• Today's Presidential Polls
Voting and Polling
D.E. in Lancaster, PA, writes: In response to the question from JL from Wanamingo, MN about how the media covers the election, how about the idea that they announce only finalized results. The media should just go Cold Turkey on Exit Polls, which have had a dodgy track record at best—remember Florida 2000 or the 2004 election where the media kept insinuating that Kerry was going to win based on Exit Polls. It was much worse in the 1990's but still there is a tendency for the media to race through election night like it's something painful that's best done quickly. This idea that the network that calls the election first will gain viewership was slippery in its heyday but downright antiquated now.
I won't watch CNN because in 2012 they called North Dakota for Romney 5.79 seconds faster than NBC. On election night I'll be watching the results on the network or platform I most identify with. Given that Trump is going to be muddying the waters to taint this election, the media should make a pledge to just report the facts. Leave the projections alone. Plus to me there is something about the networks calling a state based on one half of one percent results that makes me question why the hell did I even vote. If we have to wait a day or a week to know the results then I'm OK with that if I feel like my vote counted. We need to stop living in a McDonald's society—it shouldn't be sitting under a heat lamp waiting for someone to demand the results in an instant. Our elections should be like fine dining, an experience to savor and not rush through. Maybe the electorate would have a better opinion of the process if it wasn't served up to us like a lump of cardboard.
Keep up the good work!
V & Z respond: You're probably not going to like this, but even with voting started only in North Carolina so far, we are going to go out on a limb here and call Wyoming for Trump already.
R.C. in Madison, WI, writes: On Thursday you wrote about an election night scenario, and you cited numbers for Wisconsin based on a Marquette University poll. Bravo to Marquette for their polling work here in Wisconsin. I know we deserve a bit of scorn for how we handled the April election, and that's fine, and I trust you that the scenario you outlined has already played out in the last Arizona Senate race, but I want to let you know that it really shouldn't (and most likely won't) happen in Wisconsin. Let me explain.
Under Wisconsin law, absentee ballots must be received by Election Day. In most of Wisconsin, and I have personally witnessed this twice in Madison, the absentee ballots are delivered to the voters' polling places on Election Day. A voter can personally drop off their absentee ballot at the polling place while the polls are open. During the day, usually when the polling place is not busy, poll workers verify the signatures, mark the poll book to indicate that the voter voted absentee, open the envelopes, and feed the ballots into the same tabulator into which that voter would deposit their ballot if they voted in person. At that point they are all mixed together. There is no record that distinguishes absentee votes from in-person votes. The totals reported by the precinct on election night only exclude provisional ballots.
Some communities (listed here) count absentee ballots at a central location, not at individual polling places. The election administration manual indicates that in those communities, the counting of absentee ballots must begin between the opening of the polls (7 a.m.) and 10 p.m. on election night, and it is a meeting open to the public. I'm guessing they can't leave until the count is finished.
One wrinkle in the April election (the Presidential primary) was that a federal judge had ruled that ballots returned by mail had to be accepted after Election Day, and SCOTUS chose not to overturn that part of the ruling. A consequence of that ruling is that no results were reported on election night. Poll workers in Madison were told that it would be a criminal act to attempt to determine a precinct's vote totals on the night of the election because ballots would be accepted over the following days. We heard no totals until a week later when the judge's deadline had passed, and an important state Supreme Court race was on the ballot, so some of us were getting impatient.
To summarize, when you hear a vote count for a community in Wisconsin, it most likely includes absentee ballots.
One more point, as long as I'm trying to defend Wisconsin elections. After some dithering in late March, Governor Evers called up the National Guard to help staff polling places. (Guard members wore civilian clothes when working at the polls.) Unfortunately Milwaukee and Green Bay had already committed to opening an inadequate number of polling places and it was too late to correct that. Given this precedent, one presumes the Guard will be called on again in November if municipalities are unable to staff polling places with sufficient community volunteers.
With this information, I hope your readers can be less pessimistic about how Wisconsin will handle the election in November.
V & Z respond: Thank you very much! We definitely like to hear from people with "on the ground" experience concerning how elections or polling really happen.
A.R. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: There have been a number of items in which (Z) has expressed frustration at the media reports of doomsday scenarios come November, and each time he has painstakingly taken apart these scenarios by showing the flaws in their reasoning and assumptions to demonstrate their implausibility. So, I was dismayed to see (V) posting a similar scary scenario without reference to facts that undercut his thesis.
We can point to any number of races just in the recent primaries where the outcome wasn't known until the following day or even a week or more later. There's nothing new about this even in the absence of increased mail-in ballots. In fact, we often see results from various counties in a state trickle in that give a lead to one candidate or another but the media caution that we're still waiting for results from x County where all the voters from y party are. And sometimes when the vote is close, we have to wait to learn the outcome until the next day or days later.
With respect to mail-in ballots, this "nightmare scenario" is apparently based on states that don't start counting absentee ballots soon enough. In fact, many of the key swing states begin counting well before November 3 and the rest start on that morning. North Carolina and Arizona start counting absentee ballots 14 days before election day. In CO, it's 15 days! Ohio also starts counting before election day. In PA, WI, MI, GA, and IA, ballots are counted the morning of election day. The only swing state that doesn't start counting until after the polls close is Florida.
I agree that we should spread the word that we could be waiting awhile for results and the lead could swing back and forth. I also agree that exit polls should be used sparingly if at all and that states should consider waiting until the majority of votes are counted before releasing results.
But there is no reason to be unnecessarily hyperbolic. It's counterproductive and only feeds the narrative that the election will be chaotic when it's up to us to ensure that it's not. Trump is going to whine and scream and spout conspiracy theories whatever the reality is on the ground. Fear of his reaction only serves to legitimize his outlandish claims. We know what the issues are and we are successfully combating them. We can sound the alarm without being alarmist. Thanks as always for the great work you're doing.
V & Z respond: Good points. Come back tomorrow when we will have a detailed item on how absentee ballots are managed in every state. However, also keep in mind that 18 states accept absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day if they are postmarked on or before Election Day.
D.S. in Silver Spring, MD, writes: Thank you for Electoral Vote.
It seems to me that, by encouraging mail-in voting, the Democrats are walking right into the nightmare scenario trap. Many states do not have experience counting large numbers of mail-in votes (see NY primary) and may take weeks to get through all of them, while Trump and the GOP do everything they can to stop the counting. We also know that a large number of votes during the primary were invalidated. This is two elephants and a blue whale in the room! My thinking is that it doubles the margin of error (at least) for most polls.
Instead, where it is available, it is far better for Dems to encourage early, in-person voting. Even on election day, voting can be safe if distancing and face masks are implemented. No doubt, some voters will not feel safe voting on election day and understandably so, but many will have no problem doing so. Am I missing something?
M.H. in Newton, MA writes: I don't know if you are following this, but it is a crystal clear example of the need for ranked choice voting. Jake Auchincloss will almost certainly be the next Congressperson from MA-04, but more than 3/4 of his own party voted against him!
R. (location not given) writes: I think some pollsters are making stuff up to get their name out there, or to state ome race is closer than it actually is... All sorts of wackiness from Emerson. Throw in Rasmussen, Trafalgar and you have the who's who of sh*t pollsters.
V & Z respond: We don't want to cherry-pick pollsters. For pollsters rated by Nate Silver, we won't use any that are rated below C-. For unrated (new) pollsters, we carefully check their Website to see what business they are in. If they are campaign consultants for either side, we ignore them completely. Emerson is a college, so we (grudgingly) include them even though we also have our doubts. Otherwise how can we defend using Marist College, which is one of the best pollsters, and not Emerson (other than using Silver's ratings)? Rasmussen is a special case. The polls are legitimate (readers have told us that Rasmussen actually called them) but the model is top-heavy with Republicans. Scott Rasmussen left the company 7 years ago and it seems to have improved a bit.
B.T. in Pennsylvania, writes: When I read polls of Pennsylvania (Biden is currently up 6), I wonder if that reflects the intensive organizing on the Democratic side, for statewide elections. As you and EVP readers know, our state is nicknamed Pennsyltucky: Pittsburgh on the west, Philly in the southeast, and a vast red chasm in the middle, except for Happy Valley, home of Penn State. In 2018, Turn PA Blue emerged, a group with a strategy to "harvest" surplus Blue resources and distribute them to the suburban counties bordering Philadelphia. I live in a zipcode that is the bluest dot in PA, with loads of progressive activists without a local candidate who needs us. Thus we campaigned for state Rep. and Senate candidates, as well as Democrats running for township and countywide offices. The results broke Republican county majorities, sometimes for the first time in over a hundred years. It also broke the supermajority Republicans held in Harrisburg, our capital.
In 2020, we have taken these efforts statewide. People are phonebanking, postcarding, and fundraising like crazy for a wide variety of candidates in districts far, far away from us. Since it's virtual, location doesn't matter. Enthusiasm for energetic, smart, first-time authentic candidates is off the charts. The idea is to generate local enthusiasm and drive interest in voting that will, simultaneously, deliver votes for Joe and Kamala. Many of these are districts that have never had aggressive Democratic campaigners and supporters.
I think the effect of this is hard to poll, but if 2018 is any indication, Biden will safely take Pennsylvania.
R.S. in San Mateo, CA, writes: Expectations are that polling places will be few and far between, and Republicans will be the majority of in-person voters. Having absentee voters show up in person to "double-check their vote," even if done calmly and without drama (unlikely), will create longer lines and more delays for in-person voting. It seems like that will hurt Republicans more than Democrats.
S.A.R. in Wyomissing, PA, writes: I spend way too much time wandering the comment boards on Breitbart and Fox News. The Trumpists are convinced the polls are all lying or just plain wrong, and that Trump will win in a landslide. One of their delusions (and there are many) is tied to the polls using "registered voters" because historically Republicans have had more reliable "likely voters." Recent polls are showing very little difference between the two sets now. I don't know if anyone has looked into the numbers, but I suspect realignment is changing this fundamental of American politics. If more highly-educated, suburban voters are drifting to the Democrats, then the party is gaining something far more valuable than just new voters. They're gaining a lot of reliable "likely voters."
T.L. in the S.F. Bay Area, writes: Aren't the listed 2010s bogeymen variants or corollaries of group status threat? White people will no longer be the majority group in the US in a few decades, and that makes some concerned or fearful. Perhaps they do not really believe what they say when they say that minorities get equal treatment, since they are concerned or fearful of being in a minority group.
Note that this also makes additional related bogeymen: immigrants (at least from places other than Europe), "crime" (with the implied association to minorities).
A similar thing played out in California in the 1990s, when the GOP bet the party on similar issues. They got some short term wins, but their target demographic shrank, and too many others refused to consider voting for them.
Some earlier bogeymen that can be added:
- 1880s-1920s: immigrants, at least those other than from a small part of Europe
- 1970s-1990s: crime (which was much higher then than now)
E.C.R. in Helsinki, writes: Yesterday in answer to Y.H.'s question about the antifa you provided a decade by decade listing of the American bogeyman du jour. While I realize that any such list requires a lot of hard editorial choices I was very struck by one thing. The "American Dilemma," in Myrdal's phrasing, made the list 4 times: 1850s, 1860s, 1960s and 2010s. In contrast the century and a half struggle for women's suffrage and equal rights is nowhere mentioned. This struggle has drawn lots of bogeywoman characterizations and not just Hillary and Nancy.
In fact, despite the recent flood tide of women into political office at all levels, misogynist attack radio continues to be a major American export. As your readers may recall, here in Finland the PM and heads of all 5 governing parties are women. As a member of the Swedish speaking minority, my radio selections are limited and many types of radio share each of the two Swedish language stations. I regularly hear ads from a talk show host inviting his listeners to call in later in the day and discuss the PM's alleged plans to become a dictator. There were never such discussions about the previous male PMs and the tone is straight out of US talk radio which is unsurprising since Fox bought out a Finnish TV channel a few years ago.
P.H. in Florida, writes: I read yesterday with interest (Z)'s historical listing of bogeyman targets, and came to realize it's a theme. Hunter S. Thompson said it best - the dark side of America's Psyche... "Fear and Loathing..." tapping into the background - the underlying "Zeitgeist" of the arc of the materialistic angst of all of American history to date - the blind hegemony of the rulers, enabling demagoguery of the other, to soothe the anxious masses, with populist tropes.
This was used by Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson as he murdered his way through southern plantations (black slaves), and Native Americans (Seminole, Cherokee), to Joe McCarthy's "Unamerican" assault in the 1950's against the entertainment industry, to the lesser but still egregious evils of Nixon's "Southern Strategy" in the 1960's, to the "Welfare Queens" and "Young Bucks" of that Pied Piper, Ronald Reagan of the 1980's, and now, in its logical conclusion of inflamed hatred, Trump is self-immolating, sucking those cowardly Republicans with him into the convection currents of his conflagration.
History records that public figures who tap into emotions of the people—an anxious revenge against an "unworthy" neighbor—is always threatening, but always, always fails, in the end, and those leaders are assigned to the shameful scrapheaps of history, sometimes by more rational leaders in the aftermath, but often by the population at large. E PLURIBUS UNUM.
P.S., I've loved your site - every day now for 16 years - and occasionally donate.
M.K. in Frostbite Falls, MN, writes: Your bogeyman of the decade list was interesting. Believe it or not, periodically in my work I get inquiries about whether association with freemasonry is a disqualification from membership, so apparently that one has some staying power. I'm surprised "radical Islam" or "Muslim terrorists" didn't make your list for the 2000s.
E.W. in Skaneatles, NY writes: Your list of boogeymen by decade is interesting, but I think you left one out of the 2000s and 2010s decades: Muslims and Islam in general. Although there was some anti-Muslim bias in the 90s, the attacks on 9/11/2001 really brought that forward and defined the next decade and a half - the "threat" of creeping Sharia law and the 9/11 mosque controversy being notable examples.
By the way, in my opinion the only boogeymen that are at all justified were the 1800s French (Quasi-War), the 1810s British (who did burn down the White House, after all), the former Confederates (the rise of the KKK), and the trusts of the Gilded Age (who really did exploit the working class). The rest, including Muslims, are completely unjustified, and for those keeping score, that's 4 out of 22 and none in the last 120 years. No wonder people's anxiety is through the roof now!
D.C. in Portland, OR, writes: Yesterday, L.E., Winston-Salem, N.C, asked if there's any truth to rumors George Soros is secretly funding and organizing outside protesters in cities like Portland, OR. From my perspective these protests are near 100% local and organic. We hear and observe BLM activity all over the city at all hours of the day; on Wednesday and Friday evenings, vehicle convoys heading from the Eastside to downtown, sometimes pass our way meeting our cheers from the sidewalk. Many evenings the peaceful chanting for social justice from a short distance across the city, starts early and continues through the night, bracketed by quiet, crickets and inevitability at some point the police LRAD, arbitrarily and usually with unnecessary force, shutting things down.
Soros deserves an equivalent to Godwins Law: anyone speculating of Soros' involvement in anything except financial speculation, should be forever ignored.
V & Z respond: Actually, Godwin's law states that as any Internet discussion gets longer, the probability that somebody brings up Hitler approaches 1.0. Here is your chance to posit a "Smith's Law" that when an Internet discussion of bogeypeople goes on long enough, the probability that somebody brings up Soros approaches 1.0.
P.M. in Albany, CA, writes: You write that the America First Committee "included political activists of many stripes, among them militant pacifists, anti-Semites, fascists, people who weren't themselves fascist but sympathized with fascist leaders like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and some communists." Yes, but as your own link says, among its founding members at Yale Law School were future president Gerald Ford, future Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart, and future Peace Corps director and vice-presidential candidate Sargent Shriver. Shriver's future brother-in-law John F. Kennedy was also a supporter and contributor. Other than being active in politics, I don't think those future WW2 veterans fit any of the categories you list.
R.W. in San Francisco, CA, writes: I agree with your Saturday comment about the whole U.S., but Louisiana under Governor Huey Long in the 1920's and early 1930's was a true fascist government in power.
A.W. in Southfield, MI writes: You may know more about Eugene V. Debs than I do but it seemed unfair to Debs and to US history to not at least mention Debs in your response to the above question. Especially when you included comments specifically on socialism in the USA. The era of Debs, the Socialist Party of America, the IWW have always intrigued me—especially as the era in which they arose parallels our time of extreme disparity of wealth and also, of the domination by business conglomerates and monopolies. Just had to stand up for Debs but am grateful every day for your site. And your sense of humor.
E.V. in Derry, NH, writes: New Hampshire has been both somewhat smart and somewhat lucky with COVID-19. The opening of schools will certainly test both of those factors. The governor is having each district decide for itself which path to take. There is no statewide mandate for masks in school.
Some schools have already opened, some are waiting until after Labor Day. Manchester, the biggest district, was planning on sending at least kindergarten and grade 1 to school and other grades to go remote, but too many teachers have retired or claimed a medical exemption, so the districts are having to rethink the plan. In my area, there have already been a few COVID-19 cases in other schools. There does not seem to be a state policy on how the extent of contact tracing will be determined.
High school sports tryouts, normally a mid-August event, will begin on September 8. Districts can choose to opt in or out. Even for schools already in session, that is less than 14 days from the first day. It will be harder to track infections specifically to school or sports when evaluating the start of the year, or whether to switch learning models.
Schools not all remote are mostly going with a hybrid model, but even that varies from school to school. Some variations are alternating days in and out on a two or four day cycle, half or all of the student body present, 45 or 90 minute classes.
In my school, the general attitude toward teaching during COVID-19 can be called 'cautious'. I imagine if we were in one of the states that has been a recent hot spot, that word would be 'alarmed'. We are on a hybrid model or two alternating groups of students doing four 90 minute blocks a day for two days in school, then two out. For teachers, the difficulties can be put into three groups. One is how to be safe. We have to mask up inside all the time. The students have been good about this so far. There are one-way signs on the floors, but habits from last year, and the nooks and short halls that go to dead ends make this hard to regulate. What to sanitize and how often is still a best guess situation. Two is management—of attendance for remote and online groups, of distributing and collecting materials and work, of keeping track of the day's schedule and which group is in the school. The third is the teaching itself. Do you teach like it is one big zoom call? Do you have different tasks for those at home and those in school? Both approaches have their planning and preparation issues. Another factor is what to teach. We all know it will be less, and we have to figure out a core focus. At best our in-class time will be less than half the norm. There will be a lot of reliance on students' will power to do a good chunk of work at home. On top of that is how to effectively engage the students who are 100% remote learners.
Driving to school one can still see a few of the popular signs showing that a 2020 graduate lives here. When I walked into my room for teacher meetings, it had 12 desks rather than 28. The extras are now in lunch rooms and other large spaces for socially distanced eating. Actual numbers in any class can be 12 down to just a few students, depending on what group the students are in, and who is 100% remote. With only half the students present per day, the school feels quite empty. Not much gathering in the halls. It's not easy to determine how the students are doing—they are quiet and their faces are hidden. I told them I don't have any experience or thoughts to share about being a teenager during a pandemic.
Much of our prep time and days have been spent trying to guess effective ways to do the hybrid learning. Some of us teach 3 straight 90 minute blocks, some have 4 straight every other day. The school administration has been good about giving time and space to teachers to find a path that works for them. The level of detail with supplies, protocols, tech integration and the like has been tedious, and solutions are still ongoing. Colleagues do not have much of the usual early year bubbly enthusiasm. But the group spirit is good and there is lots of mutual help as we try things out.
I just hope we stay lucky.
Four- and Five-Letter Words
P.C. in Portland, OR, writes: Even the New York Times printed that quote from Trump calling John McCain "a fucking loser" without censoring it. I think you guys should give up on trying to save sensitive ears. It just looks silly now, and also is a bit of avoidance in depicting the full horror of our current commander in chief.
E.K. in New York, NY, writes: I just wanted to thank you very much for not spelling out ratfu**ing! My little 6 year old is becoming more engaged with my reading and wanted me to read aloud your post from today, Wednesday, Sept. 2. He was following along over my shoulder when we got to this word and I was so grateful that it wasn't entirely spelled out. I never thought much of it before, but today it was a life saver!
V & Z respond: Maybe we're just pussyfooting around here, but we can understand that it could be tough to explain to your 6 year old what the commander in chief is doing when he grabs women by the p*ssy.
B.H. in Westborough, MA, writes: There seems to be an ever-present curiosity as to why a solid 38% of the population stands by Trump, no matter what. (V) wrote a piece on What do Trump Supporters Care About? that called out primarily cultural issues and expressions of anger at the system such as "They love it when he 'woops some butt' on politicians they hate" and "They believe, as Trump does, that Democrats behave like spoiled brats". Who is really pulling the strings here? It's well known that Republicans are much better at reducing issues to digestible sound bites, stoking "us versus them" divides, instilling fears about "socialism" and the "deep state," describing threats to the Second Amendment, amplifying hidden inner feelings such as racism and nationalism, and other marketing maneuvers. They have successfully convinced a rather sizable portion of the population to never, ever, vote for a Democrat. Despite the "hope" campaign that Obama ran and won on, marketers know all too well that fear is a much stronger motivator than hope.
What do Republicans who fund this marketing (i.e. the rich and those that advise the rich) really see as the threat from Biden and the Democrats? What are they afraid of that makes them act this way? I conducted a non-scientific poll of financial advisors, investment analysts, and business owners, to see what they thought would happen if Biden and the Democrats regained the White House and the Senate next year. Their main fears, not surprisingly, revolve around taxes and regulation, and how much they may have to pay under a Biden presidency. More specifically, they believe that Biden and the Democrats will:
- Reduce the exemption for tax-free estates, currently at $11.58 million for individuals, and twice that for couples
- Raise the capital gains tax
- Impose a wealth tax on the richest Americans
- Raise business taxes, leading to lower profits and lower stock prices
- Increase financial regulations, especially if someone like Elizabeth Warren is appointed to the cabinet
- Provide more COVID-related relief. And, possibly introduce empoyee protections
This probably also helps to explain how many Republicans who see through Trump's antics and Republican marketing tactics vote for him anyway. One financial person told me, "as much as it pains me to say it, your best move is to probably vote for T." He couldn't even bring himself to type Trump's name.
W.S. in Austin, TX, writes: Here's a question to add to Jennifer Rubin's list: Spell the word "Constitution." Biden could do it. Trump could not. The headlines would write themselves.
G.W. in Oxnard, CA, writes: I heard Trump comments about the violence in the streets ending on 20 Jan 2021. That seemed odd to me. He has the power of the presidency now, and he can use it unencumbered by the need for votes after 5 Nov, so Why 20 Jan? Then it dawned on me, it's not a promise, it's a threat. He is saying that if he wins, then he will call off his supporters, and the violence will end some time in Nov. If he loses, he will tell his followers to keep the violence going, then on 20 Jan, his followers are to unleash Hell upon the nonbelievers, so the real violence will occur during the Biden administration. From this perspective, many of Trump's promises (trade, NATO, China, the wall etc.) are more believable as threats than promises. Trump's motto ought to be "Who needs promises kept when you have threats?" Sorry, the punch line to this joke is weak.
T.J.R. in Metuchen, NJ, writes: I'm afraid that I disagree with your assessment of Arkansas, in reply to the question by K.F., Framingham, MA. I would note the following: 1) the last poll there is a bit long in the tooth (June 10th); 2) the Democrats could not even muster up a Senate candidate to run against Tom Cotton; 3) all four House districts are held by Republicans with the best Cook PVI being R+7 (and that being the only one where Democrats remotely have a chance; 4) the Cook PVI for the state is R+15 and 5) you (reasonably based on your methodology) and Real Clear Politics are the only ones who think Biden has any chance there (including Cook, Crystal, Inside Elections, Politico, Niskanen, CNN, etc.).
If anyone wants to spend the money polling Arkansas and it still shows a close race, I'd be willing to temper my opinion. And a landslide could make it closer. But until then, I firmly believe that Arkansas will end up in the Republican column.
P.S. being a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I love your references to them! Go Bucs!
F.C. in Deland, FL, writes: Again I expected better from your site, and again I'm disappointed. You enjoyed listing the number of Trump related individuals who are registered in more than one place, treating it as if it's something only they do. The reality is that it is much harder to remove yourself from a voter registration list than to add yourself to a voter registration list. And many efforts to clean existing lists are met with lawsuits.
Many Americans, once they move from one elections district to another, are listed in both lists of registered voters. A friend of mine, a progressive college professor, was unable to remove her name from the local voter list despite moving to another state. (She was trying to reduce the amount of junk mail she got. The USPS would forward her mail to her new, out of state address.) She contacted the Supervisor of Elections repeatedly, but to no avail.
So being registered in multiple locations does not, in and of itself, imply voter fraud. It is merely a function of a decentralized voter registration system.
And you should know better than to imply otherwise. Even if it makes Trump look bad.
J.L. in Paterson, NJ, writes: I disagree with your view that all four debates should be in swing states. The swing states already get all the attention from the candidates. The rest of us figure in only for fundraising or an occasional photo op. With the debates, a candidate can at least visit a non-swing state without losing ground to his rival, who will also be there. I would leave in place the Utah and Tennessee debates that you would move. The other two could be held, for example, in Illinois and here in New Jersey. Two red states, two blue states, and, like the first four nominating contests, one in each of the country's major geographic regions.
D.R. in Caracas,Venezuela, writes: First of all, I wanted to tell you that I've been following your site for months and I absolutely love it.
Second of all, I just read your item about Florida's Latinos and I'm really happy that you addressed this topic, because millions of people within Venezuela and the exile community are very concerned about the U.S. presidential election.
The general consensus is that most Venezuelans want Trump to win re-election because they're 100% sure that he would invade the country to take Maduro out, but Biden wouldn't. I personally believe that the military option is the only one we have to get rid of Maduro, but I also think that Trump is too untrustworthy for us to believe what he's said regarding this. How can we trust Putin's puppet and best friend will take out a dictator who's being propped up by him? I think many people are being too naive.
I fear that if Trump is re-elected, not only he wouldn't invade Venezuela, but also we would waste our time waiting for him to do so while he's very busy throwing tear gas at BLM protests, being impeached and removed from office because of [insert any crime] and running away to avoid getting locked up (notice the irony). However, I love my country. And if I believed that there's even a remote possibility that Trump would take out Maduro, I would ignore my blue and gay heart and ask people to vote for Trump.
That said, what do you think Biden's policies regarding Venezuela and Latin America would be? And the big elephant (or donkey) in the room: Is there any chance that the U.S. will intervene militarily in Venezuela, either with Biden or Trump as POTUS?
V & Z respond: Thanks for your letter. According to Google Analytics, 18% of our readers are outside the U.S. That has been true for years but still surprises us that so many people elsewhere have such a detailed interest in American politics. Face it, a lot of our material probably qualifies as "inside baseball," like a list of state-by-state deadlines when absentee ballots have to arrive. This is possibly of interest to American political junkies but probably not of interest to people who can't vote in U.S. elections.
We think it is very, very unlikely that either Trump or Biden will interfere in Venezuela. Trump doesn't know where it is and doesn't care. To him, it is just another sh*thole country. Biden knows exactly where it is and what the score is, but if he wins, he will have his hands full with COVID-19, the economy, and racial justice. Foreign policy will be left to Susan Rice (or whoever the SoS is), and SoSes prefer diplomacy to war.
A.H. in Linwood, NJ, writes: Following Joe Kennedy's loss on Tuesday, you mentioned The Politico article on the end of the Kennedy dynasty. This November, Amy Kennedy is on the ballot in my congressional district (NJ-02), facing Democrat-turned-Republican Jeff Van Drew. She is married to former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, so I'm sure she has plenty of family members to call on for campaign suggestions. The race is rated a toss-up whether we get another Kennedy (by marriage) in Congress next January.
Thanks for your in-depth analysis and providing daily content to keep me informed about this ever-changing political landscape. Keep up the great work. Here's hoping you have a boring few months next year so you don't have to keep posting the scandal-of-the-day every day!
S.S. in Kansas City, MO, writes: In your assessment of what is ailing Iowa and how it may affect the Republicans' chances, don't forget the massive derecho that leveled the state in early August. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of acres of the state's green gold, corn, was flattened just before it was due to be harvested, and many rural residents are still without power. While the President was quick to sign an emergency declaration, claiming $4 billion in was on its way, actual money has been slow in coming. Initially, only $45 million covering 16 counties was approved for debris cleanup. Reports are that farmers will eventually get taken care of, but regular people aren't so confident. Response from state and local authorities has also been highly criticized as, much like every other state government that has been overtaken by Trumpers, public agencies responsible for everything from disaster response/relief to the social safety nets have been devastated by years of budget cuts. The last poll you have for Iowa was Aug 3, about a week before the storm hit. The next poll should be telling.
No surprises here. (V)
|New Mexico||54%||39%||Aug 26||Sep 02||Research and Polling|
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