This is the most anomalous election in American history (which lends some additional circumstantial credence to suspicions of vote fraud in the presidential tally). I’ll defer to later the voting problems currently under contest, and note some macro observations on the scene.
• First, it is certainly the case that but for COVID 19, Trump would have been re-elected comfortably. Even with COVID 19, he is still in the hunt.
Regarding COVID, maybe it was a mistake for Trump to have repeatedly projected a vaccine before election day. And that raises a question of Pfizer’s announcement today that it has apparently come up with a very effective vaccine. A month ago we were told that their clinical trial was proceeding well, and that data from the trial would be made public some time in the last two weeks of October, after which Pfizer would apply for government permission to expedite the rollout of the vaccine. When the end of the month came and no data was released, I began to wonder whether the delay meant the trial had a setback or wasn’t finished on time, the data was mixed or inconclusive, or. . . whether Pfizer might be withholding good news so as not to help Trump or otherwise affect the election.
I note that Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, appears to make campaign contributions more to Republicans than Democrats, but it can’t be ruled out that Pfizer management might have felt there would be a risk of retribution against the company if it announced the vaccine before election day and Biden won.
The stock market today is soaring on the vaccine news, and if the vaccine news holds up it may mean the end of the virus panic is in sight. The stock market is likely also looking forward to months if not years of easy money and some level of stimulus spending from Congress, but I wouldn’t count on either one. The economy is rebounding remarkably well right now, and if the COVID cloud lifts, we won’t need a big stimulus bill, and the Fed might grow slightly more cautious.
• Second, in no way can this election be understood as a popular repudiation of Trump. Defeated incumbents—Taft, Hoover, Carter, George H.W. Bush (I leave Ford out as he’s an obvious outlier having never been elected in the first place) all lost millions of votes from their initial election, usually coming in with 40% of the vote or less. And Obama lost popular support between 2008 and 2012, becoming the first president ever re-elected with a lower vote total than his initial election. He was merely skillful in turning out the vote in the key states necessary to preserve an electoral college majority. When all the ballots are counted, Trump will have gained something like 7 million votes over his 2016 total. That is a sign of a president gaining political support. Even if the vote count is honest, Biden will have won in electoral terms by about 150,000 votes spread across the six or seven key states—not much more of an electoral margin than Trump had in 2016.
Biden’s popular vote margin may turn out to be less than Hillary’s four years ago in percentage terms, and if you take out California’s lopsided vote (please), Trump will have won a majority in the other 49 states.
• Third, the down ballot failure of Democrats is nearly unprecedented. Even when elected with Congress in the hands of the opposite party, like Nixon in 1968, winning presidents usually increase his own party’s numbers in the House and the Senate. The Democrats’ failure to take the Senate, despite outspending Republican candidates by as much as 4 – 1 in key contested races, is astounding, and combined with their losses in the House will make Biden the weakest incoming president ever.
• Regarding the media declaring that Biden is president-elect (after watching the New York Times last week taking down a Tweet in humiliation admitting that the media does not officially call the winner of elections), I offer a paraphrase of Rep. James Madison from a Congressional debate in 1794: “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to the news media to determine who has officially won the presidency.”
• Meanwhile, weren’t we promised riots from Trump voters if he lost? Why yes, yes we were:
The mainstream media must be suppressing news of all these riots.
More to come. . .