I’ve mentioned this a few times. I will once more. In elections like this when all the motion seems to be in one direction, when the margins are fairly large, when one side’s strongholds are suddenly in contention the party with what looks like the lead tends to over-perform. ‘Tends’ … so tends to happen more frequently than not except when it doesn’t, which is a decent amount of the time. This is what I would say, based on experience and history, if I were indifferent to the outcome and not deeply scarred, as so many are, by the experience of 2016. We saw this in 1980. We saw it in 2008.
I wanted to give you brief preview of our plan for the day, which I hope you’ll stay here with us for till the early hours. As usual, starting with the close of the polls we’ll be bringing you live election results for all federal races plus gubernatorial races around the United States. (The maps and boards will likely go up mid-late-afternoon. You can bookmark them then.)
Our team will be with you here all day and all night. We’re ready for this big day and whatever comes after it. Here’s our live blog for this big day. We’ll likely also be sprinkling in some mini-podcast episodes as news dictates. So keep an eye out for that too, likely latter in the evening but, again, depending on the news.
If you want to watch the number crunching experts who I follow on election nights to know what’s happening and seem smart, you can find them here. This is a group chosen to focus on data and what it means in real time – not commentary or opinion or analysis. Just what does it mean that these counties are left, is this race over or not, what does the pattern of returns mean. These folks know as well as it can be.
Our team will of course be active on our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
As we begin this big, perhaps seemingly endless day, I wanted to thank all our subscribers, more than 34,000 of you. I’m really proud of the job this team has done all year. It’s been a grueling political cycle, compounded by a global pandemic that has had us out of our offices and working remotely since early March. But a through line of consistency we’ve had throughout is a relative financial stability. That’s allowed all of us to keep our heads down and bring you the news. And that is entirely because of you, our subscribers. This isn’t any lofty hocum of ‘we couldn’t have done it without you’. We very literally could not have done any of this without you: your subscription fees make up about three-quarters of our revenue. That support not only makes what we do possible. It also gives us some breathing room and predictability to look a bit over the horizon, to be more creative about how we can improve, how we can up our game. So thanks.
People, Steve Schale is the Democratic campaign guy I trust more than anyone else to tell me what’s happening on the ground in Florida, how to understand the polls, the turnout data, the results as they come in tomorrow evening. It was Schale looking at the returns in real time and commenting on them on Twitter four years ago that told me something bad was happening. Here’s his final rundown for this cycle on what he’s seeing in his home state.
We’re now down to the time when it’s all about the numbers. On election nights I have a group of experts I follow to help me understand the numbers. If 50% of the vote is in and they’re mostly from these counties what does it mean? When is a race really done? Here I don’t care about commentary or opinions. I’m looking for that kind of deep knowledge of different states or polls or returns that helps me understand what’s happening. If you’re on Twitter I have this group as a curated list. I follow it and you can too.
You’re probably tense. I am too. We’ve noted in our reporting the cloud of tension that appears to be resting over the whole country as we move to within 48 hours of election day. Some of this is natural. A national election is high stakes. In 2020 the stakes feel and are uncommonly high. That puts everyone on edge.
But these sources of anxiety and tension don’t really make for more than a small portion of what people are feeling. The cloud of tension and menace hanging over the country stems from the specific fact that the President and his party are making an all out press to limit voting, slow vote counting and now toss out literally hundreds of thousands of bonafide, legally cast votes. On top of this, related to this, the President has quite intentionally left open the possibility that he won’t accept defeat but will try to stay in office – likely with the connivance of the corrupt Supreme Court, but perhaps in some unknown way only he knows.