E-Day minus 2

What I would have said at today’s meeting, if it weren’t the off Sunday.

Again, Joe Biden will win the legitimate election. Nate Silver has Trump’s chances at 11%. That is with the Selzer poll showing him well ahead in Iowa. In 2016 he had 30%. That is a big difference. Trump’s private pollster has told him that he is ahead in MI and WI, tied in PA. If that is so, it would mean a massive polling miss, above the usual “margin of error” across numerous states and down ballot races. Somehow, the Theory of the Shy Trump Voter coexists with the Reality of the Obnoxious Trump Voter.

Early voting statistics are difficult to follow in most states, but an acknowledged expert is Jon Ralston in Nevada. Nevada is an unusually good state for this analysis because early voting was already common there, although this year there was less in person and more mail. It also helps that the vote is highly concentrated by geography. Clark County (Las Vegas, Henderson; favors Blue) is two thirds of the state. Washoe County (Reno) is half the remainder (about even D/R). All the other counties are consolidated as “the rurals”. They went Republican by over 40 points in 2016. This year it looks like they need at least +50. Short version: Trump is running behind his 2016 loss.

So, on to the illegitimate election. Not that there are surprises, but Trump aides have leaked the plan. Step one: Trump wins Florida, which counts fast. Not impossible: 538 has his odds there at 34% and I think that’s low. Step two: Trump leverages a large lead in Election Day votes in two of PA, MI, WI [just PA is not enough for 270 Trump EV] to declare victory even while those states are still counting the heavily-Blue mailed ballots already received (this isn’t about the throw-out-late-ballots lawsuits). Trump encourages supporters to celebrate victory and stop further counting of “fraudulent” mailed ballots in those states. I assume this will be accomplished by physical intimidation, since even the current Supreme Court can’t find a reason to throw out millions of mailed ballots timely received—although I do expect them to enforce any witness or secrecy envelope requirements, even ones that were purportedly waived by executive action on account of COVID–19. Step three: Trump asks Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus how you stay in power despite protests and general strikes. (And Trump will probably come closer to legitimate victory than Lukashenko did.)

I don’t think this will work. Not because of the fabled, but hollow, American government institutions, but because at this point Florida looks like Biden’s fourth-best state in the once-Red Sunbelt (AZ, NC, GA, FL, TX, probably in that order). If Biden holds leads in MI and WI at, say, 11:00 pm ET, Trump has to be sweeping all four of these states. Impossible. Arizona will only just have closed the polls. Suppose Trump is still ahead in the MI-WI-PA. His leads will be dropping literally by the minute as the count continues prominently on TV, even if he wins PA in the end. (He is not winning full counts of MI and WI; they are about 10 points against him in multiple polls.) A victory claim at 1:00 am ET Wednesday morning is not going to have enough impact before the light of day burns off his fog of lies. Kos has a similar explanation, including why Trump relies on Michigan over Wisconsin (Milwaukee reports fast).

His second problem will be selling victory to a very skeptical media, including the Fox Decision Desk, which is legit.

His third problem is that the Democrats seem prepared this time, unlike Bush v Gore. I know the top-flight legal team is in place, and I think the PR team has learned from Warren Christopher’s feckless 2000 performance. I just hope we also have some muscle in case Team Fascist has fantasies of stormtroopers stealing the ballot boxes.

Two more days. Breathe.

Election night

Election closing times Eastern Time

This map, from Daily Kos, always holds a certain fascination for me. Why, for example, is Iowa the state with the latest closing time (9:00 pm CT)? I know why Indiana and Kentucky are the earliest (6:00 pm local time); they don’t want too many voters.

Reviewing this, I am moving the start of the Indivisible Elmwood wrap-up to Tuesday 11/3, 6:00 pm PT, because I expect Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina numbers to be coming in by then, and good showings there for Democrats will put the election out of reach for Team Pinochet right from the start.

Join Zoom Meeting

I promised predictions. I am still mulling over the details, but at this point our GOTV efforts are about running up the score.

Biden will win. A minimum—I haven’t decided about toss-ups—is Clinton plus MI, WI, PA, FL, AZ, and NE-02. (No comment yet on IA, NC, GA.) Popular vote by at least 7. The margins in WI and PA will exceed the number that Barrett and Boofanaugh dare throw out.

We will win the Senate, at least 51.

We will extend our control in the House, picking up at least four in Texas alone while losing at most three.

Kos is right (this happens often): instead of panicking and saying everyone has to campaign in terror as if we are 10 points down, we campaign with joy and confidence that we are in the right, that a majority of the country agrees, and with more work we can do even better.

Down the ballot

The Democratic Senate candidates have all the money they need. Even professionals raising money for them say this.

Apparently, nearly all the Democratic House candidates have all the money they need. (By the way, the marvelous Alexandria Ocasio Cortez pointed out that Republican spite-giving has raised almost $10 million for her opponent, who will lose by 20, 30, maybe 50 points.)

So, Democratic institutions are looking further down the ballot, into the State Legislatures. I’ve received slates from Give Smart, Future is Female, and Daily Kos. Give Smart is only Wisconsin; the others are mostly North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas. Swing Left also has a page for North Carolina.

Rather than copy their slates, I have put the NC, TX, and AZ umbrella state organizations on our ActBlue page, along with a few non-legislative down ballot candidates. Of course, you can also donate through the links above and through the national DLCC.

Some last-minute suggestions from J Street

I am not going to make changes to our thermometer, but on a morning call today, J Street’s race-watcher, who follows everything even more closely than I do, mentioned five tossup House races with Blue momentum.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (IL-13), Hillary Scholten (MI-03), Dan Feehan (MN-01), Cameron Webb (VA-05) [use our thermometer], and Kathleen Williams (MT-AL).

We have had Scholten, Williams, and Webb up at our ActBlue at various times. Feehan is a 2018 rematch and a win would balance a likely loss in the Iron Range, MN-07, where long-time Conservadem Colin Peterson is running for re-election in a district Trump won by over 20.

J Street also mentioned what could be this cycle’s negative blind-side result: Peter DeFazio in OR-04 is in trouble. (Ratings agencies moved him from Solid to Lean D, and his internal polling is worse.) DeFazio is a true progressive. His opponent, Alex Skarlatos, is the 2020 version of Dan Crenshaw: a young military vet of unquestioned personal courage and undeniable charisma, who doesn’t seem to know much about policy and is likely to learn from the absolute worst people.

Added Mike Siegel TX–10

I’ve put up one more Texas race: Mike Siegel in TX–10, who is repeating his 2018 challenge to Michael McCaul. He lost by 4 in 2018, without getting much attention. He’s a Bernie liberal.

We may still be a cycle or two early, but Texas is where we can pick up significant numbers of seats. There just aren’t many Republicans in California to toss out any more. Texas CDs 3, 10, 21, 22, 23, 24 are all highly competitive (Lean R or better). TX–02, already up, is one of several that can flip on a good night.

If you can, there are many state legislature races looking for small amounts of money. Look for lists from Daily Kos or Democratic Party sources.

Greenfield 1, Ernst zero

In a Zoom debate between the Iowa Senate candidates, Dem Theresa Greenfield knew the going price of corn to the penny. Republican incumbent Ernst? Too much time hanging with the DC lobbyists: she was nowhere close on the price of a bushel of soybeans.

I’m told it’s a big deal.

Fax number to tell DiFi to retire

 Her performance in the Judiciary Committee hearings was as weak as the worst predictions, ending with a hug of Lindsey Graham. I’m not even sure she realizes she is supposed to vote No. That fax number? (202)228-3954 [DC Office]

I had a dream I received the following letter.

Dear Andrew,
It’s too bad about Roe v. Wade being overturned. The Republicans packed the Supreme Court, even when I asked them nicely not to. The best way to show them you won’t stand for this is to make a large donation to my 2024 re-election campaign. Yours, Senator Feinstein.

Minutes for the Oct 11 meeting

Action items

  1. We’ll be mailing Vote Forward letters in Lafeyette on Saturday. If you want us to take yours, put them through our mail slot Friday afternoon or evening.
  2. We still have some postcards, and Tony the Democrat still has a few campaigns. Stop by and take what you want from the box on our porch.
  3. With cards and letters almost over, everyone is transitioning to phone and text banks. For phone banking we suggest Flip The West and Swing Left SF. Judy and Karen are deep in texting land. Contact them if you want help. Judy suggest starting with Flip The West texting and move up from there.
  4. Andy is now doing 3 hour shifts with DNC’s Voter Protection Project for Spanish-speaking voters. Emily is with the same project, in English. Lots of people are calling this helpline with voting questions. 90 minutes trainings happen almost every day. [Added Oct 12: Mostly people wanting to know where to vote early in person, how to register, or how to obtain an mail ballot. No lurid tales of voter suppression.]
  5. Working from suggestions at the meeting, Raphael Warnock (Georgia Special) is added to the ActBlue site, and the House races are sorted by promise of success.


Below are various recommendations on State and Alameda County propositions, including the Wellstone Club’s and my own. There seems to be unanimity on the best-known ones, but not on 21 (Rent Control) and 24 (Online Privacy), both of which I found, personally, difficult and on which I am not completely certain. Judy mentioned disagreeing with Wellstone’s endorsement of 23 (Dialysis). Feel free to add links to other recommendations (e.g., newspapers) in comments to this post. Y’all do know that you can add comments, right?