We Are Not Supposed to Talk About This: Election results

Luther Abel – Columnist

     What a night! I don’t know what you did the night of Nov. 3, but if your schedule was anything like mine, you spent hours sitting in front of the computer or TV endlessly refreshing as the results came oh-so-slowly in. 

     For sustenance, I snacked from a bowl of mixed nuts — no peanuts, only the good stuff — with some miniature dark chocolate Reese’s Cups tossed in. For whistle-wetting purposes, the mixed nuts a la Reese’s was paired with a California red wine. 

     What I saw transpire on my computer screen was almost exactly my ideal scenario: Biden likely to win by a sliver, the GOP retaining control of the Senate and the Dems losing ground in the House but holding the majority. 

     But as none of this is yet certain, I’d like to focus this article on three facets of the election we can know for sure. The first, how egregiously the polling was off — with the exception of the Trafalgar Group’s polls in some states. Secondly, the GOP’s success with Latino voters in Texas and Florida and what this might mean going forward. 

     Third, it was a stupendous night for those who wish to celebrate women in politics, with diverse female GOP candidates beating out white, male Democrats. And finally, that in-person voting remains the best way to vote and see results in a timely manner. 

     538 was wrong.RealClearPolitics (RCP) was wrong. Serious polling outfits missed the mark by double digits. Why? How? Well, because they were incapable of engaging a representative sample of the population, I suppose. 

     Some of my fellows on the Right grumble about polls typically (almost always) showing an advantage for the Democrat, and that this is proof of bias by the pollster and possibly intentional voter suppression — by means of disheartening Republican voters. 

     I like to assume the best of people and so figure this trend of left-leaning polling failure is a product of the shy Trump voter ­— people fear reprisal or judgment for supporting Trump and so refuse to speak to pollsters. 

     A pollster injects a weight into his or her model that attempts to adjust for this “shy voter” but seemingly failed to calibrate correctly … all in the same direction. Going forward I hope to see the truly atrocious Quinnipiac-class of pollsters fall away. Their failure screws up the averages on sites like 538 and RCP. 

     Really, Quinnipiac has no business polling anything beyond a middle school’s student council run-off election. 

     Two of the (many) races the polling class got wrong were Florida and Texas. Trump won both quite handily, and he did it not with support so much from the white working class but from those of Latino extraction. 

     In fact, one of the deep ironies about this race between Trump and Biden is that it is the white working class who will likely hand Biden victory, not the multi-cultural coalition that Democrats have been harping about for years. 

     In border counties in Texas — almost entirely comprised of Latinos — Trump ran neck and neck with Biden, well within a few points. Miami-Dade, home to many Americans of Cuban descent and historically Dem-leaning, Trump came within single digits. 

     Should a Republican candidate appear in 2024 who is not nearly as obnoxious towards immigrants as Trump, who knows just how far the Latino vote could carry her (c’mon Nikki Haley!) or him.

     When that election day comes in four years’ time, may we all look back on 2020 and say a prayer of thanks for the freedom of movement we will be enjoying at that point in the future. 

      No more, or fewer, masks, no more obsessive hand-sanitizing, maybe even conversations with friends over coffee without the omnipresent guilt of our possibly dooming humanity to the void by existing within six feet of one another. My hope is that we can once again, at least a vast majority of us, go to the polls on the day itself. 

     I understand why we had to do what we did this time around, mailing ballots in and all that. But it’s a mess, and it allows for greater doubt in our electoral process, something we can ill afford. 

     Plus, I think there’s an innate goodness in neighbors all going to the same location — be it a school, church or grain bin — and casting our votes. I think it a palpable reminder that, while we may disagree politically, each is a real person with real desires, not just some avatar we type abuse toward on Twitter. 

     I fear the antiseptic nature of mail-in voting may only exacerbate this depersonalization of the “other,” to everyone’s detriment. 

     In the next hours or days, we will find out who will lead our country. Many will be dissatisfied. That’s the nature of the beast. For many of you, this is your first election, almost assuredly your first presidential election. 

     This is my third, and I wish you to know that whoever your candidate may be, should he win, he will disappoint you. Our leaders, just as we, are fallible and victim to the same avarice, pride and foolishness as any of us. I wish nothing but the best to each of you, may you find some modicum of peace in the days to come. 

Should you agree or disagree with anything I’ve written, please let me know at abell@lawrence.edu.

Fariba Lale – Columnist

     By the time this is published, we will (hopefully, but who even knows anymore) know the final results of this election. But, as of right now, the race is looking close.

     To be honest, I am a little bit surprised. Lots of people are calling this 2016 all over again, and I am, and have been, a little hesitant to agree with that wholeheartedly. 

     The conditions this time around are not the same. We are experiencing a once in a lifetime global catastrophe. We have had a recession. Folks across the country have lost their jobs and their homes en masse. 

     And all of this happened under Trump’s watch. “Make America Great Again” starts to lose its ring when you have been running the country for the last four years and this is the outcome. 

     Plus, Clinton was a much more widely hated politician than Biden is. She is up there with the greats, the likes of McConnell and Nevertheless! It is hard to account for just how much Biden sucks!

     Biden could still eke out a win, at this point, if he manages to hold on to the last few states in which he is leading (including Michigan and Wisconsin) but, even then, it will be super close. Which is … bad. Whether or not you support Biden, losing this election will spell disaster for the Democratic Party and its future.

     You know what is exactly the same as 2016? The behavior of the Democrats. As if they learned absolutely nothing, because they did not, because they were right all along and everyone else was supposed to fall in line. 

     It is still impossible for these people to admit that Clinton lost that election because she ran a garbage campaign that offered Americans nothing but empty platitudes and Orange Man Bad. 

     They turned around and pulled the same exact nonsense with a candidate that is even more rightwing. If it were not for the pandemic, Trump would have won in a landslide. Pathetic. 

     With that in mind, what’s next for the Democrats?

     If Biden loses, they are going to continue to dig themselves into this hole. Instead of moving left and promoting populist policies that people actually want and need (and that have polled well for years!), I guarantee they will do the opposite. 

     We lost to the Republicans because we were not Republican enough, that type of thing. And they are going to get even more smug and insufferable about it, another great strategy that has definitely panned out for them in the past! 

     Love to spend my life making the big bucks as a national leader all while having the memory of a goldfish. Does it really need to be said that people do not want to be shit all over? That that is not an effective way to make friends?

     To be clear, if Biden loses, it is Biden’s fault. I will not be entertaining any other arguments. Throw Obama and the DNC in there as well. They should have run a better campaign. 

     He should have been a better candidate. The Democrats should have offered up serious opposition to the very real threat that the right wing poses instead of abandoning their own base to chase down ultra-rich donors instead. 

      They should have taken responsibility for their failures in 2016 and now, instead of turning on their voters for failing to choose between what is, essentially, two branches of the same party. 

     They should have offered something for marginalized Americans instead of tokenizing and using them for their own benefit.

      If Biden wins, I think a couple of things will happen. Most notably, nothing will fundamentally change. Because that is what he has promised and, also, because it looks like Republicans will maintain control of the Senate. 

     Additionally, and paradoxically, a Biden win will be lauded by the party as proof that their rightwing positions are good, actually. Like Biden claiming he secured the nomination because of, rather than in spite of, his support for private insurance. But, like, on a much larger scale.

     Meanwhile, Trump pulled a Buttigieg and prematurely declared victory on Tuesday night. Which is pretty much what he was expected to have done, as both sides have been priming their base to cry foul should they lose. 

      Weird how this logic does not apply if they win but whatever. For Trump to make this claim, though, is especially dangerous, considering how violent and heavily armed a significant portion of his base has shown themselves to be. I do not know how this will play out over the next few days if his claim should be proven wrong.

     Additionally, if Trump wins, the pandemic is going to (continue to) spiral catastrophically. The damage that it has done thus far is already unconscionable. 

     And I do have some serious doubts about Biden’s ability to handle this situation, considering the significant amount of bipartisan mismanagement both at the state and federal level so far. 

     But, even so, he has not proven himself totally, utterly incompetent (yet!!!), while Trump has. For almost a year, he has. I cannot imagine what is still to come.

      Whatever the outcome, I hope everyone is doing their best to stay safe. I wish things were not so bleak, and I wish we were not saddled with the responsibility of picking our favorite mass murderer rapist to run the country. We deserve better.