Welcome to your daily update leading up to the US presidential election on November 3rd. With fifteen days to go, we look at disagreements about a contentious senatorial hug and worry about “obvious ambiguities” among the Democrats.
This is an overview of election news, which you can find on our front page every working day. The usual, more comprehensive edition of the Election Update – with more context, analysis and interesting resources – will continue to be released on Friday.
In recent months, by far the most attention has been drawn to the Trump campaign. Time for a visit to camp Biden.
What should be noted in advance is that campaign teams usually no better picture of the race then have public polls. Stories of how they experience the campaign’s emotional pressure cooker can also serve a political purpose, such as preventing donors and potential voters from dozing off. They are not suitable for far-reaching conclusions about the final result.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from California. (Photo: ANP)
Will there be a fight if the Democrats win?
The Democrats have united behind Joe Biden, but the question is how long that unanimity will last after the election. Even if the party has one blue wave and President Biden gets the House and Senate behind him, future clashes between the moderate and progressive wings lurk.
A harbinger of those tensions emerged last week during the conclusion of the Supreme Court hearings surrounding Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, wrote The Hill today.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democratic member of the Senate Justice Committee, praised her Republican colleague, Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, for “one of the best series of hearings I have attended.” She thanked him for his honesty and expressed hope for future cooperation between their parties. Afterwards, Lindsey and Feinstein gave each other a hug.
For some Democrats, especially progressives, the way Republicans push Barrett’s nomination through the Senate ahead of election, despite their own stance in 2016, just illustrates that Democrats shouldn’t waste time working with Republicans if they were they take control of both houses of Congress. They also recall that negotiations with the opposition during Barack Obama’s first term did not yield much.
Meanwhile, moderate Democrats warn that even after a monstrous victory, the party must beware of drastic reforms. New senators from more conservative states, who have narrowly won over their Republican opponents, are unlikely to be up for plans such as abolishing the filibuster (where a senator keeps talking to delay or block a vote) or a rapid expansion of ‘ Obamacare ‘.
“What do we know about what we don’t know yet?”
Daydreaming about what you’re going to do after your massive win is an enjoyable pastime, but of course it doesn’t ensure that victory is guaranteed. The Democrats have cause for optimism when they consider all the usual ways of determining who is doing better. At the same time, Camp Biden worries about what you, on his way Rumsfeldiaans, should describe as known unknowns (clear uncertainties): questions that are known, but cannot yet be answered.
“There are more obvious ambiguities than ever before,” said the director of a data company that works for the Democrats. Politico. “The tools we have to estimate this race, the polls, our prediction models – the problem is that all those tools are designed for ‘normal’ elections. And these are anything but normal elections.”
Voter turnout is the biggest reason for sleepless nights among Democratic campaign workers. More than 28.5 million voters have their vote already released. It seems that there are more Biden voters among them, but that advantage cannot be quantified. No one knows if it will outweigh the wave of Trump voters expected in the polling booths on Election Day.
Nor can anyone predict how many ballots will be rejected due to errors or missing information. This can be a painstaking process: the distance between first and last name in a signature can already result in a rejection. Several tens of thousands of rejected votes can mean the difference between victory and defeat in an important swing state. The Democrats know the Republicans their very best to have as many completed ballots as possible declared invalid by the judge.
Voter turnout and ballot rejection are the two most important known unknowns, but not the only one. Will young people miss the deadlines for submitting their votes? Will an unexpected event in the last two weeks of the campaign cause any shifts? Is the number of Trump voters lying to polls about his or her preference greater than expected?
Kamp-Biden seems to be taking a cautious approach. Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote in a memo to fans that “the race is actually much more exciting than some of the comments we see on Twitter and on television suggest. In the crucial swing states where these elections will be decided, we are still on par with Donald Trump.”
A voter deposits her postal ballot at a return point in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo: ANP)
- Speaking of uncertainty: what is the state of the electoral apparatus in the seven most important swing states? The New York Times an inventory which produces a mixed picture. Florida appears to be reasonably well prepared as it already has a lot of experience with postal voting, while in Pennsylvania, where it is a newer concept, one lawsuit after another is launched. In Michigan, armed militias are a cause for concern, and in Georgia voters should bring a folding chair and a few meals.
- The riot surrounding the story of The New York Post Suspected e-mails from Joe Biden’s son Hunter are still smoldering. The paper’s story has not yet been verified and Facebook and Twitter have done the Democrats a favor by to act as a lightning rod. The discussion is now more about the role of social media and the possibility that Russia is behind the revelations than about the content of the emails, to the anger of the Republicans. It will be a while before the polls catch up to the news, but for now the story doesn’t seem like an electoral game changer.
Thank you for your attention and see you tomorrow! Do you have questions about the US Presidential Race, a suggested topic or other comments? Send an email to [email protected]