US Election Night – Live Thread

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It’s over.

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5:38pm: Here’s a riddle for you. Can something be secretly dumped but also be widely reported? Don’t let the Twitter warnings distract you:

3:50pm: Trump appealing to the US Supreme Court to intervene in Pennsylvania so ballot counting can be stopped. Good thing the Supreme Court is completely made up of reasonable people appointed because of their experience, moral standing and dedication to the truth. USSC did intervene in Bosh v Gore in 2000 to overturn the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court, and the same is being attempted here. Good thing PA won’t end up mattering if things go the way they’re going.

12:30pm: Nevada just told everyone that they won’t be submitting any new numbers today. I can’t blame them, they don’t want anything to do with the results and are basically telling other states to sort this out and let them know if they need any help.

10:23am: Trump campaign officials tell reporters that if they only count “all legally cast ballots, we believe the president will win.”

These guys would have no problem stopping a game in midway through the third quarter and claim victory. And if they do end up playing four quarters, they wouldn’t want you to count FTs.

9:36am:

9:01am: So there’s a thing called a “skinny ballot” which people in PA mailed in without the “secrecy envelope” which may not be counted. It’s like using a regular envelope to mail out a vote instead of using the formally supplied envelope. The ballot isn’t tampered with and was received on time but didn’t have the right envelope. This will be going to the courts because voter suppression is cool.

6:19pm: “Regardless of who wins, it’s going to be questionable.” (link) What does that even mean? I’m out for now. Let’s try to enjoy this dumpster fire.

3:57pm: We’re going to be hearing about the “blue shift” a lot over the next few days. More Democrat votes come in via mail and outside of polling stations, so even though states may look like they’re going red tonight (called the “red mirage”), they’ll shift to blue once the votes are counted. This of course implies that the votes will be counted which at some point will be a real issue because of voter suppression, which nobody seems to be vocal enough about. And now that the supreme court is more likely than ever to promote suppression things have the potential to get dirty. We’ve accepted the idea that votes will be suppressed and that Democrats need to win by a huge margin just to account for the suppressed votes. What a bastardization of democracy!

Here’s the Philly Inquirer (Pennsylvania’s largest newspaper) stating that the battleground state which is considered to be the biggest chip tonight to not be finalized for a few days.

Mail ballots? Those take time. You have to check the envelopes. Open them, pull out the inner envelope and ballot, and then open the inner envelope. Pull out the ballot, flatten it, and scan it. Only then can you take the results from the scanner and enter them in the system. It will be a days-long process to count Pennsylvania’s mail ballots.

So on Tuesday night, we’ll be missing a large portion of the vote. And those votes will be disproportionately for Biden, since Democrats are much more likely to vote by mail than Republicans are.

2:31pm: Here’s the type of conservative voter that Democrats are hoping to see more of. This one here can be classified as a human being that is able to change their mind when presented with new information. This type of voter is in the minority.

Trump, whose office holds no powers over state-controlled vote-tallying, has said he thinks states should simply stop counting legal ballots once Tuesday has passed.

This frustrated Nick Edwards, a 26-year-old Republican and lifelong conservative in Detroit, who decided to split his ticket: Biden for president, and then Republicans in Tuesday’s congressional and state races.

“Any disbelief in our system has been put into the public’s view by Trump,” he said after voting. “He’s been illegitimizing the election since last year, saying that mail-in ballots are fraudulent.”

There must be a point where Trump’s digressions from the truth pass a certain threshold where it becomes unconscionable for people to support him, even if they’re of conservative standing.  Not that the current Republican party has anything to do with conservatism – these cats are so far to the right that they make their counterparts from the 80s and 90s look like hippies. So here’s to you, Nick Edwards.

1:01pm: It’s good to check in on how the “other” side is handling things so I took a gander over to Breitbart (which is on my reading list along with OANN) to see what they’re raving about. It was predictably about election fraud with a whole piece showing how a “poll watcher” was denied access to a polling station preventing him from watching it despite having a certificate of sorts. This voyeur profession has been made popular by Trump as he tries to mobilize his army for what may come. The incident is serving its purpose of fanning the fuels and driving people apart and is a straightforward case of disinformation.  Even a cursory search on the topic we arrive at a bipartisan viewpoint on the matter:

State guidance prohibits watchers from electioneering — campaigning in favor of a particular campaign or party — if they’re within 10 feet of the polling place or inside it. It also says watchers have to keep “a safe and respectful” distance from the area where voters are casting their ballots.

Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law…says “One of the key distinctions is that poll watchers shouldn’t be interfacing with voters,” Greenbaum said. “They should be observing what is happening, but not directly interacting with voters at all. Because then you do get one of the circumstances where behavior of poll watchers could intimidate voters. Observe, not interfere.”

The thing about disinformation is that it overrides information. Humans are experts at carving out information so only the least painful batch is processed with anything that feels like a threat ignored and discarded. At it core it’s a fight or flight response. There is no desire to objectively look at a situation and present a list of facts, leaving the conclusions to the reader. Instead, we get “The Steal Is On” in the headline.

12:21pm: The famous Big Mac Index has been used as an analysis tool for currency strength, purchasing power, inflation and affordability. It checks the three boxes of simplicity, accuracy and relatability. As David Smith writes in The Guardian, four years ago a similar approach was used to identify Trump and Biden voters based on the contents of their fridges.

In 2016, Trump won 76% of counties that contained a Cracker Barrel, a restaurant offering southern homestyle cooking on interstate highways, and just 22% of counties with Whole Foods, an organic national supermarket chain. The Cook Report noted that the 54% gap compared with a 19% difference in the 1992 election. The trends reflect how Democrats have thrived in cities with young and diverse populations while Republicans command support from older white voters small towns and rural areas. Trump won 2,584 counties in the 2016 election; Hillary Clinton carried only 472; but the Democratic nominee’s accounted for nearly two-thirds of America’s economic output.

Brands inside the fridge aside, the 54% gap was only 19% in 1992, which give some indication of the polarization in the country. For critics who suggest that polarization always existed and Trump only brought it to surface discount the power of inflammation. It is a viscous cycle that requires a catalyst like Trump to fuel. Inflammation accelerates the rate at which people are willing to look past their similarities and focus on differences. As Smith observes:

“It’s reached the point that when you meet somebody, you can immediately size them up as a ‘Trump voter’ or a ‘Biden voter.’ That kind of easy stereotyping leads us to see the other party as distant and different. And typically, things that are distant and different are also more threatening.”

Here’s the rub: This election and the subsequent years is a referendum on whether America is comfortable not being a white majority.

It goes beyond politics. It goes to this fundamental question of American identity. For so long in nearly all of our history, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants have thought of themselves as the country.” Whereas white Christians made up 54% of the population when Barack Obama was first running for president in 2008, they now make up only 44%. “So we’ve crossed in this last decade from being this country that was majority white and Christian to one that is no longer majority white and Christian,” Jones continued.

“But I think this sense of ownership of the culture and the country by white Protestant Christians in particular has been so strong in American culture, it is part of the sense of loss, the sense of disruption that you feel so much on the conservative side of politics as these demographics are changing. That’s the underlying context for all the political wrangling that we’re having.

At least it won’t be the first time there was a demographic change in America.

11:18am: “A new way to understand the forces at play is urgently needed. But it will come about only if we make a conscious attempt to interrogate and discard the formative influences of many writers over the age of forty.”, writes Pankaj Mishra in The New York Review. His analysis is rooted in the lack of a coherent explanation from Western thinkers about how the world works.

Today, those who insisted that there was no practical alternative to Western-style liberal democracy and capitalism have no concepts with which to explain how China, a Communist-ruled country, became central to global networks of trade and finance; how India, ostensibly the “world’s largest democracy” and fastest-growing economy, as well as a counterweight to China, came to be ruled by Hindu supremacists inspired by European fascist movements of the 1920s; and how electorates angered by dysfunctional democracy and capitalism at home empowered far-right demagogues.

The whole piece resonated with me because no matter what happens tonight we’ll still lack the viewpoint to solve the challenges ahead of us.  The post-war generation was fortunate enough to have an easy transition from being hippies to having high paying jobs, which gave liberalism an attractive glow. It became the dominant philosophy especially when contrasted with what was happening across the Atlantic at the time. There were easy explanations that, even if they weren’t correct were, were plausible only because they were verifiable from a Western perspective. The building blocks of those explanations can no longer be assembled in a way to clarify how to solve America’s current problems, let alone explain how seemingly antithetical philosophies are meeting “success” across the globe.

When Mishra calls for the “under 40s” to lead it is a scary proposition for those who have benefitted from the current structures. If you do subscribe to this general idea and are still waffling on which way to go tonight, then you might ask yourself which choice starts paving the way for a new way of thinking.

This idea is not novel, in fact it’s so ancient that Thomas Jefferson ranted about it to James Madison in 1789.

“…it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished then in their natural course with those who gave them being. This could preserve that being till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right. — It may be said that the succeeding generation exercising in fact the power of repeal, this leaves them as free as if the constitution or law has been expressly limited to 19 years only.”

10:10am: The Republican party is evil genius manifested. It is impressive both in its strategic approach and its unrelenting pursuit of hammering home a version of reality that will eventually fatigue you to the point of subconsciously accepting it. An example of this is when Current Affairs correspondent Nathan Robinson suggested to filmmaker Michael Moore that the Republican party’s complaints about a rigged election are ass-backwards because it is the right that has a history of stealing elections. Moore pulled on this point and spoke about the relative power positions of the two parties.

You know, when he’s telling his supporters that the rigging is happening on the other side, that the Democrats are going to rig the election. What exactly, I’ve wondered, what does he mean by that? What power do Democrats have? I just look at it and Trump is running the country. You’re the one in power!… How are the Democrats going to do this? What’s his thinking there? Well, I don’t understand it and I don’t understand why people buy it… I think Democrats, I may have this statistic wrong, but of the 50 states, only in 12 states Democrats have both houses and the governorship, that’s it. We don’t have the Senate. We don’t have the White House. We certainly don’t have the Supreme Court. Where exactly does our power lie? Other than the fact that the majority of Americans agree with us.

The reality of the power positions is very different than what the Republican narrative has been. This election is so perfectly setup to be taken for a ride that there’s even a well-defined public playbook:

  1. call victory early since Democrats are relying more on mail-in ballots
  2. argue that mail-in ballots counted after midnight are illegal (they’re not)
  3. take it to the court

There is a substance and force behind this approach and it’s quite simply this: Trump has the white male vote. As Moore explains:

And again, white men have a certain fantasy: if only I could live like that, if only I could be like that. This is why he will again get two-thirds of the white male vote, because they are so enamored with him. It’s really kind of amazing to watch… It’s not good to be scared of it. You need to lean right into it and do what you’ve got to do and be ready to fight for our democracy.

9:02am: Serge Ibaka shot 52% from three during fourth quarters when the score was within five points. That’s a lie, but it sure sounded like the truth. The good thing is that the statement about Serge Ibaka is a falsifiable statement as there are mechanisms in place to verify whether the statement is true. This is in stark contrast to reality. As Glenn Gerstell, former general counsel of the National Security Agency (NSA) says, “Spreading disinformation has never been easier. I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the far greater threat, to both the security of our elections and our general democracy, is from disinformation. “[Attackers] don’t have to prove that they changed vote totals if they simply say they’ve changed vote totals.”

8:30am: Every four years we are made aware of the wonders of Pennsylvania. The good, hard-working, honest people of The Great State of Pennsylvania that want nothing more than a fair shake out of life. Part of that shake has always been getting those jobs back. Tonight we’ll find out if they’re going to get those jobs back, what kind of jobs they’ll be, how much they’ll pay, and whether they’ll be able to do them. It is the ultimate intersection of competence, capacity, and cashflow. You don’t even have to give me all three to have my vote, just lie to me in a way that I’ll believe it. Permanence is overrated, a while is all you need.

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