ELECTION 2020 • Welcome to the United States of Divided America

Post-Election Hangover • Chaos & Questions

    icon Nov 04, 2020
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Chaos. That's the best way to describe what has happened in the past 12 hours.

Initially President Trump shocked pollsters - again - after winning Florida by a whopping 370K votes where a surge in Hispanic support crippled hopes for a Biden landslide, followed by wins in Ohio and Texas. The early momentum saw Trump's winning odds with online bookies surge as high as 80%. However, the momentum reversed after Biden managed to "flip" Arizona back to blue while the outcome remains unclear in six swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all of which are still counting votes, and while we may get some final vote counts today, others could take a few days.

And so as it now stands we have Biden leading Trump 238 to 213 for the electoral college, where a 270 total is needed.

This is how close some of the key battleground races were as of Wednesday morning:

In Wisconsin, Trump's early lead fizzled as Milwaukee absentee ballots were counted, leading to a Democratic lead, and with 95% of the vote counted, Biden now has a razor-thin 21,000 vote lead.

The race in Michigan is razor thin as well, with Trump fractionally in the lead at 49.4%, vs 48.9% for Biden according to Edison Research, although Michigan's Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said "hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots remain to be tabulated" and they will have a "much more complete picture" of Michigan’s results by end of the day.

Interestingly, Saginaw County saw a 66.3% voter turnout with 103,991 out of 156,858 registered voters.  Meanwhile, a reported 146,000 voters throughout the state purportedly were registered ON election day in Michigan alone. Hmm. There has also been a bizarre pick up in Michigan Biden votes, where it was pointed out that Biden picked up 138K votes without a single vote going to Trump. As The Federalist’s Sean David notes: Democrats in Michigan "magically" found a trove of 138,339 votes, and all 138,339 of those "votes" also magically went to Biden.  At 6 AM this morning Joe Biden magically gained +100K votes in Wisconsin and Michigan!?!?! There is zero explanation for this.

A conservative activist back in June of this year sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and 16 local clerks in federal court on claims they failed to accurately maintain the state’s voter rolls.  Tony Daunt, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, alleges in the suit that Leelanau County has more registered voters than adult citizens and that another 15 counties have voter registration rates over 90 percent of eligible voters, which Daunt calls “suspiciously high rates” of registration. 

The findings indicate that voter rolls are inaccurate and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and other elections officials “are failing to make a reasonable effort” to keep the list up-to-date in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act, the suit contends. It sought a preliminary injunction requiring the state to fix the alleged problem before the 2020 general election in November. “Daunt reasonably fears that ineligible voters can and do vote in Michigan elections,” he wrote in the complaint. “Those votes will dilute his legitimate vote. And Michigan’s inaccurate rolls undermine Daunt’s confidence in the integrity of Michigan elections, which also burdens his right to vote.”

Meanwhile, Georgia saw Trump up by 102,000 with 94% of the vote counted by more votes expected to be counter from the Democratic stronghold of Atlanta.  North Carolina similarly saw Trump up by just under 80,000 votes with 94% of the vote counted, although like in Georgia much of the mailed-in ballots were outstanding.

Pennsylvania, a critical state for both candidates, saw Trump lead by 55.7% to 43.1%, but here too most of the metropolitan mailed-in votes were yet to be counted. Pennsylvania officials said they expect all votes to be counted by Friday.

Nevada had Biden up by only 8,000 with 67% of the vote tallied; Edison has reported that counting will not resume until noon ET on Thursday with outlets reports the candidates both on 49% with 85% of votes tabulated.

In any case, Biden needs to make continued progress in the likes of Pennsylvania (results possibly could be out as late as Friday), Michigan (results may be a few days) and Wisconsin (results could be out on Wednesday), although with most of the outstanding ballots mostly mail-ins, consensus is that they will favor Biden, because more Democrats than Republicans voted early this year.

The question is will this be enough to flip Trump leads in key states.

No matter the final outcome, Trump dramatically outperformed initial polling estimates, and even the New York Times admits that "many of the state polls were wrong and underestimated support for Republicans — again." A big question in coming days according to the NYT will be why did polls again fail to include enough working-class white voters, as was the case in 2016? Or was it something else?" (Spoiler alert: it was something else, and it's called poll bias being constantly in the Democrats' favor).

It is also notable that Trump managed to improve his overall popular vote count by nearly 4 million from 2016, rising to 66.75 million versus 62.98 million, and as David Rosenberg puts it, Trump clearly has more than just a “base” supporting him. Or there are a lot of folks who feared a Blue Wave/move to the left. "America is never going socialist. That’s one message among many."

Meanwhile, Biden has not made as much progress in key areas as was expected, while the loss of Hispanic support in Florida should serve as a major warning for Democrats, with even the NYT admitting "Democrats struggled to match their 2016 margins among Hispanic voters" which hurt Biden, "especially in Florida and Texas."

The two candidates took to addressing the nation shortly after midnight, with Biden coming up first, and urging patience.

"We believe we’re on track to win this election,” he said. “We’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying the votes is finished. And it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted."

This was followed by Trump at 2:30 am when he declared himself the winner, and said he would call on the Supreme Court to stop counting ballots in states where he led, while urging more counting in states where he was behind.

Trump also claimed “fraud” and he called the election an “embarrassment to the country."  Trump's declaration prompted the Pennsylvania Governor to warn that over 1 million mail-in-ballots are yet to have been counted.

As Michael Tracey noted, "We're approaching a nightmare scenario. They're both essentially declaring victory."

Trump delivered a statement:  “Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight, and a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people, and we won’t stand for it.”   He said he was getting ready for a “big celebration. We were winning everything and all of a sudden it was just called off. “We had such a big night. You look at all the margins we won them by.”  “I said: What happened to the election, it’s off.” Trump says Democrats “knew they couldn’t win, so they said let’s go to court.” “This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation.”

“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 AM in the morning and add them to the list.” “We will win this.”

While questions remain over the presidential race, things are much clearer in the Senate where the widely anticipated Blue Wave has crashed as hopes for a Democrat takeover fizzled, as Republicans now are in a strong position to retain Senate control, which would give them a veto over nearly all of a President Biden’s legislative plans, and collapsing hopes for a massive stimulus (which is also why the reflation trade is crashing and burning this morning, with tech stocks and Treasury's soaring).

According to the NYT, Democrats needed to win at least five of the 14 competitive Senate races and have so far won only two. Six races remain up in the air. The only incumbent Republicans to have lost are Martha McSally in Arizona and Cory Gardner in Colorado.

Finally, here are some of the notable state-ballot initiatives:

• Florida voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, getting support from 61 percent of voters — which means that a large number of Floridians voted for both Trump and a big increase in the minimum wage Colorado’s proposed ban on late-term abortions did not pass.

• New Jersey, South Dakota and Arizona voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and Oregon became the first state to decriminalize possessing a small amount of any street drug.

• Mississippi voted to adopt a new state flag that does not feature the Confederate Battle Flag.

• California voted to allow workers for companies like Uber or Lyft to be independent contractors, instead of employees, The Los Angeles Times reports.

• And while one can debate if Trump or Biden was the winner, the biggest losers of the night were pollsters who once again showed their clear Democratic bias and prompted questions over whether this industry should even exist.

As Victor Davis Hanson notes, "The 2020 election is not just about Joe Biden sitting on a perceived lead and trying to run out the clock against barnstorming incumbent President Trump. It is really a choice between changing rules when they are deemed inconvenient and respecting constitutional norms and long-held traditions that have served America well for many years.




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