The real kick in the teeth about this transcendently horrible election is that we've suffered through it mostly for naught. Very little about the candidates' relative standing has changed since the conventions. The recent FBI / Emails commotion, for example, was a textbook example of a non-story. No new information was involved. "Something something Hillary Clinton's emails or something." We've all been hearing about this for months. To anyone inclined not to vote for Hillary because of the email thing, nothing changed here. For people who don't care about the issue at all…well, nothing changed here either. In fact, the only movement in the polls since October 1 has been a slight bump for Trump – from defecting Gary Johnson voters. Johnson has gone from 8-10% to a predictable 4-5% (and probably won't do even that well on Election Day).
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The difference has accrued to Trump, presumably because your average Johnson supporter is a disaffected Republican.

Here we are, one day before the election, exactly where we have always been.
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My best prediction today is no different than what I said in June or in March or in 2015: There is no plausible scenario in which a candidate can win a presidential election in the modern era with essentially no votes from black or Hispanic voters. Factor in how much Trump has done to alienate women and you have no argument that does not involve an MTS (Magical Turnout Scenario). Every single prediction of a Trump win that I've read or heard over the past couple of months relies on an MTS. There's a "silent majority." There are people who have never voted before who will come out of the woodwork to vote Trump. African-Americans and Hispanics won't vote, because reasons. People are too scared of Scary Liberals to admit in polls that they support Trump but they're totally going to vote for him on Election Day. Huge conspiracies to vote fraudulently will be unraveled by patriots bravely monitoring polling places. On and on it has gone. Deluding themselves that improbable scenarios – in some cases pure fantasy – are going to save them has become an art among Republicans.

That leaves the related question of why we keep hearing that the election is so close. Neck-and-neck. On a razor's edge.

I'm beating a dead horse here, but just remember how "close" the election was claimed to be in 2012 versus the reality we observed. The media are driven by ratings. This is not a crazy conspiracy theory or some kind of adolescent Chomsky-esque slander; it's a simple statement of fact. Elections are their biggest ratings events, and they have every possible incentive to sell the narrative that the horserace is coming down to the wire. They have no incentive whatsoever to tell you that Clinton has a lead outside the margin of error and Trump needs some sort of miracle to close the gap.
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Already suffering from low ratings in the more competitive environment of modern media, TV news networks and political news sites badly need people to buy into the narrative that the race is close. If not, they will stop watching in the same way that the TV audience is likely to wander away when the Super Bowl is 50-0 at halftime.

Mitt Romney and John McCain were not exactly blown away or routed, but they were solidly defeated. That happened with each candidate getting something like 25-30% of the Hispanic vote. Trump is barely in double digits. Romney and McCain similarly did not go out of their way to alienate women, something Trump has turned into an X-Men superpower. While it is true that Hillary Clinton is statistically less popular and likable than voters felt Obama was in those two elections, none of the available evidence suggests that Democratic-leaning voters are any less likely to show up this year.

If I'm wrong I'll refund your money and we can start digging bunkers together. But I am highly confident that the scenario that plays out on Tuesday is going to be reminiscent of 2012, when the major media outlets declared 15 states "toss ups" and then one candidate won 14 of them, in some cases by large margins. No matter how many ways they try to convince themselves that there are, there simply are not enough dumb, old, or dumb and old white people to make an electoral majority without appealing to any other demographic in the electorate.
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In 1952 it was enough. The GOP seems hellbent on learning every four years that it no longer is.


  • I'm with you Ed, with another reason not to slit our wrists — HRC has an actual, real ground game, staffed with veterans. And now small number of whom worked to get Obama elected in 2008 and 2012. I'm guessing this translates, at minimum, to a 3-4% bump for Hillz over her current national polling.

    And we're seeing it already with early voting in NV, FL, and AZ.

    Still, I'll be disappointed if Ohio goes to Trump in what will otherwise be a comfortable victory for the good guys.

    Now, let's see how the Senate turns out….

  • I'm guessing 322-216 for Clinton in the EC, as I am not convinced she'll take Ohio. There's no reason over the last 3 weeks to think she's going to lose any of the major swing states given the high turnout so far among Hispanic voters. But Ed, I'm not sure bunkers will cut it if somehow we're all wrong.

  • Inconstant Reader says:

    I really, really, really hope you're right. You probably are. But even if he loses, the deplorables aren't going anywhere. And acquaintances I used to consider reasonable people with whom I disagreed have gone down the wingnut rabbit hole highly.

    There have been plenty of elections that disappointed me. But for the first time I can remember, I am genuinely frightened about Tuesday and what may come after.

  • "the deplorables aren't going anywhere"

    Well, given demographics a lot of them are dying off.

    I'm not joyful about it, but the fact is America is browning very quickly and instead of courting these voters the GOP is actively antagonizing them.

    I'm not going to shed any tears about it either.

  • Sadly, the narrative continues after the election.

    We'll get the usual "Well, the Democrat won but he/she better not overpress or get too big for his/her britches or, you know, act in any way as if he or she won." This year's version will be accompanied with "Well, Clinton won the election but Trump won Ohio, so, you know, kind of a tie."

  • The "closeness" of the race has done one favor for Clinton, and that is it has given her room to exceed expectations. Not that she will, necessarily, but a few weeks ago it looked like she would cruise to victory and therefore any win, no matter how big, would've been a "yawn" moment. Not a good way to kick off your presidency.

    Now, on the other hand, if her superior organization causes her to outperform, it will have a bit of impact and give her room to argue that she's gotten a resounding result.

  • I disagree with Ed that indeed, Romney did lose women with his "binders full of women" quip, and his wife didn't help matters with her "just marry a rich man and live off the family stock" lecture. Otherwise, man, I really hope you're right. I'm surrounded by deplorables.

  • No amount of reassurance eases the minds of those worried about this Presidential election. It's frustrating to try and point out all the ways Sec. Clinton will win and Trump lose only to have it followed by further statements of how frightened they are of a Trump victory.

    I will say that my right wing neighborhood has very few Trump signs and more Hillary signs than Obama signs from 4 years ago. Is that a sign of a better ground game even in a state that will give it's electoral votes to Trump?

    Since it's the electoral college that decides the outcome, I'm free to vote for Sec. Clinton here in deep red NE as a protest vote. My protest vote would have gone to the Marijuana Party but… well… stoners didn't do it right to get on the ballot here.

  • I should add that only Johnson and Stein are the only other choices. I'd vote Green if Stein wasn't such a dummkopf. Johnson just represents the wing of the Republican party that wants legal weed.

  • Gosh, I hope you're right. Personally, I find myself susceptible to the MTS that people don't like to admit to others that their real self is (racist, anti-semetic, sexist, etc.) They are not necessarily Republicans, but take joy in seeing confirmation that they're not "real bigots" if they're not overt. And so I worry.

  • "The real kick in the teeth about this transcendently horrible election is that we've suffered through it mostly for naught. Very little about the candidates' relative standing has changed since the conventions."

    Or even earlier. Rachel Maddow pointed this out last night: going by the NBC/WSJ poll, the favorables for Clinton and Trump are exactly the same as they were in January. And the answers to "Would you be hopeful or satisfied if _______ wins?" are exactly the same as they were in February.

    Perhaps this is a sign that our grueling, obscenely expensive, ever-lengthening campaign season could stand to be shortened by a hahahaha just kidding. Onward to Iowa!

  • The one image that I can't get out of my mind is hordes of armed Trumpites going to black precincts to 'monitor' the vote. That will either turn away voters or turn those precincts into crime scenes.

    That is what scares me.

  • sluggo, the same hordes of ammosexuals who dove for cover because there was somebody with a #NeverTrump sign in their midst?

    Much likelier that they'll put out twitter calls for snacks before they get out of their own driveways.

  • @Quixote, they didn't dive for cover, they started choking and stomping on him, almost fucking killed him right there at Trump's feet. These people are not trivial, they are dangerous. Where I live and work I am surrounded by them; fat, grumpy, armed-at-all-times white guys just waiting to start something with my brown wife over a parking spot.

  • As noted by others, the damage is already done and will be titrated via extended-release obstructionism tablets for the next 4 years. It's amazing how a narcissistic, gold-plated, pussy-grabbing Neanderthal with bad hair and an attitude problem comes along to degrade civilization by emotionally appealing to the nation's worst concatenation of misogynists, racists, anti-intellectuals, and paranoid zombie isolationists. I somehow feel dirty for being a white male. Thanks a lot asshole.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    A major Senate cleanup for the D's would save Clinton the trouble of running a crippled administration. It might be wise to turn some last-minute attention to that, unless you enjoy four-year Benghazi investigations and protecting Scalia's legacy.

  • @bb

    I know.

    I have a couple of old Iver Johnson breaktop revolvers that only hold 5.

    I don't shoot them because they were cheaply made even when new and I'm sure they haven't improved any in the 100+ years they've been sitting around.

  • @ Hazy Davy of the list of MTS possibilities listed in the OP, this one worries me the least, but that's based solely on personal, anecdotal evidence. I know that there are elections where the "shy bigot" has apparently been a factor in poll inaccuracy, but all of the Trump supporters I've encountered seem downright proud of it and eager to tell everybody in sight. Doing so is usually accompanied with a big "whaddya gonna do about it?" grin. Likewise with the stupid facebook memes, "likes," etc. It's hard to imagine them going all diffident and respectable over the phone with an anonymous pollster.

    Not that I'm not still worried about plenty of other factors.

  • As one of the very reluctant Clinton voters (straight-ticket D ballot cast 3 weeks ago), I hope you are right. But even so, you might not want to abandon work on those bunkers just yet.* We are about as close to hot war with Russia as we've ever been in 100 years, and there are plenty of other things going on in the world that seem comparable to August 1914. Whoever the next President is will need to dial back the craziness and paranoia to avoid WWIII. I think about 95 percent of the issues people have with HRC are pretty much BS, but her hawkishness worries me. I finally rationalized voting for her because I think she might have the skills and connections to do the job. I just hope she has the inclination.

    * That is, if bunker-building is your preferred response. I would just as soon be at ground zero somewhere if it goes down. We are going to gear up a massive anti-war movement no matter what, and I guess I will devote whatever energies I can spare to that.

  • @wetcasements: Seconded, re: the ground game. My wife volunteered to canvas the past two weeks (I've soothed my conscience by donating scads of cash), and when she showed up at the campaign HQ, she was stunned by how quickly they took her–a total novice–into the system, got her ready to go, and sent her off. She told her supervisor at the end of the day (which went really well, she tells me) "I'm so impressed by how smoothly everything went–you guys are so well organized."

    He grinned at her and said, "We've been getting ready for eight years."

    When the polls are close, the ground game wins the vote. Clinton's ground game is a Swiss watch. Trump's ground game is a car fire on the side of a decommissioned interstate. I'm pretty sure that means that tomorrow will be an early night for all of us.

  • I hope you're right, Ed, but between the honestly shocking number of people who really like Trump, Republicans who would rather watch everything burn than vote for someone whose policies are akin to Reagan's, and scenarios involving bugfuck crazy right-wingers prone to violence, I'm not relaxing until Wednesday, and even then I expect a handful of nuts who are convinced (in part by the nominee of one of the two major political parties, for fuck's sake, that still blows me away) that the election was rigged to get into "direct action" mode. Most likely it'll be stuff like Malheur–a bunch of dipshits "occupying" something with guns until they realize it's dumb or one of them gets shot or both–but we could see some low-level right wing terrorism for years.

    If bunkers do become necessary, though, I'm hanging up my new Clurb shirt on the bunker wall to remind me of what America used to be.

  • "No matter how many ways they try to convince themselves that there are, there simply are not enough dumb, old, or dumb and old white people to make an electoral majority without appealing to any other demographic in the electorate. In 1952 it was enough. The GOP seems hellbent on learning every four years that it no longer is."

    I think you got that wrong. They're hell bent on NOT learning every four years that it no longer is. If they'd learned it, they would have learned it. That they never learn it is their main problem.

  • old white person says:

    2 points

    1. The big problem with the "horse race, too close to call" media stories is that when the losing side wakes up the next morning to a solid win for the other side, they think they have a reason to believe the election has been "stolen".

    2. I heard an interview this morning on the Marketplace segment of NPR. They talked to a guy who advises private financial types on political issues. Apparently he predicts cabinet choices, how a candidate's policies will affect markets, etc. When asked, he said his outfit had spent almost no time thinking about a Trump presidency, the chance of it happening is so very low as to be not worth the time. The interviewer was stunned. I felt marginally better.

  • old white person is right on point 1. During WWI, when the Allies started winning, the German press kept up the fiction of an imminent German victory. This led to the myth that Germany was betrayed somehow, not simply beaten by the entrance of the US into the conflict.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    Trump has taught his followers that, when strong people are faced with embarrassing defeat, they take it personally and lash out with everything they've got.

    I'll say it again: The Senate races are what matters. If you want Hillary Clinton to be an effective leader and do the things she wants to do, you should do everything in your power to ensure that she has a Democratic Senate. Otherwise she is going to be sandbagged everywhere she goes.

  • After the rigged election, Trump will not go away. He'll have tons-of-fun making things miserable for us. There is a way to make him miserable too but no one at cable news has pair. All they have to do is relegate him to five minute spots on the evening networks if there was something interesting that he did. This is the way things used to be.

    Cancel the Trump sitcom. Maybe he'll kill himself but I doubt it.

  • @Emerson Dameron

    Trump has taught his followers that, when strong people weak bullies are faced with embarrassing defeat, they take it personally and lash out with everything they've got.

    Fixed that for ya.

  • I think there's one potential cause for hope after this election. In the last two weeks, I've noticed a number of criticisms of the media's handling of Trump throughout the election gain some mainstream traction. E.g.: The Media Matters analysis of nightly news policy stories vs. HRC emails; stories covering polls that showed Trump with higher levels of trustworthiness than Clinton, despite the reverse imbalance between their untruthful statements; the criticism of Matt Lauer's (and Jimmy Fallon's) kid gloves treatment of Trump in the CAC forum; praise of Megyn Kelly for her (mild) opposition to Trumpism. The increasing presence of meta-media sites like Vox and 538 seems to have have led to a level, however low, of media self-scrutiny the absence of which has allowed conservatives for years to push the media towards balance ahead of truth, and this has helped ossify conservative patterns of so-called 'epistemic closure'. Reversing that trend, even modestly, seems like one (of very few) uncynically positive developments that one hopes will continue.

  • Too damned much money around to be made by corporate "news" to pass it up. We were warned of it sixty years ago should news be run by big business. I'm not that optimistic.

  • I think the alt-right social media trolls/activists hav had an impact here. Not enough to actually change the election result, or even have much effect on it. But they sure seem to have stirred up a lot of liberal/left paranoia about the 'silent majority' or a 'trump surge' or whatever. This is largely down to repetition. 'Tell a lie often enough, yadda yadda…'. Not only is there some yahoo caps locking about how Clinton killed Vince Neil or the Clinton foundation executing muppet babies for fun and profit on Every. Single. News. Update. on bookface or twitter, there are dozens of likes or retweets or what have you on these comments, every time. You don't have to be an ignorant redneck to implicitly trust what comes from 'real people I know' or even 'people Who know people I know' even if what is being repeated flies in the face of things like 'polls', 'data' and 'evidence'.

  • Gerald McGrew says:

    Here's what I figure is going to happen….

    1) Clinton gets comfortably elected, Trump shouts a lot about it being rigged, but doesn't actually take any action.

    2) The Republicans keep the House, but loose some seats. Paul Ryan is ousted (or steps down) as Speaker, and a Tea Party member becomes Speaker.

    3) The Democrats narrowly take the Senate.

    Taken together, that means the next 4 years will be an endless stream of investigations into President Clinton, everything she's done, everyone she's known, and even investigations into the investigations. Also, the Republicans in the Senate will filibuster darn near everything, including most (if not all) judicial nominations. IOW, if you thought little to nothing got done at the federal level over the last several years, you ain't seen nothing yet. We'll probably have at least one government shutdown, more last minute self-inflicted crises over the debt ceiling, and general DC dysfunction the likes of which haven't been seen in generations.

    Just like Trump, when the right wing doesn't get their way, their impulse is to burn the place down rather than to concede defeat and work to keep the country running.

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