Thursday, June 24, 2021

Did He Miss One?

     (Note: if you're still of the opinion that the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election was determined by voter fraud, cheating or tampering with the totals, this blog post and linked article isn't for you.  It barely intersects your worldview and I'm about as interested in debating you as I am in debating a Methodist and an old-school Unitarian about the Trinity.)

      A few days ago, I linked to an interesting opinion piece that suggested the U. S. political culture is divided not into two halves, but four quarters.  The writer, George Packer, did a good job of supporting his contention, too.

     Of course, for every pundit claiming the sky is yellow, there's another one saying it's violet.  Or that Mr. Packer has overlooked an entire demographic--

      And there they are: Eric Levitz has discovered working-class Democrats.  Yes, they do exist, and while I think the group contains far more "swing" voters (many of whom probably voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 due to a combination of feeling he was on their side and because he wasn't Ms. Clinton*) than he appears to, they're certainly the forgotten voters, just as much as their Republican counterparts -- and possibly more fickle.

      It's fun to slap red and blue paint on every issue and every voter, but that's nowhere near the whole story.  Elections, especially Presidential elections, are often decided by fairly narrow margins.  The people way out at the extremes show up in the headlines, but it's the fat center of the distribution curve where the vote is won or lost.  Candidates, parties and pundits would do well not to ignore them.
* The power of negative voting is often overlooked, but the effect of, "Oh, hell no, anybody but that person," votes is significant.  While it's very satisfying to have a candidate who infuriates the other side, the problem is that they also can infuriate voters who might otherwise have been on your side.


Pigpen51 said...

I have to agree with you on this one. There will always be those who vote for anyone with a D or an R behind their name. Say 30% on each end. That leaves 40% in the middle that conceivably can be swayed to one side or the other. In truth, likely 10% of them lean left and right, thus leaving a mere 20% of actual voters in the undecided category that candidates hope to sway to their side.
This last election, there really was no need to look at actual voting machines, but rather look at the places that Trump lost, compared to the last time. He proved that, even if he did everything perfectly, which of course, he didn't, character still matters. And in the last month of his presidency, with his behavior, he has forever ensured that his legacy, which might have been at the least moderate, if not positive, will now be negative, when weighed against even the things that he did well.
With the Biden administration, while we want to judge him, and complain, for those of us who are on the conservative side, we also must remember that he has only been in office half a year, and deserves some time to accomplish things, and to allow some of his agenda items to begin to take root, and see how they work. I felt the same way with Donald Trump, but he actually didn't get that time, mostly due to his own bluster and bitter personality. He even made enemies in his own party.
Voting in a nation of around 330 million people is always going to be complicated, fraught with what could be considered rounding errors, if it were in business. Will there be attempts, sometimes successful, to cheat or influence the elections? Of course, that has happened since almost the very beginning of America. But all in all, we have to stop our hatred of each other, or we fall apart, and the January 6th mess at the capitol building will seem like kindergarten recess. We need to be better than this.

Mike V said...

"The power of negative voting is often overlooked, but the effect of, "Oh, hell no, anybody but that person,"

I'll go to my grave believing that is the reason for the results in 2016 and 2020. Trump didn't so much get elected as Hillary got beat in 16 and in 20, people were generally tired of the Trump tweet show.

Goober said...

Maybe related, maybe only peripherally, but reading this caused this to pop into my mind...

I think the one thing that stands out to me about Trump the most is that, based on pretty much every metric that a guy could use to predict the outcome in 2020, he really should have been re-elected. Or at very least, it was his election to lose.

He had managed not to start any new wars, the economy was good, and there were enough successes during his administration that he really had no business not getting re-elected.

Which brings me back to "it was his election to lose", and lose it he did, fair and square (or, at least, if there was voter fraud, as there almost certainly always is and always has been, it wasn't wide spread enough to really change anything).

And why? Well, because he was a completely gross, loud-mouthed, ill-mannered bully that took to calling people names on Twitter instead of, you know, acting like the damn President of the United States. He was, perhaps, the most UN-Presidential President in living memory (or maybe ever).

Instead of putting up graphics showing his successes, he made fun of his opponents, gave them insulting nick names, and bragged about what an amazing, awesome, impressive, and totally "humble" guy he was, like some braggadocios frat boy trying to score some tail on a Friday night at a bar in Vegas. Instead of presenting facts, and backing them up, he gave his opinions as fact, often with zero basis in reality.

And the pandemic. Ohhh, the pandemic. Hydroxychloroquine was not "covered up" by some "grand conspiracy". They granted an emergency conditional use for it, ran over 200 studies on it's efficacy, and then when they discovered that it didn't do squat, they revoked the ECU. There's no conspiracy there, and yet, Trump fueled it by continuing to claim that it was going to be the panacea. Well, that, and bringing UV light "into the body" and somehow injecting people with bleach. I can't even imagine being President, and having people under me that were far smarter than I on something like viral theory, and constantly undermining those people instead of supporting them and leading by example. I can't imagine publicly questioning them. I can't figure out for the life of me why, if he disagreed with something they said, he couldn't have met with them privately and discussed it? Why undermine public confidence in the people trying to prevent a pandemic?

All this leads me to my last and final question about all of this mess - given that, why in the hell can't every honest, intelligent person see that those things were enough to cause him to not be re-elected? They didn't need voter fraud to win. They just needed Trump.