Fair. Balanced. American.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Headed for victory... probably

Although Secretary Clinton received good news on Sunday, the election is not a done deal. Nate Silver is not wrong that Trump still has a path to victory. A slim one, no doubt--one that depends on a massive turnout by white working class voters (who haven't shown a uniform tendency to do that nationally in early voting) and no turn out by Clinton-leaning undecideds. Unlikely, but not impossible, given that Clinton is not at 50% in many battleground states. So this remains a conservative map, but one there is increasing confidence in:

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It is not a great situation for Clinton's election to be so wholly dependent on winning never-reliable Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire while being unsure of the situation in the Industrial Midwest. But we can't help it. That's where we are. It's better than being in Trump's shoes, but not at all where we were, say, in 2008. Or even 2012. We'll have four years for recriminations, and hopefully those won't be necessary. Possible surprises: NC, AZ, OH, MI. Most Senate forecasts have been on the conservative side, 50-50. Which is more than fair. I'm calling it 51-49, thinking that massive Hispanic turnout gives us Nevada but possibly not Florida. I'm thinking Feingold pulls out a victory in Wisconsin, but that assumes a strong enough Obama-coalition showing for Clinton. Bayh loses in Indiana. I'm thinking Obama's final push is enough for McGinty to pull through, and that perhaps last minute dynamics give Hassan the victory in New Hampshire, where polling has been all over the map. The big get: Kander in Missouri, only because the idea that our best new candidate wouldn't win is a bit heartbreaking. Finally, I'm guessing lower African turnout (caused by Obama not being on the ballot as well as voter suppression) gives Burr the victory in NC. All of these races are on a knife's edge, and the senate could just as easily go 51-49 the other way. And if we're insanely lucky, it could go 53-47 ours (I do think Bayh is toast even on a good night).

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Oh, that other election. The House. Here's my prediction: we don't get it back until 2032.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Something Im not: an optimist

A postscript: there are two states I have given to Trump that I'm not at all sure about: Arizona and Georgia. Polling has been all over the map in Arizona, but of late it seems slipped away.

Georgia, however, is underanalyzed. And something significant might be happening there. Let's hope so, anyway.

NBC poll shows HRC down 1 in GA. EV data supports this - AfAm turnout exceeds white voter turnout thus far (29.6% EV share/28.2 Reg share).
11/3/16, 9:53 PM

The problem for Hillary

It's pretty simple really. The remaining states are not quite guaranteed. More importantly, the last two I adjudicated to her, are trending away from her. What if they were to continue to? Certainly the last set of polls out of New Hampshire suggest the state has trended out of her way altogether.

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So here's the semi-good news: Hillary could lose every undecided state on that map and still win with Florida alone, which would get her 278 electoral votes. If she were to lose Florida but win North Carolina, she would need six electoral votes. Any of Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, or Georgia would do the trick. In an election this close, Hillary doesn't win Arizona or Georgia.

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So this, then, is the state of the race. If there's no surge and Hillary wins the states in which she has been ahead all throughout, and Trump wins the states that would on balance go to a Republican in a close race, we're left with this: four battleground states and one battleground electoral vote in Maine.

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Nevada experts give the state to Clinton based on a surge of Hispanics. Could be. And Colorado ought to go for Clinton given that she's been ahead there all throughout. If so, she gets 274 electoral votes without North Carolina and Florida. Steve Schale, the ultimate expert on data-driven Florida politics, is cautiously optimistic now. And Clinton had been ahead in North Carolina in most recent polling. That is why I am giving all four of the battlegrounds, and the election, to Clinton. But be aware that the trend has been away from her in most states this week. And any bizarre revelations over the weekend could matter. Do everything you can to convince your friends to vote. Tell them to tell their friends to vote. Yes, Hillary is an imperfect vehicle, the worst Democratic candidate (and the least progressive by instinct) since her husband in 1992. And there's a decent chance we will have impeachment proceedings right out of the gate. But the alternative is the end of every progressive tendency in America, and a Supreme Court with not a five but a six or seven vote majority against voting rights, civil rights, the rights of the poor, and a perpetual stream of black and foreign money in American politics, chipping away at national sovereignty. And that's without getting into the foreign policy and national security implications. Go to HillaryClinton.com, click on "act," and make some phone calls. Never forget what happened in Florida in 2000 and the consequences it had on this country and the world. Trump's election could be far worse.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

State of the race: Known unknowns

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This is the state of the map at present. Many of these states are leaning, in some cases quite strongly, in one direction or another. But a major shift in voting behavior (such as the aftermath of the Khan speech, the debates, and so many other moments this year where Trump rather than Clinton became the electorate's focus of attention), could create situations where a candidate led by a significant margin. This is decreasingly likely, given how little time is left and how much of the cake is baked in terms of early voting. But there could be a last minute surge for either candidate. How?

1. Stein voters realizing their vote could usher in the end of gay rights, unfettered control of tax and spending policy by selfish (often non-American) billionaires), foreign powers' control of US foreign policy. It would also potentially cause an end of voting rights, but these last are not a concern of Stein's lily white, upper class base.

2. A strong turnout by black, Hispanic voters over the weekend. Would affect almost every undecided state on the map except perhaps New Hampshire.

3. Unexpected turnout by millennials. Don't hold your breath. But this could matter in states like Wisconsin and Colorado. And let's not forget that pot is conveniently on the ballot in nine states this year, including key battlegrounds Arizona, Florida and Nevada. In Arizona and Nevada, the ballot initiatives are for recreational rather than merely medical marijuana: significantly greater in consequence and a bigger draw.

 The flip side:

4. Huge Election Day turnout by evangelicals, who have developed a most intriguing affection for the only candidate this cycle who was accused of raping a 13 year old child. This happened in 2004: Democrats made all their turnout targets but didn't anticipate that in the anti-gay marriage petitions in states like Ohio would cause churches all over the state to bus followers to the polls at their own expense.

5. Voter intimidation and successful attempts at vote suppression. Already well documented and a proven success in 2004.

6. The mysterious "hidden Trump vote" suddenly manifests. Racist white voters come out en masse to support the candidate who has reflected their true feelings, feelings they never wanted to disclose to pollsters, including computerized polls.

 The anti-surge:

7. Depressed turnout by anti-Trump voters who never cared for Hillary and like her even less now that they think she might be a criminal.

8. The possibility that Democrats focused so much on the early vote that all their voters turned out, with few left to show up on Election Day itself.

9. Depressed turnout by anti-Clinton voters who can't bring themselves to vote for someone who is under the control of a foreign power, possibly raped a child, and almost certainly slept with other children in cocaine-filled parties. Such voters would have to be less religious, since the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham, CBN, and other white Christian identity groups have led their followers to back Trump over Clinton by margins of third to sixty points. If any of these were to occur, potentially all of the 179 electoral votes I've placed in the undecided column could move in one direction, leading to a historic victory (431 electoral votes) for Clinton, or a shockingly broad victory (314 electoral votes) for Trump. But right now, neither extreme outcome seems likely. So lets put the pie-in-the-sky states back in to the appropriate column. This yields a floor of 249 electoral votes for Clinton and 164 for Trump.

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This leaves ten battleground states. If we assume no surge, we should be able to adjudicate a few more states. Iowa has trended away from Clinton throughout this race. The Clintons were never terribly popular in the state, going back to 1992, and this is an older, white, less college educated jurisdiction, Trump's forté. For the same reason, I am inclined to put Ohio in the Trump column, particularly given mounting evidence of poor African American turnout there. Hillary has led in Wisconsin in almost every poll this cycle. Even though it's close there, one could argue we should give the state for that reason alone. The same would hold true, in principle, for Colorado, even though a poll came out in the last day that had the race tied. That brings us to this map.

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State of the race: Forced to choose

If I were to adjudicate every battleground state, this would be my best guess at present:

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Faces of Change: Lilly Ledbetter's Equal Pay Story

Elections matter. This presidency mattered. This week marked the seventh anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Richard Pryor

An excerpt from an interview of one of America's greatest social commentators and its very greatest standup comedian.

Interviewer: What picture would you paint?

Pryor: I have a picture for instance of once I was in a church and Jesus was on the cross and he said, 'Psst! Come here. Get me down. I been up here two thousand years. I'm tryin' to get to the graveyard.' And I took him off the cross and we were leaving the church together and alarms went off and great searchlights went off all over the cathedral and the monks came out and jumped on us and they started beating us up. And they took him and put him back on the cross and they threw me out and I said, 'I'm gonna tell!'. And as they were throwing me out the door the monks say, 'Who's gonna believe you nigger?'

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Telling a thousand words...

Sent by intrepid reader G., this cartoon remains the best summary of the ugliness of the later stages of her 2008 campaign, particularly in Southern states, not to mention Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Let's hope she does better, a lot better, next time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

From FDR's first re-election campaign

Given at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 1936
For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

The American people know from a four-year record that today there is only one entrance to the White House—by the front door. Since March 4, 1933, there has been only one pass-key to the White House. I have carried that key in my pocket. It is there tonight. So long as I am President, it will remain in my pocket.

Those who used to have pass-keys are not happy. Some of them are desperate. Only desperate men with their backs to the wall would descend so far below the level of decent citizenship as to foster the current pay-envelope campaign against America’s working people. Only reckless men, heedless of consequences, would risk the disruption of the hope for a new peace between worker and employer by returning to the tactics of the labor spy.

Here is an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. [...]

Here and now I want to make myself clear about those who disparage their fellow citizens on the relief rolls. They say that those on relief are not merely jobless—that they are worthless. Their solution for the relief problem is to end relief—to purge the rolls by starvation. To use the language of the stock broker, our needy unemployed would be cared for when, as, and if some fairy godmother should happen on the scene.

You and I will continue to refuse to accept that estimate of our unemployed fellow Americans. Your Government is still on the same side of the street with the Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side.

You can listen to the speech here.