Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Suggestions for Joe Biden in the next debate

1) Don't smile and fake-laugh when 45 is talking over you. It's not a joke. The U.S. presidency is a serious matter and everyone should take the election seriously. Don't let him make a mockery of the debates. Stand in front of a mirror and perfect a stare that says "what the hell is this jackass doing." And have a bunch of short, understated responses ready.

The next time DT tries to talk over you, you give him that stare. Wait for him to finish. Then deliver a very mild taunt, something like "you talk over me because you don't want the people to hear what I have to say. What are you afraid of, Donald?" Don't wait for his answer, just return to whatever you were trying to say before. When he starts in again, repeat: pause, stare, mild taunt. "You know, in the sensitivity training they teach old white men like us the value of listening.
By listening we get the benefit of everyone's voices and perspectives. That can't happen when we just talk over others and drown out their voices."

Just keep doing this. Or find something else that works and do that. But make him pay. Every. damn. time.

2) Stop bringing up your sons. Nobody cares about Hunter Biden's business deals in the Ukraine except the trump crazies, so at most you're just wasting everyone else's time. And you can hit DT for calling military people suckers and losers without talking about Beau Biden. If DT brings up your sons, then hammer him for it. But when you bring them up yourself, it signals that attacks on them are fair game.

3) It's okay to admit that Bernie Sanders has some good ideas and you incorporated them into your platform. That is what you did and rightfully so. When DT attacks you for supporting things that Sanders talks about, say that: "Yeah, Bernie Sanders and I disagree on many things but he has some good ideas and I am not going to turn my back on a good idea just because it comes from one of my opponents." You could also mention how Sanders is a good person who has contributed much to his country, etc. and use it as an opportunity to explain how people with different political and economic philosophies can still come together and work for to make the country better, rather than demonizing each other and doing the trump stuff.

4) The part where you started talking about the benefits of the Green New Deal was great--then you said you don't support the Green New Deal. WTF? You need to get straight on that ASAP.

5) You keep taking personal credit for shit that happened under the Obama administration. "I fixed the economy... I created jobs... I reduced crime..." That's a bad look. You were part of that administration and deserve to share in the credit, but you should say "we," not "I." The only person who could get away with saying "I" in that context already served two terms and sure as hell wouldn't need debate coaching tips from people on Facebook.

Okay, rough first outing Joe, but two more opportunities remain. Get back to work, and kick Cheetochet's orange ass next time you take the podium.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sept. 29 debate scoresheet

 1. Biden needs to keep his cool. 45 will try every cheap shot he can think of to provoke him--attacks on his kids, suggestions of senility, insinuations of fake scandals, whatever. This doesn't hurt Biden unless he loses his temper and calls DT a horse-face dog rider or whatever like from the primary season.

Point for Trump if:

  •  Biden is so visibly agitated that he can’t debate effectively

  •  Biden Biden uses any term from either a PBS schoolyard (“liar,” “bully,” etc.) or the old-time Delaware country club set (e.g. “pony soldier”)

  • Bonus: Biden raises his voice or resorts to fisticuffs


Point Biden if:

  • He makes it through the debate without calling Trump any names at all

  • Bonus: he calls Trump a name but it’s actually funny and properly delivered

2. Biden needs the better argument on jobs for Midwesterners without college degrees. This is the one policy area where 45 makes hay: he blames Democrats for losing domestic factory jobs with free trade agreements, and promises to keep those jobs in the USA and even bring manufacturing back. That is the #1 thing poorly-educated whites in places like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and western PA want to hear, and that's important because those are the states most likely to decide the election. So Biden needs to get three key points across here: (i) factory workers didn't do any better under DT than under Obama, (ii) if DT sticks around, they will do worse because DT will nuke their health care and Social Security, and (iii) Dems will protect health care and Social Security, and get serious about climate which will ultimately create more domestic jobs in manufacturing and other industries.

             Point Cheetochet if:

  • He claims to have created some ungodly number of Midwestern manufacturing jobs, and this is not persuasively refuted by Biden or Wallace,
  •  He speaks cogently about Biden’s support for the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement
  • He reminds voters that Biden voted in favor of NAFTA
  • Bonus: he finds something he agrees with Bernie Sanders on and uses it against Biden

Point Biden if:

    • He effectively and succinctly articulates the connections between Social Security, health care, and Trump’s policies (payroll tax, SCOTUS nominations) in terms anybody who dropped out of Arthur Hill High School at age 17 can understand
    • He credibly explains how he has come to view NAFTA as a mistake and how his approach to trade has changed since then
    •  He persuasively connects jobs to climate and articulates a realistic vision for future economic growth that Midwesterners can relate to;
    • Bonus: he clearly explains how minimum wage increases exert upward pressure on all wages
    • Bonus: he articulates the importance of organized labor and highlights the good works of modern, inclusive unions

3. Biden needs to show (not tell) how the lack of effective national leadership has resulted in the U.S. having over 20% of the world’s Covid-19 deaths despite only 5% of its population, lingering economic malaise, and decreasing confidence in either our public health institutions or the governmental support necessary to enable social distancing and safety measures.  Then he needs to spell out his plan for how he will address Covid-19 from day one, bringing the virus under control and enabling the U.S. economy to catch up with that of other industrialized countries that have better battled Covid-19 even before a vaccine is available.  Trump needs to survive this segment and try to minimize the damage.

             Point Trump if:

  • He effectively paints Biden’s position as ambiguous or unrealistic

  • He dodges the question and Wallace fails to direct him back

  • No mention of face masks, bleach, pool chemicals, ultraviolet lights, the virus magically disappearing, or other greatest hits

  • Bonus: there are technical difficulties during this phase of the debate

Point Biden if:

  •  He expresses a simple, common-sense approach to Covid-19 that squares with public health recommendations and reflects successes from other countries;

  • He delivers his recommendations with restrained confidence that people on news networks call “presidential” or “statesmanlike”

  • Bonus: he offers practical suggestions that state and local governments can begin implementing right now, demonstrating his leadership qualities and effectively sidelining the orangeutang

 3. Trump is currently trying to jam an Atwoodian nightmare of a Supreme Court nominee through the process to replace RBG, and will likely succeed too—even though in 2016 the Republicans blocked Obama’s replacement for Scalia on the grounds that voters should supposedly choose.  So this will be the question for Trump—i.e., why isn’t this hypocrisy.  Barrett’s confirmation will put ACA, abortion rights, and all manner of civil rights and due process at risk.  If it happens, the pressure will be on the Dems to increase the number of SCOTUS justices to even up the tables, should they take the White House and Senate.  This is a tricky subject for Biden, who has publicly opposed “court packing” in the past.  Biden will need to answer in a way that supports Dem senators fighting the Barrett confirmation while not looking like a hypocrite himself. 

             Point Trump if:

  • He says there was never any rule that you can’t appoint a new SCOTUS justice right before the election and whatever GOP senators might have said in 2016 doesn’t matter because they were wrong;

  • He suggests, perhaps in a manner less brash than he is accustomed, that he’s just better at playing the political game than his opponents and the fact that he’s been able to pack the court with ultra-right-wingers is just proof of his superior skill and resolve;

Point Biden if:

  • He is able to pithily summarize the long history of right-wing court packing and illustrate how the present court is out-of-step with mainstream U.S. values, and would become even more so with RBG replaced by Barrett;

  • He explains how choosing federal judges should be de-politicized, with competence and fidelity to basic legal principles taking priority over partisan affiliations, and ideologues should be avoided—not sought out;

  • He acknowledges his prior remarks on court packing but refuses to commit to keeping the court at nine;

  • Bonus: he says good things about RBG, demonstrating familiarity with her career and accomplishments, in the process

4. Trump blusters on about “law and order” but what he really means is suppressing righteous protests and allowing police and armed militia people to terrorize and sometimes even murder people on the left.  So far, Trump’s strategy has been to try and amplify the magnitude of the protests and characterize them as violent and a threat to white people far and wide.  But he really needs to distance himself from the white supremacists if he’s to have any chance of expanding his coalition—and it will be up to Biden not to let him.  Biden has been walking a line between supporting the right to protest but not supporting the defunding of police or other specific policy goals the movement has asserted.  He’ll need to flesh that position out in ways voters will appreciate.  This has the makings of the most interesting exchange of the night.

Point Trump if:

  • He rejects white supremacists and asserts that protesters with AR-15s and confederate flags are responsible for the majority of the violence and should be dealt with harshly;

  • He acknowledges mistakes made by his administration, as well as local police forces, and makes vague promises to “take complaints seriously” and “keep these things from happening again;”

  • His attacks on Biden’s supposed support for violent anarchists and their crazy demands hit home.


Point Biden if:

  • He articulates a reasonable and coherent middle ground between police abolition and law enforcement impunity;

  • He shows understanding for the demands and frustrations in communities of color while emphasizing the need for practical and community-based solutions;

  •  He delivers a killer soundbyte to the effect that U.S. Presidents don’t call Nazis and white supremacists “fine people” that is re-broadcast far and wide;


Sunday, September 20, 2020

25 or Bust


Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away and the Republicans are going to try and replace her seat on the U.S. Supreme Court before Trump leaves office.  They will probably succeed. 

If we weren't six weeks from a presidential election, there would be no question.  Even though the Republicans refused to allow a confirmation vote on Merrick Garland in 2016 on the claim that "voters should decide" who to replace Scalia when he died nine months before the election, expecting the GOP not to do something that benefits them ever is a fool's wager.  The Republicans control the White House and the Senate, the filibuster is long dead, and if the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation didn't convince you today's Republicans have have no integrity then certainly the farcical post-impeachment trial of their favorite demagogue should have.  Among various other things, of course. 

One strategy that some have mentioned to try and deter Republicans from ramming through a new justice is for the Democrats to raise the specter of court-expansion.  The Dems already control the House of Representatives, and might win back both the White House and Senate this November. If they do, then they would have the power to change the number of SCOTUS seats to whatever they want. Make it 13, some have suggested--enough for a President Biden to add four more onto the remaining "liberal bloc" and tilt the court away from the stone-agers.  Of course, most of the people suggesting this don't necessarily want to see an actual court-expansion scheme come to fruition. They'd prefer to see Ginsburg's dying wish fulfilled--that her replacement not be nominated until after inauguration day, with the number of justices remaining unchanged. 

I have no idea what drives this sort of orthodox cautiousness except perhaps fidelity to the bizarre  sacredness of nine.  The reality is that nine justices is a bad number and Congress should expand the court as a matter of good government no matter what happens with Ginsburg's seat.  Of course, neither side would trust the other to fill any newly-created vacancies--so the only chance of it happening is with a Dem trifecta.  Which could happen.  

And if that trifecta materializes, then the Dems should expand the court.  And not just to 13 justices. 

For starters, just saving RBG's seat isn't really enough. The liberals only had four seats with her, and hanging onto her spot still leaves them one vote short almost every time.  Granted, now and then the liberals can pick off a fifth vote from the conservative wing, usually Roberts.  So losing RBG's seat does do some real, practical damage.  But if expanding the court is on the table, then the Dems need to go for that, not just angle for the continued ability to lose most cases 4-5 instead of 3-6. 

And then it's just a question of how many.  

The number 13 comes from pure political expediency.  It's the minimum number needed to outvote the far-right wing of Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and mystery six.  But already this seems a questionable calculation.  What if the Republicans take back the White House in 2024?  Even assuming the 7-member liberal majority is still there heading into 2025, who's to say all seven will still be around by 2028?   Losing just one seat could swing the court back to the right just as quickly.

Whether with nine justices or thirteen, a single death or retirement remains a massive-leverage event.  So if the Dems want to pack the court for purely political reasons, they ought to give themselves some margin for error.  That means going up to at least 15 justices, not just settling for the minimum.  But 15 justices isn't really enough either, and that's because there are more compelling reasons than politics for expanding the court. 

 * * * * *

Let's examine, for a moment, one case from the last Supreme Court term.  The case is Dept. of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California--commonly known as the "DACA case," as it concerned whether the Trump administration lawfully terminated the Obama-era program known as "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," or "DACA."

It's no secret what Trump or his MAGA horde think of immigrants.  Trump himself has made countless disparaging remarks about actual or would-be immigrants, people of color, countries from which immigrants come from, and so on.  He's tried to build a literal wall across the southern U.S. border to stop immigration and stole money misappropriated funds from other federal activities to pay for it.  His administration has caged children, separated young kids from their families--and then lost the children, employed various tactics reminiscent of South American secret police squads to seize and deport noncitizens, neglected medical treatment in ICE detention centers, and was recently found to have given involuntary hysterectomies to many immigrant women.  

The administration has also tried to implement a series of punitive and destructive agency rules in pursuit of a total policy of cruelty toward immigrants.  When they have done that, various people and organizations opposed those policies have sued.  In one particular challenging to one of those anti-immigrant policies--termination of DACA, through which law-abiding people who entered the U.S. as children and have grown up here are allowed to stay in the country, work, and pay taxes--the plaintiffs alleged that the rule was motivated by anti-immigrant animus.  

Of course it was motivated by anti-immigrant animus.  Could anything be more obvious?   Well, not to Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion:

"To plead animus, a plaintiff must raise a plausible inference that an 'invidious discriminatory purpose was a motivating factor. in the relevant decision.  Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., 429 U. S. 252, 266 (1977). Possible evidence includes ... pre- and post-election statements by President Trump... [R]respondents contend that President Trump made critical statements about Latinos that evince discriminatory intent. But, even as interpreted by respondents, these statements—remote in time and made in unrelated contexts— do not qualify as “contemporary statements” probative of the decision at issue. . . Thus ...  the statements fail to raise a plausible inference that the rescission was motivated by animus."

The opinion Roberts was writing actually concluded that the administration did not follow the correct legal procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act to end DACA, and thus didn't even need to decide whether Trumps various discriminatory remarks about immigrants raised a "plausible inference" that (ending DACA) was motivated by discriminatory animus.  Yet he did, and since Roberts decided to go out of his way to explain that Trump's remarks did not amount to evidence of bias (because they happened a couple years earlier and when Trump was talking about some other aspect of immigration besides ending DACA specifically), now anti-civil rights lawyers all across the country have powerful ammunition to argue that all kinds of statements expressing xenophobic animus cannot be used to prove that subsequent actions the speaker takes to harm immigrants could plausibly have been motivated by xenophobia.  

Such "reasoning" makes a mockery of law.  For the public to have faith in the legal system, the laws should generally be intuitive and conform to people's basic expectations.  So when a politician makes anti-immigrant statements while running for office and then takes anti-immigrant actions once elected, those anti-immigrant statements should "raise a plausible inference" that the anti-immigrant actions were motivated by anti-immigrant bias.  To hold otherwise makes the law inaccessible and arbitrary--this erodes public confidence in the judicial system, and rightly so.  Perhaps a discriminatory motive alone doesn't invalidate a law, but a court should at least deal honestly with the facts before it.  To an ideologue, however, evidence and obvious facts should not stand in the way of establishing a desirable precedent.  

A conservative majority has controlled the U.S. Supreme Court since the 1970s and issued plenty of rulings bolstering the power of corporations and eroding the rights of workers, consumers, and everyday people.  From time-to-time, the conservative majority issued its own counterintutive, embarrassingly result-driven political rulings--none more infamous than the wretched Bush v. Gore decision that stopped the Florida recount in 2000 and delivered GWB to the White House.  But that conservative majority morphed into a right-wing majority with the replacement of Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh.  This new cabal seeks even more fervently to install its oppressive value system in U.S. law, and the damage they inflict upon the legitimacy of the judicial system will be all the more extensive.

 * * * * *

The rule of law and the integrity of the legal profession demand a high court that puts objectivity and intellectual honesty ahead of politics--not robed ideologues.  Ideally, nomination to the Supreme Court would turn on judicial skill, fidelity to laws and principles, empathy and collegiality, and high moral character.  Realistically, no president will nominate a candidate whose world-view and personal politics do not align generally with that president's own.  But the first priority must be a competent justice who will uphold the integrity of the legal profession; only once that box is checked does the ability of that justice to nudge the law in a generally favorable direction enter the picture.  

This was once the approach both major parties took to nominating justices.  Over time, the (actually) liberal majority of the 1960s gave way in the '70s to the conservative Burger and Rehnquist courts of the '80s and '90s.  Holding the White House for 120 of the 24 years between 1968 and 1992 enabled the Republicans to shift the ideological proclivity of the court.  But not every Republican nominee proved a faithful servant to the right.  Perhaps most famously, Justice David Souter served 19 years after his nomination by George H.W. Bush--as a reliable member of the "liberal" wing.  John Paul Stevens, another so-called "liberal" justice, served 35 years on the court after being nominated by Republican president Gerald Ford.  Still other Republican nominees, such as Harry Blackmon (nominated by Nixon), Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy (nominated by Reagan) were conservative-leaning moderate justices.  Only when Clarence Thomas was confirmed over Anita Hill's compelling allegations of sexual harassment did a justice of truly questionable character reach the court. 

Many hoped Justice Roberts, nominated by George W. Bush in 2005, would be another principled conservative who would at least uphold the rule of law and the integrity of the judicial system--even though his political views seemed a close match for those of the president who nominated him and the increasingly extreme partisans that had taken over the GOP by then.  There was no questioning Roberts' qualifications--he'd served as a deputy solicitor general, argued dozens of cases in the Supreme Court as an appellate lawyer, and put in a couple years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in preparation for a seat on the SCOTUS.  

Image from K-12 Tube
Perhaps that hasn't turned out great.  But the nomination that truly ushered in the GOP circus-era of Supreme Court picks had to be George W's nomination of his personal lawyer, Harriet Miers, to the court as a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor.  Miers--who had never been a judge in any court and had limited experience even as a litigator--was egregiously underqualified and later turned out to have participated in a scheme to do politically-motivated firings of certain U.S. attorneys.  After fierce opposition, Bush had to withdraw Miers' nomination--and then tapped Antonin Scalia clone Samuel Alito to carry on the finger-wagging Italian-American right-winger tradition far into the 21st century.  The Senate confirmed Alito 58-42.  

Speaking of Scalia, it was his sudden death in 2016 that gave Barack Obama a chance to tip the court's ideological balance back to the liberals--if only Mitch McConnell and the Senate hadn't flexed their majority privilege to deny Obama's nominee a vote.  That was Merrick Garland, a former federal prosecutor who at the time was 63 years old and had been an appellate judge on the D.C. Circuit for 20 years.  

Garland was a bit of meeting McConnell and the Senate Republicans halfway: confirm Garland, a political moderate and by objective measures one of the technically best judges anywhere on the planet, or risk an ideological left-wing nominee if the Dems win the presidential election.  McConnell tried his luck, which for a time looked like a losing bet once Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination and squared off against heavily-favored Hillary Clinton.  But shit happens, you know?  You know.  

For Obama, however, nominating Merrick Garland wasn't just a political gambit.  It was honestly a way of trying to elevate principles of good government over partisanship in the nomination of federal appellate judges:
I also know that because of Justice Scalia’s outsized role on the Court and in American law, and the fact that Americans are closely divided on a number of issues before the Court, it is tempting to make this confirmation process simply an extension of our divided politics -- the squabbling that’s going on in the news every day.  But to go down that path would be wrong.  It would be a betrayal of our best traditions, and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents.  At a time when our politics are so polarized, at a time when norms and customs of political rhetoric and courtesy and comity are so often treated like they’re disposable -- this is precisely the time when we should play it straight, and treat the process of appointing a Supreme Court justice with the seriousness and care it deserves.

       --Barack Obama, Mar. 16, 2016 (on his nomination of Merrick Garland)

Many on the left were disillusioned with Obama for his nomination of Garland all the same.  Extremists like Alito and Roberts could not be countered with centrists and law enforcement sympathizers.  And if the Republicans were going to fight the nomination no matter whose name came up, might as well pick a name worth fighting for.  But Obama didn't see it that way.  Someone needed to stand for the integrity of the court and the legal system, and strive to place it back above partisanship once again.  Much as his choice may have been engineered by circumstance, he made the right one nonetheless.  Obama was, in many ways, a president ahead of his time.

In the end there never really was much of a fight; McConnell simply said no, like he always does, and that was simply that.  This was really too bad--for in refusing to act on Garland, McConnell was also rejecting the opportunity to govern responsibly and in good faith.  As is his wont.

 * * * * * 
Image from Politico

Ahead of his time.  Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland may not have delivered a justice to the Supreme Court bench in 2016, but his message then is the correct one now: the Supreme Court is too important, the U.S. legal system is too important, to be dominated by wholly partisan forces.  When robed ideologues lose sight of their first duty--maintaining public faith in the integrity of the judiciary--and simply fix their reasoning around desired results, the legal system descends into farce and the rule of law gives way to chaos and arbitrariness.  Obama had it right in 2016: right-wing ideologues cannot be balanced by left-wing ideologues--but rather by objective and intellectually honest justices.

So that's why 13 justices or 15 justices or even 18 justices is not enough. Perhaps the Democratic Party feels it may need a seven-member liberal lineup to counter a six-member right wing group.  But that is not what the United States needs.  The United States needs a whole bunch of objective, intellectually honest professional jurists who put the integrity of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary ahead of and above ideological political concerns.  Enough so that none need to think about who the president happens to be or which party he or she is from before hanging up the robe on a distinguished legal career at age 70 or 75 or 80.  Enough so that a sudden stroke or heart attack need not bring Facebook and Twitter to the brink of civil war.  Enough so that lawyers saddled with six figures of student debt can feel like they at least belong to an actual profession, and not some random order of pagan water oracles.  And surely enough to drown out the occasional, diminishing screeches of anti-democratic partisans who assure us that public denunciations of immigrants are not evidence of anti-immigrant bias.

If the Democrats gain the trifecta, expand the court they must.  25 justices or bust.  

RIP Justice Ginsburg.  Thank you for your immeasurable contributions to our law, our government, and our nation.

Image from

Saturday, September 12, 2020

September Election Analysis

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I know, I know.  Polls aren't votes, wake you when it's over, you can't trust the numbers anyway because how do you account for GOP cheating.  I get it.  But aren't you at least the slightest bit curious how things are going? 

Because it's actually not looking that bad.

Here's the 2016 electoral college map.  Remember 45 lost the popular vote by almost 3 million so this is probably about as good as he can do:

This map is from the website, so named because, duh, it takes 270 electoral votes to win the election.  As you can see across the top, HRC came up 38 EVs short.  So for Biden to win this, he just needs to hold the blue states and flip enough red ones to gain those 38.

As I discussed in a previous post way back when, the most likely states for a Dem to flip are those Trump won by small margins in 2016: Michigan (0.2%), Pennsylvania (0.7%), Wisconsin (0.8%),  Florida (1.3%), Arizona (3.5%) and North Carolina (3.8%).  Together, these six states account for 101 electoral votes--more than enough to decide the contest.  So, how is the Biden/Harris ticket looking in those six right about now?

According to state polling averages, it's a clean sweep:

        Arizona: Biden/Harris lead 49%-43%
        Florida: Biden/Harris lead 48%-46%
        Michigan: Biden/Harris lead 50%-42%
        Pennsylvania: Biden/Harris lead 49%-44%
        North Carolina: Biden/Harris lead 47%-46%
        Wisconsin: Biden/Harris lead 49%-44%

Now, problematically each of those state races shows a significant slice of "other" voters--i.e., people who are either undecided or who intend to vote for various third-party candidates (which this year includes your usual Green Party idiot looking to suck votes away from the Democrat for...reasons, your quadrennial Libertarian Party fuck-up who wants to fight for your right to be crushed by unregulated corporations, and Kanye West--who is apparently still wearing his MAGA hat as he works to trick Black voters into making their votes not count).  This is troubling because one of the major reasons 45 is believed to have prevailed in 2016 was because "[u]ndecided voters ultimately broke heavily for Trump."  

Of course, one might presume that an undecided voter in 2016 likely viewed DT as the "change" candidate and HRC as the status quo--that scenario is largely reversed this time around.  Perhaps the entire body of undecideds is different in 2020--possibly long-time conservatives thinking about defecting, rather than political fence-sitters waiting to the last minute.  And some percentage (experts peg the range between about 8% and 20%) of the "other" voters will ultimately either vote for a third-party candidate or not vote at all.  Even so, if we assume the dynamics around undecideds are largely the same in 2020, that all of them will vote for a major party candidate, and that the unattributed slice will break 75% for Franco Naranja, where does that put Biden/Harris?

Arizona (8% undecided): Biden/Harris would lead 51%-49%, 
Florida (6% undecided): Biden/Harris would trail 49.5%-50.5%
Michigan (8% undecided): Biden/Harris would lead 52%-48%
Pennsylvania (7% undecided): Biden/Harris would lead 50.75%-49.25%
North Carolina (7% undecided): Biden/Harris would trail 48.75%-51.25%
Wisconsin (7% undecided): Biden/Harris would lead 50.75%-49.25%

So even in that same scenario, with every late-deciding voter voting and those votes still going 3:1 for Cheetochet, Biden/Harris still pick up Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin: a gain of 57 electoral votes.  I am no mathematician but am quite certain that 57 > 38.  

Another significant reason that polls failed to predict Orange Mussolini's electoral college victory in 2016 was because polls had systematically failed to properly weigh education levels.  That is, most polls have traditionally weighed their results to reflect demographic characteristics such as race, gender, and age.  But since 45's most fervent support comes from poorly-educated whites (naturally), polls cannot accurately reflect the cretin's standing without controlling for education level.  The failure to weigh education levels properly is estimated to have skewed polls by a massive four percentage points in 2016.  Prominent pollsters have therefore begun to control for education levels in 2020 polls, which presumably makes them more reliable in this election cycle.   

There is no way that polls can meaningfully predict or account for the effects of sabotaging mail, suppressing voters with law enforcement tactics, pandemic effects, or other shenanigans 45 might pull on election day.  But even just in terms of votes, the worst-case scenario analyzed above shows a rather clean and reliable path to victory for Biden/Harris.  This is further reinforced by the national popular vote polls, which currently show B/H up 51%-42% among registered voters and 51%-44% among likely voters.  The election is decided in the electoral college, of course--but since 1912, no POTUS candidates have ever won with less than 46% of the popular vote except Clinton in 1992 (43%) and Nixon in 1968 (43.4%)--and both of those races featured a significant third-party candidate (George Wallace took 13.5% of the popular vote in 1968, and Ross Perot won 18.9% of the popular vote in 1992).  It was Suharcheeto himself who won with 46% of the popular vote in 2016; a decline of just 2% or more in his overall support would easily cost him the ultra-close battlegrounds of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin--plus Florida (which he won by 1.5% of the vote).  A 4% decline costs him all six of the battleground states identified above and puts Biden/Harris into landslide territory.

And really, a landslide is what we pretty much ought to have.  I don't want to undermine anybody's steely resolve, but if we could imagine just for a moment that state polls are accurate and that undecideds break ever-so-slightly for Biden/Harris, then here's the map we'd wind up with on Nov. 4 (or whenever the votes are counted):

Certainly we would all take that in a NY minute.  But what's the matter, 369 EVs not landslidey enough for you?  Yeah, me neither.  But if Biden/Harris can grab an even higher share of the uncommitted votes, they could realistically also grab Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, or even South Carolina.  

That's what I'm taking about.  F*k you, Trump. Now go get it now.

Letter to University of Michigan President Santa Ono on Pro-Palestine Protests of March 24, 2024

 Dear President Santa Ono: Although I was generally in agreement with the content of your letter regarding the disruption at the honors conv...