Losing a presidential election is a crushing experience. In 2004, shortly before midnight on the day of the election, it became clear that President Bush would win Ohio and thus win re-election. The networks, out of an abundance of caution, didn’t call it until later the next day. It took Senator John Kerry, the Democratic Party’s nominee, longer still to accept the outcome.
President Clinton’s former press secretary, Mike McCurry, served as the go-between for the two campaigns, “negotiating” (if you will) Mr. Kerry’s inevitable concession. Messages went back and forth. …
Here’s the headline you and I didn’t read in the aftermath of the election: “Republicans (almost) run the table, winning (almost) everything, everywhere.”
That’s what happened on Election Night. The GOP held serve in the US Senate races (and seem likely to retain control after the two run-off elections are held in Georgia in early January of next year). The GOP gained seats in the House, which had been predicted by no one (except President Trump). And here’s how Politico described the action “down ballot”:
An abysmal showing by Democrats in state legislative races on Tuesday not only denied them victories in Sun Belt and Rust Belt states that would have positioned them to advance their policy agenda — it also put the party at a disadvantage ahead of the redistricting that will determine the balance of power for the next decade. …
I’ve been covering American politics for a long time and I can’t remember a number that so dramatically altered the political community’s perception of a presidential campaign as that number did, last night, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
The source of the number was The Iowa Poll, which has been the gold standard for statewide polling in the United States for decades. The number itself was the percentage of likely voters in Iowa supporting Joe Biden’s candidacy for president.
1. Mickey Kaus, I think, was the first to describe a certain kind of political reportage as “overism.” As in: even though it’s not over, it’s over, so let’s cover what happens next.
“Overism” is in overdrive these days. Here’s a story about who will be President Biden’s chief of staff. Here’s one about the food Mr. Biden will be eating after he moves into the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here are a few others: what role Vice President Harris will play in the Biden Administration, the campaign to make Bernie Sanders the next Secretary of Labor, the short list of candidates who are under consideration to serve as Mr. …
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One of the essential requirements of a functioning democracy is the consent of the losers. Or as Shaun Bowler, a professor of political science at the University of California Riverside, put it in an essay four years ago:
“In every contested election there are winners and losers. While lots of attention, money, and power flows to the winners, it is really the losers who are key to keeping democracy healthy.
More specifically, it is important that the people who lose elections recognize that they lost fair and square — assuming that that is indeed the case — and that they convey that truth to their supporters. …
What follows was posted yesterday on The Boston Globe’s website, which is paywall protected. Leaping over paywalls is always a pain, so with the Globe’s permission, I’ve reprinted the column below.
This is the first in what will be a series of Political Notes about the 2020 presidential general election.
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A month or so ago, the notion that President Trump would win reelection was dismissed as delusional.
Reality resided in the data. Trump won seniors by 9 percent in the 2016 election; he trailed by 5–9 percent in the July/early August 2020 survey research. Support for Trump among suburban women had collapsed. His approval and “re-elect” numbers remained (and still remain) stubbornly low (low 40s). Two-thirds of the electorate think the country is on “the wrong track.” …
The Nielsen Company (producer of the famous Nielsen ratings) provides its clients with audience measurements by the quarter hour, the half hour, the hour, household income, sex, age, and so on. However the clients want it sliced and diced, Nielsen has it covered.
If you’re a cable news executive, the one thing you do not want to see, other than a low-rated hour, is a quarter-hour decline in audience. The theory being that if someone leaves, he or she won’t be back for the remainder of the show. …
The question arises, again and again, what are the polls telling us about the U.S. presidential election? Three specific data points tell us a lot.
First is the president’s number. In Fox News polling, pitting President Trump against former Vice President Biden over the course of the last 12 months, Mr. Trump’s number is 40% (see page 9, Question #11 of the linked polling data). That’s what he gets.
Sometimes it’s 38% and sometimes its 41%, but the number is 40%. If his number remains stuck at 40%, President Trump will be defeated in November by a wide margin. …
A successful Biden campaign is not that hard to imagine or execute. The key is to keep it simple and clarify the choice.
Framing the choice is arguably the most important element of a successful presidential campaign. How voters understand an election determines, to a significant degree, its outcome.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan did it this way: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” In 1992, James Carville put it this way: “it’s the economy, stupid.” In 2008, Barack Obama cast the election as an affirmation of “hope and change.” In 2016, Donald Trump framed the choice with “build the wall’ and “drain the swamp.” …
“Where we go one, we go all,” said Jo Rea Perkins in a now-deleted video she posted to her Twitter account on Tuesday night, May 19th, which was the night she won the GOP nomination for US Senate in Oregon. “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons, and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.”
If you were an adherent, no one would be able to tell. You would look like any other American. You could be a mother, picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate. You could be the young man in headphones across the street. You could be a bookkeeper, a dentist, a grandmother icing cupcakes in her kitchen. You may well have an affiliation with an evangelical church. But you are hard to identify just from the way you look — which is good, because someday soon dark forces may try to track you down. You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world. You see plague and pestilence sweeping the planet, and understand that they are part of the plan. You know that a clash between good and evil cannot be avoided, and you yearn for the Great Awakening that is coming. And so you must be on guard at all times. You must shield your ears from the scorn of the ignorant. You must find those who are like you. …