2020 US Presidential Election

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RichT54

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Trump must surely be the worst president the Unites States has ever had. He has made the US a laughing stock around the world and made America more divided and fractious than ever. His bellicose rhetoric, vicious personal attacks, blatant lying are only matched by his overwhelming incompetence, especially in tackling the vital issues of the day such as Covid19 and the environment; all the while allowing his very rich friends to become ever more wealthy at the expense of the poorest in society.

I try to convince myself that the American people won't re-elect this egotistical buffoon as their president and thus doom themselves and the rest of the world to another four years, allowing him to create even more havoc. But then I realise this is America that I'm talking about.

His core supporters will of course vote for him and a large proportion of Republicans would rather die than vote Democrat, but perhaps some may abstain. Reports of the deliberate running down of the US Postal Service are worrying, along with the lack of US government effort to prevent a repeat of Russian interference in the election. I fear the level of smears, faked news stories and misinformation by the Trump team and their friends on the far right will be greatly intensified and I suspect this election will become the dirtiest and most morally repugnant in American history.

In 2016 Trump lost the public vote but was elected due to the bizarre workings of the US Electoral College, could it happen again? What do you think the outcome of the 2020 election will be?
 
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nlogax

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What do you think the outcome of the 2020 election will be?

In spite of everything there's a good chance that Trump will win a second term. Common sense, critical thought, logic and decency won't really count for much in this election, even less so than the previous one.
 

Cowley

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The main discussion about Donald Trump is here if anyone hasn’t heard of him before: ;)
 

birchesgreen

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Unlike many people i thought Trump had a good chance of winning last time. I feel this election is quite unpredictable, Trump is either going to sneak a win again or be crushed.
 

Domh245

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Trump's win was in no small part down to a poor candidate and poorer campaign from the Democrats. Hopefully they have learnt from this (although perhaps not, looking at Biden!)
 

birchesgreen

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Biden isn't amazing but he is fairly neutral unlike Killery who had too much baggage. There were better potential candidates for sure (though some worse too).
 

brad465

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In 2016 Trump lost the public vote but was elected due to the bizarre workings of the US Electoral College, could it happen again? What do you think the outcome of the 2020 election will be?
My understanding is this system dates back to the days when transport across the vast size of the US was poor, so it was easier to elect representatives to vote a new President in. Whatever the case it is definitely a completely flawed system today and they should look at a system of popular vote only, with either 1st/2nd preference or a runoff vote in the event of no majority 1st time.
 

edwin_m

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The Electoral College also prevents states with large populations dominating states with small populations.
Only to a limited extent. Apparently the number of electoral college votes is equal to that state's total of representatives in the Senate (2 per state) and the House (assigned according to population). So low-population states are over-represented in the electoral college but not by as much as they are in the Senate. But in both cases it means that people living in low population (so generally rural and more likely to be Republican) states have more electoral power than those in urban (and more Democrat) states.

The other problem here is that if 50% plus one in a state vote a particular way, in all but a couple of states all that state's electoral college votes go to the one candidate. This has a similar distorting effect to the UK Parliamentary system, but more so as there are fewer "constituencies".
 

najaB

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In spite of everything there's a good chance that Trump will win a second term
I wouldn't say that there's a "good chance". There is a path to 270 electors but it's not clear. His base will always vote for him, but his base isn't enough to win enough states to take the Electoral College. His rhetoric doesn't endear him to non-aligned voters, and Joe Biden is 'Republican-lite' enough to get the votes of moderate Republicans who don't find that the GOP speaks for them any more.

Trump's win was in no small part down to a poor candidate and poorer campaign from the Democrats. Hopefully they have learnt from this (although perhaps not, looking at Biden!)
Biden is "plain Vanilla" enough that he appeals to Independents and is tolerable to both Democrats and moderate Republicans. While Bernie would have been more progressive, he was way too far left to win any significant support among disillusioned Republicans.
 

Domh245

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Biden is "plain Vanilla" enough that he appeals to Independents and is tolerable to both Democrats and moderate Republicans. While Bernie would have been more progressive, he was way too far left to win any significant support among disillusioned Republicans.

Whilst I agree that Biden is more likely to win than Bernie with his wider appeal, he's still far from baggage free! Plenty of creepiness/over-familiarity going on which would work well in attack ads, unless you were running the only candidate with a worse track record! Then again, the Republicans don't seem to be all that interested in integrity so I expect them to do something with that
 

najaB

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Then again, the Republicans don't seem to be all that interested in integrity so I expect them to do something with that
The problem for them is that they'd be comparing creepiness/over-familiarity with actual accusations of rape and someone on tape saying "You can do whatever you want to them..."
 

Domh245

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The problem for them is that they'd be comparing creepiness/over-familiarity with actual accusations of rape and someone on tape saying "You can do whatever you want to them..."

Agreed - My concern is that they run those ads not to persuade people to vote Trump, but to dissuade from voting Biden. If they can dissuade people (either dissatisfied republicans prepared to hold their nose or just those who aren't aligned either way) from voting for Biden, Trump (with a smaller, but dedicated base) stands a better chance.

I seem to recall that something similar happened in 2016 where Bernie supporters were convinced (not sure if that was by themselves, the Republicans, or Russia!) not to vote for Hillary - possibly immaterial given that most of Bernie's support was in heavily Democrat states anyway, but for moderates in the swing states it isn't necessarily about winning so much as not losing, in a sense.
 

najaB

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Agreed - My concern is that they run those ads not to persuade people to vote Trump, but to dissuade from voting Biden. If they can dissuade people (either dissatisfied republicans prepared to hold their nose or just those who aren't aligned either way) from voting for Biden, Trump (with a smaller, but dedicated base) stands a better chance.
True, but Biden has held his hands up (where we can see them!) and admitted his mistakes, which completely eliminates the shock value of that type of advertising. Unless something new comes out in the next couple of months I can't see that being a useful avenue of attack.
 

Domh245

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True, but Biden has held his hands up (where we can see them!) and admitted his mistakes, which completely eliminates the shock value of that type of advertising. Unless something new comes out in the next couple of months I can't see that being a useful avenue of attack.

Ah, good point. Here's hoping you're right. Hopefully the Democrats are also capable of running a campaign that appeals to more than just "we're not Trump"
 

edwin_m

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Whoever the Democrats had put up, the Republicans would have come up with a personality attack line and pushed it for all they were worth. I shudder to think of what Trump would have made of mis-pronouncing Buttigeig for instance. The opposite way round is less successful because whatever Trump is accused of, it soon comes out that he's done something even worse. That effectively means that nothing sticks to him for long enough to do much damage.

Hopefully this time round the progressives in the Democrats would realise that however much they would have wanted Bernie or some other favourite, doing that would have almost certainly led to four more years of Trump. Before Covid, when that decision was essentially made, the odds were around 50:50.
 
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brad465

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I can't remember the name of this logic, but I recall seeing somewhere that Trump and his team's plan works around the idea that it's better to control the narrative, even if it greatly implicates oneself, than for the narrative to feature the opposition more. In other words for all Trump's antics, because they dominate the news more, people are more exposed to him and not so much to alternative ideas, making voters less inclined to think about the alternative, if that makes sense. Personally I think it just shows how much under-investment in proper education there is that voters can be exploited so easily this way.
 

najaB

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I can't remember the name of this logic, but I recall seeing somewhere that Trump and his team's plan...
Trump doesn't have a plan, it's his team. And the idea is more like if we keep having scandal after scandal people don't have time to process each one before the next one comes along. And at the same time: if you say something ridiculous, people don't watch what you're doing.

So, after Steve Bannon's arrest last week it seemed like things couldn't appear to be going any worse for DJT, then this morning Kellyanne Conway announced she's jumping ship.

She had the legitimate excuse of the strain on her family*, but it'll be impossible to shake the perception that it's time for the rats to seek a new ship.

*Her husband George is one of the founders of the Lincoln Project, and her daughter is a liberal who has said she's going to seek emancipation because her mother's slavish devotion to DJT has "ruined her life". She even (jokingly?) asked Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to adopt her.
 
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hexagon789

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Only to a limited extent. Apparently the number of electoral college votes is equal to that state's total of representatives in the Senate (2 per state) and the House (assigned according to population). So low-population states are over-represented in the electoral college but not by as much as they are in the Senate. But in both cases it means that people living in low population (so generally rural and more likely to be Republican) states have more electoral power than those in urban (and more Democrat) states.

The other problem here is that if 50% plus one in a state vote a particular way, in all but a couple of states all that state's electoral college votes go to the one candidate. This has a similar distorting effect to the UK Parliamentary system, but more so as there are fewer "constituencies".

Except in Nebraska and Maine where the EVCs allocated to their House representation are allocated individually so it is possible to split the votes in those states. Obama for instance won a single Electoral College Vote in Nebraska from their second house district in 2008, the other 4 went to McCain.

You also have the issue of "faithless electors", though to date that has never affected the end result.
 

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I am not posting about politics as far as possible so this is all I am going to say on the subject. As a Brit living in the USA all politics at the moment regardless of the side you are on is absolutely toxic and I can not wait for it to be all over. 2020 has been a bad enough year already.
 

Bevan Price

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I hope I am wrong, but I fear that Trump will win again. Personally, I would feel it repulsive to have such a person as the leader of the country, but a lot of USA voters seem to believe in him and accept (or ignore) the way he behaves.
 

najaB

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I hope I am wrong, but I fear that Trump will win again. Personally, I would feel it repulsive to have such a person as the leader of the country, but a lot of USA voters seem to believe in him and accept (or ignore) the way he behaves.
Of course, anything can happen between now and the end of the election process but as it stands today he would lose the both the election (as he did in 2016) and the Electoral College. His base is his base and will vote for him no matter what happens, but he's not running against Hillary this time round. That means a lot of people who couldn't bring themselves to vote for her will be likely to vote for Biden. As long as Biden avoids scandal he is likely to win - certainly no incumbent has been this far behind in the poles this close to the election and managed to win.
 

hexagon789

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Of course, anything can happen between now and the end of the election process but as it stands today he would lose the both the election (as he did in 2016) and the Electoral College. His base is his base and will vote for him no matter what happens, but he's not running against Hillary this time round. That means a lot of people who couldn't bring themselves to vote for her will be likely to vote for Biden. As long as Biden avoids scandal he is likely to win - certainly no incumbent has been this far behind in the poles this close to the election and managed to win.

One of the points I saw being made was how Biden has had a sustained polling lead (usually 8%) and perhaps more crucially was ahead of Clinton in terms of what he was polling compared to her high point in the polls.

Though with COVID and the lack of what they term the "conference bounce" where after the main parties hold their respective conferences there's traditionally a bounce to one or the other candidate in the polls.

In essence there are still a number of new factors that mean it's not quite certain Trump will lose. It is technically conceiveable that he could even win more Electoral College Votes on an even lower vote share than last time, though that is very unlikely now.
 

DynamicSpirit

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Of course, anything can happen between now and the end of the election process but as it stands today he would lose the both the election (as he did in 2016) and the Electoral College. His base is his base and will vote for him no matter what happens, but he's not running against Hillary this time round. That means a lot of people who couldn't bring themselves to vote for her will be likely to vote for Biden. As long as Biden avoids scandal he is likely to win - certainly no incumbent has been this far behind in the poles this close to the election and managed to win.

That's pretty much my sense. My main concern now (barring some unexpected event that costs Biden lots of support) is the issue of postal ballots. Since I gather polls are showing that Democrats are far more likely to be voting by post than Republicans, there does seem to be some scope for the Republicans to sway the results in a few states if they can get lots of the postal votes excluded from the count - since the votes thereby excluded would very likely be mostly Democrat votes. That's presumably why the Republicans seem to be putting so much effort into damaging the mechanisms for postal voting. And of course it fits in perfectly with the repeated Republican attempts over the last decade or so to suppress voting. I just hope that Biden's lead is sufficiently high that even that tactic won't change the final result.
 

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I was listening to "Today" on Radio 4 a couple of days ago, and one of President Clinton's advisors was being interviewed. He felt it would be a close run thing.

Whoever wins, IMO we need a strong USA to project western values against authoritarianism.
 

Senex

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I was listening to "Today" on Radio 4 a couple of days ago, and one of President Clinton's advisors was being interviewed. He felt it would be a close run thing.

Whoever wins, IMO we need a strong USA to project western values against authoritarianism.
Was that by any chance the programme on which someone was wondering what would happen if the votes in person were shewing at the end of election day a clear majority for Trump but as the numberds of votes by post came in over the next three or four days, mainly from Democrats, tilted that majority to a clear one for Biden?
 

yorksrob

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Was that by any chance the programme on which someone was wondering what would happen if the votes in person were shewing at the end of election day a clear majority for Trump but as the numberds of votes by post came in over the next three or four days, mainly from Democrats, tilted that majority to a clear one for Biden?

Could well have been. Postal votes aren't without their problems (as we know ourselves from the early noughties).

But my key point is that an established veteran in US elections will have a realistic perspective on things.

(I personally hope that he and other similarly experienced operators will be providing plenty of assistance to Mr Biden)
 

najaB

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Was that by any chance the programme on which someone was wondering what would happen if the votes in person were shewing at the end of election day a clear majority for Trump but as the numberds of votes by post came in over the next three or four days, mainly from Democrats, tilted that majority to a clear one for Biden?
That's why his enablers have been pushing the narrative that it's important to know on election night who has won - despite the fact that the Electors don't cast their ballots until mid-December (and it can be pushed even later if Congress wants to).
 

ainsworth74

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She had the legitimate excuse of the strain on her family*, but it'll be impossible to shake the perception that it's time for the rats to seek a new ship.

*Her husband George is one of the founders of the Lincoln Project, and her daughter is a liberal who has said she's going to seek emancipation because her mother's slavish devotion to DJT has "ruined her life". She even (jokingly?) asked Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to adopt her.
I've long thought that family meals must be excruciatingly awkward in that household considering the various political splits and that husband and wife were literally fighting each other in the public sphere...
 

Bevan Price

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I was listening to "Today" on Radio 4 a couple of days ago, and one of President Clinton's advisors was being interviewed. He felt it would be a close run thing.

Whoever wins, IMO we need a strong USA to project western values against authoritarianism.
I am not sure that I agree. USA meddling in events that ought not to concern it has created a lot of problems, especially in the Middle East. And - at the risk of wrongly being accused of being anti-semetic, USA's almost unconditional support for a certain country is a source of potential danger for everybody else. And UK governments of all flavours have been too willing to support / follow US actions .
 
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