Monday, October 12, 2020

Trump will not win in a landslide. He may lose. If he loses, what follows?

by Rod Williams - I read a lot of political news from a lot of sources and have read article after article reporting on polls that forecast the victor in the upcoming election.  Most national polls show Biden with a substantial lead.  Even if correct those are irrelevant.  It doesn't matter if Biden wins the popular vote; that is not how the winner in an election is determined. What matters is who will win the most electoral votes.  Those polls that recognize the real contest is a contest for electoral votes still, unfortunately, show a Biden lead.  

Some polls are more believable than others.  If a poll samples registered voters it is not near as good of an indicator of election results as a poll that samples likely voters.  There are a couple polls that do not ask directly who one is going to vote for but ask questions that indicate the strength of the president.  One ask if you are better off now than you were four years ago.  Surprisingly, since we are in the midst of a recession brought on by the pandemic, people still answer that question in the affirmative.  The other is a question that ask people who they think their neighbors will vote for.  They think their neighbors will vote for Trump. These are strong indicators favoring Trump. On balance however, most polls show Biden with a comfortable lead. 

I have been feeling like Trump was losing the election for some time.  When I talk to other Republicans however, I am amazed at how so many seem confident of a Trump victory.  Not only do they think he will win, but they think he will win in a landslide. This piece in National Review by Kevin Williamson, Far-Fetched Dreams of a Trump Landslide, I think counters that contention and is one of the best pieces I have read on the topic of the polls.  I think this piece is right. Trump is in trouble. If he wins, I think it will be by a razor thin margin. 

I think a lot of those who say they believe Trump will win in a landslide are engaged in wishful thinking or are delusional or get too much of their opinion from radio talk show host or are whistling past the grave yard or do not want to dispirit the faithful. People always pretend to think they are going to win even when they don't. It is sort of like a pep rally. You want your team not to lose hope even when the odds are against you. 

I missed it in 2016. I expected a Hillary victory. I may be wrong this time too but I don't think so. It is still not a lost cause however, so Republicans should still try to win. It is winnable but the odds are against it. I want to win, but at this point I will be surprised if we do. 

What if Trump does lose?  If he does lose, there will not be mass rioting by Republicans.  I don't think we will burn down any cities.  I don't even think you will see Republicans fall to their knees in anguish and sob uncontrollably on national TV.  Republicans will act like grownups. 

Should we lose it is not the end of the world, especially if we can get Amy Comey Barrett confirmed between now and the end of Trump's term. I would prefer a Trump victory and I will vote for him, but I don't think a Biden victory would be a disaster. Biden has adopted most of the left's platform, but he is not a true lefty. He will not have a lot of passion for passing the Party's agenda. If he wins, I don't think we will get a Green New Deal or Medicare for all or pack the Supreme Court. I doubt he will tear down the 200 miles of wall build under Trump. I doubt he will promote abolishing the police. I don't think Biden really has a passion for those things.  I don't know that Biden has much passion for much of anything.

I don't think Congress will want to tackle major health care reform.  While the left may have a passion for socializing our health care system, most Americans are happy with the health care they have.  Health care reform is complicated and time consuming.  It is a quagmire.  Maybe there will be an attempt to nibble around the edges and build on Obamacare, but I do not expect a wholesale nationalization. 

Likewise, I don't expect the Green New Deal to become law.  The Green New Deal is a fantasy.  While one can pay lib service to it as a candidate, once elected, I don't think most Democrats are ready to jump off the deep end.  As candidates they may say they are for it, but most are not Marxist or crazy.  Once elected they have to deal with reality.  They will become more responsible.  They may pass some detrimental bills in the name of combating global warming, but I don't think the Green New Deal has even the remotest chance of becoming law.

Packing the Supreme Court is the thing I am most concerned they may attempt, but I will be surprised if it happens.  Once the enormity of what a radical step it is they are taking happens, I think they will reconsider and I think there will be a public outcry over such radical change.  In 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt announced a plan to expand the Supreme Court to as many as 15 judges.  This plan was attacked as Roosevelt trying to “pack” the court and neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his New Deal.  In the previous two years many of FDR's New Deal power grabs were struck down as unconstitutional.  This is not 1927, but FDR was more popular than will be Biden and FDR had postured as having legitimate complains that his effort to save a nation from the Great Depression was being thwarted by the courts. America was at that time as about as far to the left as it is today. Socialism was popular but the public did not want FDR to capture the Court and control all three branches of government.  I think if Biden proposes it, there will be a public outcry and it will tarnish his Presidency and risk loss of Congress.  I worry but don't think it will happen.  

So, I don't thing the worst they could happen, will happen.  However some bad things will happen.  Taxes will increase and economic advances by Blacks and Latinos and the general populist will be lost.  There will be an increase in inequality and poverty.  Fracking will be banned and will will lose our energy independence and resume importing oil.  Gas prices and CO2 emissions will increase.  We will ignore illegal immigration and it will increase. We will see a drastic increase in the regulatory state. The advances made by Trump in cutting regulations will be undone. 

Biden will only have two years to get much done however. The next mid-term, I think Republicans will take the House. A lot of people hate Trump and will turn out to vote against him but they will not turn out in a mid-term. In four years Biden will be old and I doubt he will run for a second term or be elected if he does run. 

In my view, a Trump loss with Republicans holding the Senate would not be a bad outcome at all. I would rather hold the Senate than keep the presidency if that was a choice. A few years of gridlock would not be a bad thing. Frankly, I care more about the Senate than I do the presidency. 

I am not going to be devastated if Trump does lose. Don't get me wrong. I like much of what he has achieved, especially the filling of so many lower court positions with originalist jurist. I like the economic growth. Part of that was achieved by the cutting of the bureaucratic state, but part was a "sugar high" brought about by tax cuts that did not pay for themselves and indebted our descendants. 

I like his making NATO live up to their commitment. I like him putting troops in Poland. I like his moving our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. I am pleased America achieved energy independence which would not have happened under a Democrat. He has tackled some tough issues that needed to be addressed. He has left a lot undone however, I am not sure he will do them in a second term. Social Security running out of money, a healthcare system in need of reform and national debt out of control are things he doesn't seem to have much appetite for. 

I don't think Trump is a conservative. He is a populist. His abuse of Executive Orders would be things Republicans would be outraged about if done by a Democrat. His banning of evictions by claiming that it is an authority he has based on the power to control health a crisis? Give me a break. That is a power grab as bad as Obama's taking over every mud puddle in America. 

The deficit has ballooned. Republicans don't mention it.  I like Trump's  tough stance on China, but banning imports of aluminum from Canada? Not so much. I like his attempt to curtail illegal immigration, but curtailing legal immigration? Not so much. Also, I think he is somewhat of an egotistical, unempathetic jerk who is too prone to speak without thinking and who often doesn't get his facts right. 

If Trump does lose, Republicans may rediscover some of their values. I hope Trump wins, but it would not be the end of the world if he doesn't and frankly, I don't think he will. Of course, maybe there will be an October surprise and he will pull a rabbit out the hat but as of now, I think he is losing. He is certainly not wining by a landslide.  I believe the polls.

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1 comment:

  1. When I was young, I always correlated what I wanted in an election with what was going to happen. It didn't. I became a realist. I am one of those democrats who did expect the 2016 election to be very close, and that Trump could win. For 2020, I expect your prognostications are likely right, or at least, 80% right. We will see! Predictions of "landslides" tend to be more aspirational than true.