We’re less than a week out from Election Day and today we’re launching a daily liveblog to keep you updated on all the latest election-related news — everything from shifting polls, campaign rally flubs, early voting numbers, voter intimidation and everything in between.
How we make sense of probabilities in math and science is one thing. But as humans we can never separate probabilities from stakes. If the consequences of one outcome are sufficiently dire that factors inevitably into our experience of the question, even bleeding into our perception of the chances of that dark outcome occurring. Here I’ve noticed a subtle shift in recent days in people’s discussions about the outcome of next week’s election. It seems to have shifted from ‘Who’s going to win?’ or ‘Who’s likely to win?’ to ‘Can Trump still win?’
The answer to that last questions is clearly “Yes”. But the question itself is an important shift driven by the fact that in likelihood terms the evidence is now pointing overwhelmingly against the President.
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine looked at the current COVID outbreak in Tennessee and broke the hospitalization numbers down by the counties patients were coming from and whether those counties had masking mandates. The results are stark. The growth in hospitalizations is greatest in counties without masking requirements. Indeed, the inverse relationship between masking and hospitalization lines up across the spectrum from areas with little masking to those where mandates are widespread. You can see the discussion of the study here.
But this chart tells the story pretty clearly.
If you needed to know anything more about Amy Coney Barrett – I didn’t, but if you did – she made her first act last night appearing at a splashy campaign event for President Trump. Once the Senate voted to confirm her on a party line vote, she had a lifetime appointment and literally no need for anything from President Trump. Indeed, she would quite likely have marginally improved the odds that the corrupt conservative Court majority would remain in place by declining such an appearance.
She did it anyway and that was a choice.
The news out of the Supreme Court and the Senate last night fans flames of uncertainty about what might happen if the outcome of the election is disputed in the days after November 3.
Vice President Mike Pence won’t be around for tonight’s confirmation vote in the Senate. Republicans are clearly unconcerned that they will need him to break any sort of tie.
We’re all in the final stretch of the big contest. But I wanted to flag your attention to a column in the Post about some new peer-reviewed research about Facebook and its effect on political polarization. Unsurprisingly the more time someone spends on Facebook the more polarized their beliefs become. But it’s five times more polarizing for conservatives than for liberals. And that’s not the most telling data.
President Trump has had an issue with career professionals since he took office.
This debate went like how I expected the first debate to go: Biden better on the merits but both guys playing to their preferred ways of speaking to the public, their core audiences. Trump wasn’t out of control like he was in the first debate. I thought he might be just as feral; but he wasn’t. I got that wrong.
But that’s a crazy standard. In the first debate Trump showed his absolutely worst self, someone who simply has no business being President. It pushed him from clearly losing to landslide defeat territory. Trump held it together for the first twenty minutes before sliding into conspiracy theories and nonsense. But he never got near the fusillade of petulance and predation we saw three weeks ago. He was better here. But so was Biden.
Biden was sharper in this debate than three weeks ago. I’m not sure whether that’s because he was barely allowed to speak and constantly interrupted last time. But he was better.
9:31 PM: Still claiming he’s under audit.
9:25 PM: For the first fifteen minutes Trump did a pretty good job being relatively normal and non-feral. But then after about 15 minutes in the feral-o-meter started to tick up minute by minute.
9:24 PM: Trump on Fauci: “I think he’s a Democrat but that’s okay.”
8:58 PM: I realize that I look forward to this debate with a sense of dread. That’s not because I think it will go badly necessarily – badly in the sense of making a bad election result more likely. But I recognize that is one more big opportunity for this predatory degenerate to inflict more harm on the country.