Sure, I made a similar prediction (no if on the election part) four years ago. But it would be hard enough to win an election as an incumbent with historic unemployment and a pandemic, but even harder still when the government of the day not only bungles it badly but then fights efforts to do something about it.
But the point of this post is not that prediction but the qualifier. Do I actually expect the election not to happen? Well, what I really mean is that a decent, semi-fair election. The pandemic makes an election challenging because people might not want to line up in ever-shrinking number of polling stations (hard to get people to volunteer at stations during a pandemic not to mention #voterfraudfraud). Of course, one could focus more efforts on mail-in ballots. Alas, not enough states are making it automatic (three). Worse is that Trump and his minions are seeking to destroy the postal service, which, of course, is so crucial to much of his constituency.
Trump has done much to raise questions about the legitimacy of mail-in ballots despite using them himself. I was not sweating that--I do sweat the effort to mess with the postal service.
But still, my caveat was not so serious until now. Before, I could say: voting regulations are done by states, which means that Georgia can't vote democratic because Kemp is awful. But many states will not mess with the vote so much. Kemp is an outlier perhaps.
The events in Portland have raised my anxiety quite a bit. The deployment of masked (ironic?) brownshirts (ok, camo means only partially brown) into US cities to stop vandals and protesters could be a test for sending such forces into cities to disrupt voting or deter voters. The use of government-sanctioned thugs to beat and detain people without cause is the most worrisome development besides all the others (giving intel to the Russians, not protecting the US from Russian interference, and on and on). So, yeah, I worry about whether the election in November will be competitive.
The stakes could not be higher--the US can barely get through four years of Trump. Eight would probably lead to twelve or sixteen or more with Don Jr or Ivanka taking over. Yeah, it is that bad. The institutions have been torn apart, but we can see their remains. Thus far, they can be rebuilt. But if this is how Trump behaves before an election, imagine what they will do once they are completely unaccountable.
And, always, the answer to "who radicalized you, Steve" is Donald J. Trump and his band of arsonists.