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1. COVID Cases Spike as Election Just Over Two Weeks Away
If you haven’t checked the COVID case tracker lately (we don’t blame you) it may have slipped by you that we are in the midst of another spike much like the one that hit Florida and other states so hard this summer. While it’s hard to define anything as a “wave” necessarily, since the onslaught never really ended, it is definitely a spike similar to that of this summer, once again doubling the numbers of the “first wave” that hit New York in March/April. And this time it’s happening just weeks before the election.
Cases have spiked around the country and according to COVID Exit Strategy all but a handful of states are experiencing “uncontrolled spread.” All but one day last week topped 50,000 new cases, and even last Monday, that aforementioned day, saw 46,000 cases. Friday saw 71,000 new cases which was only 7,000 short of the all time daily case record set in July. Some swing states like Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have been particularly hard hit, all of which will be crucial for the outcome election night. This sets up the last presidential debate on Thursday nicely for Biden, and generally adds another factor in Biden’s favor in a political environment that seems increasingly dire for President Trump.
2. The Final Presidential Debate is on Thursday
As mentioned above, the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is on Thursday, October 22. The Commission on Presidential Debates released a set of topics, specifically: “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security,” and “Leadership.” On their face I think that sets up a fairly easy night for Joe Biden if he sets the stage with COVID properly. Obviously since the last debate Donald Trump himself and many in his inner-circle were diagnosed with COVID, not to mention the aforementioned spike. If Joe Biden does his job he will have secured the soundbites and news-clips he needs before the first half an hour is up.
I won’t break down anything on a sort of issue by issue basis, we’ll save that for the podcast. However, Joe Biden has played the center so hard, none of the plausible openings seem like they will be that effective. On either side of that equation, it’s difficult to paint Joe Biden as “bad for American families” somehow, just as it’s pretty difficult to tie Joe Biden to what the conservative movement and conservative media see as the radical excesses of movements like Black Lives Matter. Joe Biden is as moderate or conservative as his campaign needs him to be in any given moment and that bodes well for Biden in a debate with Trump over issues like those listed above.
3. Biden is Going to Win
We said it just as directly, but we’ll say it again here, Joe Biden is going to win. The 538 model currently has Joe Biden winning in 87 out of 100 projections. While many are scared from similar projections that were flipped on their head by Donald Trump come election night, 2020 is setting up to be a very, very different election than 2016. First, Biden has net favorable ratings, which is over 20+ points better than that of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Further, there are far fewer undecideds this election cycle and it seems third party candidates will play less of a roll. If that holds then there is less wiggle room heading into the election, something that is bolstered by the fact that millions of people have already voted.
The context is totally different as well, namely COVID and Trump’s awful handling is the backdrop to everything. It is inescapable, it’s the main topic of every newscast, every discussion, and an ever present disruption to everybody’s lives. That plus I think general fatigue from the Trump administration have many seeking a return to normalcy, which is problematic for all sorts of reasons, but also an understandable response to the world we find ourselves in. And a response that lends itself to voting for a moderate former vice president.
Looking at the last polls of 2016 it’s hard not to brace yourself for a repeat shock, but I’m confident in saying it won’t happen. Take that to the bank.
4. The Polls Weren’t That Off in 2016 and They’re Better for Biden in 2020
Part of the reason I’m confident in saying Biden will win is the polling. I know, I know, we all saw the plethora of models that practically declared a Clinton victory months before election day. The biggest problem, and I’ll begrudgingly give Nate Silver credit for pretentiously calling this out as much as possible, is that most people simply failed to understand that something happening 15 to 30 out of 100 times is actually quite a bit. Especially when the outcome is so significant and potentially catastrophic. To that point, the same goes for something happening 10 to 20 times out of 100. So Donald Trump winning is unlikely, I’m confident enough to make the call, and even though it’ll be annoying when I point it out to save face in the event of a Trump victory, 10 out of 100 isn’t terrible odds for something as massive as the presidency.
That said, context, context, context, and everything seems to be trending in Biden’s favor. COVID cases are up, which is bad, but is probably good for Biden’s electoral chances.
5. Moving Beyond Bernie
A significant focus of ours in recent weeks has been the shape, goals, and strategic focus of the left going forward. Bernie Sanders undoubtedly helped build a movement, but it’s up to us to continue that work. Listen here for a 10-point plan for the left following Bernie Sanders. There is a lot there, and even more on our patreon, there will be an article summarizing it soon but for now just listen to the podcast. No really, listen to the podcast.
Meme of the Day
Just so you know, there is over $1.7 trillion dollars in student loan debt in the United States, so that’s over 244 BILLION cigarettes (we’ll just translate the minutes to minimum wage), so get smoking folks. (Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr for more memes).
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