Thoughts on 2020

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

Now that the election is over, let’s look at what we’ve learned and what we can expect for the coming year. In short: The election wasn’t close, Biden’s cabinet is going to be really bad, and everyone will be miserable.

It Wasn’t That Close

From following the election returns, it seemed like Biden had been poised to win by a landslide, but instead he only won by a nailbiter. Doesn’t that mean the polls were massively off, again?

No. Biden had been leading by about 10 points in October, and by November that lead had dwindled to about 8 points. As of this writing, Biden’s overall lead in the popular vote is about 4 percent, and likely to grow more as states like California process more mail in ballots. So Biden will end up winning by about 4–5 percent, meaning the polls were off by about 3–4 percent. Polls usually have a margin of error of 3 percent, so this isn’t that big of a miss. It’s also important to remember Biden’s win is larger than Obama’s win over Romney in 2012, or Bush’s win over Kerry in 2004. In fact, out of the past 6 Presidential elections, 2020 features the second-biggest margin of victory.

So why did the race feel so close? Like in 2016, Trump’s over performance was a bit larger in some of the swing states that really mattered, meaning they were decided by smaller margins. It’s not clear why. We do know that voters who waited until the very end to decide broke for Trump by 15 points, so perhaps that made a difference. Trump also invested more in field organizing than Biden, perhaps that helped mobilize more voters in critical states.

Biden’s Cabinet is Going to be Really Bad

Let’s take a look at a few of those names:

Susan Rice: War-monger who convinced the Obama administration to get involved in the Libyan Civil War, which turned to a fiasco so big Obama himself called it “the worst mistake of my Presidency.”

Doug Jones: Conservative Democratic Senator who just lost re-election; even his own constituents didn’t like him. Voted in favor of letting Saudi Arabia continue their genocide in Yemen.

Michelle Lujan Grisham: So pro-Israel, she once gave a major speech attacking the UN for being “too nice” to the Palestinians.

Eric Garcetti: Do-nothing mayor of LA. He recently came up with a plan to help poor people: give them a $20 discount on parking tickets if they pay within 48 hours. Seriously.

Meg Whitman: Former Ebay CEO and failed Republican candidate for Governor of California. Has ties with Goldman Sachs, America’s least ethical investment bank.

Ernest Moniz: Scientist who previously worked for major oil companies and Saudi Arabia.

Heidi Heitkamp: Conservative Democrat, former Senator who voted in favor of oil drilling, including the Keystone pipeline, which pumped the world’s dirtiest oil and desecrated Native American land.

Pete Buttigieg: All around jerk and liar. Said he would support “Medicare for All” forever, then took it back. Lavished wealthy donors with attention in wine caves. Tried to steal the Iowa Caucuses. Stabbed a man he described as his childhood hero in the back because Obama told him it would be good for his career.

This list reads like someone was trying to pick the worst people in politics. Which is not surprising given that Biden’s campaign slogan was “nothing will fundamentally change.”

Bernie Sanders has purportedly expressed in becoming Secretary of Labor, let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Nothing good can come with being involved with this cesspool.

Prepare for Misery All Around

A Republican Senate and a Biden Presidency means nobody will be happy. Biden won’t be allowed to pass much, but Republicans don’t control the House, so they can’t send their bills to Biden’s desk either. Trump supporters will feel they were robbed; Bernie supporters will feel like the Democratic Party has turned their backs on them, and the people who liked Biden because he will bring America back to “normal” will be let down when things continue pretty much the same.

Even if we do get positive news on the front of a new treatment or a vaccine for Covid, it will take a while for it to be manufactured and distributed. Even if the news comes tomorrow, “back to normal” is likely six months away. And the good news probably isn’t coming tomorrow. Instead, prepare for a lot of bad news, about a lot of topics, for a long time.

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Jared Plotkin

Jared Plotkin

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