A Fox panel: The Five
A Fox panel: The Five

Net­work pun­dits, polit­i­cal con­sul­tants, and French army gen­er­als share a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion: They are often wound up in fight­ing the last war.

“Thee has been a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with 2016,” for­mer Oba­ma cam­paign man­ag­er David Plouffe said Mon­day morn­ing on MSNBC.

All over the air­waves, the weekend’s tele­vi­sion cov­er­age of Elec­tion 2020 seemed obsessed with find­ing “paths” where­by Don­ald Trump can repeat his 2016 upset Elec­toral Col­lege win. Tossup states blinked red on the big board.

Media exec­u­tives know high­er rat­ings are more like­ly if mil­lions of us are hang­ing on the edge of our seats, unable to move, so they have every rea­son to try to por­tray this elec­tion as extreme­ly com­pet­i­tive and down to the wire.

Brett Baier of Fox said the race is “tight­en­ing fast,” even as an NBC/Wall Street Jour­nal poll found Joe Biden with a 52–42 per­cent lead nation­al­ly, ahead by 51–46% in bat­tle­ground states, with a new Mon­mouth Poll putting Biden up 51–44% in piv­otal Pennsylvania.

Democ­rats are “wor­ried,” we were told. With­out Penn­syl­va­nia, “Biden becomes an under­dog,” said Nate Sil­ver of FiveThirtyEight.

Trump is sup­pos­ed­ly mak­ing Lati­no vote inroads in Florida.

Miami/Dade Coun­ty isn’t turn­ing out for the Democrats.

And, cour­tesy of Wash­ing­ton bred Trump strate­gist Jason Miller, the incum­bent is going to “flip” Neva­da and hold onto Arizona.

Vet­er­an Neva­da polit­i­cal writer John Ral­ston bat­ted down Miller’s pre­dic­tion with a tweet on Mon­day morn­ing, writ­ing: “It’s almost impos­si­ble for Trump to win the rurals by as much as Biden will win Clark County.”

A vast amount of chat­ter pre­cedes any election.

Trashy polls get equal treat­ment with the most pro­fes­sion­al of surveys.

When you look at their crosstabs, the Repub­li­can firm Trafal­gar Group pre­dicts that Trump will get a quar­ter of the vote from African Amer­i­can men.

In your dreams.

The real­i­ty out there is that we’re see­ing an unprece­dent­ed lev­el of par­tic­i­pa­tion. Nine­ty-five mil­lion votes have already been sub­mit­ted, approach­ing two thirds of the total 2016 turnout. Look at the nine mil­lion-plus votes already cast in Texas, plus or minus the 127,000 that Repub­li­cans have tried to get thrown out.

Many are from folks who’ve recent­ly moved to the Lone Star State, a and a sur­pris­ing num­ber come from young voters.

Georgia’s 2018 Demo­c­ra­t­ic guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Stacey Abrams deserves a medal (and Cab­i­net post?) for declin­ing a pres­i­den­tial run, and instead fight­ing vot­er sup­pres­sion in the Peachtree State. She has put Geor­gia in play, and lured Biden, Kamala Har­ris and Barack Oba­ma to cam­paign there. Impa­tience with vot­er sup­pres­sion has been met with the patience of those wait­ing hours to vote.

Park­land, Flori­da, mas­sacre sur­vivors with March For Our Lives have mount­ed a nation­wide cam­paign (large­ly unno­ticed in the media chat­ter) to get eigh­teen to thir­ty-four year olds to vote, poten­tial­ly Biden’s strongest elec­toral base.

All of this is to say, the elec­tion may be a ref­er­en­dum on Trump, but Biden is strong­ly favored to be our forty-sixth pres­i­dent. The chances of a “blue wave,” or even a blue tsuna­mi, are greater than Trump find­ing his path.

Trump is act­ing more like a cult chief­tain than a pathfinder.

He has picked a last minute fight with the nation’s pre­mier pan­dem­ic expert, Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci. “Fire Fau­ci!” changed Trump’s crowd Sun­day night in pan­dem­ic-strick­en Wis­con­sin. The incum­bent implied he would do just that.

The per­fect Biden rejoin­der: “I got a bet­ter idea. Elect me and I’m going to hire Dr. Fau­ci. And we’re going to fire Don­ald Trump.”

Trump was out on the trail defend­ing his campaign’s bullyboys.

He praised the car­a­van of trucks and cars, sport­ing Trump-Pence flags, which sur­round­ed a Biden-Har­ris bus Sun­day in Texas, forc­ing it to slow to twen­ty miles per hour and then try­ing to force it off the road.

He was in North Car­oli­na on Mon­day, denounc­ing a Fox announc­er for (alleged­ly) low­balling the size of his crowd, and describ­ing Fox’s poll­ster as a fake and fraud for the network’s lat­est fig­ures: Biden 52 per­cent and Trump 44 percent.

To hear Trump decry the clos­est thing the Repub­li­can Par­ty has to a par­ty-owned tele­vi­sion chan­nel is like wit­ness­ing L’Osservatore Romano denounc­ing the Pope.

Hence, there’s much rea­son for hope, to calm the nerves, tune out the chat­ter, and fun­nel your activism not to fret­ting but to boost­ing Washington’s already spec­tac­u­lar turnout. Will King Coun­ty get to nine­ty per­cent? Hope so.

It’ll be grand fun to tell British Colum­bia friends that our pan­dem­ic-strick­en elec­tion pro­duced a far high­er vot­er turnout than theirs.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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One reply on “A message to pundits, pollsters and campaign consultants on election eve: 2020 is not 2016!”

  1. I wish there was a way to restrict media cov­er­age of polls. Can’t do any­thing about print press and blogs, but for TV and radio, the FCC could impose a reg­u­la­tion that, for every minute that they devote to cov­er­age of a poll, they must devote a minute to cov­er­ing the posi­tion of one of the can­di­dates on an issue.

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