Friday, September 25, 2020

Demographic Changes Since 2016 Could Doom Trump Campaign

In 2016, candidate Donald Trump did the best with older voters and the worst with younger voters.  As we approach the 2020 election, that dynamic has not really changed. But here's the rub - in the course of four years, a lot of people, mostly older, die, and they're positions in the electorate are replaced by older voters.  

As Trump won the 2016 election by only 78,000 votes in three states, he needs to add voters to replace those who have died.  Plus, you have other shifting demographics, like an increased share of non-white voters.  In short, the 2020 electorate will be substantially different from the 2016 electorate.  Yet, most analyses do not even acknowledge those demographic shifts.

David Wasserman of Cook Political Report though does acknowledge those changes in the electorate, penning a thoughtful article on the subject:

Four years ago, Donald Trump won the White House while losing the popular vote by 2.9 million to Hillary Clinton, thanks to a near-perfect geographic vote distribution that allowed him to win big Electoral College prizes by razor-thin margins. The key? Trump's unprecedented 37-point margin among white voters without four-year college degrees, who are especially influential in the Upper Midwest.

But as America becomes more diverse and college-educated, Trump's core demographic is steadily declining. In 2020, non-college whites are on track to make up about 43 percent of the nation's adult citizens, down from 46 percent in 2016.

Meanwhile, whites with four-year degrees — who are trending blue and increasingly behave like a different ethnic group from non-college whites — will make up 25 percent of adult citizens, up from 24 percent in 2016. And Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and other non-whites — historically Democrats' most reliable supporters — will make up 32 percent, up from 30 percent four years ago.

A new interactive collaboration by NBC News and the Cook Political Report finds that if 2016's turnout and support rates were applied to 2020's new demographic realities, Trump would narrowly lose Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — more than enough to swing the presidency to Joe Biden. And, Trump would lose the popular vote by about four points, roughly double his 2016 deficit.

...Trump might need to boost non-college white turnout by about five points — from 55 percent to 60 percent nationally — just to offset the impact of their dwindling share of the electorate and get back to the same 306 Electoral votes he won in 2016.

At the moment, Trump's bigger problem is that Biden is winning more non-college whites than Clinton did four years ago. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Biden losing them by 23 points, whereas exit polls showed Clinton losing them by 37 points. That would be more than enough to offset modest gains Trump has made since 2016 among Hispanics and other non-whites.

... age isn't as straightforward: to put it gently, plenty of the oldest 2016 voters have since exited the electorate. At the same time, many 18-22-year-olds, who overwhelmingly dislike the president, have entered. And today, polls consistently show Biden doing several points better with seniors than Clinton, while Trump's support is concentrated among voters between the ages of 50 and 64.

Yep.  Trump needed to add voters to his 2016 coalition.  He just has not done that.

OOP's short takes:

  • Following yesterday's article about how Republican legislatures could override disputed popular vote counts, a number of people contacted me opining that the recent U.S. Supreme Court "faithless elector" case (Chiafalo v. Washington) required states to follow the popular vote when it came to assigning electors.  But that's not what that case held.  Chiafalo dealt with the issue of whether electors are free agents or whether a state could bind them to the popular vote in that state.  The Supreme Court unanimously concluded the latter. (Though there was a split of opinion on how the justices reached that conclusion.)  Chiafalo does not, however, stand for the proposition that states must tie electors to the popular vote.
  • CNN has a good article about possible post-election manuevers "How Republicans in key states are preparing to run out the clock on the election"
  • Speaking of good articles, Indy Republican has a good one about South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham's "pathetic pleas for money."  Hmmm, maybe Graham's permanently affixing his lips to Trump's butt was not a politically-winning move, even in red South Carolina.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

How The Trump Campaign Will Get Rid of Those Pesky Biden Mail-in Ballots

“It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”

Okay, it turns out that the above quote, attributed to Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin (pictured), was not something he actually said.  But Stalin did say something very similar as have other dictators such as Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza:

"Indeed, you won the election, but I won the count." June 17, 1977.

During a press conference yesterday, President Trump said he would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.  That naturally was the focus of most news stories, but I was more concerned by this part of the exchange:

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump said. "You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster." 

"We'll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very — we'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

"Get rid of the ballots."  Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, September 23, 2020

Trump is not talking about the in-person votes cast on Election Day, which votes are expected to favor him.  The "ballots" Trump is talking about are the mail-in ballots which will be counted post-Election Day, votes which polls show will heavily favor Biden.  Given the difference about when in-person ballots are counted versus those cast by mail, Trump will likely have the lead in enough states on Election Day to win the Electoral College.  Trump will declare himself the winner and will say that any change in the Election Night result is evidence of fraud, that Biden and the Democrats are trying to steal the election.  And you know what?  Every last person in the Trump cult will believe the President.  

What happens next is that you are going to have Trump poll watchers and Republican lawyers challenging the validity of almost every single mail-in vote.  There will be an assortment of reasons, but the one that will call into question the most ballots is "signature mismatch," that the voters signature on the mail-in ballot envelope does not match what the local voter registration office has on file for that office.  I have emphasized on this blog repeatedly that people's signatures change over time and many, if not most, voter registration offices do not update the voters' signatures to reflect that change. 

You are going to see the dispute over these mail-in ballots end up in state and federal courts.  States have 35 days after November 3rd - until the December 8th, the so-called "safe harbor" deadline - to settle these disputes and certify which slate of electors (Republican or Democrat) will be casting the electoral votes for that state six days later, on December 14th.  

Let me pause for a quick note about how the Electoral College works.  Before the election, the Republican and Democratic parties (as well as any independent presidential candidates who qualified for the ballot in that state) identify a list of loyalists equal to the number of federal Senators and Representatives for that state.  Whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote in that state, his or her party's slate of electors will be the ones voting on December 8th.  All but two states in the United States do this on a winner-take-all basis.  So in Indiana, if Trump wins the election here, regardless of the margin, the 11 Indiana electors voting on December 14th in Indianapolis will be those previously identified Republicans who have agreed to be electors.

Now here is where it gets tricky.  The Constitution leaves it up to state legislatures to decide which electors will be casting votes for that state.   However, after a few elections, states passed laws so that selection of the slate of electors would reflect which presidential candidate won the popular vote in that state.   But those laws can be easily changed.  State legislators, faced with the prospect of a disputed popular vote count in their state and nearing the December 8th safe harbor deadline, could take that authority back and pick the slate of electors themselves.   It is not clear from the U.S. Constitution that a state governor could veto this legislative decision as the Constitution appears to leave the matter exclusively to state legislatures.  

To clarify, if in one of the swing states the vote is close and disputed, the state legislature could override the popular vote and decide which party's electors will be voting for President.  So let's look at the swing states, the electoral votes each has, as well as which party controls the legislature and governor's office:

Arizona (11):  Republicans control both chambers.  Republican governor.
Florida (29):  Republicans control both chambers.  Republican governor.
Georgia (16): Republicans control both chambers.  Republican governor.
Iowa (6):  Republicans control both chambers.  Republican governor.
Michigan (16): Republicans control both chambers.  Democratic governor.
Minnesota( 10): Republicans control Senate, Democrats control House.  Democratic governor.
New Hampshire (4):  Democrats control both chambers.  Republican Governor.  
North Carolina (15):  Republicans control both chambers.  Democratic governor.
Ohio (18) : Republicans control both chambers.  Republican governor.
Pennsylvania (20):  Republicans control both chambers.  Democratic governor.
Texas (38): Republicans control both chambers.  Republican governor.
Wisconsin (10):  Republicans control both chambers. Democratic governor.

If a state's dispute over ballots is not resolved by the December 8th, i.e. the safe harbor deadline, Congress decides which slate of electors to accept from that state.  In the case (which is likely given that Democrats control the U.S. House and the Republicans the Senate) both chambers do not agree, that congressional tie is broken by the state's governor.  This procedure is outlined in the Electoral College Act of 1887, a law which was enacted to try to prevent lengthy post-election vote counting disputes such as that which afflicted the 1876 presidential contest.  In that election, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was deemed the winner by Congress only after a deal was struck between Republicans and Democrats to end federal oversight (often referred to as Reconstruction) over the states of the Old Confederacy in exchange for giving Hayes the presidency.  

For more information on how this all works, see this Michigan Law Review article.

Now the 1887 law may or may not be constitutional.  Yesterday, Trump indicated he wanted his Supreme Court nominee confirmed before the election so she would be in a position to vote on any post-election litigation that reaches the Court.  One would think the admission by the President that he is appointing a justice to help him win re-election would obligate the new justice to recuse herself in any such litigation.  But we, alas, now live in a Trumpian world in which ethics and conflicts of interest do not matter.

But I digress.  Let me return to the topic of discussion - the counting of votes.  Let me just restate the President's words:

"Get rid of the ballots."  

That should send chills up your spine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

What is Going on With Rasmussen?

This election cycle, a number of independent pollsters are publishing national and state polls.  Each of these pollsters, usually engaged by media outlets, use their own methodology and make adjustments to correct for any expected biases in polling sample obtained.  Despite often widely different approaches, these pollsters produce polls that generally differ by only a few points.  

The pollster which has consistently produced polls most favorable to President Trump and the Republicans though is Rasmussen Reports.  Rasmussen uses an automated dialing system to conduct its surveys.  The methodology Rasmussen uses is explained in more detail here.

Still Rasmussen's polls were not that far off what other pollsters have been producing.  Then suddenly things a couple weeks ago things seem to take a dramatic turn.  On September 10th, Rasmussen had Trump's "approval index" at -9 (Rasmussen's "approval index" is equal to strongly approve - strongly disapprove).  By September 18th, the approval index had risen to +4, a 13 point increase in just 8 days.

Today, Rasmussen has Trump's net approval at 50%.  The RealClearPolitics average is 44.7%.  Rasmussen likewise has documented a dramatic improvement for Trump in the presidential race.  According to Rasmussen, Biden's national lead is only 1 point.  (Which is actually down from a Trump 1 point lead Rasmussen had just a few days ago, which poll is the only national poll to have Trump leading since February).  The current RCP average has Biden's leading nationally by 7.1.

Looking back at state polls Rasmussen had conducted in September, the results were not far from the results other pollsters were getting:

9/7    Wisconsin          Biden by 8
9/8    Ohio                   Biden by 4
9/10  Michigan            Biden by 8
9/11  North Carolina   Trump by 2

The sudden shift is a bit odd.  However, I'm not the type to think independent pollsters, whose reputations for objectivity are absolutely critical to their financial bottom line, are going to start putting their fingers on the scale to get particular polling results.

But then I stumbled on Rasmussen's official twitter feed.  Wow.  Here is what Rasmussen retweeted in just the past 24 hours or so:

  • Protesters unloading "Abolish the Police" signs from a U-Haul truck
  • A Gateway Pundit article (I kid you not) about U.S. Mail gound in fitch in Greenville, Wisconsin which ,so; apparently included absentee ballots.
  • An article that Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million dollar wire transfer from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow.
  • Another slam on Hunter Biden
  • An article from Talking Points Memo criticizing Democrats for the court-packing idea
  • Promotion of a a book titled "Dumber" about "How Cuomo and DeBlasio Ruined New York"
  • An article calling out liberal bias in the media
  • Commentary by economist Stephen Moore saying Biden's "anti-business agenda would wreck the economy"

I can't begin to tell you how weird this is.  Pollsters zealously cultivate the image of being an umpire, calling balls and strikes like they see them.  Rasmussen though has flushed any appearance of objectivity down the drain.  It is almost as if Rasmussen is clamoring to be noticed ... perhaps by an audience of one? 

Biden-Trump Debate Performances Will Be Judged Against Expectations

Politico has an excellent article today on the upcoming debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden:.

Donald Trump will face Joe Biden within days for the first of three presidential debates, and some of the president’s supporters are already bracing for a humiliating loss.

White House allies, Republican donors and some of Trump’s closest advisers worry that a recent, frenzied push by his top lieutenants to portray Biden as a seasoned debater -- with the goal of raising expectations for the Democratic presidential nominee -- is too late and too disingenuous to have an impact when the two meet on the debate stage next Tuesday.

They worry Trump has set a trap for himself by incessantly attacking Biden’s age and mental acumen. It’s a tactic the president has maintained even as his campaign publicly insists the former vice president is fully capable of a satisfactory performance. Unlike the president, who has spuriously claimed Biden is “probably” on performance-enhancing drugs, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh attributed Biden’s “quite good” performance in past debates to the Democrat’s ability “to turn it on when the cameras come” after years of experience in politics.

“Eight years as vice president, three decades in the Senate, two debates as vice president and he just came through about a dozen debates in the Democratic primaries where he vanquished two dozen opponents — that’s the Joe Biden we’re expecting,” Murtaugh said.

It’s this type of expectation-setting that some of the president’s allies believe he and his campaign should have engaged in all along, an approach they’re now frustrated to see deployed so close to the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland. The Trump campaign spent the bulk of this summer questioning whether “Sleepy Joe” is fit for office and accusing the Biden campaign of trying to circumvent the traditional debates to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for their candidate.

The Trump campaign not managing expectations going into the debate was incredibly dumb.  But then it is hard to blame campaign staffers when the candidate himself is the one driving the "Dementia Joe" bus, thus lowering the bar Biden has to clear to prevail.  At the same time Trump was lowering debate expectations for Biden, he was raising those expectations for himself, recasting himself as a great debater during the 2016 cycle when the evidence was overwhelming otherwise.

Trump does have one thing up his sleeve, however.  Unpredictability.   While I have no doubt Biden (unlike Trump) will prepare for the debate, I am not convinced he will be ready to hit the assortment of breaking pitches Trump is likely to be throwing.  For example, I could see Trump pulling a stunt such as challenging Biden to a cognitive functioning test during the debate.  While I have little doubt Biden's cognitive functioning is at a higher level than Trump's, I am not convinced Biden would handle the challenge during the debate well.  Biden better be ready for that one.

Nonetheless, the one thing I'm convinced of is that the debate won't move the polls much either direction.   Voters seem to have made up their minds.  The polls have barely budged for months. 

OOP's short takes:

  • In one of the few competitive Indiana state senate races, Republican incumbent John Ruckleshaus is seeking re-election.  I met John through GOP politics.  Even though I am more conservative than John, I always had a great deal of respect for his commitment to public service.  But I so wish John had chosen to resign instead of becoming embroiled in a nasty campaign that may well tarnish his reputation.  John's northside Indianapolis/southern Hamilton County state senate district has turned sharply blue since he last ran in 2016.  I just don't think there are enough Republicans left in the district, even in Hamilton County, for John to win.  
  • A similar thing is going on in Congressional District 5.  We are seeing Republican Victoria Spartz fighting to keep Republican control of the district formerly represented by Susan Brooks.  While CD 5 is a lot larger than Ruckelshaus' state senate district, it is also a district that's trending more Democrat.  If Spartz, who ran as a Trump enabler wannabe, is able to hold off a challenge from Democrat Christina Hale, it will likely be because of the rural Hamilton County portion of the district which remains ruby red. 
  • Look for the Supreme Court fight to help certain Republican Senate incumbents and hurt others.  Joni Ernst of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina will likely have their efforts boosted by the coming confirmation battle.  But it will undoubtedly hurt Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado.  Both are in blue states and probably the last Republican Senators we will see from those states.  As far as Arizona Senator Martha McSally goes...well, her campaign has been dead for months. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Anonymous RedState Editor Who Attacked Dr. Fauci Outed as Employee of Dr. Fauci's Agency

The news yesterday brought a smile to my face.

I used to religiously read the online conservative publication, RedState.  Prior to 2016, RedState enjoyed a good reputation among conservative intellectuals.  But when Trump was elected elected, RedState jettisoned its principled conservative writers to become a pro-Trump propaganda machine.  The intellectual heft of the publication declined dramatically, as the bulk of the writing fell to pro-Trumpers often using pseudonyms to cloak their real identity.  Needless to say, when RedState writers began writing anonymously, the quality and journalistic integrity of the publication fell precipitously

Occasionally I would post comments on RedState, often expressing my disagreement with positions taken by the RedState authors.  I was never argumentative or profane.  I just pointed out facts that contradicted the author's positions...like I have done on numerous websites over the years.  Thus, I was shocked when I went to poste one day and found that I had been BANNED from posting on RedSTate.  I eventually changed my user ID, but the next time I dared to criticize a position taken by a RedState writer, I was BANNED again.

To date, the only website which has ever banned me from posting comments is RedState.

I had always suspected the person behind my banning at RedState was an anonymous RedState editor and writer with the pseudonym "streiff."  (Yes he always writes it in lower case.)  I reached out to streiff on Twitter to get clarification on what policy I had violated.  No response.  I reached out to other people at RedState...again no response. 

That brings me to the news that made my day yesterday.  The Daily Beast found out who "streiff" is and outed him.  Turns out while he was attacking Dr. Fauci (pictured) and his recommendations, streiff actually was working public relations for Dr. Fauci's agency:

The managing editor of the prominent conservative website RedState has spent months trashing U.S. officials tasked with combating COVID-19, dubbing White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci a “mask nazi,” and intimating that government officials responsible for the pandemic response should be executed.

But that writer, who goes by the pseudonym “streiff,” isn’t just another political blogger. The Daily Beast has discovered that he actually works in the public affairs shop of the very agency that Fauci leads.

William B. Crews is, by day, a public affairs specialist for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But for years he has been writing for RedState under the streiff pseudonym. And in that capacity he has been contributing to the very same disinformation campaign that his superiors at the NIAID say is a major challenge to widespread efforts to control a pandemic that has claimed roughly 200,000 U.S. lives.

Under his pseudonym, Crews has derided his own colleagues as part of a left-wing anti-Trump conspiracy and vehemently criticized the man who leads his agency, whom he described as the “attention-grubbing and media-whoring Anthony Fauci.” He has gone after other public health officials at the state and federal levels, as well—“the public health Karenwaffen,'' as he’s called them—over measures such as the closures of businesses and other public establishments and the promotion of social distancing and mask-wearing. Those policies, Crews insists, have no basis in science and are simply surreptitious efforts to usurp Americans’ rights, destroy the U.S. economy, and damage President Donald Trump’s reelection effort.

“I think we’re at the point where it is safe to say that the entire Wuhan virus scare was nothing more or less than a massive fraud perpetrated upon the American people by ‘experts’ who were determined to fundamentally change the way the country lives and is organized and governed,” Crews wrote in a June post on RedState.

“If there were justice,” he added, “we’d send and [sic] few dozen of these fascists to the gallows and gibbet their tarred bodies in chains until they fall apart.”

Upon The Daily Beast unmasking of streiff as Cruse and bringing Cruse's comments to the attention of NIAID, the agency announced that Cruse was was retiring.

FYI, above I quote only a portion of streiff's outrageous comments quoted in the Daily Beast article.  People should read the entire article to find out how outrageous his writings have been..

***

OOP's short takes:

  • As I write this, Senator Mitt Romney has announced he will vote on Trump's Supreme Court nominee when that nomination comes to a floor vote.  Romney was not in the Senate in 2016 for the Merrick Garland nomination thus, unlike other of his colleagues, he can't be accused of hypocrisy.  Although liberals are crying foul, Romney has always been a conservative who has supported judges that believed their role is limited to interpreting the law, not making policy. 
  • My guess that the confirmation vote would take place during the lame duck session might turn out to be wrong.  Looks like they're pushing it before Election Day.  The trouble with that as political strategy is that while the issue of a Supreme Court vacancy to be filled in the future is probably good for Republicans, that advantage goes away once the nominee is confirmed.
  • Remember my lesson about politics - when one side gets what they want, that side relaxes and the losing side gets energized.  With a third conservative nominee on the Court before the Election, Republicans will have gotten the one thing the major thing they wanted from a Trump presidency. With that victory in hand, GOP-leaning voters are likely to relax while Democrats will be energized to take out Republican Senators.  I would not be surprised if 7-8 Republican Senators lose in November.
  • I find it not a little bit ironic that the only thing the incompetent Trump has done successfully in office - judicial appointments - is something he totally outsourced.   If if wasn't for the Federalist Society and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Trump presidency would be bereft of any accomplishment.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Ginsburg Supreme Court Vacancy and the Politics of Abortion

Today on Morning Joe, former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough went on a rant about how the Ruth Bader Ginsburg vacancy on the Supreme Court put Republicans in a terrible position.  According to Scarborough, the fight over confirmation would end up being about abortion rights, causing suburban women to rise up and vote out Republican Senators. 

I've been hearing for four decades how the abortion issue is great for Democrats.  And yet the Republican Party has been winning on the abortion issue since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973.  While Scarborough is right in saying most people polled say they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, the expansive abortion rights provided by that decision, including an unfettered right to second trimester abortions, is not supported by most Americans.  It should not be surprising that Americans answering those polls do not actually know the holding of the legal decision they claim to support. Even supporters of abortion rights generally do not consider the lengthy Roe v. Wade decision (65 pages in pdf form, single space), with its rambling, disjointed prose, to be a work of literary art.  Ginsburg was even critical of the decision and the reasoning used by the author Justice Blackmun, albeit the late justice did very much support the result.

Here is the thing about politics.  When one side gets what it wants on a political issue, the winning side relaxes and the losing side gets energized.  When it comes to the abortion issue, pro-lifers vote on the issue, while pro-choice voters do not.  If Roe v. Wade gets overturned, you are going to see that dynamic finally reverse.  A Roe reversal would, finally, activate abortion rights supporters, with the result being numerous state legislatures codifying abortion rights fairly quickly.   Many of those states, however, will not go as far as Roe v. Wade, particularly when it comes to legalizing second trimester abortions.

The Democrats seem to have learned the lesson about the politics of abortion.  They are not taking Scarborough's suggestion and making the Ginsburg vacancy about abortion, but instead are making it about healthcare, an issue for which the Democrats currently enjoy a clear electoral advantage.  The new justice may be the swing vote on an Obamacare case set to be heard during this coming Supreme Court term.  That is something Democrats can sell to voters.

***

OOP's short cuts:

  • It's starting to look like the actual vote to confirm a new justice will take place not before the election, but shortly thereafter, during the congressional lame duck session. That vote would have to take place before the first week in January when the newly elected Senators are seated.  
  • It might even have to take place before that - by November 30, 2020.  That's because the contest for an Arizona Senate seat is actually a special election, and if, as expected, the Democrats Mark Kelly defeats incumbent Republican, Martha McSally, Kelly would take his Senate seat at the end of November instead of with his colleagues in January.  Kelly's election would reduce the Republican advantage in the Senate from 53-47 to 52-48.  Since there is so little margin for error, it is almost certain Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will schedule the confirmation vote ahead of Kelly taking office.
  • A Mississippi poll by The Tyson Group (B/C rated pollster by FiveThirtyEight) released today has Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith leading Democratic challenger Mike Espy by just one point. (The same poll has Trump leading by 10.)  I'd be quick to write off the poll as an aberration, except for the fact that the same pollster polled the state in March and had Hyde-Smith with a 26 point lead.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

No, the Biden Campaign Should Not Be Knocking on Doors; Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Michael Moore, liberal propagandist (no he is not a "documentary maker"...please do not put him in the same category as Ken Burns), is sounding the alarm!!!  Biden volunteers are not knocking on doors!  No ground game!

Over at The Week, Bonnie Kristian writes a column lamenting how the Biden campaign is failing because it is not knocking on doors, ostensibly due to the Covid-19. Kristian is dismissive of the excuse and talks about how effective door knocking is as a campaign tool.

I think I know something about the subject.  I've literally knocked on thousands of doors as a candidate and campaign volunteer.  I have also taught a campaign strategy class.

Yes, door knocking is a great strategy - for down ballot candidates who are not well-known to the voters.  In those campaigns, the most effective option is for that candidate himself or herself to have contact with the voter.  Next best option is to have a campaign volunteer knock on the homeowner's door.

But those are low information races in which the voters do not know much, if anything, about the candidates. They're basing their decision on what little information they have.  A candidate or candidate volunteer's visit to the voter's door is hugely impactful to those voters.

Presidential contests are not low information events.  About 99% of voters know Trump and Clinton.  About 95% of them have already decided how they're going to vote.  You're basically looking for the 5% of undecided voters...a little like finding a needle in a proverbial haystack.   Even if successfully in locating that 5%, a campaign volunteer is simply transmitting information that the voter can get from literally hundreds of other sources.  In terms of person-to-person contact, family members and friends are likely to be much more persuasive on a voter's decision in the presidential race than some stranger knocking on their door.

Then, of course, you have the fact that a door knocking is extraordinarily labor intensive and expensive.  Human and capital resources of a presidential campaign are much better spent in other voter outreach efforts, such as texting voters or phone calls.   

No, even if we were not in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years, presidential campaigns should not be wasting time and money knocking on doors.

Michael Moore also talks about yard signs.  Campaign yard signs are about building a candidate's name identification. As noted, name identification is not a problem in presidential campaigns.  Presidential yard signs do not move the needle.  So what are presidential yard signs good for?  Raising money!   Yard signs bought in volume cost about 50 cents.  The Trump and Biden campaign then sells them for about $20.  Huge profit margin for the campaigns.  

Joe Biden leads in virtually every swing state, including by large margins in Wisconsin, Arizona and, yes, Michigan.  His campaign is flush with cash while the billion dollar Trump campaign is so broke it is pulling ads off the air in key battleground states.  It is hard to imagine the Biden campaign being in better shape.  Democrats have such a long history of campaign paranoia that it has a name - bedwetting.

As I've said many times before, people who want Trump gone should worry less about the casting of ballots and more about the counting of ballots.  That is where the real danger lies.

****

OOP's short takes: 

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's lifetime of accomplishments is indeed impressive.  As a conservative, I was not always enamored with her rulings, however.  Still her service to this country is something that should be recognized and praised.  
  • Tacky, tacky, tacky.  In the same press release praising Ginsburg's service, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talked about holding a vote to replace her.  Geez, Mitch, couldn't you have at least waited until the body was cold?  The proper thing to do would be for Mitch to defer addressing filling the position for a few days until after the Ginsburg funeral, memorial service.
  • Hypocrisy should matter.  I actually think the so-called Biden rule about the Senate not considering confirming a replacement Supreme Court justice when that vacancy happens during a presidential year, is a good one.  That's what McConnell relied on when, with 7 1/2 months left before the 2016 election, he refused to consider President Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia who had passed away.  Now McConnell says he will fill Ginsburg's seat even though the election is just 1 1/2 months away.
  • I just don't buy that McConnell will be able to find the votes to confirm a Trump appointee to fill the Ginsburg vacancy.  There are too many Republican Senators in close races who will not be helped by having to vote for a conservative, and undoubtedly, controversial judicial nominee to the Court.  But the prospect of filling that vacancy post-election is a good issue to motivate Republican voters to go to the polls.  I think that may really be the angle McConnell is pursuing.

Friday, September 18, 2020

FiveThirtyEight: Democrats are Slight Favorites to Win Control of Senate

The Democrats are slight favorites (58%) to win control of the Senate according to a new statistical model released by FiveThirtyEight.   Republicans currently control the chamber 53-47.  Because the Vice-President sits as President of the Senate, Democrats need a net pick up of 3 seats, if Biden wins, and 4 seats if Trump wins.  Add one to each of those though as it is almost certainly the Democrats lose the Senate seat the party gained during the 2017 special election.

I would place the odds of Democrats winning control of the Senate a bit higher (let's say 65%) and have a few differences on the odds FiveThirtyEight assigned to particular races.  Let's examine some of them:

Maine:  Democrat Sara Gideon is given a 53% chance of ousting Republican Senator Susan Collins.  Too low. Democrats are going to win the President's race big, at least statewide, and I don't think Collins can overcome that.  This FiveThirtyEight prediction is a Democratic pickup.

Iowa:  Republican Senator Joni Ernst is given a 59% chance of winning re-election.  I'm fine with those odds.

North Carolina:  Democratic challenger Call Cunningham is given a 62% chance of unseating Republican Senator Thom Tillis.   This FiveThirtyEight prediction is a Democratic pickup.

Montana:  Republican Senator Steve Daines is given a 68% chance of turning back the challenge posed by former Montana Governor Steve Bullock.  That's too high.  Maybe 60%;

Colorado:  Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is given a 68% chance of defeating Republican Senator Cory Gardner.  That's about right.  This FiveThirtyEight prediction is a Democratic pickup.

Georgia:  Senator David Perdue is assigned a 68% chance of defeating Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.  Agree.

Alabama:  Republican challenger Tom Tuberville has a 72% chance of defeating Democratic Senator Doug Jones.  Those odds may be too low.  I'd make it closer to 80%.   This FiveThirtyEight prediction is a Republican pickup.

Arizona:  Democrat challenger Mark Kelly has a 78% chance of ousting Republican Senator Martha McSally.  Too low.  McSally is a dreadful candidate. I'd put the odds closer to 85%.  This FiveThirtyEight prediction is a Democratic pickup.

Kansas:  Republican Roger Marshall is favored to win this open seat (78%) over challenger Barbara Bollier. That's about right.

All the remaining states, the incumbent or party currently in control has an 80% or more chance of winning according to the FiveThirtyEight model.  This is where I have my biggest disagreement with the FiveThirtyEight model.

South Carolina:  No way Lindsey Graham has an 85% chance of winning re-election. Make that 65%.

Alaska:  The 87% favorite rating of incumbent Republican Senator Dan Sullivan against independent challenger Al Gross is far too high.  Maybe 70%.  

Kentucky:  Senate Majority, probably soon to be Minority, Leader Mitch McConnell is a solid favorite to win re-election, but 96%?  Too high. Make that about 90%.  Maybe 85%.  It is definitely high enough though that Democrats wanting to win control of the Senate would be wise to stop sending money to long-shot McConnell challenger Amy McGrath and instead invest that money in more winnable races.

OOP's short takes:

  • Indianapolis Republican council members held a press conference in which they demanded a repeal of the city's mask mandate.  Yet those same Republicans never have a problem soaking local taxpayers to pay for every corporate welfare scheme proposed by city leaders.  To recap those Republicans' position:  Corporate welfare paid for by taxpayers?  Yes!!!.  Wearing a cloth across your face to try to curb the worst pandemic in over a 100 years?  No!!!  Is it any wonder there are hardly any Republicans left in Marion County?
  • The Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana State Republican Party is sending out absentee ballot application forms to Republican leaning voters.  Some of those applications are going to people who are not eligible to vote absentee, since Indiana requires a reason and not wanting to be exposed to a highly communicable disease during a deadly pandemic is not a good enough excuse.  In the article, Indiana Republican Chairman and Trump sycophant Kyle Hupfer spins the policy, insisting it is not contrary to Trump's opposition to mail-in voting.  No, Kyle.  Trump's objection is that vote-by-mail can lead by fraud.   Absentee voting is simply a type of vote-by-mail in which an excuse is required.  There is no difference in the security of the ballot between no excuse vote-by-mail and excuse vote-by-mail.  None. 
  • As I'm writing this a new CNN article pops up about "new reports" that "reinforce concerns about whether Trump's political motives are a higher priority than Americans' health."  Well, duh.  Trump has put his own selfish best interests ahead of the country's for 3 1/2 years now.  Why would that change now that we are in the middle of a pandemic?
  • Scores of battleground polls have been released since I last wrote about the status of the presidential race.  They are almost all bad for Trump.  Here is a quick summary of this week's state polls of likely voters, with Biden's lead in those states noted:  Wisconsin (+9, +7, +9, +4, +9, +10, +7, +7, +7), Michigan (+11, +8), Pennsylvania (+7), AZ (+9, +4, +5, +10, +3), Ohio (-3), NC (+3, +3, Even), Florida (+1, +3, Even), Minnesota (+16, +4, +4, +9), Virginia (+14), Georgia (+6), and Colorado (+11)
  • Regarding the working assumption that Biden does better in national polls than swing states, well that does not appear to be the case any more.  
  • Been hearing reports that the debates coming up are critical to the outcome of the election.  What malarkey.  Unless Biden (or Trump) keels over during the debate (seriously, several politicians have actually fainted during debates, including an Elkhart (Indiana) mayoral candidate in 2019), a Trump-Biden debate is unlikely to change the solid support both candidates have.
  • October Surprise:  No doubt Attorney General Bill Barr, to help President Trump's re-election effort, will drop the Durham report on the FBI investigation into Russian interference a month or so before the election.  The problem though is that Barr has so damaged his own integrity and reputation, nobody outside the Trump base is going to take the report seriously.  
  • The threat Barr poses is not what he does before November 3rd, but what he does afterward.  Imagine the Justice Department being used to seize disputed ballots in battleground states.  Imagine Justice Department lawyers filing lawsuits to throw out ballots which are likely to favor Biden.  Barr may be the most unethical and corrupt lawyer in America.  There is no discernable limit to how low he will go when it comes to helping Trump.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Comparing Traits of Pathological Cult Leaders to Donald Trump

In 2012, Psychology Today published an article written by Joe Navarro, formerly an FBI profiler and founding member of the its Behavior Analysis Unit.  In that capacity, Navarro studied Jim Jones, leader of the People's Temple (pictured below), David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidians,, Charles Manson, and numerous others cult leaders, not just in the United States, but from around the world.  

In the article, Navarro provides a lists 50 "typical traits of a pathological cult leader that you should watch for."  Below I provide Navarro's list, emboldening the ones that I believe apply to President Trump and his followers:

  1. He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
  3. Demands blind, unquestioned obedience.
  4. Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement—expecting to be treated as special at all times.
  6. Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives, putting others at financial risk.  (Note, this is a bit "iffy" but the Trump fundraising efforts are pretty aggressive.)
  7. Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
  8. Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.
  9. Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.
  10. Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.
  11. Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others. 
  12. Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
  13. Makes members confess their sins or faults, publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.
  14. Has ignored the needs of others, including: biological, physical, emotional, and financial needs.
  15. Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
  16. Needs to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to ensure that he or she is being noticed, e.g., by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic speech, or by making theatrical entrances.
  17. Has insisted on always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
  18. Doesn’t seem to listen well to needs of others; communication is usually one-way, in the form of dictates.
  19. Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality.
  20. Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.
  21. When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.
  22. Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an “enemy.”
  23. Refers to non-members or non-believers as “the enemy.”
  24. Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire.
  25. Believes himself to be omnipotent.
  26. Has “magical” answers or solutions to problems.
  27. Is superficially charming.
  28. Habitually puts down others as inferior; only he is superior.
  29. Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him.
  30. Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted.
  31. Treats others with contempt and arrogance.
  32. Is constantly assessing people to determine those who are a threat or those who revere him.
  33. The word “I” dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.
  34. Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly; when he does he acts out with rage.
  35. Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything he has done wrong nor does he apologize for his actions.
  36. Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.
  37. Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity.  (Note: If Trump has not explicitly said this, his supporters sure have.)
  38. "Rigid," "unbending," or "insensitive" describes how this person thinks.
  39. Tries to control others in what they do, read, view, or think.
  40. Has isolated members of his sect from contact with family or the outside world.  (Note:  Although Trump hasn't explicitly does this, he doesn't have to.  Right-wing news outlets, including Fox News, and social media have created an echo chamber that reconfirms Trumpers pre-existing views and isolates them from outside information which would be critical of Dear Leader.)
  41. Monitors and/or restricts contact with family or outsiders.
  42. Works the least but demands the most.
  43. Has stated that he is “destined for greatness” or that he will be “martyred.”
  44. Seems to be highly dependent on tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
  45. Uses enforcers or sycophants to ensure compliance from members or believers.
  46. Sees self as “unstoppable” and perhaps has even said so.
  47. Conceals background or family, which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.  (Trump tries to silence anyone, including family members, who dare tell the truth about his background.) 
  48. Doesn’t think there is anything wrong with himself and in fact sees himself as perfection or “blessed.”
  49. Has taken away followers' freedom to leave, to travel, to pursue life and liberty.
  50. Has isolated the group physically (moved to a remote area) so as to not be observed
By my count, Trump has 45 of the 50 characteristics of a personality cult leader.  Again, let me emphasize that Navarro came up with this list in 2012, three years before Trump announced as a candidate. 

***
OOPs short takes:
  • Keep an eye on a developing story involving sterilization of immigrant women at detention centers.  I read the nurse whistleblower complaint, which broke the story.   Although the media has thus far called it "forced" sterilization, the complaint makes it sounds like more like the women, who did not speak English, were duped into having hysterectomies.  Since the nurse did not appear to have direct knowledge of the sterilizations, I'm going to reserve judgment.
  • Yesterday, Attorney General Bill Barr said Covid-19 lockdowns are the worst threat to civil liberty since slavery.  I may have to rethink my position that Barr is dangerous because although he is corrupt, like Trump, unlike Trump, Barr is smart.  Barr might want to read up on the use of Jim Crow laws against African-Americans, the forced relocation of Native Americans after the Civil War, the Japanese internment camps set up by our government during World War II, and forced sterilizations of young women as part of eugenics programs.  Oh, and the Tuskegee experiment in which our government allowed African-American men to suffer and die from untreated syphilis because they wanted to document how the untreated disease progressed...yeah, that might have been worse than not being able to go see a movie with friends during a pandemic.
  • Saw that the Indianapolis City-County Council committee voted unanimously to issue a $155 million, 30 year bond to expand the convention center.  Apparently the fact convention business has been in decline for years and we are in the middle of a pandemic didn't slow down our local elected officials.  Is there any corporate welfare scheme that our local politicians won't wholeheartedly endorse? Is there ever going to be an Indianapolis politician stand up for the taxpayers?  I hope to write more about this soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Trump Campaign Goes Dark in Key Battleground States As It Faces Cash Crunch

Absolutely stunning.  Who would have thought post-Labor Day the Trump campaign would be broke (after raising over $1 billion) and the Biden campaign flush with cash?  Bloomberg News reports:

President Donald Trump’s campaign is scaling back its television advertising spending and in some cases abandoning it altogether for now in key states, facing a cash crunch brought

on by huge investments in staff and operations. 

Trump’s re-election campaign vowed last month to saturate voters early with ads in battleground states where voters cast large numbers of ballots before Election Day. But with 50 days until the election, the campaign is canceling ads in states he’ll need to win. In those crucial states, Trump lags Democratic nominee Joe Biden in polling, and Biden has more money to spend.

Between Aug. 10 and Sept. 7, Biden spent $97.7 million on broadcast and cable ads, while Trump spent $21.6 million, according to ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics.

In some crucial battleground states Biden outspent Trump. In Wisconsin, Biden spent $9.2 million to Trump’s $1.5 million; in Florida, Biden spent $23.2 million to Trump’s $6.4 million; in Arizona, Biden spent $10 million compared to $1.4 million by Trump, and in North Carolina, Biden spent $11.5 million to Trump’s $3.7 million.

Georgia was one state where the Trump campaign outspent Biden -- $2.7 million to $1.3 million.

In that same period, the Trump campaign stopped running ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two battleground states where Trump currently trails Biden by about 4 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. Biden booked $8.5 million in Michigan and nearly $16.8 million in Pennsylvania. 

...

[A]s the fall season approached, the Trump campaign started delaying or canceling ad time it had already bought. In Arizona, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, all key battleground states, the Trump campaign hasn’t aired any local ads since Labor Day. It’s also cut back in Minnesota and Michigan, and instead put money into Florida, North Carolina and even Georgia, a reliably Republican state that wasn’t on its advertising map a month ago.

In my years of following politics, I've never seen anything like this.  How do you raise over $1 billion for a campaign and not save enough money for post-Labor Day TV advertising?

OOPs short takes:

  • What in the heck is going on at Newsweek?  Today, Newsweek online published an article titled "As Trump Boosts Ad Spend, Biden Unveils $65 Million Splurge in Battleground States".   The focus of the Newsweek article is on the Trump campaign's response to the news that it has pulled advertising from key battleground states, which fact was detailed in the Bloomberg story cited above.  The Newsweek article, however, just reports on vague plans as to the types of commercials the Trump campaign plans to run in the battleground states at some point in the future.  
  • Further, contrary to the Newsweek headline, Biden's TV spending in battleground states was outlined in the original Bloomberg News article.  It is not a new effort in response to these vague plans of the Trump campaign to increase its ad spending at some time in the future.  The Newsweek headline could not be more dishonest if it were written by the Trump campaign.
  • What idiot on the Trump campaign thought it was a good idea to put the President in a town hall format answering questions from ordinary people?   
  • News today is that Michael Caputo is taking a two month leave of absence as spokesman for Health and Human Services in order to focus on his health and well-being of his family.  I have no love for Caputo, but he clearly is a person who has mental health issues and needs help. Let's hope he gets it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

As Biden's Lead Slightly Softens and Trump's Numbers Improve, Democrats Go Into Full Panic Mode; Why that Panic is Not (Yet) Justified

With the Election Day just 49 days away, we are seeing a dip in Biden's national and battleground polling leads as Trump's popularity has improved.   That has caused Democrats to go into full panic mode.

That is actually a very good thing for Democrats.  If you are a campaign manager, you want your candidate to be constantly worried he or she is going to lose.  You don't want the candidate to relax, to think he or she has it in the bag.  In politics, paranoia is your friend.   As my track coach used to tell me, when you are in the lead, run through the tape.  Do not slow down as you approach the finish line, thinking you have it won.   

Fear of losing also drives turnout.  If voters think their presidential candidate is certain to win, they are less likely to go to the polls.   

Hillary Clinton, now, knows this all too well.  Not only did many of her voters stay home because they thought she was a sure winner, Clinton did not campaign in several key swing states, simply assuming that historical Democratic voting patterns of those states would continue.

But is Democratic panic justified?   Putting on my analyst's hat, the answer based on current data is a resounding "no."  Caveat...that may change as we move forward. But as things stand today, Joe Biden is still in very good shape.    

In doing my analysis of swing states, I used the FiveThirtyEight average of polls as of Monday, with one exception. When it came to Florida, because of well documented recent tightening of the race in that state, I used the RealClearPolitics polling average for Florida.  RCP has Biden with only a one point lead in Florida. (FiveThirtyEight had it at 2.6 yesterday, 2.3 today).

After obtaining those numbers, I allocated the undecided or uncommitted vote to the Biden or Trump.  It is usually the case that, in races involving an incumbent, undecided voters break in favor of the challenger.  But attempting to do a very conservative analysis, I chose to have the undecided voters break 60-40 in favor of Trump.
 

 Here's my electoral college map using the formula outlined above.

 

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

As one can see, I was unsuccessful tipping Florida toward Trump.  But even if give Florida to Trump, Biden still wins 290-238. That's indeed close, but let's not forget, the analysis to begin with is extremely conservative by giving Trump 60% of the undecided vote.

The Biden campaign is being very smart in shoring up the candidate's weakness with Cuban-American voters in south Florida.  It does not hurt too that former New York City Mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg is devoting $100 million to help Biden win Florida.  Although Biden does not need Florida to win the Electoral College, there is presently no scenario which has Trump winning the election while losing Florida.

OOP's Addendum:  
  • As I was writing this, Monmouth University, which has an A+ pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight, released a poll showing Biden leading Trump by 5 points in Florida.  
  • What about Biden's weakness among Florida Latino voters?  Well the Monmouth poll did not show that to be the case.  According to Monmouth, Biden has a 26 point lead when it comes to Florida Latino voters, very comparable to the 27% support Hillary Clinton had among that demographic group in 2016.
  • Monmouth has Trump leading by only 4 points with military veterans and their households, normally a conservative demographic.  Of all the poll respondents, 70% said Biden respects veterans and the military while 56% said Trump did.  
  • When it comes to white voters in Florida, Monmouth's poll shows Trump winning 56-39. While the 17 point Trump lead in this demographic is sizeable, Trump won Florida white voters by 30 points in 2016.

Monday, September 14, 2020

President Trump Risks the Lives of His Supporters with Indoor Rally

Trump has contempt for Democrats.  Trump has even more contempt for Republicans who do not support him.  But what group does Trump have the most contempt for?  Well that answer would be Trump's own supporters.  Trump sees his supporters as nothing but chumps.  A "chump" is defined as a foolish or easily deceived person.  Trump believes his chumps can be conned into doing pretty much anything, including risking their lives in support of Dear Leader.  And he would be right.

CNN reports on an indoor rally Trump held in Nevada:

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, criticized President Donald Trump for violating the state's rules on Sunday night by holding an indoor campaign rally attended by thousands of people

Trump "is knowingly packing thousands into an indoor venue to hold a political rally" the governor wrote in a lengthy Twitter post. He added that Trump has "forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic." 

Trump responded to Sisolak, saying that the governor's office had nixed outdoor sites that his campaign proposed.

"This is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves," Sisolak said. "It's also a direct threat to all of the recent progress we've made and could potentially set us back."

"As usual, he doesn't believe the rules apply to him," Sisolak said of Trump, and accused the president of "reckless and selfish actions."

Trump held his first indoor rally in months in Henderson, Nevada, on Sunday night. Aides said that every attendee would have their temperature checked before entering and would be provided with a mask that they were encouraged to wear. They also had access to hand sanitizer. However, like the president's recent rallies, most supporters were not wearing face coverings.

...

[Trump] added that he doesn't fear contracting COVID-19 when he hosts a rally because when he's on stage he's "very far away" from the audience and is therefore "not at all concerned.”

Let me stop here and emphasize what Trump is saying.  He is saying the rallies are okay because he IS far away from audience members who might be infected.   Of course, his supporters, packed into the arena are not socially distanced and are at a great risk for contracting Covid-19 from others who are infected. But Trump does not care about that.  He's only concerned about himself.  The article continues:

In response to criticism the campaign received for holding the indoor rally, Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign 2020 communications director, said in a statement, "If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the president of the United States."

The president had also held a rally on Saturday on the tarmac of Nevada’s Minden-Tahoe Airport where most people were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Reacting to the rally Sunday night, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted that the president is "deliberately killing people."

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., tweeted Monday, "Trump is using his position of power to spread COVID-19. People died after his last indoor rally."

Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary to President George W. Bush, tweeted Monday, "Indoor rallies are irresponsible. Covid-19 is real and this was a bad idea."

The anti-Trump group of Republicans called The Lincoln Project tweeted, "Thinking about how Donald Trump knew that coronavirus was airborne and deadly, and *still* chose to have an indoor rally."

Trump has nothing but contempt for his own supporters.  He thinks they are just a bunch of chumps, easy marks who will do whatever they're told to do, including risking their lives in support of him.  And Trump would be right.

***

OOPs short takes:

  • MSNBC had a very good story on the signature mismatch authentication issue as to mail-in ballots that I've tried to alert people to.  I couldn't find a link to the story.  CNN though today has a story on its website about the issue.  CNN also has an editorial suggesting people reverse course and vote in-person instead of by mail because counting mail-in ballots will result in a delay in the results.  That delay will allow Trump to delegitimize the result as fraudulent.  Yes, Trump will do that.  Absolutely, he will.
  • News this weekend is that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting $100 million into Florida to help Biden win that state.  Biden and Trump are running even in Florida.  Even though Biden is doing better with white voters than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, Biden is struggling to connect with Latino voters, in particular Cuban-Americans, in Florida.  The state is a must win for Trump.  There is no scenario in which Trump can win a majority in the Electoral College without winning Florida.   While Florida is not needed for a Biden EC win, it would be a knockout punch.