LATE Morning Observations On Election 2020. So Far…


Tip: The most important observation is the last one.

1. In the hours between when I started the last post when I got back out of bed two-and-a half hours later, two crucial states where the President was shown leading flipped to narrow leads for Biden. This does not prove or even suggest chicanery, but under the circumstances it looks bad. (“Gee, they cheat fast!” was a comment on one of the conservative blogs following the election live.) The meme above may be unfair, but it accurately expresses what went through my mind when I saw the new totals.

This is why it is unethical to create “the appearance of impropriety” if you have anything to do with the government. People need to trust the government, its institutions, and the fairness and openness of elections. The appearance of impropriety is just as damaging as actual impropriety. We have already seen this in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation and the prosecution of General Flynn.

2.  Both parties have worked to deliberately create suspicion about the political process, and the decision to vastly increase the use of mail-in ballots, in what should have been recognized as a close election, knowing that doing so would delay the process, create opportunity for mischief, and keep the results of the election mired in uncertainty for days and even weeks was either epically incompetent or sinister. Now, instead of the single state having a “too close to call” vote total with the Presidency hanging in the balance as in 2000, we have six, which will presumably multiply litigation and uncertainty. That’s a disaster, no matter what the final result is, and it is a disaster that should have been avoided at all costs. It was unethical and negligent not to avoid it at all costs.

3. That the Democratic state government of Pennsylvania, knowing it was a pivotal and hotly contested state, did not prepare for the election sufficiently and have a clean, fast election process including the rapid counting of all votes is revolting, suspicious, and inexcusable by any logic.

4. How many early voters would vote differently had they known about, for example, the success of the President’s Middle East peace initiatives, or the emerging evidence that Joe Biden actively assisted his son in influence peddling activities both during and after his time as Vice-President? I don’t know. I do know that early voting is an endorsement of knee-jerk, unintelligent, uninformed voting, which contributes to malfunctioning democracy.

5. If the polling industry isn’t killed by this fiasco, it should be. I don’t even want to read Nate Silver’s spin, or that of any other pollster. The entire environment in which the campaign was held, as well as strategic decisions by the candidates, was warped by bad and biased information falsely represented as “scientific.” The polling organizations fell flat on their faces in 2016, and had four years to fix what caused them to tell everyone that Hillary Clinton was sure to win. They obviously fixed nothing—but then bias makes you stupid, and as we all know, you can’t fix stupid.

6. The Democratic party leaders’ threats and proclamations now make them look like fools, because they are fools. All indications are that the Republican Party will keep control of the Senate, and the Democratic majority in the House seems to have been reduced, despite the pollsters’ assumption that the coming Biden “landslide” would give Democrats the mandate they need to impose sweeping, transformational changes.

This makes the doomsday scenarios now being blathered by the Right absurd. It is also why the stock market is surging. As one financial whiz said a few minutes ago, now that the markets know that there will be no huge tax increases or headlong rush to socialism, there’s no cause for panic. Oh, a Biden administration will strangle industry with regulations, but every Democratic administration does that.

I have a pretty good idea what is going to happen if Biden wins, but this is an ethics blog, and much as I would enjoy doing so, going into all that is not an ethics exercise.

7. This is what Republicans should choose as the party’s most ethical course if it comes to pass that President Trump is defeated after all of the votes are counted and all of the legal challenges are through.

President Trump should gracefully accept defeat. He should pronounce the election results legitimate and fair. The Republican leadership, especially Mitch McConnell, should pledge to work with the new administration as much as it can without violating core principles. All Republican officials should attend the Inauguration. They, and President Trump, should urge their supporters to be good American citizens, and to avoid anger, hate and protests. The transfer of power should be peaceful and without rancor. In short, the Republicans should do everything the Democrats did not do in 2016. This alone would make considerable progress toward healing the wounds, which I believe could be fatal if untreated, that the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck inflicted on the nation.

And I should paste feathers on my arms and fly to Poughkeepsie. The chances of any of this happening is zero.

56 thoughts on “LATE Morning Observations On Election 2020. So Far…

  1. I think Trump is a realist. He knows when to fold. With almost all the rust belt states going to Biden with majorities of tens or hundreds of thousands of votes, I think Trump will just say, “Adios, I gave it my best shot.” I just don’t see any way to judicially contest or overturn such vote counts.

    And good luck, President Harris.

    • Of course, I’m the dope who thought the Resistance would melt away a few weeks after Trump’s inauguration. But I just don’t see the GOP throwing a hissy fit. I really don’t.

  2. 5. My pinned post on Twitter is currently: “So… I was right? Polls aren’t able to predict elections with any degree of certainty, and so they should be treated about as seriously as people reading chicken entrails?”

    I think that Republicans have the opportunity to take this election much better than Democrats took 2016. Not only is that a below-bedrock standard to begin with, but the polls didn’t give us false hope. Part of the reason that 2016 (and 2020, if Trump wins) have been so rough on the emotions of Democrats is because they were promised a landslide. They were lied to. We were too, but being promised Ice cream and being served ash is orders of magnitude worse than being promised ash and being given a biscuit.

    Trump still probably won’t win, but there are a whole lot of silver linings on the horizon, particularly in 2022.

    • HT, I think the emerged Democratic coalition simply expects total control of all three branches of the federal government in perpetuity. See, eg, Still Spartan. They want to change the course of the country and reconstitute it in their preferred image. Anything short of that is unacceptable. Like Sparty, I’m guessing you’re in your forties. Your cohorts want a totally different governmental framework and they give every indication of continuing to be completely unsatisfied until that new framework is in place. They are implacable and brook no opposition.

      • I don’t “expect” total control. I would “like” total control. The Republicans want the same thing. Plus, there really is no way to control Judges.

        • Republicans know total control is not possible. Democrats these days, the Bernie Bros, the Justice Democrats, the BLM people, the open borders people, the non-heteronormative faction, the transgender faction, the academic communists, the media people, the coastal elites, The Squad, all want total control, Sparty. And if they ever get it, you won’t be one of the people in control or a member of any favored group. You and Mr. Sparty and your lovely, smart, educated daughters will be collateral damage.

    • Could be some upside to a Trump loss. President Harris might make such a hash of things that Republicans surge in midterms and the 2024 election…if the votes are still being held in one country.

        • There’s a coming party realignment (which have happened 5 or 6 times in our nation’s past). The loser may have a head start on recognizing the coming trends. The name of the game is staving off any systemic changes the winner can enact while scrambling to reassess the newly forming constituencies and reassess which planks of the party platform need scrapping or adjustment or reprioritization.

          Staving off the systemic changes can occur in a split government (which is what we’re shaping up to have unless the D’s continue to pull the shenanigans they promised us they’d pull).

          I think what is more at stake with the Executive Branch however, is if if goes towards Biden, will give the entrenched interests there a chance to regroup and refocus efforts against conservative organizations much like they did under Obama. That will be concerning.

          Again, Republicans have done an excellent job cultivating younger GOP statesmen and state-level GOP moderately minded statesmen who can rise to the national level of prominence over the next 10-12 years riding the wave of the party realignment (if they do things right)…while the DNC, on quick perusal, only seems to have on its bench people 5 minutes from the grave or a younger crowd of hyper-radicals that frankly make Che Guevara look reasonable. In 10-12 years this is going to hurt them badly, when rational and energetic Republicans at the head of newly formed constituencies are faced off against people campaigning on a Venezuela-is-the-way-to-go platform.

        • It appears there is a demographic shift in this election. Trump increased his performance with hispanic and black voters. If he loses, it will be due to white voters reducing their support.
          If the right republican can keep this, then it is a bad omen for democrats.

        • There were at least a dozen potential stars featured at the Republican convention. Likable, intelligent, and articulate. And young. I don’t say that as a devotee of any political party, just as someone who doesn’t want the whole country to turn into Detroit. We’re a long way from total one-party rule, hopefully.

          With John James and a few other Black and Hispanic candidates being noticed, we may be just a few years from low-income Democrats discovering a dirty little secret- that minorities and poor people governed by Republicans achieve better long term outcomes and LESS income inequality. Perception being 9/10ths of reality, there will have to be a lot of conservative voices somehow cutting through the fog pointing this out so that it’s noticed. But getting things noticed is easier when you’re right.

        • Maybe in the long run, but not in the short run. I’d say buckle up, it’s going to be a rough six weeks from here to December 14th. You and I were both there for 2000, and that’s all in the history books. Now we’re going to have it in multiple states, and this president isn’t going to just give it up. I believe every legitimate vote should be counted, but I also believe every vote can and should be verified. I didn’t like the idea of someone trying to litigate his way into the White House in 2000, and I don’t like it now.

          However, I also don’t like the idea of one party taking advantage of a crisis, namely the pandemic, to create a system, actually several systems, of voting less secure, less transparent, less verifiable, and at the same time more open to mistakes, more open to fraud, more open to manipulation, and more open to use by those not willing to put the effort it to know what the hell they are voting for. I don’t like the idea of that one party then using that system to create a situation of what appear to be multiple “ballot dumps” that all happen during a pause and in the small hours that all just happen to be in the very states the other party needs to win, and that all appear to be 100% for that party. I don’t like pauses that occur just as the other side’s candidate is pulling ahead in just the states he needs to win. I don’t like the idea of the prevention of verification by poll watchers, who are made to stand 30 feet away. I don’t like it when one party’s states get called before a singIe vote is tabulated, while the other’s get slow-walked (AZ is still called for Biden despite obvious issues, while NC won’t be called till next week?). I don’t like the idea of one party taking advantage of polls all commissioned by the media and now shown to be complete bs. I don’t like the idea of one party partnering, de facto or de jure, with both the media and Big Tech to make certain that their favorables get front and center coverage, while the other side’s get buried, and the opposite for non-favorables,

          Most of all, I don’t like it when the party that is the beneficiary of all these circumstances swears up and down that there is absolutely nothing untoward going on, but won’t allow genuine verification that it isn’t and acts all indignant when the other party points out any of this and asks questions.

          This isn’t pro wrestling, where the referee is always looking the wrong way when the heel resorts to eye-gouging or the use of a foreign object, but is right there when the face uses a closed fist, where Bobby the Brain and Lou Albano are always there swearing up and down that their guy did nothing wrong when he obviously did, and where a decision, once handed down, can’t be reversed. This also isn’t 1960, and Donald Trump isn’t Richard Nixon, who knew Richard Daly had pulled some balloting of the dead to put JFK over the top, but decided not to press the point in the interests of not creating a crisis, but rather left to fight another day. This is going to end up in Federal Court, and eventually it will find its way to SCOTUS, you mark my words. If evidence of wrongdoing, or large-scale corruption comes out, no one will ever trust the system in this nation again. As it is, half the country won’t trust it.

        • Likewise a Trump win for Democrats, who would be well-positioned to take a Senate majority and expand their majority in the House, especially if they put aside the portions of the Great Awokening which are rejected by a lopsided majority of the public (which means, most of it).

      • People always make this argument, that “now people will see” and learn the error of their ways. That never happens. The Overton window just moves, and what was one radical becomes normal. Then the next radical step is the goal.

        Government never shrinks, it only expands. There is no going back.

  3. I would love an analysis about what the newly found 128k Biden votes did for the down-ballot elections in that jurisdiction. Great, you processed 128k new ballots and they all magically were for Biden….what were their effect on the random proposition that didn’t fall squarely on party lines?

    • I tuned out as I’m saturated from 4 years of political turmoil – my wife is watching though and mentioned this same incident – “How can 128,000 ballots go 100% in favor of Biden?”

  4. 1. It’s only the appearance of impropriety if it’s the other party. If your side does it it’s totally on the up and up.

    2. The Democrats saw the chance to create chaos and manufacture votes where they needed them. Of course they deliberately made it opaque. It’s so easy to have it all your own way when no one’s looking, just like the British could frog-march a Malay headman or torch a Kenyan village in the privacy of their own colonies, but we Americans had to behave in the glare of the cameras.

    3. No, no, they WANTED it messy, the easier to overcome any lead with fraud.

    4. Probably fewer than you think.

    5. The polling industry is dead, they embarrassed themselves and there’s no spinning their way out of this.

    6. At least for the first two years.

    7. Never going to happen. And frankly it shouldn’t. If Trump has taught the GOP one thing it’s like James Malone, played by the late, great Sean Connery, says to Kevin Costner’s Elliott Ness. “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the MORGUE!” The Republicans should NOT kiss Biden’s ass nor bow and scrape when Harris says “I’m speaking.” They need to slow walk his every appointment, pocket his judicial nominations, never agree on a budget (but not actually shut the government down), and break his balls every chance they get. Let the Democrats complain when they get the same crap thy visited on Trump.

  5. “It was unethical and negligent not to avoid it at all costs.”

    Avoid it? This was the plan. All of the chaos is intentional. It obscures the Biggest Fraud Operation ever! that Biden told us he had in place.

    I do not see anything ethical in politely allowing blatant communists to openly cheat their way through a presidential election and take over the executive branch. We already know what they do with power of the executive branch. They weaponize the IRS, CIA, NSA, FBI, DIA, and all the other alphabet agencies against their political opponents. They spy on, prosecute and persecute everyone who disagrees with them. There is nothing ethical about any of that.

    The legislative branch remains nominally split, but many of the republican Congressional members are openly owned by the globalist establishment and will happily play along with the communist dictates of the left, all in the name of unity and bipartisanship. They will say must heal the divisions in the country by bowing down and agreeing to everything the globalists ask for.

    I think the ethical path is open resistance to these forces.

  6. #3 is patently false. It is not Pennsylvania who failed to adequately prepare for the massive number of mail-in ballots, it was that Republicans sued so that Pennsylvania could not even BEGIN counting the mail-in ballots until Election Day that has caused all this uncertainty.

  7. I agree with Number 7, as much as I don’t want to. I think it would be perfectly fair to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate January 2017 and the Hunter laptop.

    Trump has better things than this to do with his life, but could he pull a Grover Cleveland and run against Harris in 2024?

    (Will we have Donald Trump to kick around anymore?)


  8. #1: What would you propose for reporting to avoid this appearance of impropriety? If votes are reported as they are available, you’re going to have streaky vote clusters (look at Michigan, where crowded precincts in Detroit took longer to tally than rural areas, causing a huge Biden surge when Wayne County finally reported). The other option seems to be to keep all vote tallies secret until an entire state is fully counted and ready to report- but that’s a huge loss of transparency that would be an invitation to claims of fraud as well.

    #5: Why the hate for Nate Silver? 538 was giving Trump a ~30% chance of winning going into Election day, and never gave him less than a ~10% chance of winning. Those aren’t great odds, but not terrible. If you told me I had a 1 in 10 chance of winning a prize I would be surprised to win, but not astonished. That’s how scientific prediction works, by assigning things likelihoods and degrees of confidence. Is the weatherman unethical for saying “the overall data says there’s a 20% chance of rain tomorrow” when it turns out there’s a downpour? Is the surgeon unethical for saying “This condition has a 20% survival rate over 6 months” when it turns out the patient is in remission and healthy as a horse a year later?

    • 1. This tweet from the national Review’s editor is part of the answer: “Obvious point here but: media quickly calling states in Biden’s favor, when they’re actually close, and slow-walking the announcements of Trump’s clear victories is not a good look for being trusted or fighting a narrative of an election being stolen from the voters.” Or how about not having the #3 Democrat in the House saying that if Trump wins, it’s because of voter suppression. Or the Penn.AG Josh Shapiro tweeting, before the election, “If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose.” Really, Josh? How can you be so sure?

      Things like that.

      • As for Nate: he’s a fraud, and people should get wise to it. He had Trump at 20% or less right up until the final days, then ended up at 30%. It was always a 50-50 election once the economy crashed. Before that, Trump was a lock Nate is a progressive shill, and it shows. For example, NYT/Siena, rated an A+ pollster by Silver, overestimated Biden’s support by:

        6+ in FL
        4+ in NC
        Probably 6ish in MI when the count is in
        10 ish in WI
        10+ in IA
        9+ in OH

        Garbage in, garbage out. Sometimes Nate is lucky, sometimes not. I see no reason to value his analysis.

        • What’s worse is that it was artificially garbage. Silver didn’t post results from polls that were too far outside the pack in favour of Trump, because he deemed it “blatantly partisan” while using results from, off the top of my head, Quinnipiac.

          • I’m gathering that when Nate Silver was calling Wisconsin as +48 or whatever it was and Michigan as like +245 or something, he was really indicating that’s how many individual votes the Democrats had to ship in overnight to fix the election.

  9. Well at least the Republicans will retain control of the Senate which I guess is a silver lining. Pelosi will remain her nasty obstructionist self and will continue to gridlock legislation. I’m not sure what Trump will do at this point but if he chooses to tie up things in the courts, more power to him.

  10. As you say : “ ….. it is unethical to create “the appearance of impropriety” if you have anything to do with the government.”

    What chance Amy Coney Barrett agrees with you, and will act accordingly?

  11. Real question: Is this the first time since the invention of the telephone that we don’t have at least preliminary election results within 24 hours of polls closing? Even in 2000, Florida had been called for Bush, even if the challenges were still outstanding.

    • We almost never have preliminary results at least nationwide. The states just keep on keeping on and posting numbers. What you’re used to seeing is projected winners and that’s all done by the media looking at the number of votes left uncounted or precincts that haven’t reported and extrapolating.

      You see all the pomp on the news and never notice a week and a half later when they finally figure out who won some house race on the California/Nevada border by 116 votes or some state house race in Idaho that has to be decided by a coin flip because the races you care about have already been decided.

  12. Re #7

    I assume you are suggesting that we do as we are told as shown in the video with Greg Neidemeyer playing the role of Biden and Kevin Bacon representing Trump supporters.

    I will let Rubio, Christie and Kinzinger assume the position. I bet we could find someone here vulgar enough to suggest they also gargle with male genitalia. This is what wants; unconditional surrender.

    Sorry, but after being called or associated with virtually every pejorative in the book by the guy who now says it is time to heal and unify as a nation, I say FUCK him and his running mate. I have no obligation to support him or his tech lord handlers agenda of the dissolution of the United States. Biden has not won anything yet. Will he and his supporters unify behind Trump if Trump proves victorious? I bet not.

    • Will he and his supporters unify behind Trump if Trump proves victorious? I bet not.

      Of course not. But the only way you restore norms that are healthy and ethical is to restore norms, and to give up the motive of revenge or tit for tat.

      • Jack
        I will not disrespect the office of president but I reserve the right to organize and protest the government as I see fit. I will not go quietly into the goodnight simply to be a good worker bee.

      • When one toddler consistently takes the toys of another toddler and the aggrieved toddler consistently permits the taking of the toys, then those toddlers move on to grade school and now the still-toddler continues to take the crayons of the aggrieved child, then those children move on to high school and the still-toddler takes the teenager’s yearbook and the teenager deals with it and they move on to adulthood and the still-toddler takes the adult’s groceries and kicks over their flower garden…the one day the aggrieved adult tells the still-toddler-man-child to fuck right off then the adult is in the wrong for not “engaging in healing and restoring norms”.

        I’m not convinced.

      • The left is burning down cities and killing people in cold blood, then celebrating on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram without being censored.

        The time for turning the other cheek is over. There isn’t going to be a return to ethical norms by the left.

        Tit for Tat would be burning cities to the ground, not protesting and refusing to comply with the rules of the left. Obviously the tactics they use are unethical. Refusing to go along with what they want, though, is perfectly ethical.

        • It is important to remember how evil they are.

          This blog recognized what was going on in general , if not all its specifics: hence the stuffed 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, still crazy after all these years. I knew the FBI and the deep state ein the Justice Department were part of the plot, as well as the Clinton campaign. I did not suspect that Barack Obama himself was involved until recently—Biden too, of course. That was my confirmation bias: much as I believe Obama was a destructive and wrongfully admired POTUS, I do not want to think holders of the highest office in the land actively work to pervert democracy.

          I do agree with Jack’s conclusions.

          This was far worse than Russian interference, which, to my knowledge, essentially was merely sharing ideas and factual claims, like what other people do. Interference by law enforcement undermines trust in the very institutions that we rely on to uphold the rule of law. This led to the corruption of the ethics of many people, who to this day often use the terms “Russian troll” and “Russian bot” in online arguments.

          And then of course we have Twitter’s reaction to the Biden laptop story, preventing the sharing of the story and actually suspending accounts of those who shared it. This was far worse than what the Russians were accused of doing, for Twitter (advertising itself as a politically neutral service) was interfering with the free flows of ideas and information for partisan political purposes.

          People actually protested this at Twitter headquarters. During the protests, thugs attacked the protesters, much like how thugs attacked striking workers during the 19th century labor disputes.

          What else are they covering up? What other truths and ideas are they trying to hide?

          In this system, you can not always have the public policies that you want. What grants the system legitimacy is that people have the power to persuade others on a level playing field in the public square. To be sure, not everyone has an equal ability to persuade others- a large, well-funded organization can call many more people, knock on many more doors, leave many more door hangers, post many more fliers, purchase more TV or radio advertisement space than an individual. But the laws and customs regarding the means we can use to persuade people are the same for all of us, no matter who we are or what policy we promote. A law about door hangers applies equally to you and those who oppose you politically.

          Unlike Free Republic and the Democratic Underground, Twitter advertised itself as a service where people can share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. That is why it was unethical for them to try to scuttle the laptop story. Twitter itself was advertised as a politically neutral service, where people have a fair chance to persuade others.

          That an advertised politically neutral service censors content for partisan political purposes undermines the legitimacy of the system- and potentially , the election.

      • Best part about Joe Biden’s glorious and perfect presidential speech which didn’t get tut tutted at all by the media as being premature and inappropriate is when he said “we need to heal the divisions and come together” and then reading the mid level leftwing journalistariat (which I suspect reflect the attitudes of the younger up and coming Democrat generations far more accurately the big talking heads) as they all essentially said “Yeah, about that…no, we viscerally hate Republicans and will continue to do so”.

        Yes it’s also amusing that Joe Biden’s comments come in the wake of 12 years of HIM and his people doing everything they can to stoke the hatred and division…it’s just more concerning seeing the attitudes of the up and coming leftwing commentariat.

    • Dust off your kepi, throw on your frock coat, get your cartridge box and musket and muster on the village green at 1400.

  13. 1) How many “appearances” of impropriety constitute “reasonable suspicion” that shenanigans are occurring?

    • I think we passed the point of “reasonable suspicion” and moved into the realm of “blatantly obvious” somewhere around 3-4am Wednesday morning.

      200k votes all going for Biden in one shot was pretty dang blatant.

      Pictures of poll workers wearing BLM paraphernalia throwing poll watchers out of the counting rooms is pretty dang blatant.

      Boarding up windows of counting rooms is pretty dang blatant.

      People born in 1850 voting? Blatant.

      200% voter turnout? Blatant.

      Hundreds of millions of newly located absentee ballots? Blatant.

      Asking ballot harvesters to go door to door “curing” absentee ballots after Election Day? Blatant.

      Whistleblowers telling us the postal service has been instructed to backdate mail in ballots to November 3rd? Blatant.

      And that doesn’t even include all instances of Biden straight up announcing they are going to cheat. Biden told everyone he had the biggest voter fraud organization in history set up. He also said he doesn’t need our votes.

      When people tell you what they are doing, you should believe them.

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