I am about to turn in and let the vote counting continue without me. It will be a troubled sleep, since the election was mostly a disaster. (Universal preschool won in Oregon, and if everywhere were like here I would be happier.)
Meanwhile two questions:
1. What went wrong with the polls? They didn’t do too badly in 2016; the popular vote was close to the consensus prediction, and the electoral college was a squeeker within the margin of error. This time though the polls were apparently way off. Yes, the votes are not all in, but it doesn’t look like we’ll see the massive popular victory for Biden they foretold. In fact, as I fade away tonight, it’s still possible that Trump could pull out a legitimate electoral college victory, something that seemed almost impossible a day or two ago. Take Wisconsin (my home state) for instance. We saw numbers ranging from 5-13% for Democrats, and now it’s nip and tuck. Meanwhile, analysts were giving the Dems a better than even chance of taking the senate, but that looks out of reach now. So what gives? Supposedly the weights were adjusted to better reflect the role of education, and the “shy Trumpster” effect was taken into consideration. But here we are.
2. And how do we understand the politics? We’re dealing with a president whose failures were about as massive as could be, especially in the context of a pandemic. He made a fool of himself in the first debate. He is mired in corruption. And the Republican senate has repeatedly blocked measures to support workers, small business and local governments devastated by the economic effects of the virus. If this isn’t enough to expunge them from office, what is?
I hope the news is better when I wake up.