off the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his campaign by making sure that everyone knew he was going to pander to the lowest emotional and intellectual human denominators . And four years later, he’s still trying to wrap a campaign around the idea of ‘locking them up.’

So here’s the bottom line. Trump was and is an accidental President. For all the post-election talk about a new, populist wave, a disinformation Russian campaign, a this and a that, Trump won because we let him win, and it better not happen again.

Because if it does, in 2024 God willing, this yellow-dog Democrat since 1968 will vote for the GOP.