Saturday, March 16, 2024

"I'd much rather be us than them"

According to the polling aggregate at The Economist, if the 2024 presidential election were held today, it would result in a tie.

There's been a lot of chatter lately about whether these polls are accurate, and we won't know for sure until November. But if we put all of that polling controversy aside (which I am inclined to do), Simon Rosenberg has captured what's really important right now when he says "I'd much rather be us than them." There are several reasons why that statement rings true.

Fundraising

Typically a politician's ability to raise money has been deemed almost as important as their standing in the polls. I'm not totally convinced that's true anymore. But the fact of the matter is that not only is Biden raising more money, a large portion of the funds raised by Trump and the RNC are going to pay the former guy's legal fees. To the extent that money makes a difference in a presidential campaign, the edge on this one goes to Biden.

A GOP in Disarray 

While the mainstream press doesn't write much about it, there are huge battles going on amongst Republicans. We see that in the complete inertia in the Republican-controlled House, where Speaker Johnson can't take a step without pissing off one faction or another. But it is even more pronounced in several swing states like Florida, Michigan, and Nevada. State party leaders are a crucial part of getting out the vote in November, both up and down the ballot. This kind of upheaval will not only hamper those efforts, it could very well spread to other states.

Another way that disarray is affecting the GOP is that there is a contingent of Republicans that is overtly rejecting Trump. As we saw in the early primary states, 1/3 to 1/2 of Haley voters said they would not vote for him in the general election. Here's what they sound like:
Many of the people who served in the Trump administration are saying the same thing.

Conventional wisdom has historically suggested that once a candidate becomes the nominee, they broaden their appeal to reach out to a larger audience for the general election. Given the split inside the GOP, you'd think there would be a massive outreach effort underway right now. But the RNC is doing the exact opposite. 

Issues 

Trump has made it clear that he is proud that the judges he appointed to the Supreme Court overruled Roe v Wade. He has also promised that he will not support any effort to halt gun violence and that he will end efforts to mitigate climate change. On day one he's promised to "drill baby drill."

I've already written that the policies Trump is actually proposing would be a disaster for both the United States and the globe.

As of a few months ago, it looked like the Republican message would be focused on what they defined as Biden's failures: the economy, crime, and the border. The first of those two have been fairly neutralized with slowing inflation and an historic drop in violent crime. But once it became clear that Trump had ordered his minions to kill the bipartisan border bill, that one was neutralized too. 

Of course, Trump and Republicans will continue to lie about those issues. But they've botched things so badly that refuting their claims is not difficult. For example, they are actually attempting to revive the Reagan question about whether or not you're better off than you were four years ago when a pandemic that killed one million Americans was sweeping the country and the economy was in the midst of collapse. 

Trumpism

This one could take a while to type out. So I'm simply going to let Seth Myers do the work.

Beyond all of that, mental health professionals are speaking up to point out that not only is Trump a malignant narcissist, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is showing "unmistakable signs strongly suggesting dementia, based on his public behavior and informant reports that show progressive deterioration in memory, thinking, ability to use language, behavior, and both gross and fine motor skills."

The issue is that, unlike narcissism, dementia is a progressive disease - meaning that it will get worse over time. To the extent that Trump's handlers are trying to cover it up, they're probably just making it worse. In other words, this could be a real powder keg.

A caveat to all of this would be that eight months is a long time. All kinds of things can happen between now and November. Some of them might be good and others catastrophic. That's why I'll never be in the position of predicting outcomes to an election. 

I also suspect that some people might respond to this list by saying that none of the above will affect MAGA voters - and I would agree. The point is to back up what Rosenberg is saying. Polls aren't everything. In the end, I'd much rather be us than them.  

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this article, Nancy. It's a somewhat complete listing of the 'now' in this race. And, in your words (and the words of others), In the end, I'd much rather be us than them. Thanks for your work on this; and, I agree that it's too far in the future to try to predict the outcome of this election, but donnie will certainly mess up time and again as we move on. Just consider his threat to cut Social Security and Medicare, even if afterward he was convinced to issue a retraction of sorts. His first comments are always the most telling of his disorganized move to become America's first 'elected' dictator.

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  2. The Polls are wrong because they do not measure how we actually decide elections. We have the electoral college not a national popular vote. So to accurately predict an election you need to ignore states that are not in play. If you poll California, Biden would be winning bigly. If you poll Alabama Trump would be winning just as bigly. These states are not relevant unless they are flipping and improperly skew the data. Likewise if you want to use polls to predict a swing state results, you need to have the samples match population density. If you over sample rural areas, you probably won't get the actual statewide result. The national polls are being used to promote the horserace, not reality.

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    Replies
    1. This entry is so very correct. Polling is an instrument that has been (mis)used to 'predict' outcomes of elections. To avoid the continuation of this false or intentionally false prediction 'tool', it is necessary for the US to ditch the electoral college and make elections based on total count of all ballots. And, yes, I do understand the initial creation of the electoral college as a means to offer some kind of equanimity among large and small states. Even now, it's an anachronism with the likelihood of continued inequalities for most voters.

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    2. How would you handle a recount in close elections? Recount the whole country? And that assumes you can successfully amend the Constitution.

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