Wednesday Night #2016 – Indecision 2020

Written by  //  November 4, 2020  //  U.S., Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Biden and Trump Are Locked in Tight Race as Uncounted Votes Remain

The worst possible outcome at the end of Election night
With millions of legitimate votes still waiting to be counted, Mr. Trump prematurely and recklessly declared that he won the election. Appearing at the White House, he pressed for more vote counting in Arizona, where he is behind, and called to stop the count where he is ahead as he baselessly  declared the election “a fraud on the American public.”
In an unprecedented move that drew bipartisan condemnation, the president said he intended to go to the Supreme Court to intervene to halt the legitimate counting of the vote.
As the WaPo headline says The voters have spoken. Now we’re going to hear from the lawyers.

Although the world continues to turn on its axis and there are other events in other nations, it is hard to imagine that there is any  topic  about which there is a more genuine need to discuss, debate, or emote than the US election.

Before going there, however, Richard Conrad reminds us of the Atwater Library Centenary fundraiser Online Auction which, in response to popular demand has been extended by four days to Sunday, November 8 at 8:00 pm.

Trivia
Why Democrats are donkeys and Republicans are elephants
both political symbols (as well as Santa Claus and Uncle Sam) were popularized, and given their modern forms, by the same maverick cartoonist.

Bloomberg offered this helpful lexicon of 2020 terms that have replaced hanging chads in our vocabulary – “From naked ballots to safe-harbor deadlines — here are the terms to know.”

Wednesday Nighters had exhibited a full spectrum of predictions of the outcome, from Trump will be re-elected to a Biden sweep. John Curtin should have been delighted by Charlie Cook’s upbeat (and oh-so-wrong) opinion in Don’t Expect a Contested Election.
“The RealClearPolitics average of national polls pegged Biden’s lead at 7.4 points, 51.1 to 43.7 percent. … I believe his actual lead is more like 9 or 10 points, based on the higher-quality, live-telephone-interview national polls conducted since the first debate, as well as the gold standard of online polling, the Pew Research Center’s mammoth poll of 11,929 voters released two weeks ago.”
FiveThirtyEight carefully hedged its bets: Biden’s Favored In Our Final Presidential Forecast, But It’s A Fine Line Between A Landslide And A Nail-Biter

Dr Doom aka Nouriel Rubini was more prescient in The US Election’s Chaos Quotient, giving credence to the possibility of a long-contested result and the impact on the markets of the uncertainty that could last for months.

Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, traditionally the first place in America to vote, went unanimously for Biden shortly after midnight. But after that, Decision 2020 became Indecision 2020.

New York offered What to Watch for on Election Night: An Hour-by-Hour Guide, confidently stating “If you simply want to be smart about how the night is unfolding hour by hour for Joe Biden and Donald Trump — and a few key down-ballot races — this is the guide for you.” Quite early in the evening, we switched to Politico’s Live Election Highlights with its simple, constantly updated data, graphs, and breakdowns by state and seat.

It had already become a cliché to say it may be Election Week or Election Month rather than Election Day. The media mavens responsible for “calling” election wins and losses were utilizing pre-election polling to estimate mail-ballot results. For example, New York called for Biden , however: “Only unofficial results from in-person early and Election Day voting would be released on election night. Mail ballots, which have until Nov. 10 to arrive if postmarked by Election Day, will be reported in the following days and weeks. It took weeks to finish counting ballots during the state’s June primary.”

How U.S. networks (and the CBC) will call a winner on election night — or latervery cautiously. As it turned out, they couldn’t. CBC Radio did a commendable job throughout the night and only signed off at 3am.

How Long Will Vote Counting Take? Estimates and Deadlines in All 50 States
Many states did not have complete results on election night.
Only nine states expected to have at least 98 percent of unofficial results reported by noon the day after the election. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia allow postmarked ballots to arrive after Election Day, so the timing will depend on when voters return them.
New York and Alaska did not report any mail votes on election night. … Officials in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two key battleground states, have said full official counts could take several days.
Adding to the complications is this news: A judge ordered an immediate sweep of 12 postal districts to look for undelivered ballots after the Postal Service said in court that some 300,000 ballots it had received had not been scanned for delivery. He said he was particularly concerned about ballot delivery in districts where there has been slow processing of ballots for days, including Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Detroit. USPS responded that it could/would not meet the deadline creating potential problems in some of the 28 states where election officials must receive ballots by the end of Election Day to be counted. More fodder for the courts?

We have often expressed our fear that whatever the outcome, things could get ugly in the days, week and even months following the election. Had Trump been declared the winner outright  with minimal identifiable chicanery, the country -and world- would be subjected to more of the same and worse, plus intolerable gloating on his part, a shredding of the Democratic Party and possibly a sizeable exodus of the best and brightest citizens.  In the current scenario, Trump has  announced that he will launch court challenges, and we can be sure will make the best of his remaining days in office to create chaos, whether for four years, or for the incoming president. Don’t expect any charming, generous notes hidden in the drawer of the Resolute desk.

There remains the very real threat of violence in the wake of the tight race, as Daniel Byman and Colin P. Clarke of Brookings outline in Why the risk of election violence is high.
Charles Blow of the NYT points to wide-ranging preparations for the election to descend into bedlam undertaken by actors as disparate as the US Department of Justice to banks, retailers and apartment houses and media from the Wall Street Journal to Facebook. Our Most Dangerous Weeks Are Ahead

For many of us, the question remains, who are these supporters of Trump? They are not all uneducated redneck racists. Some of them are even related to us. How can they not see the glaring flaws, the ignorance, hucksterism,  lies, self-dealing and utter disregard for the well being of the people … that are so evident to the rest of us?

We wish we were confident that the American people would follow Jack Todd’s advice about what Americans must do when the election is over Want to make America great? How about we get back to basic decency and tolerance…, but it is now inconceivable that the evil genie will so easily go back in the bottle.

In the aftermath of the final count and related court challenges,  focus will shift to the Electoral College, the antiquated, cumbersome, institution that has long-since outlived any usefulness it may have had. Reform of the system is a must, but this requires a constitutional amendment.

Elsewhere in the world

Attack on Kabul University by Isis gunmen leaves 22 dead
Afghan government declares day of mourning after incident in which attackers shot dead
On Monday evening, Isis took responsibility for the attack, claiming it had targeted a “graduation gathering for judges and investigators of the apostate Afghan government”.

Monday night’s terrorist attack in Vienna

US pushes Greece to stop acting as China’s ‘dragon’s head’ into Europe
Athens under pressure in scramble for influence between Washington and Beijing with high-level visits from both powers
US seeks to counter Chinese influence through Belt and Road Initiative with its own funding alternative

Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges pull out of Ant Group listing, halting plans for world’s biggest IPO.  Ant operates Alipay, the world’s biggest financial technology company and, along with Tencent’s WeChat Pay, one of two dominant electronic payment systems in China. The company has come under increased scrutiny and tighter regulation as it expanded the range of financial technology services it offers. Among the new regulations are caps on the use of asset-backed securities to fund consumer loans, new capital and licensing requirements and caps on lending rates.

It seems that every week we mourn the passing of an individual who has been a part of our lives, as an entertainer, writer, cultural or political influencer. The past week has been no exception. Sean Connery, who died at the age of 90, led the most remarkable life and will always be remembered as 007, although he was an accomplished actor whose career was not limited to Bond — James Bond.
Robert FiskThe Independent‘s outstanding foreign correspondent, whose reporting and interpretation of  events was indispensable for any serious student of international affairs, died at the relatively young age of 74. A huge loss for his readers and followers around the world.
For aviation buffs the death of Max Ward, legendary bush pilot and founder of  Wardair, marks the end of an era – a wonderful era when service, passenger comfort, and a management that cared for its employees were the norm rather than revenue per passenger seat.

Something to think about:
Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here’s how we fix it | Larry Lessig (video)

Not exactly humour, more life imitates art
For those of you who believe that we have been living through a horror show for the past four years (yes, since the 2016 election day) there is this:
How Stephen King Predicted Trump’s Rise Decades Ago

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