I am in a listicle mood, so let me count the ways that this election is not 2016. And, yes, my sister should not read this as she doesn't want me to jinx anything and she thinks that since I got 2016 wrong, I am an unreliable predictor of American politics (which may be true but not because of 2016).
But I have been saying this:
While the final word is right, remember, this ain't 2016. So much is different, including Oct 24 was several days further out. And, oh yes, Comey. https://t.co/rMg3Eqr9Zd— Steve Saidemonster 🎃🧛♂️🧟♂️👨🏻🏫 (@smsaideman) October 25, 2020
So let me invoke the Count and listicle the ways 2020 is different from 2016.:
- Biden is not Hillary Clinton. He has not been vilified for thirty years. Biden's favorability numbers exceed his unfavorability numbers.
- Misogyny does not help Trump this time because, last I checked, Biden is not a woman.
- Misogyny hurts Trump as he has alienated women quite significantly over the past four years.
- 2016 Trump could be seen as a moderate businessman who just talked about being "conservative." 2020 Trump cannot be called a moderate anything. Trump has proven that he is willing to do what the far right wants--tax cuts for the rich, Supreme Court seats for people who are anti-choice (sorry, Susan Collins), and, well, arson in pretty much every government agency.
- Four years of attacking the ACA without any plan to follow it up has a price and would have had a price even without a pandemic. With eight million Americans thus far getting the disease, the legions of Americans with pre-existing conditions is expanding, perhaps exponentially so. For one example of what a COVID survivor is going through, go here.
- Four years ago, there was not a pandemic that the Democrats had bungled. This time, it is clear to all but the cultists that Trump has been a superspreader both in his policies (or lack thereof) and his rallies. [I wrote this before Mark Meadows announced that Trump is a surrender monkey on the Sunday morning news shows]
- There is no real third party choice, in part because no one can really claim "there is no difference between Trump and Biden." Trump has made it abundantly clear that he is different.
- Even before the pandemic, people realized that government and policy matter, and that having arsonists in power was hurting them. As others have noted, Biden was ahead of Trump before the pandemic struck the US. Again, favorability/unfavorability matters.
- Trump's administration is the most corrupt since .... the 1920's or 1870's or somewhere in between.
- The big macro stuff in 2016 tilted towards Trump. That the Dems winning would have been three Presidential elections in a row, which doesn't happen much. There was fatigue by and for the Dems. This time, Trump is, as he often forgets, the incumbent. Which means he gets to own the state of the country.
- And, jeez, is there Trump fatigue! So many people are tired, and just want a boring President that they don't have to think about--Biden fits the bill perfectly.
- So many juicy close Senate races should help to keep "complacent" voters going to the polls.
- Indeed, the Dems have been mobilized in every election since 2016. 2018 went Dem in a big way as well as many other elections in between then and now.
- Speaking of mobilized Dems, the Supreme Court is far less theoretical than it was four years ago. But with the GOP voters having already gotten what they wanted. SCOTUS seats usually motivated GOP voters more, but this time? Probably not as much as enraged Dems.
- The young folks are mobilized as they understand their futures are being held hostage by the Trump Administration. The bungled pandemic response means that their university experience has been interrupted, that the job market they are facing is the worst since the Great Depression, that all kinds of good times have been shelved (weddings, graduation parties, going out).
- And they are outraged by the injustice aimed at African-Americans, at LBGTQ, immigrants, etc.
- Trump's white supremacy is clearer even than 4 years ago. Appointing Jeff "Too Racist of the 1980s Senate" to Attorney General was just the start in 2017 of making it clear that Trump's rhetoric would be met with more racist action. The mobilizing of the white supremacist base has created a counter-reaction.
- At no point has Trump tried to expand beyond his base. Not in policy, not in his rallies, not at any moment in the past four years.
- Let's turn to his base. Because Trump has been acting as an ally of COVID, his supporters are now bearing the brunt of it as they have followed him in being maskless, in social crowding, etc. So, there may literally be fewer of them as Trump's policies on COVID may be kicking in right now as the spikes are highest in the Red states just as the election.
- Speaking of his base, Trump got more seniors voting for him four years ago, but the GOP message on COVID has been to sacrifice the old folks so that the economy can grow. So, the polls how that seniors are now solidly in favor of Biden.
- Trump has already been playing around with social security, so, again, old folks are not going to vote for Trump like they did four years ago.
- Oh and also, Trump's base was largely rural. How has Trump's trade wars helped farmers? Oh, they lost markets in China? Yeah. So, let's not expect quite the same levels of enthusiasm in that part of Trump's "coalition."
- Speaking of rural voters, lots of these folks depend on the mail for delivery of medicine, checks, and lots of other stuff. The deliberate destruction of the US Postal Service is definitely something these folks have felt even if other arson activities have been less obvious to them.
- Last time, I thought Republicans who cared national security would not vote for a candidate so deeply in the pocket of the Russians. I was wrong about Republicans caring then. But four years of Putin love and selling out American interests might have made a dent. I am, indeed, skeptical of the Lincoln Project, but they may represent a very thin slice of the GOP of old. And that can make the difference in a close state or two.
- The Dems have an even bigger money advantage this time especially as Trump's team has pissed away the money it has raised.
- The media have not learned as much as they should from four years ago, but CNN is no longer covering every rally from start to finish (and then some, often dedicating time to waiting for the rally sto start). Instead, we have Daniel Dale listing the lies as they are uttered.
- The national polls got the election right four years ago, but several state ones didn't. Consistent polling error favoring Trump again is very unlikely. Indeed, folks may be weighting their polls differently in ways that undercount the Democrats voting.
- It is really hard to figure out what the huge numbers in early voting means because of the pandemic, but reports are suggestive. And the polls, yes, those damned polls, have held steady.
- And the GOP (and Putin) are starting to make their bets.
I am not worried about Dems getting complacent. Not only are they too outraged, but, yes, 2016 and the lessons (both right and wrong) from that experience are very much in the heads of the Dems (and the truly independent). So, my sister can ignore this post--it is not going to turn people away from the polls.