This clip reminded me of Mark Steyn’s column a few days after the disappointing 2012 election.
I have no interest in the traditional straw clutching – oh, it was the weak candidate… hard to knock off an incumbent… next time we’ll have a better GOTV operation in Colorado… I’m always struck, if one chances to be with a GOP insider when a new poll rolls off the wire, that their first reaction is to query whether it’s of “likely” voters or merely “registered” voters. As the consultant class knows, registered voters skew more Democrat than likely voters, and polls of “all adults” skew more Democrat still. Hence the preoccupation with turnout models. In other words, if America had compulsory voting as Australia does, the Republicans would lose every time. In Oz, there’s no turnout model, because everyone turns out. The turnout-model obsession is an implicit acknowledgment of an awkward truth – that, outside the voting booth, the default setting of American society is ever more liberal and statist.
I don’t know about ever more liberal but ever more statist was certainly correct. Trump this morning:
Trump, on expanding voting: “They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again." pic.twitter.com/ly4LYQqmo8
— Jacques Calonne (@JacquesCalonne) March 30, 2020
The main request Democrats had in the coronavirus relief package that passed a few days ago was money to help states set up mail-in voting. They asked for $4 billion and ended up getting a tenth of that. I think that’s what Trump’s referring to here. We don’t want to make it too easy for people to vote or else we’ll … “never have a Republican elected in this country again”?
That’s a weird admission for any politician to make about his own party in a democracy, and especially weird coming from him. He’s not necessarily wrong: Polls usually show more registered Democrats than Republicans in the United States. The GOP has won the popular vote once since 1988. But normally Trump bristles at suggestions that he can’t win a popularity contest. When he’s reminded that Clinton won the popular vote in 2016, he either claims that illegal immigrants were responsible for her three-million-vote advantage or insists that he could and would win the popular vote by changing his campaign strategy if we chose the president that way — which, by the way, is A-OK by him, even though he thinks it’s capable of being rigged by illegals.
It can’t be that he’s admitting here that the GOP would be hopeless if more Americans bothered to vote. What he means, surely, is that mail-in voting would be too prone to voter fraud. In that case, give me a back-up plan for voting this fall in case the “second wave” of a coronavirus infection is upon us in early November when polls open. The virtue of mail-in voting this year is to make sure people can cast their ballot without having to risk their health by visiting polling places. Various states postponed their Democratic primaries this month because it’s too dodgy to have people in close contact at their precinct. It’s possible that we’ll face the same situation seven months from now. What do we do then?
And why do we allow absentee voting as a matter of course if mail-in ballots are supposedly so prone to fraud and manipulation? Two-thirds of states don’t even require an excuse to obtain an absentee ballot, like the possibility that you’ll be traveling on Election Day. Why not just send everyone a ballot this year? We’re destined to have a weird election anyway, with candidates forced to limit their rallies and forced by circumstance to affect a more somber tone than they normally would. Embrace the weirdness. Let us mail in those ballots.
If Trump and his advisors do a good job managing the COVID-19 crisis the rest of the way, swing voters will reward him with a second term. Even if they don’t do a good job, Berniebros may be prepared to tank Biden anyway:
If former Vice President Joe Biden secures the Democratic presidential nomination, 15% of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters will vote for President Donald Trump’s reelection, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.
If accurate, that would represent a slightly larger defection than occurred after the bitter battle between Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, when 12% of Sanders voters broke for Trump in the general election.
The good news for Biden is that in spring 2016, an ABC News poll found 20% of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump over Clinton, and far fewer ended up doing so.
Note that last sentence. It’s hard to believe Sanders fans would hold as much of a grudge towards Biden, who’s more cordial with Bernie and enjoys fewer institutional advantages over him than Clinton did, as they did towards Hillary. But they don’t need to actively vote for Trump to damage Biden. All they need to do is tear up that mail ballot.
Here’s Biden’s latest attack ad. Exit question: If we’re not doing mail-in ballots, what’s the plan for voting this fall in case of a resurgent epidemic? Looooooong lines of voters in which everyone’s separated by six feet and only two or three people are allowed into the polling place at a time? Voters will wait for hours.
Donald Trump’s ego will cost lives. pic.twitter.com/JNcGny13KO
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 28, 2020