2020-21 US Political Possibilities

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2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Martin Blank » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:22 pm

As the impeachment and trial of Donald Trump comes to a close today, I foresee not a president chastened but a president emboldened. I foresee nine months of turmoil until the November election, during which we'll learn ever more about his activities, especially as there's no stopping John Bolton's book from coming out, whether in printed or leaked form. Someone will leak it, and maybe someone in the House or Senate will have it entered into the record so anyone can read it for free.

I am not in that group that is already thinking that Trump is doomed to defeat in November. Fivethirtyeight gave him a 28% chance in 2016 and look how that panned out. Right now, according to the 270toWin consensus, the numbers are against him but it's not impossible, especially if he can win Florida (if he loses Florida and existing predictions hold, he has no way to win. Current analysis suggest Dems have 248 EV and Republicans 204; needing only 22 more EV, Florida's 29 would be an automatic win. But 270toWin has Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska (one of their split EVs), North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in play. Democrats have seven winning paths, Republicans four, with two paths to a tie (which is a Trump win, since each state gets a vote in the House and a majority of state delegations are controlled by Republicans). Florida's recent change to allowing felons to vote after completing their sentences may provide a decisive advantage.

The Senate is likewise up for change, but not necessarily a turnover. Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina are toss-ups; Collins voting to acquit Trump may get voters out in Maine and send that to Democrats (or an independent). (Maine may be a bit of a tossup, though, because ranked-choice voting will be used in a federal election for, I think, the first time in decades, if not ever, so we might see something unexpected.) McSally (AZ) and Gardner (CO) are getting pummeled in their states' presses. Tillis (NC) is underwater in some recent polls to his Democratic opponent. If all lose, that sets up a 50-50 split in the Senate, with the VP (whomever that is) as the tiebreaker. But there are some intriguing possibilities for Democrats to take charge even if Trump wins office:
  • In Georgia, a special election will determine who finishes out the term of Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons last year. His seat was filled temporarily by the appointment of Kelly Loeffler, but only until a special election can happen in November. A runoff is possible if no one gets a majority. Doug Collins, a current member of the House of Representatives and a very strong Trump backer, has filed to run, very much against party wishes who fear that if he is the candidate, it will drive Democratic engagement, possibly even putting that state's electoral votes in play.
  • In Kansas, Kris Kobach, who led Trump's ill-fated voter fraud panel, is at least tied with the next person, if not the front-runner, in the Republican primary race. He is widely despised in Kansas, even among many Republicans, and could trigger an "anyone but Kris" response such as may have happened in 2018 when Kobach lost the gubernatorial race to Democrat Laura Kelly.
A win or two there sets up a Democratic majority in the Senate, something Trump certainly doesn't want. If a Democrat wins, Republican decisions under Trump come back to haunt them, specifically those getting rid of the filibuster on judicial nominations.

With all that out of the way, here are some things I can see happening.
  • Trump wins
    • If Republicans hold a majority (including a VP majority), Justice Thomas announces his retirement in 2021 or 2022 after 30+ years on the bench. He is replaced by a similarly-minded jurist in their 40s or 50s to cement conservative control of the Court for the next decade at least.
    • Republicans continue to confirm judicial nominees, though perhaps a little more thoughtfully if their control is narrowed as they can't afford defectors.
    • If Democrats get a majority, Thomas stays put as long as he can. Trump faces a hostile Congress with both houses controlled by political opponents. Trump continues to use emergency powers to try to get his way, even as he becomes the first president to risk being impeached twice.
    • In any case, the stream of bad news for Trump continues and he just becomes more combative. His financial information is leaked, and something really bad comes to light. Adults in the room leave, and his administration becomes more than a third "acting" positions. Even some Republicans begin to express public exasperation.
    • Also in any case, Democrats begin aiming for 2022 mid-terms, where 34 seats are up, 22 of them currently held by Republicans (though the Georgia seat Loeffler currently holds may not be by then). Potentially competitive states will likely include Colorado (D), Florida (R), Indiana (R), Missouri (R), Nevada (D), New Hampshire (D), North Carolina (R), Pennsylvania (R), and Wisconsin (R). Others might become competitive through resignations, deaths, or scandals.
  • Democrat wins presidency
    • In November 2020, Justice Thomas, oldest of the conservative wing, resigns effective December 31, 2020, allowing the Republican Senate to slip a nominee in to replace him. McConnell again ignores the Merrick Garland precedent.
    • In early 2021, especially if Democrats take the Senate, Justice Ginsberg announces her retirement at the end of the term. Democrats easily confirm a nominee (Garland?) to replace her. Soon after, or at the latest in the following term, Justice Breyer announces his retirement, allowing another easy win for Democrats. Replacements are in their 50s, setting up a long-term hold on those seats.
    • Questions begin to surround Thomas pertaining to age and time on the Court. There is a real possibility that a Democratic president gets three appointments in the first term, leading to a massive shift of the Court's philosophy.
    • President submits a long list of judicial appointees, enough to fill all of the available open positions. Senate has their work cut out for them, doesn't clear the backlog until 2022.
    • Democratic senators may be helped by massive data dumps by the White House of call transcripts, memos, and other information about the Trump administration. A couple of Republican senators up in 2022 decide that it's not worth the fight after something comes to light so bad it makes Ukraine look like an actual perfect call and find health and family reasons to decline to run.
Whatever happens, the news won't get quiet again until at least 2024.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:55 pm

The ranked-choice voting experiment in Maine is fascinating and fills me with giddy anticipation. I will be watching that closely!
Martin Blank wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:22 pm
I foresee not a president chastened but a president emboldened.
Well, yeah. The rest of your analysis is awesome and insightful, but when the senate doesn't even pretend to hold a trial, and his admirers only cling to him harder, he sees nothing but blue skies ahead. This is one of those rare cases where if you were to look up "recalcitrant" in the dictionary, it wouldn't be surprising to see a picture of his smug mug as a golden example.
I foresee nine months of turmoil until the November election, during which we'll learn ever more about his activities, especially as there's no stopping John Bolton's book from coming out, whether in printed or leaked form. Someone will leak it, and maybe someone in the House or Senate will have it entered into the record so anyone can read it for free.
Turmoil, sure, but what has this entire unending fiasco of a presidency been if not a continual stream of chaos and tumult? Love him or hate him, you can't describe him as calm, cool, collected, and thoughtful. Even Jerry Springer would at least pretend to have a thoughtful moment at the end of his circus trash show, but we don't even pretend anymore in the White House. I can't imagine anyone no matter their political leanings legitimately imagined this strutting narcissist would "learn his lesson" by getting off scot-free and only further cementing his invincible god status in the eyes of his adoring fans.

And it still won't matter to those who love him. His status is such that he can literally do no wrong that will prevent them from loving him. He called it himself, publicly, when he said he could shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue and no one would care. Hell, Dershowitz would say that he shall not be held responsible, because anything a president does, no matter what, must by definition be considered to be in the national interest and thus untouchable. And that's been the key--the only key--to Trump's election and support from the swamp he keeps filling. There's no reaching across the aisle, uniting the country, any of that kind of stuff. His hope is that his roots are planted so firmly in the hearts and minds of his supporters, that reality becomes whatever he says it is, and that it's enough to get him sufficient Electoral College delegates to keep on truckin'. He could act out the entire worst version of The Aristocrats joke that you've ever heard, and he'd be met with cheers.
I am not in that group that is already thinking that Trump is doomed to defeat in November.
Absolutely not. We're so far beyond reason that it hangs in the balance of people who are only teetering on the edge of madness, who haven't committed fully to the void. It's absolutely feasible that we'll end up with another Trump term.

What it will take to put America back together again after he's done with it if he loses in November, I have no idea. Whether it can be put back together, I have no idea. It's a difficult time to be optimistic and hold out hope for American and put faith in her people.

Someone recently posted on Facebook a plea for people to stop being so blindly partisan, to have empathy and integrity and be good person. But no, it’s more important to stick it to the enemy at all costs. The enemy must be defeated. The enemy hates America and seeks its destruction. America is a zero-sum game to play. No offense, no foul actions or words, no dishonor, no corruption, no facts, no lies, nothing at all is too much to bear as long as it means we retain power and they suck it. I would rather live under an oppressive foreign authoritarian regime than vote my conscience. A conscience is weakness and has no place in public service. I would rather see America under the thumb of such a regime than to be honest with myself about the party I root for and its leaders. I will see America burned to the ground before I concede even the slightest point of clear and self-evident truth that is anything less than flattering to my chosen idol.

I live in Texas. I have many Facebook friends and family, and way too many of them embody that sentiment fully. Separately, I have many who are retired military or even retired DOJ civilians, and they seem fine with the idea of supporting whoever is in charge, either way, even the ones who don't survive on a steady intravenous feed of Fox News and Russian troll Facebook shares.

I came of age mostly in the late Bush Sr. days, but more so through Clinton's time in office. While I was technically born when Carter was president, I was 9 when the Berlin Wall fell. I have known nothing but partisan vitriol and hatred for our presidents or for those who oppose them. Trump loves to moan and moan about the alleged witch hoax and hold himself up as a martyr under the claim that it's been going on since he staged the event where he came down that "beautiful" escalator, but the reality is his defense attorney Ken Starr and those who came before spent a LONG time digging through every nook and cranny of the Clintons' lives, and when all he could come up with is that he had an affair, Republicans still demanded blood. Everyone I knew hated him. He wasn't a good Christian (oh how Trump has changed things). And then when Dubya stammered his way into office, anyone who opposed him was a terrible person. Obama's presidency made the hatred for Clinton look like a Sunday picnic. Republicans hated him so much for being centrist and level-headed that they rebelled as hard as they could in electing Trump. I don't know what the road looks like from here, but I can't see any way that cooler heads prevail.

Some of you may remember that way back when I joined RLF, I was active in the political section and a hardcore conservative. 2016 marked the first time in my life that I didn't vote for a Republican for president. I had grown away from the religious fundamentalists that make up so much of the party, and then the party took a sharp turn away from me toward a caricature of the very worse things everyone else ever said about Republicans. They stopped even pretending to pay lip service to freedom and small government and went straight for garish nationalist authoritarianism. I still couldn't bring myself to vote for Hillary, which would've been mostly symbolic anyway, but I ended up throwing a fully symbolic vote in for the Libertarian candidate. I cannot foresee a likely future in which I can bring myself to vote for a Republican again. I'm not sure who else that was running might have changed that, maybe Rand Paul, but the wholesale selling out to Trump together with an evolution of my own social and economic views has left me feeling like I just have to shrug, suck it up, vote Democrat, and hope for the best.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:44 pm

Gauging from my Facebook feed, support for Trump runs strong despite his actions. Most of it focuses on the hate for Democrats, especially Pelosi after she tore up the printout of her speech, saying she it proves she serves, calling her childish, and so on, and then applauding Trump for going on a another Twitter rampage, not even pretending to maintain a veneer of bipartisanship during the lip service paid to religious fundamentalists at the prayer event, and making up more mocking schoolyard nicknames as he goes. The lack of self-awareness is staggering. There seems to not be a whole lot positive about the strange farce of awarding Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom. This is the kind of thing I’m seeing most.

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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:52 pm

Martin Blank wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:22 pm
I foresee not a president chastened but a president emboldened.
Yeah, and his supporters are eating it up.

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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:47 am

Emboldened and unbound indeed. And his loyalists continue to cheer for more. We’ll see how deep the desire runs to become a second-rate authoritarian nation.

Trump’s War Against ‘the Deep State’ Enters a New Stage
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/us/p ... ndman.html

He’s been using Twitter and Fox News to turn his loyalist mob against anyone and everyone that he doesn’t think has displayed sufficient loyalty to him over country. Even the judge tasked with sentencing his criminal cohort Roger Stone. I would never have guessed back in 2015 just how fluently Trump speaks social media troll. I think he’s just the right mix of dumb enough to come off as sincerely clueless but smart enough to spin that into a web that’s perfect for catching people who don’t think. About that judge, he asked how she treated Hillary, saying “Just asking!” Its the kind of continual gaslighting that makes me wonder if we will simply reach critical mass and go full Idiocracy or if there’s any chance we can pull out of this tailspin and get back to normal statesman BS and politicking.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Martin Blank » Fri May 01, 2020 6:12 pm

What a difference a couple of months and a pandemic make. Here's what I said back then:
The Senate is likewise up for change, but not necessarily a turnover. Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina are toss-ups
According to polls posted to 538's poll tracker project:
  • Alabama: Almost certainly a loss for Democrats. Every major Republican candidate strongly outpolls Jones. Not a surprise, but it may be Republicans' one bright spot in the 2020 Senate races.
  • Arizona: Democrat Kelly holds a strong lead over incumbent McSally, coming in five points ahead in six of the last eight polls since mid-February.
  • Colorado: No new polls, but Gardner hasn't been able to get out much to suggest that he'd be better than Hickenlooper. Still a solid chance that the seat changes.
  • Kansas: Primaries are currently scheduled for June 1, 2020, but Kobach is apparently the favorite to take the Republican nomination. If that happens, according to the one recent poll, he's tied with likely Democratic opponent Barbara Bollier. Toss-up here, but Kobach's history of losing a ruby-red state to a Democratic gubernatorial opponent during a blue wave doesn't bode well for him.
  • Kentucky: A surprise entry in potentially competitive states, Majority Leader McConnell may be in a fight for his political life. No recent polls, but February polls showed him tied with likely opponent McGrath, and she outraised him in the first quarter.
  • Maine: A March poll suggested Democrat Gideon had a narrow lead over incumbent Collins, but, like in Kentucky, the upstart is outraising the incumbent.
  • Montana: Only one poll from March showing incumbent Daines and popular Democratic former governor Bullock tied. Montana goes back and forth and is one of those states, like California, where Democrat and Republican don't always mean what they do elsewhere.
  • North Carolina: Five of the eight polls published in the last two months have shown incumbent Tillis slipping in the polls. It's looking competitive right now and could go either way.
These aren't the only places of concern for Republicans. A March poll suggested that Lindsay Graham's seat for South Carolina may not be safe and he's lost some financial backers. Texas is a long-shot bid for Democrats, but incumbent Cornyn's current poll edge is in single digits. Iowa is also not perfectly safe, with incumbent Ernst sitting in the mid- to high-single digits. Any could flip in a blue wave turnout for those states.

Democrats are almost certainly going to gain seats, stand a very good chance of a tie, and a decent chance of a majority. While they're not going to pull a super-majority this year, there's a small chance of a tidal wave that flips the current 53-47 count the other way.

Things don't get better for Republicans in 2022, when they have to defend 22 seats, including some with significantly changing demographics like Arizona, Florida, and Nevada, plus states with histories of flipping like Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Democrats only have to defend 12 seats, and those some of their most locked states like the West Coast and the Northeast. There's a chance that Democrats could gain a supermajority in 2022, depending on how the economy and other factors look.

On another topic, I'm going to make a political long-shot prediction, but it makes some sense. Most people expect Biden's VP pick to be more than a figurehead if she's elected, and to take an active role in everything. In the spring or summer of 2023, when Biden is 80 years old, he will become only the second person to ever resign the presidency, giving his vice president two years lead and up to almost ten years in office total, since she'll be able to run twice for president on her own at that point. (Under the 22nd Amendment, a person can run for president so long as they have not already served two terms, and if they succeeded another president, any term less than two years doesn't count toward the limit.) If she's lucky, she'll become the longest-serving president since FDR.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Fri May 01, 2020 9:13 pm

Now that would be an interesting development, and I think it’s likely that if such an event were to transpire (Biden wins but then resigns at some point in his first term), then it would depend quite a bit on the political climate at the time.

As far as defending seats goes, November will be very interesting. Will Trump get himself another four years? I wouldn’t have thought so, but he seems to have plenty of either adoring ride-or-die fans or at least reluctant supporters. “Yeah, he’s a nightmare, but the stock market is doing well.” I guess we’ll see if Biden can keep his foot out of his mouth enough and if he can take the high road of level-headed elder statesman capably enough to sway those who otherwise think of him as a bumbling smiler and gladhander and little else.

But at what point—if any—do we foresee forcing the end of gerrymandering to lock in seats and use a simple population algorithm to evenly distribute the voting districts? Is it even possible? Will each of our two sides be willing to give up their stranglehold on existing distorted districts, having to consider being more reasonable and centrist if they no longer get to choose their voters instead of the voters choosing their reproductive?
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Martin Blank » Sat May 02, 2020 5:00 am

Given that SCOTUS decided that hard questions are hard and they don't deal with hard questions (not expecting much out of the Trump tax cases being heard next week, though we might get a surprise), gerrymandering is now state-specific. The trouble there is that most (but not all) states with severe gerrymandering problems are Republican, and they know they're in the minority (or at least a decreasing majority). States like Wisconsin that vote fairly strongly in aggregate numbers for Democrats (54-46 lead in votes) end up with strong Republican majorities in the legislature (64% Republican majority in the Assembly). However, for those states that elect Supreme Court justices (like Wisconsin) using statewide ballots, that could shift things over time (Wisconsin has ten-year seats, and with the election by a surprisingly large margin of 120,000 votes, the balance will move from a 5-2 to a 4-3 conservative majority when newly elected Karofsky to replace Scott Walker-appointed Justice Kelly when Karofsky takes the office over the summer. Virginia, which flipped blue in its last statewide election, will have a nonpartisan commission redraw its districts for both statewide and congressional offices after the 2020 Census results come in, a process that is widely expected to produce stronger results for Democrats in the 2022 Congressional and 2023 statewide elections.

California went to a jungle primary system where the top two vote-getters of whatever party go on to the actual election. This sometimes means a Democrat and a Republican, sometimes two Democrats, and, rarely, two Republicans. The idea is to potentially make for a more moderate outcome, but I'm not sure that's been achieved. Still, the state hasn't fallen into the ocean and, before the pandemic, seemed to be doing okay financially. I'm really interested in watching Maine's transition to ranked voting. If that works out, I'd love to see its use expanded. Might even get some minor party representation out of it.

I estimate right now that Trump has about a one-in-three chance of reelection, and he might even do that while facing a flipped Senate (weird things happen in elections). But his chances of staying in the White House are sitting on thin numbers that could easily crumble. Biden is lucky right now in that, except for the potentially troubling Tara Reade accusations, he largely doesn't have to say anything. He can mostly let Trump dig his own hole, and Trump cannot let go of that shovel for more than a couple of days. He may not have to say much at all, even in the debates.

For reliable overall forecast numbers, we have to wait for Nate Anderson to get the forecast system up at 538. That won't happen until probably June at the earliest (it went live on June 29 in 2016 and somewhere in June for 2018). I've been making estimates based on individual poll patterns, but Nate's model reruns thousands of elections with different jitter, correlating how state votes affect neighbor states, how that factors into national vote patterns, and how the national vote patterns affect state votes, in a loop until it settles out. They gave Trump something like a 28% chance in 2016, a number that mostly grew threw the night as he threaded the narrow path to victory. I suspect the numbers will be similar to start, but if there's a second COVID wave, it could get much worse for him. If he starts up the rallies and photos and video start showing empty seats, it could start to affect him more directly. He's already reportedly yelling at campaign staff for low poll numbers, so if turnout to rallies suffers, he might get even more vitriolic. After all, there's no lowest point with him, just where he's at right now.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Sat May 02, 2020 2:37 pm

Martin Blank wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 5:00 am
California went to a jungle primary system where the top two vote-getters of whatever party go on to the actual election. This sometimes means a Democrat and a Republican, sometimes two Democrats, and, rarely, two Republicans. The idea is to potentially make for a more moderate outcome, but I'm not sure that's been achieved. Still, the state hasn't fallen into the ocean and, before the pandemic, seemed to be doing okay financially. I'm really interested in watching Maine's transition to ranked voting. If that works out, I'd love to see its use expanded. Might even get some minor party representation out of it.
The “jungle primary” seems like at least a small step in the right direction, but Maine’s ranked voting is super promising in my view. While gerrymandered districts still dramatically tip the scales (as they’re designed to do), anything at all to help would be appreciated. I can’t help feeling the growing gap in politics is not only a natural progression but one that continually serves the interests of the two parties, encouraging the even further widening in an ugly and shortsighted feedback loop.

Nate's model reruns thousands of elections with different jitter, correlating how state votes affect neighbor states, how that factors into national vote patterns, and how the national vote patterns affect state votes, in a loop until it settles out.
It’s amazing what an impact data and the “money ball” approach to politics has had on analysis and predictions. Much like the weather, humans are sufficiently complex and the data itself is subject to change without notice (e.g. some new gaffe or scandal popping up—or pandemic) that long-term predictions get real fuzzy real fast, but they’re fascinating nonetheless.

I can’t pretend to have the kind of insight or even intuition to say what might happen here in about 6 months, but I will find it a very interesting process along the way. Wisconsin and Maine, as you point out, will both be interesting on their own, separate from the national elections. Long term, even if Biden wins the White House, I think there will remain some pretty deep and painful scars from these last four or five years that will take a very long time to smooth over no matter what happens.

Maybe Ozymandias of the Watchmen had the right idea, and it will take a massive extraterrestrial event to even temporarily knock some perspective into people. So many people I know and love can’t seem to look farther than the end of their own nose, reveling in the glory of having a truly hated enemy.

They gave Trump something like a 28% chance in 2016, a number that mostly grew threw the night as he threaded the narrow path to victory. I suspect the numbers will be similar to start, but if there's a second COVID wave, it could get much worse for him. If he starts up the rallies and photos and video start showing empty seats, it could start to affect him more directly. He's already reportedly yelling at campaign staff for low poll numbers, so if turnout to rallies suffers, he might get even more vitriolic. After all, there's no lowest point with him, just where he's at right now.
It feels like such a crapshoot to me. I’m hard pressed to dig up even the slightest confidence in my ability to figure out not only the man but the nation. I guess we’ll see.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Seir » Sat May 09, 2020 3:18 am

Deacon wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 2:37 pm


Maybe Ozymandias of the Watchmen had the right idea, and it will take a massive extraterrestrial event to even temporarily knock some perspective into people. So many people I know and love can’t seem to look farther than the end of their own nose, reveling in the glory of having a truly hated enemy.


Don't hold your breath, I have a feeling we'd even see yokels sporting t-shirts that say, "I'd rather be a Dalek than a Democrat."
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Sat May 09, 2020 6:51 am

Seir wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 3:18 am
"I'd rather be a Dalek than a Democrat."
That’s both hilarious and deeply sad.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Rorschach » Sun May 17, 2020 10:28 am

Who's this Joe Biden character then? Is he a goodie or a baddie?
To Let

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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by raptor9k » Sun May 17, 2020 6:25 pm

Obama's vice president. Like any politician, I'm sure he's done plenty of shit that most would consider morally reprehensible. He at least hides it well, unlike the current Catastrophe in Chief. The left isn't rallying around him in the required fashion needed to oust Trump. It's a total shit show. I'm not even sure Putin has to get involved this time. The right are doing a bang up job of self-disinforming themselves. Everything I've seen on facebook is 'Mah Freedom', 'Mah face ain't wearin no mask, that's how they get you with the 5g and the chemtrails', 'Mah guns'. All this boosted by people I once considered semi-intelligent. I've resigned myself to the idea that our nation won't actually improve until it literally catches flame and we rebuild from the ashes...

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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Martin Blank » Fri May 29, 2020 12:48 am

Biden's biggest political mistake (setting aside Tara Reade's allegations) was presiding over the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Thomas allegedly sexually harassed Anita Hill while Thomas was Hill's superior at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Education. Hill gave graphic testimony to the Senate committee, including describing Thomas motioning to a soda can on his desk and asking her, "Who put pubic hair on my Coke?" She also said he discussed pornographic movies in her presence, specifically mentioning the character Long Dong Silver. This was all covered on C-SPAN, a cable network funded by cable companies that monitors US government sessions. Biden has in recent years expressed regret for how he handled the nomination and that he didn't give Hill's testimony more credence.

Separately, he got in trouble in law school for plagiarizing significant portions of a paper he wrote. He has also been described as being far too affectionate with women, not necessarily in a sexual way, but certainly crossing boundaries. He apologized for this earlier this year and seems to have stopped doing it.

Aside from that, Biden is known for putting his foot firmly in his mouth and occasionally swallowing his whole leg. This may be due to talking faster than he can think, but it may also be related to his stuttering, a problem he has dealt with since childhood. It's led to numerous gaffes that have made the news, but none have stuck around for long.

Biden has suffered tragedies in his life. His first wife, Neilia, and their one-year-old daughter were killed a traffic accident in 1972. His son, Beau, survived that and a tour in Iraq but died of cancer in 2015 while Biden was still Vice President.

If he's elected, at 78 years of age, he'll be the oldest person to ever be inaugurated or serve (he's four years older than Trump, currently the oldest to be inaugurated or to serve). This has led to significant questions about his Vice President.
The left isn't rallying around him in the required fashion needed to oust Trump.
I don't think they need to, at least not yet. Biden's doing the smart thing in mostly shutting up and letting Trump dig his own grave. We're still five months and change from the election, but at the moment, Biden appears to be the front-runner. In almost every battleground state, Trump is losing. It's often within the margins of error, which leaves some room for worry, but just counting states where 538's poll tracker is averaging +5 or more for Biden, he has 278 electoral votes (the clear ones plus Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), enough for victory. Arizona , North Carolina, and Florida could all go for Biden for a total of 333 EV (compared to Trump's 303), and there are chances that Georgia, Iowa, or Texas could go for Biden. Those are long odds that any would, let alone all three, but Texas especially is unusually close to being in play in the last month's polls.

Biden is waiting. His big announcement is going to be his running mate, a decision that is due probably sometime in July. None of the rumors coming out are trustworthy right now, but I'd like to see someone like Tammy Duckworth serve. She's a veteran Army officer, combat veteran who lost her legs in Iraq, a sitting senator and former member of the House of Representatives, a mother, age 52, and Asian-American, plus not so liberal as to turn off large swaths of moderate voters or disaffected Republicans.
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Re: 2020-21 US Political Possibilities

Post by Deacon » Fri May 29, 2020 4:29 pm

Do you think Biden’s presiding over the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas 30 years ago is going to be a problem for him? If so, with whom? Compared to Trump, whom Jesus Christ himself sent to heal the nation, Biden is a saint in that department. Hardcore feminists might have to hold their nose a little to vote for him, but with a female running mate being likely, they might not find it so distasteful.

I think anyone who currently supports Trump, even if at arm’s length, is unlikely to vote for Biden. Democrats and leftists aren’t going to have much of a choice otherwise, barring some sort of surprise third party or independent contender causing a Ross Perot type effect where the vote is split. It’s so hard for me to gauge anecdotally among my extended friends and family. Some of the most hardcore single-issue voters (even for such vehemently held convictions like being anti-abortion) sometimes seem to recognize that there’s so much other vileness and darkness (not including chaos) that goes along with them that they vote for some no-shot other name on the ballot. At least, that’s how it went for a couple of family members in 2016 (and me). Now we have lots of people that I actually know in real life who on Facebook claim to like to think for themselves who are super defensive of any criticism of his words or actions.

I don’t think Biden is god’s gift to America, and I’m certain I will disagree with some of his platform, but honestly at this point if I had to do it all over again I would’ve held my nose and voted for Hillary, even knowing it wouldn’t have directly changed anything.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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