The 2020 US Presidential Election

Of course this should normally be a domestic affair for the people of the United States of America. But this year seems so extraordinary in many ways. I’m following events with interest, hope and alarm (not necessarily in that order). In 2016, I posted my thoughts on the imminent election, never for one moment thinking that the US would elect Donald Trump as president. Boy, was I wrong. Can I be wrong again? What do others think? Not that we have long to wait.

Vote early and vote often!

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428 thoughts on “The 2020 US Presidential Election

  1. Mung: Or, if you’re not in power, to do anything, by any means, to get back into power.

    Right?

    Anything that works and that you can get away with. Trump has demonstrated that you can get away with far more than anyone believed, and that corruption is just as effective in the US as it is elsewhere. And Republican congressfolk have learned that you don’t criticize corruption if it has made those who are corrupt powerful enough to jeopardize your re-election.

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  2. Mung: Rich black people are worse off than poor white people?

    In some respects. In a system that worships both money and bigotry, it can be difficult to tell whether it’s better to be rich or to be white.

    (Rich black people need to be careful driving expensive cars, because the police assume the car must either be stolen, or the black driver is a mule. Money opens a lot of doors, but it doesn’t impede profiling, or people presuming you’re violent, or stupid. It doesn’t ensure prompt service by salespeople. The list of subtle, daily indignities is endless. You still have to give your kids “the talk”, because they WILL be accosted by police. Regularly.)

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  3. Flint: …it can be difficult to tell whether it’s better to be rich or to be white.

    Not according to phoodoo.

    Maybe it’s better to be rich and Black than to be poor and White. Nah. That’s just silly. There are no rich Black people in China.

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  4. Flint: You said it skews against URBAN populations, and that’s not quite the case because, as I pointed out, there are quite a few very large urban populations inside states with otherwise small populations. Nearly the entire population of Arizona is in Phoenix and Tucson, nearly all Nevada residents are in Las Vegas, etc. Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.

    I like to paint with a broad brush. But your correction leads to further issues. The Gerrymander! How those large populations in small states end up disenfranchised by clever boundary-drawing by self-serving partisan politicians.

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  5. Has the United Circus of America still not gotten rid of its clown? The election is over, guys. Jeez!

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  6. Mung: Maybe it’s better to be rich and Black than to be poor and White.

    Maybe it works like a CAP score: you get points on ethnicity, wealth, age, sex, etc.

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  7. Alan Fox: I like to paint with a broad brush. But your correction leads to further issues. The Gerrymander! How those large populations in small states end up disenfranchised by clever boundary-drawing by self-serving partisan politicians.

    And the boundaries are drawn by state legislatures. This last election put Republicans in charge of 40 state legislatures, who will get to use the 2020 census (itself truncated for Republican advantage) to create 10-year gerrymanders. And SCOTUS decided that it’s not up to the federal government to correct partisan gerrymanders; that’s properly the task of the states that did the gerrymandering in the first place. This can be corrected if (1) the case can be made that these are racial gerrymanders, which is illegal (and racial and political lines largely overlap); or (2) if Congress can pass a law making partisan gerrymandering illegal. Not likely, since Congress is itself composed of beneficiaries of gerrymandering.

    But gerrymandering doesn’t help with Senate or Presidential races, which do not depend on districts drawn by states.

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  8. Mung:
    Maybe it’s better to be rich and Black than to be poor and White. Nah. That’s just silly. There are no rich Black people in China.

    Most nations have the functional equivalent – clearly identifiable minorities society can deem inferior.

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  9. Alan Fox: I like to paint with a broad brush. But your correction leads to further issues. The Gerrymander! How those large populations in small states end up disenfranchised by clever boundary-drawing by self-serving partisan politicians.

    Any size state, Texas is infamous for the gerrymander,

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  10. Mung: Which is to say that phoodoo should have asked the same questions of the executive branch and the legislative branch.

    The Judicial branch ( which slipped the mind of the new Senator from Alabama and former football coach as one of the three branches ) is the least democratically constituted of the three, might be Phoodoo’s point. Though he seems little concerned about the same issue about the government of his adopted home.

    He doesn’t seem to be all that concerned about the undue influence that Biden might exert as President. Perhaps his influence should be limited based on the number of votes he failed to receive. LoL.

    Your suggestion is four years too late.

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  11. newton,

    Actually what I am saying is that is you are going to brag about how great America is because of democracy, when its not even that democratic, and when it sort of is it results in leaders who are half-wit sociopaths, you might want to reconsider your position about how great so called democracy really is.

    Think Lindsey Graham. This is what democracy gives you.

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  12. phoodoo:
    newton,

    Actually what I am saying is that is you are going to brag about how great America is because of democracy, when its not even that democratic,

    Nationalism is not unique to the US. Compared to some countries US is more democratic, to others less democratic.

    Democracy just means the delegation of power to the government requires the “consent of people.” In the US, the Constitution spells out that delegation. How the Judges are selected is the results of a Democratic process. That process can be changed through an amendment , Democratically.

    and when it sort of is it results in leaders who are half-wit sociopaths, you might want to reconsider your position about how great so called democracy really is.

    That is a drawback , however the other forms of government also can certainly result in sociopaths. And when it comes to sociopaths , I prefer the half-witted version. However, as recently demonstrated in a democratic republic , sociopaths can lose the consent of the people and can be removed from power. That is the part which is great. How does it work in China or are leaders never bad?

    Think Lindsey Graham.This is what democracy gives you.

    That is what the people of the State-of-the-art South Carolina chose to represent them. You find it preferable for those people having no choice? “ taxation without representation”?

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  13. Alan Fox: It sure give that impression to an outsider!

    It does to the insiders as well.

    Overtime US has expanded the population of eligible to vote and Senators are elected by popular vote.

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  14. newton,

    There are virtually no leaders as corrupt and unethical as the baby idiot, and his South Carolina water boy.

    Leaders are elected here. But nonetheless you don’t need to compare it to just here. There are at least fifty other developed nations that are run by better leaders than the US.

    In the Philippines they elected a leader nearly as dumb as baby idiot. Again not a good thing.

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  15. I have been trying to find the source for a quote I can paraphrase as “The USSR and US democratic systems only differ in that Russians vote for one candidate and Americans for two”.

    Rather than two political monoliths taking turns, is there something to be said for more diverse groups who can compromise and form coalitions to advance consensus policies?

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  16. Alan Fox,

    Progressives could be the biggest political faction in America and they have almost no chance of winning any major elections.

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  17. phoodoo:
    Corneel,

    As long as the country is stable.

    As judged by the leaders? Not working out to well for Hong Kong where people are being jailed for insufficient patriotism.

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  18. What’s critical in any form of government, is that the people being governed agree, for the most part, that their form is acceptable and working. Even monarchies were regarded as legitimate, provided both the peasantry and the nobility recognized and performed their obligations. Nothing undermines this implicit social contract like bad leadership, as perceived by those being led.

    What has served the US well is the perception (often enough different from the reality) that the people can use their votes to throw the bums out. There is always the danger that people who voted for the loser will be told that their candidate didn’t actually lose – and it’s dangerous because those voters are inclined to believe it. “Stop the steal” was created and engineered by Roger Stone, who isn’t in jail because the system failed.

    I think phoodoo is correct here. So long as the country is stable, whatever they are doing works. But as banana republic dictators have learned, techniques like controlling the press, jailing or killing the opposition, and placing personal loyalists in all important positions doesn’t guarantee stability. Keeping the public in the dark has limits, when the people can’t help notice they’re living in the dark.

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  19. Flint: Keeping the public in the dark has limits, when the people can’t help notice they’re living in the dark.

    I hope your prediction, or the situation that might provoke it, doesn’t come to be. People put up with a lot so long as there is some stability. It’s when they have nothing to lose, that’s when people can become revolutionaries. I hope there are enough Republican politicians with influence that will see the risks of populism edging towards totalitarianism.

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  20. Alan Fox: I hope there are enough Republican politicians with influence that will see the risks of populism edging towards totalitarianism.

    Cynically enough, I think the only ism that politicians respect is re-electionism. We have seen that if the risk of losing an election seems greater than the risk of abandoning 250 years of success and tradition, then it’s a slam dunk. But the problem lies not so much with craven politicians (is there any other kind?) than with unhappy citizens whose frustrations are fanned (and misinformed) by populists.

    The Great Unwashed can be swayed, but not by facts.

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  21. phoodoo:
    newton,

    There are virtually no leaders as corrupt and unethical as the baby idiot,and his South Carolina water boy.

    Virtually ? Lindsey is is not even the worst Republican Senator. McConnell, Cruz, Paul, Mike Lee all are Lindsey’s equal. Trump certainly is corrupt , but Bolsonaro is pretty awful. Nixon was pretty bad as well.Wilson a racist. History is littered with the corrupt and unethical.

    Leaders are elected here. But nonetheless you don’t need to compare it to just here.

    I didn’t. My question arises from the apparent relationship between China and Hong Kong. Many in Hong Kong seem unsatisfied with the undemocratic tendencies of China. Be glad to compare US system with any actual system. The US was formed with a tacit and explicit approval of slavery. Things have changed but past actions still count.

    There are at least fifty other developed nations that are run by better leaders than the US.

    We fired the present guy already. We tried early this year but the Senate failed to convict.

    In the Philippines they elected a leader nearly as dumb as baby idiot. Again not a good thing.

    Again dumb and lazy is good, while Trump playing golf Americans and the World is probably safer . It is the smart sociopaths who know stuff that do the most harm.

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  22. I will never, ever, understand the pursuit of power. I mean, there’s stuff I’d like to happen politically, but the desperation that seems to overtake people when the reins appear to be slipping from their grasp is mystifying. OK, no-one would vote for me in the first place, but that’s a different matter.

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  23. Allan Miller:
    I will never, ever, understand the pursuit of power. I mean, there’s stuff I’d like to happen politically, but the desperation that seems to overtake people when the reins appear to be slipping from their grasp is mystifying. OK, no-one would vote for me in the first place, but that’s a different matter.

    There is an old aphorism that those most desirous of power are those least desirable to exercise it.

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  24. dazz: I believe Georgia must release the recount results by November 20th.

    The recount is not going to change anything. I was referring to the runoffs that might conceivably end with a tied senate and VP Harris with a deciding vote.

    The judicial shitshow is fun to watch. Trump is, predictably, having his ass handed to him big time while his cultists remain in complete denial.

    Denial is a strategy here, not a state of mind. The sustained cynicism for me is hard to tolerate.

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  25. colewd: How much do you know about the recount?

    So far, it has been reported that the recount is expected to be completed by Wednesday November 18, and the certified results reported in by next Monday. Also, so far there have been no reports of counties discovering any differences in vote totals. If Georgia is normal, only a relative handful of votes might change, in either direction.

    While the Trump campaign is still threatening a recount in Wisconsin, the margin is large enough to require them to pay for the recount – which is reported to be unlikely since no recount in American history has ever resulted in changing more than a small faction of that margin.

    However, as things stand it seems likely that Trump’s lies about a rigged election are impervious to recounts, vote certification, electoral college votes, or anything else. The question is whether an electoral college vote might shake loose enough Republican senators or administration members to allow a transition to proceed. My worry is that the administration is currently busy shredding or erasing all records of everything that happened or is happening, ensuring that Biden will take office with no preparation and no information, and face many tens of millions of voters delighted with this situation.

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  26. Alan Fox: The recount is not going to change anything. I was referring to the runoffs that might conceivably end with a tied senate and VP Harris with a deciding vote.

    Oh, sorry. Yeah, that’s gonna be huge. Fingers crossed!

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  27. Flint: So far, it has been reported that the recount is expected to be completed by Wednesday November 18, and the certified results reported in by next Monday. Also, so far there have been no reports of counties discovering any differences in vote totals. If Georgia is normal, only a relative handful of votes might change, in either direction

    They found a memory stick with 2,600 votes that had no been uploaded. The. Secretary of State ( Republican) is getting pressure from Lindsey Graham and other Republicans to put his thumb on the scale. He told them to fuck off, in a more polite manner. And Graham just moved up in his odious score.

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  28. Flint: My worry is that the administration is currently busy shredding or erasing all records of everything that happened or is happening, ensuring that Biden will take office with no preparation and no information, and face many tens of millions of voters delighted with this situation.

    And stealing everything not nailed down.

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  29. newton: They found a memory stick with 2,600 votes that had no been uploaded.

    If the 2600 votes match the already counted Floyd County votes, then Trump will gain somewhere around 600-800 votes. So it will take a LOT of such errors, ALL in pro-trump counties, to make a difference.

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  30. newton: And stealing everything not nailed down.

    I don’t care about stealing the silverware. I’m more concerned about the loss of institutional memory that’s been happening.

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  31. Flint: I don’t care about stealing the silverware. I’m more concerned about the loss of institutional memory that’s been happening.

    One big advantage with Biden and his team is they have experience at that level to rely on .

    On the downside , Trump is set on selling oil lease in the Arctic Refuge on his way out the door.

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  32. Flint: If the 2600 votes match the already counted Floyd County votes, then Trump will gain somewhere around 600-800 votes. So it will take a LOT of such errors, ALL in pro-trump counties, to make a difference.

    Biden has already been declared the winner at this point.The Trump conspiracy du jour is the Dominion software running of the machines. The conspiracy has to include bad actions by the Department of Homeland Security and no doubt Hillary and Soros .

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  33. newton: Biden has already been declared the winner at this point.

    Unfortunately, Biden has been declared the winner ONLY by the “fake news media”, which in turn depends on public confidence in the accuracy of their projections (and note that the media continue to call Biden’s win a projection). This allows the Republican Senators, all hostage to Trump’s fanatically loyal base, to claim that nothing is official until the electoral college speaks – and all lawsuits are settled.

    Needless to say, the purpose of these lawsuits isn’t to change any votes, but to undermine public acceptance of Biden’s administration, which looks likely to cripple it, perhaps permanently. Beyond that, with McConnell still running the Senate, we can confidently expect that health care, environmental protection, climate issues, immigration reform, etc. are all DOA. McConnell’s pledges to preserve all Trump’s damage are probably accurate.

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  34. Flint: Unfortunately, Biden has been declared the winner ONLY by the “fake news media”, which in turn depends on public confidence in the accuracy of their projections (and note that the media continue to call Biden’s win a projection).

    Sorry, did jump the gun on that. The official hand count is projected to be finished tomorrow. Normally I would have strong apprehension about a recount in the Deep South by a Republican. The Former Secretary of State ,who held the position while running for governor , showed a fondness for voter suppression.

    However, Brad Raffensperger, current SoS has restored my faith in humanity. No only has he resisted interference into the recount, he has called out those involved without the typical doublespeak. Biden should find him a job.

    This allows the Republican Senators, all hostage to Trump’s fanatically loyal base, to claim that nothing is official until the electoral college speaks – and all lawsuits are settled.

    Just a smokescreen ,the electoral vote will be dismissed just as easily. Fruit of the poisoned tree. And the virus will keep on spreading and more and more people will lose their jobs and the Senate will keep confirming Judges until the last minute. Vandals have more a sense of shame.

    Needless to say, the purpose of these lawsuits isn’t to change any votes, but to undermine public acceptance of Biden’s administration, which looks likely to cripple it, perhaps permanently.

    The harm the Senate can do pales in comparison to the harm the Senate and Trump as President could have done. Trump no longer being President is the greatest good, hope the Democrats figure out how to not implode and can remember who the real enemy is.

    Beyond that, with McConnell still running the Senate, we can confidently expect that health care, environmental protection, climate issues, immigration reform, etc. are all DOA. McConnell’s pledges to preserve all Trump’s damage are probably accurate.

    True ,Republicans will be shocked at the deficits the Democrats have run up. A replay of Obama’s first term . Mitch’s hold on the Senate is far more precarious while Biden / Harris is in power. Looks like Affordable Care Act will survive the latest court case. Trump is leaving the US in disarray just as he does to everything he touches. Leaving other’s to clean up his messes.

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  35. “There is no criticism like the criticism of straightforward indifference,” Alexander Cockburn wrote in 1986.

    I did check but didn’t find didn’t find the source of the quote in this Politico article. Seems like good advice in other circumstances, too

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  36. Did anyone else watch the press conference with Rudi Giuliani and Sydney Powell? I thought it was surreal. How long can this go on?

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  37. Alan Fox:
    Did anyone else watch the press conference with Rudi Giuliani and Sydney Powell? I thought it was surreal. How long can this go on?

    Almost dyed of laughter

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  38. More for those who don’t mind learning a little more about the form of government we have here in the United States.

    Article IV
    Section 4
    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

    Not Socialist. Not Democratic. Neither of those are guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

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