The Temper Tantrum goes on.
But Donald Trump will go back to the Shadow.
I am back from a long, much-needed vacation. Elisabeth, myself, and some friends went up to a big mountain house in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was a great break from the insanity of the post-election period, but now it really feels like we’re back in the grind.
To borrow from the beginning of every best man/maid of honor speech: Where do I begin? President Donald Trump lost the election. That certainly feels like a better way of putting it than simply saying, “Joe Biden won.” Biden did win, of course. But I think if most people are honest with themselves, the primary goal of most Biden voters was getting rid of the Trump.
I also think a little more honesty is needed: Biden’s win feels less like a resounding victory because the election was a lot closer than it should have been. The New York Times has a great write-up on how Biden’s campaign was successful, and they put a pretty heavy focus on Trump’s missteps. Some of the obvious ones are mentioned: The total mismanagement of the Coronavirus; the photo-op in Lafayette Square; and holding an indoor rally during the height of the pandemic. But the first debate was only briefly mentioned, and left out of the piece entirely is Trump’s failure to secure a second round of stimulus spending. I think with a better debate, a heavier focus on the economic numbers from October, another stimulus, and then maybe not focusing so much on Hunter Biden, we’d be talking about how Trump defied the odds again and won reelection. In the end, he was his own worst enemy (and the hard left was almost Biden’s).
That continues to be the case: Even now Trump is still sowing doubt about the election, proving to everyone that he is exactly who we thought he was. And he’s dragging others with him: This story from the Washington Post is flat out nuts. Republican Senators - specifically Lindsey Graham - are pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State to try and throw out legally cast votes. For the record, that is generally what we call “election fraud,” which is distinct from “voter fraud,” and the ones engaging in it are Republicans. Trump is driving a wedge between his voters and Republicans who live in reality, roughly six weeks before two incredibly important elections in Georgia.
What makes this worse is that they know better: There is no universe where Graham, Mike Pompeo, Jim Jordan, or even Matt Gaetz actually believe that Donald Trump won the election. The overwhelming majority of Republicans in office know that there was no wide-scale fraud.
We are, of course, making some progress: Some Republicans are now starting to refer to Biden as President-Elect. Baby steps. But Trump remains in office for the next 64 days, and who knows how much more damage he will inflict.
I want to spend a little bit of time on the major polling error we saw in the election. Nate Cohn at the New York Times has a good write-up, but anything that does not fully take the polling industry to task will not satisfy my rage. I will say it flat out: I trusted the science of polling for a long time and I was wrong to do so. The pollsters told us that they corrected their errors from 2016 and, as a result, we would get more accurate polls this time around. In reality, the polls were off more in 2020 than they were in 2016. I ultimately feel stupid for trusting in this “science” and not asking deeper questions.
And do not get me started on the polling aggregators, who seem to be holding onto the fact that their models all predicted a Biden win. At this point, I think Nate Silver also needs to go back to the Shadow for a little while. The crux of it is this: If we are in an environment where polling people is too difficult to produce even partly accurate results, then the prediction models built on that sandy foundation are pretty much worthless.
That said, there is a 99.9% chance I will be looking at the polls for the two Georgia runoffs in January. And there is a similar chance that I will eventually get over my anger and make up with the Nates.
This piece on Matthew Sheffield is a must-read. One of the post-election discussions we need to have (eventually) is that America has a media-literacy problem, and a lot of that is an entire section of conservative media that operates in bad faith.
The invaluable Zoe Tillman has a good round-up of all the failed court challenges by Trump’s team. Let’s put it this way: When Trump’s team is not being laughed out of court, they are quietly resigning and running away from court. Related to this, David French has a great post documenting the lawsuit failures and the GOP’s inability to come to terms with reality.
Your personal favorite habibi said this in December of 2019:
I could not be more grateful to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for ending this nightmare. There has never been a President more reckless and more unsuited for the job. My mind is frozen in the moment when he exposed his own Secret Service team to Coronavirus so he could do a drive-by and wave to his supporters. 150 of those agents are now quarantining or diagnosed with the disease. In the too-long history of the Trump Administration, it seems like a small moment. But it’s those small moments that will continue to illustrate his unfitness. He is a monster who will surely go down in history as one of the worst presidents of all time. And we beat him.
I’ll almost certainly be back before next Monday.