Saturday, October 31, 2020

Quarantine, Week 33: The Lamest Halloween

All along, I have felt bad for the kids.  Online classes are harder for the younger ones, not being able to play and hang has been difficult, and this year or two makes up a huge portion of their lives.  Now, they will have a lame Halloween.  There are things folks can do to make it better than nothing, but even in places where trick or treating is allowed, it won't be the same.  More dark houses, less going out in groups, no parties.  And now, given where things stand now, with second and third waves exceeding the first in the US, Canada, and much of Europe, and with news that immunity may not last very long, it may be the first of two lame Halloweens.  I was hoping we'd get close to normal by fall semester of 2021.  That is now not looking good.  The Saideman family baking challenge was to produce a Halloween themed food, so I will post pictures later of what I bake in a little while.  Think Mummies and apples.  Yum.

On the bright side, the US election campaign is nearly over and some folks are wildly optimistic.  The rates of early voting and mail-in ballots is incredible.  While Republicans are allowed to vote early as well, the patterns suggest big Democratic turnout.  I will post my predictions for the Senate tomorrow, but there is good reason to expect that the Dems will control the House, Senate, and White House come January.  Whether Biden handles the job well, whether he allows Trumpers to be prosecuted, whether he staffs the administration with corporate types or not are all things to worry about ... next week.  

On the CDSN front, it was an excellent week.  JC Boucher presented the survey that the CDSN did in conjunction with the Nanos survey firm and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.  I have been slow to blog about it, but the initial results were most interesting.  JC presented the stuff to folks in DND including the Public Affairs people who came to our workshop last February where we developed the questions.  The Security Theme had its annual workshop on Friday.  It went very well, from what I could tell as I was attending the CDSN Book Workshop.  My bad for letting these two events get cross-scheduled.  St├ęphanie Martel, Queens University, gave us her manuscript a month ago on a post-structural approach to ASEAN--the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  The basic question was seeking to understand the many meanings of security community as ASEAN means different things to different people and countries.  The theoretical approach and the stuff itself was way beyond my expertise, but I learned a lot and was most grateful for those who read the manuscript and gave very thoughtful feedback.  I have no doubt that Dr. Martel will be able to publish the book in a top outlet.  We also had a special edition of Battle Rhythm where we marked LGBTQ history month by talking to scholars who had experienced the purge of such folks from the Canadian Armed Forces and now study it as well as the President of OutinNationalSecurity plus some Halloween talk:


On the homefront, winter is here.  We had our first snow--a dusting. The frost today?  A bit more severe.  Biking is definitely over--while I can wear warm enough stuff, riding through the wind is unappealing.  So, I went to a Play It Again store and got cross country ski equipment, and I ordered snowshoes online.  We shall see if it snows enough to make these things useful (it will) and whether I get off my butt to find places to ski and shoe (not so sure).  But I am now armed for winter, hoping to keep up the pace of exercise that has facilitated my stress-baking and stress-eating.  I did get my flu shot thanks to Carleton--they were fast, efficient, and nice.  I am hoping that they get COVID vaccines when those are ultimately available.  Furloughed Spew is no longer furloughed!  After serving as a poll worker, she will return to work now that Hollywood is starting make stuff again.  We are very happy for her and for the stars she will be assisting.  She will be working from home, so her pandemic cat will not get lonely.  But it means I may have to edit my winter classes--which will be a mix of asynch and synch since they will be smaller and MA focused.

The next few days will be quite tense as a 90/10 probability still means that 10 out of a 100 times, the less likely result happens.  I don't think this year is the same as 2016, but I do worry about voter suppression and the courts.  On the other hand, this third wave in the US is making COVID an issue that Trump can't escape and more likely to affect Trump voters who are voting later and have been mask-resistant.  

The only way out is through, as we keep saying.  Less than have a Scaramooch now.  We can and will get through this soon.  And then we can start fighting among ourselves.  Woot!  Happy Halloween and remember, the drinking lamp is lit for the duration!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Better Luck This Time: My Prediction

 Last time, on the Friday before the election, I made my prediction.  It was just a wee bit off.  As I have insisted, this time is different.  Am I daring the fates, the Gods, by trying again?  Maybe.  But I am not deterred by my wrongness last time.

So, I will predict and then explain:

Go big or go home, as they say.  My decisions this time have been critically shaped by the turnout figures.  That more Texas have voted thus far than have ever voted seems to be a thing that we should take into account.  That the turnout figures in Georgia and the utter collapse of David Perdue might be signs as well.  I have no trust that Florida will do the right thing.  Plus looking at the stats of minority turnout and voting tendencies suggests that there might be enough Cuban Americans who vote GOP to offset the turnout of other people in Florida (but they are mostly irrelevant anywhere else). Also, I don't trust DeSantis.  While Kemp can try to mess with things in Georgia, I worry more about Florida being Florida.

Ohio?  That the GOP governor is one of the few who has been reasonable on masks and has been pretty straight-shooting means that there will be less shenanigans with ballots.  And the state has paid a big price for Trumpism.  

PA? The stories I have heard about rural PA being different this time make sense to me.  Although, yes, confirmation bias is my guide.  

When I played around with this, I got Biden to 270 without AZ/TX/GA/NC/OH because I gave PA, MI, WI to Biden.  I think that a few things make the old blue wall a bit more solid this time:

  1. COVID has been killing Wisconsin
  2. Trump's trade wars have been awful for farmers yet not that great for steel workers.
  3. The misogyny that tipped things last time is not relevant despite Trump trying to make Kamala Harris a thing (suggesting that she would be awful if Biden got shot, etc).  
  4. People are tired of Trump and his nonsense, Biden's boringness is a big plus. 
  5. The Senate races, the SCOTUS stuff (Barrett plus vote suppression), the naked voter suppression are all driving big time turnout.  One of the truisms of American politics is that there are more Dems than GOP, so it is really about turnout.  

The only real worry I have is that Trump will get the courts to stop the counting of ballots.  The good news is that few states start counting only on election day.  PA, alas, is one of those.  But if we get TX or GA or NC or AZ reporting Biden wins, then we can go to sleep early.  The decentralization of American voting management is bad for some things--reacting to the Russians--but good for others--limiting how much a President can do to mess with things.

 Last time, I thought that the prospect of Trump was so awful, it would tip things.  Now we have had four years of him, so any "hey, he will govern as a moderate" or "he can't be that bad" or "I hate her more than I hate him" stuff is simply not in play.  Trump has proven to be an arsonist at a time where we desperately need government.  I was saying before COVID that the Dems would win if they could get their act together.  And they have--there is no movement for leftwing types to vote third party or not to show up.  Oh, and the kids are turning out, and the GOP has lost that generation by being intolerant, by trying to deny them health care, and by trying to destroy their future.  

 Of course, I could be wrong.  It has happened before.  But I think a landslide is far more likely than Trump winning.  

Then we can argue what Biden should do with the mandate he gets.  That will a different kind of fun.