It seems that President Trump’s attempts to stay in office are increasingly desperate. “Biden wants to hurt God,” he said Thursday, leading MSNBC host Chris Hayes to ask how he could even do that (?).
It was bad enough for Trump that he’s apparently lost control over events and the narrative–and the opportunities to get the campaigning juice so essential to his being.
Then came the news that Cy Vance, Jr., the New York County District Attorney, apparently possesses not only those elusive tax returns, but also evidence of fraudulent claims made by Trump and his company in order to obtain loans from Deutsche Bank. It’s finally looking as though the long arm of the law that he’s eluded for so long may well be hovering within reach.
So despite his obvious contempt for and boredom with the position of President, and the fact that more than 160,000 Americans have now died on his watch (“It is what it is”), Trump still wants to keep the job. And that’s understandable. If he loses, he could soon be facing trial and conviction.
But if he’s President, he can’t be indicted. That’s a dopey standard as far as I’m concerned–one that never occurred to Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, et al. But that’s what we’re stuck with for now–just as we’re stuck with the outdated Electoral College.
And if it weren’t for the latter, we’d have few concerns that Trump would be easily booted from the Oval Office.
So Trump is declaring the election a fraud ahead of time, his selection for Postmaster General is snafuing postal operations just when the pandemic has made vote-by-mail more essential than ever, crazy lawsuits are being filed to prevent state officials from sending vote-by-mail ballot applications to citizens, and now Republican operatives are pushing an unstable hip-hop star strategically onto the ballot as a third-party candidate.
I’d say “poor Kanye West” because it seems he’s being used–at a time when his wife is lamenting his untreated mental illness. But he’s also being handsomely rewarded by his relationship with Trump: his fashion company received millions of dollars in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program for small and medium-sized businesses, and he says he’s negotiating other deals as well. In addition, he wants President Trump to defeat Joe Biden, so why not act as a spoiler in states where the race may be tight, eg, Wisconsin?
Right now, the polls in the swing states are still showing Biden is strong, and a surprising number of Senate seats may be in play. The national polls have tightened a bit. They will continue to do so–and we may see this movement more after Biden announces his choice as Vice President next week. There is no way everyone will be happy with whomever he chooses.
This poll-tightening is not a cause for worry, as my wise friend has written:
“Here’s the word of caution: Trump’s popularity has dropped so significantly and quickly that a rebound is inevitable. In statistics, such a correction is known as ‘regression to mean.’ It is a nearly universal phenomenon that manifests itself in batting averages, stock prices, and the number of insects in a hectare of forest.
“When Trump recovers some of his lost ground due to regression to the mean, DON’T PANIC! We must have the intellectual discipline to understand that when Trump closes the gap because of a nearly immutable law of statistics, it does not mean that Biden is ‘losing.’ When Biden is ‘only’ five points ahead of Trump (instead of his current 14 point lead), Biden will still be winning —notwithstanding Trump’s efforts to convince you otherwise.
“And when the gap closes, don’t blame Joe for forces that are far beyond his (or Trump’s) control. But most of all, don’t panic, stay the course, and recognize that we cannot rest until the last vote is cast, counted, and defended in court…”
We all know that polls have flaws–a lesson we learned the hard way in 2016. Is there another approach to determining who’ll win?
You may have seen or heard about a video of historian Allan Lichtman explaining how he garnered the sterling record of successfully calling every Presidential winner–including Trump–since 1984. He even predicted Trump’s impeachment.
Lichtman’s prognostications are unaffected by polls. He maintains that voters vote pragmatically according to how the party in the White House has been governing. His methodology, based on years of research, focuses on “13 Keys to the White House”: answers of “true” mean the party in the White House will remain; answers of “false” mean a change. Among the keys are incumbency, primary challenges, economic indicators, and foreign successes.
If you’d like to see the video and learn all the facets of Lichtman’s decision-making, here’s a link.
On the basis of the 13 keys, Lichtman predicts Trump will lose the election. But, he says, “Don’t just take my word for it,” and he points to unknowable factors that he says keep him up at night, such as voter suppression and Russian intervention. Get out there and vote, he exhorts us.
We need the closest thing possible to a landslide to prevent Trump from crying fraud and trying to discredit the legitimacy of the election. Every vote–in red states and blue states–is critically important in this effort.
Lichtman concludes by quoting President Lincoln:
“The best way to predict the future is to choose it.”