What happened to the election?

On March 17 I noted that I’d made a $100 bet with a friend that Donald Trump would lose his bid for a second term come November.  My reasons were these:

Now that Trump has bungled the handling of the epidemic, makes daily statements about it so palpably stupid that even a “deplorable” can see through them, and gives himself a ten out of ten in handling the crisis, I think his chances of victory are even slimmer. And that’s on top of the economy, which is heading south so fast it will reach Antarctica before the summer.

Since then Trump has screwed up even more, repeatedly making dumb and even harmful assertions (“I might take chloroquine”), backtracking (pews filled by Easter!), praising himself, denigrating others (including governors) and generally looking like the narcissistic moron he is. It’s on view daily.  And yet. . . his approval rating is as high as it’s ever been since right after he was elected: here’s the latest from FiveThirtyEight (click on screenshot to see more):


He’s declared himself a “war president”, clearly to bolster his popularity, despite the fact that he claimed that the virus was no big deal and the country would get over it quickly. (Then, of course, he backtracked, but now is sending mixed messages, still dangling the possibility of pew-filled churches on Easter). Easter is a week from today.

So, have you heard anything from Biden lately? I thought not. And it’s not really Joe’s fault, as anything beside coronavirus gets pushed from the news. On last night’s NBC News, for instance, the entire show was devoted to the pandemic, except for the obligatory “feel good” segment at the end (which is usually connected with the pandemic as well). That’s not the fault of the news: the virus is pretty much what we want to hear about.

But we’ve forgotten that there’s an election in November, and it’s our only chance to heave the moron President out on his tuchas.  People are going to forget about Biden, and that, combined with Trump being a President (however dreadful) in a crisis, would seem to bolster the chance of an Orange Man reelection. I’m worried: can we, or our republic, really stand another four years of this man? (Remember that Biden is not a man who excites me, but he’s surely better than Trump.)

Well, have your say in the comments, and here’s another poll:

I’m nervous.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    See also:

    Bill Maher – “Worst Responder” – Real Time, Friday April 4th 2020 (its on YouTube)

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Ok ok – here : https://youtu.be/Z0saoqIprD0

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        That was great!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Sloppy writing:

      Well, Friday was the 3rd. The video “appeared” yesterday, so – can I get away with “both”?

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I really hope he isn’t re-elected but I voted that as of right now he would be. Ugh the world can’t take much more of him. He bungled this crisis so badly hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to die that most likely would not have. He has stolen masks from France and Germany off runways (Canada bought a warehouse in China, placed guards around it & sent an Air Canada plane to retrieve the masks in order to prevent Americans from stealing them – our historically closest ally – the one we’ve died with in wars, the one we helped when they were down). So, with friends like this…..it’s going to be a real chore for a president to fix the mess this one has made. Oh and he also told 3M not to send any masks to Canada. Canada actually is the only place in the world that produces the pulp to go in the masks. We typically work together on things like this. So his bungling has not only cost the lives of Americans, but people around the world – the US’s allies.

    • norm walsh
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Well said Diana, we don’t need a bully at a time like this.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    This one should get a few of your pundits out of bed. My vote was no as it has been for the past three plus years. The election primaries have been put on hold and the attention span of the media and public are short.

    Maybe the democrats are afraid to make noise and point out the last 70 days of toddler performance by the white house. Who knows. If Bernie would just call it a day, they might move on. They still need to figure out how to hold an election and the republicans will be fighting it all the way. Trump already made lots of stupid talk about mail in voting and said you need to show up. Just like he goes to church every week, why not just mail it in.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      How he has mailed in everything that bores him.

    • yazikus
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Washingtonian (the PNW one) here – we do all our voting by mail and it is fantastic. The voter pamphlet arrives weeks early, giving you enough time to peruse at your leisure. Then, when ready to vote, I get my coffee ready, sit at the table and somberly fill out my ballot. Postage on the envelope is paid, so I only have to drop it in the mail or in one of the plentiful ballot boxes. All states should do this. Our secretary of state, a republican, handles it with the seriousness it deserves.

      • sugould
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        However, the Republicans— always working to cripple the post office— have now ordered more local sites closed. (Because they aren’t… “profitable.”

        Good luck with mail in with no post offices.

        • yazikus
          Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          This is why state and local elections are so important. Elections have consequences, as they say.

      • sugould
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        However, the Republicans— always working to cripple the post office— have now ordered more local sites closed. (Because they aren’t… “profitable.”

        Good luck with mail in with no post offices.

        • nay
          Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          I’m in Hawaii. Our mailman picks up outgoing mail from my residence mailbox. (PS-Before any wokies complain, he is a male man. Hahahahaha!)

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “anything beside coronavirus gets pushed from the news”

    Ah yes – another thing a certain individual gets out of the Deal.

  5. JezGrove
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve voted “no opinion”. With the Dems’ National Convention pushed back to August, and some saying even that might be too early, and so much volatility and uncertainty I really have no clue about what is going to happen except that things are clearly going to get worse in the US (and UK, too) in the next week or two. How people respond if the worst case scenarios come to pass is yet to be seen.

  6. Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Put no, although I am by no means sure.

    Trump is getting a popularity boost but it is about 5% according to FiveThirtyEight. Leaders always get a popularity boost in moments of crisis. GW Bush’s went up to 90% in the aftermath of 9/11. George HW Bush’s rating went up almost as much during the Gulf War.

    Trump has managed 5% and I think that will dissipate fairly quickly. At any rate, his performance has provided plenty of material for anti Trump adverts.

    Against that, Trump is positioning himself to claim anything less than total catastrophe as a victory. He’s now saying 100,000 deaths would be a good result and his supporters seem to have forgotten about when he said there were 15 and it’ll soon go down to zero.

  7. JohnE
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    My concern is that Trump’s supporters are passionate — actually maniacal — about Trump. I really doubt that many people are passionate about Biden (although I will certainly vote for him, or Bernie).

    Sadly, I’ve heard it said that Republicans vote like their lives depend on it, while Democrats vote if its not raining and they don’t have anything else to do that day. I don’t think that is far off the mark.

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, that will determine the election, again. There is zero voter enthusiasm for Biden.

    • Historian
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      It’s hard to imagine anyone passionate about Biden. But this doesn’t really matter. The election will be overwhelming a referendum on Trump.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. People may simply think of Biden as the other box to check. That’s still fine. The belief that tRump is a menace to human civilization is very strong among those who hold that belief.

  8. Historian
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    As a generalization, people tend to vote for president based on cultural issues, not economic ones. Conservatives have recognized this; liberals largely not. They vote for people whom they feel comfortable with; people whom seem to support their values. Realizing this, Trump has played the white masses like a fiddle. There is a major exception to this rule. Economic issues become predominant in times when a large percent of the population is suffering financially. Such was the case with FDR in 1932 and Obama in 2008. This is why Trump is so concerned now with the economy being in free fall. He is much less concerned with public reaction to his handling of the medical aspects of the pandemic. He knows that the vast majority of his supporters pay little attention to the reality of how he screwed up handling the crisis, costing thousands of lives. They believe him when he says he is handing the crisis perfectly, hence his bump in the polls. But, if there is widespread unemployment lasting to the election (which is highly probable) then he could be in deep trouble. This is why he talks continually about getting the economy re-opened. So, the election may very well hinge on whether people inclined to vote for him (but outside his cult) will blame him for the economic disaster. I don’t know what the result will be, but if forced to choose, I would lay my money on the pandemic being a net negative for him.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Yes, it becomes hard to stay in the cult when you are unemployed. And the big unknown at this point is how many will go back to work. He thinks simple and believes everything just bounces back but that is unlikely. Lots of people will have no jobs for a long, long time. Example, Boeing is offering early outs to thousands of employees because they know the future. Much of the retail world will not be back and the supply chains are all screwed up. Trump will force many to go back too soon and that will also cause damage.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        They may not blame him though. They will just think they were all victims of circumstance and believe the whole world is going through the same thing.

        • yazikus
          Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          I think sunk cost fallacy will also come into play, big time.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      “This is why Trump is so concerned now with the economy being in free fall.”

      Trump may think about his popularity – his tv ratings – but not about the people’s suffering. Another, perhaps more probable, explanation is that the falling economy affects his own wealth. It seems that he can’t pay some of his debts.

      He hides is assets but we know that he considers that “conflict of interest” is something that does not apply to him. Would he allow people to die if it would be a way to save his fortune? Your guess is good as mine.

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I think he talks about getting the economy re-opened because (1) if it is getting back on track by fall he can take credit, and (2) if it is not getting back on track, he can say, “I’m the one who’s been trying to re-open things. Dems have been calling for the government to force a total shutdown for months or even years.” I don’t think he’s a good president, but he’s very good at PR and media manipulation so I hope the Dems don’t underestimate him (as is their wont).

  9. Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I switched to “yes” this time, but already tended in that direction for a while. Since last time, Biden vanished entirely and he had little presence before. I think he’s only the (likely) nominee, because all others tactically removed themselves and told the delegates to concentrate on Biden, which they did. I think it’s now more likely the Dems lose and it will be fine to them, as long as corporate America wins — and it will.

  10. Robert Van Orden
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    My boss, who is know dumb bell, but has been a Trump supporter the whole time, is convinced Trump is doing a good job.

    It’s very odd to me. Like confirmation bias on steroids. He just can’t see or admit that he’s been wrong about this guy all along.

    It seams so obvious to me that Trump is a second rate con-man and entirely unfit for high office. But try to get one of his supporters to see it!

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      “It’s very odd to me. Like confirmation bias on steroids.”

      I’m reminded of those balloons in comic strips that contrast “What was said” with “What was heard.” E.g., what Trump said was “I’d love to see this over by Easter.” What was heard by the media is “I’m setting Easter as a deadline for when this will be over.” The former is wishful thinking, shared, I would guess, by your boss and most Americans; the latter is a wildly irresponsible prediction unworthy of a president or anyone with half a brain. Take your pick.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Wishful thinking unsupported by even a scintilla of evidence isn’t as bad as a wildly irresponsible prediction.

        But, when it comes from the soi-disant leader of the free world, it’s in the same ballpark.

        • Posted April 5, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          Fair enough, Ken, though my initial reaction to your post was: “Soi-disant is people!” 😊

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, Gary. I’ve been using it for a while now; it’s about time I finally learned what it means. 🙂

      • Randy Bessinger
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        What he actually said (IMO) was a directed remark and pandering to his fundamentalist Christian base. To me, it was despicable. I think he just a promoter and certainly inept at uniting the country.

        • Posted April 5, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Right on – exactly what I thought when I heard his words: Easter “is a very special day for me,” and that it would be “great to have all of the churches full.”

          “So, I think Easter Sunday, and you will have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time and it’s just about the timeline that I think is right”.

          Why evangelicals fall for his bullshit is only explicable by one issue – abortion.

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      RVO – a second-rate person [at best] but definitely a first rate con man.

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Someone posted this on FB. It’s pretty funny. https://youtu.be/3pbTmXsfiYk

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Well, it is full frontal.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Now THAT’s some funny shite; I don’t care who you are.

  12. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I voted no, but I’m not tremendously sanguine about our situation. Fear and economic disruption often results in strengthening authoritarian tendencies in government. Also, the coronavirus crisis gives Republicans many new ways to suppress election turnout.
    On the positive side, I hope that it will be like the election of FDR during the Great Depression. This would be a great opportunity for reform of the tax code and military spending, giving more support for regular citizens in education and healthcare. Unfortunately, Biden is no FDR. Basically I think this will go one of these two ways, which will determine our near term future. Hoping for the best.

  13. yazikus
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t even know. Last election, I was sure he wouldn’t win, right up until mid-October when the Malheur Occupation trial was wrapping up. (I know I probably mention this a lot, but it was sort of a watershed moment for me and my optimism about the electorate). Their crimes had been documented contemporaneously on social media. The state’s case seemed open and shut. They wheeled literal barrels of evidence into the courtroom. There was a shofar. And then they were acquitted. Despite the fact that their 41 day armed occupation of a federal facility was clearly a crime. The jury decided otherwise. That was when I realized Trump would win.

  14. mikeb
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The United States is toast.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      And we are out of butter.

      • W.T. Effingham
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Butter e-mails!! (Pronounced:Bud-duh eee-Maayuhlzzz!!!)

        • yazikus
          Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          I think the correct response to this is: ‘lolsob’.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        [ Monty Python style ]
        [ trying Terry Jones ]

        “Out of BUTTER?!”

  15. Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Don’t look at the polls — look at the dynamic. Trump dominates everything.

    It’s same as it has been since mid 2016. He can’t lose from this position, regardless of how many times the media hopefully reports that “Trump’s popularity has plummeted” (each it drops by 0.3%), or that “the walls are closing in” or “the cracks are starting to appear”.

    It’s done, it’s finished. I understand people in the US don’t want to hear from a random outsider like me that your country is sunk, but it is.

    To be honest, I’m stunned that this isn’t clear to everyone. It’s certainly clear to Republicans, otherwise Trump wouldn’t be out there each day giving hour long press conferences and spouting poisonous garbage. It works for them.

    The good news is that Trump is too ignorant and has too short an attention span to turn the country into a police state as swiftly as Putin has, or to figure out any complex strategy for war and pillage; and the Republican machine will prevent any disaster big enough to cost them power. But that’s the bad news too.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Ah but dictatorships rarely happen all at once. But by bit and that’s what Trump counts on.

      • Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        He is incapable of doing it. Those who are riding along side him and waiting their chance might be entirely different. People will be remembering the good old days under harmless clueless Trump.

  16. Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Though I too want to see Trump gone, I disagree with many on strategy. I think the prevailing strategy – keep yelling that Trump is a moron, only do it louder and more abrasively – is not working. It makes Dems appear more interested in weaponizing the pandemic against Trump than they are in solving the problem. (That his approvals are rising despite poor crisis management might support this.) Although it may be counterintuitive to partisans, I think saying “I don’t like the job he’s doing as president but let’s work together regardless of party to solve the problem” might be an emphasis that gets more traction – not among the most highly active political circles, but among lots of regular people who don’t spend all day on politics. If you disagree, don’t worry – I’ve already caught lots of hell from my liberal friends for saying something like this on social media 😊 (Btw, today I checked the only pundits you can trust — Las Vegas oddsmakers — and the odds, as of now, favor Trump to win.)

  17. W.T. Effingham
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I’m fairly confident tRump will lose the popular vote by a margin considerably larger than last time…(meh…yeah) but the Electoral College numbers…(possibly a somewhat smaller difference this time{?}….SAD!

  18. Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    By fall the coronavirus will not be the main topic—the depression will. And Trump’s camarilla of economic incompetents will have no idea what to do except more tax cuts. Rightly or wrongly he will be held responsible for a bad economy and Biden will be elected if he presents himself as an economy savior.

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Hi Darwinwins. I agree about the fall topic, but fear Trump will have the upper hand. By favoring re-opening (or talking as if he did), he has already forced Biden to denounce him for saying that. So Trump has set the fall narrative (when, as you say, the economic crisis will have displaced the virus crisis): “I was calling for re-opening when Biden and the Dems were calling for long-term closure of everything.”

  19. Dave137
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The better question is whether the Electoral College will elect President Barf again. It seems likely, thus making it (at least) an eight-year-long Twilight Zone episode.

    And then we have Con Jr and Ivanka set to run, so the dynasty of swamp-thing imbeciles could continue.

  20. sugould
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    However, the Republicans— always working to cripple the post office— have now ordered more local sites closed. (Because they aren’t… “profitable.”

    Good luck with mail in with no post offices.

  21. spudbunny09
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Everything we know about presidential elections indicates Trump will lose in November, perhaps badly. The most important factor affecting an incumbent’s share of the two-party vote is the state of the economy six months prior to the election. All signs say the economy will be terrible. Before you celebrate, consider the following. Trump might have lost anyway without the pandemic. But he will in fact lose because the economy was shut down to battle the pandemic. Some may believe that the policy option of shutting down the economy was chosen to battle the pandemic *and* to defeat Trump. (I am not saying I agree with this). The question is not: will Trump lose? He will. The question is: how legitimate will Biden’s victory be among those who don’t welcome Trump’s defeat?

    • spudbunny09
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I am not sure anything can be done to prevent or combat a conspiracy theory like the one above. However, it would be important to document beyond all doubt how the decision to shut down the economy was made and who agreed to it, beginning with Trump himself. Such documentation would offer a chance of refuting the 2020 Truthers to come.

  22. Greg Geisler
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    In an extraordinary snub on Saturday, Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature collectively shrugged its shoulders at an 11th-hour call from Gov. Tony Evers to halt in-person voting, gaveling in and out of a special session in seconds without taking action.

    IN SPITE OF documented Russian election meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, and years of warnings from security researchers about insecure voting infrastructure, the US has moved slowly to improve its election defenses. Now a new HBO documentary, Kill Chain, is attempting to lay out the urgency of taking action before it’s too late.

  23. Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’ve read that people tend to react to change in circumstance rather than to the circumstance itself and IF things are improving by the time November comes around, Trump might get rewarded for it, even if the improvement was caused by recovering from his errors.

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I agree. There’s no way Republicans would let him do these gong show press conferences if it wasn’t working for them.

      A lot will change will by November. With half the population on Trump’s side, the Dems would need to be highly effective politically to win, which, obviously, they’re not.

  24. Rick Bannister
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I voted no opinion but really I think it is too close to call. I fear that the covid-19 crisis will mean low turnout and that could be critical. My other possible irrational fear is that Trump may find some way to suspend or otherwise interfere with the election on the basis of needing emergency powers.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      I guess it depends who doesn’t turn out! The old and vulnerable (who prob favor Trump as a group) vs the younger and less vulnerable who likely don’t, overall.

  25. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The Daily Show made a compilation entitled “Heroes of the Pandumbic” – if I find a YouTube version I’ll try to put it here.

    • uommibatto
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that compilation is terrific: watch it!

      L Smith

  26. Jon Gallant
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    In 2016, tRump’s electoral college victory depended on a narrow majority in 3 states, while his nationwide popular vote was 3 million behind the widely disliked Hillary. Is Biden disliked as much as Hillary? If not, hie popular vote majority could be even larger. In 2016, the economy was improving, in 2020 it will be disastrous, also pointing toward a Repub loss. Last, as others noted, tRUMP’s “emergency rally round” bump has been remarkably puny compared to previous cases. All point to a 4-year term for him, IF>/b>
    November elections are held as scheduled.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      To not hold the elections on schedule would require an act of congress. Hard to see Pelosi supporting a house vote to keep trump in office.

      • Harrison
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        If there’s no election Trump doesn’t just stay in office. His term expires in January whether there’s a replacement or not. There are plenty of people in the line of succession who will still be in office in January to step into the role of President if need be.

  27. Simon Hayward
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I still think what we are seeing now is a “rally round the flag” effect. The favorability numbers will likely revert to the mean over the next few weeks (trump in the range -10 to -14). He has been consistently there pretty much from the get go. In November what will matter is where we are, not where we were in early April. As previously noted here and in other places trumps bounce from this crisis has been much smaller than that of most other national leaders. He is still underwater even with the bounce. He has a relatively high floor and a low ceiling. So I’m not convinced that it’s a done deal but I don’t see him wining.

    Of note, the dems are about 7.5% up in the generic ballot and the movement on senatorial races has generally been towards the dems, or away from the republicans (hard to differentiate those).

    I agree with sentiments expressed above, that the democrats need to run on a positive vision, not on a “bash the moron” platform. That approach worked well for them in the mid terms. Talking a lot about healthcare and financial safety nets after this could be a winner.

  28. Harrison
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Dems like Clyburn who helped swing the primary to Biden are already floating the idea of “looking forward” after Trump is gone and basically repeating the Bush-Obama cycle of letting the previous maladministration completely off the hook.

    Dems suck as an opposition party. Genuinely fighting for something they believe in is against their nature. Republicans believe in awful things, but they will fight for them, so they tend to win.

  29. uommibatto
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Biden was on ABC News this morning, interviewed by George Stephanopolous. I hate to say it, but I thought he came across as old, given to small misstatements, platitudes, etc. On the other hand, he did say that in public he would wear a mask, that we should “follow the science,” and that he thought the fired Navy captain should be commended for doing the right thing.

    Biden also said he called Sanders to basically apologize for forming a VP search committee. Biden didn’t want Sanders to think that he was being too presumptuous in making it look like the race for the Democratic nominee was already over.

    Can you even begin to imagine Trump ever doing something like this? Maybe there are some (many?) of Trump’s supporters who see an act like this as one of weakness, but I thought it showed Biden’s humanity, a trait Trump lacks severely, if in fact he has any humanity at all.

    Larry Smith

  30. dd
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I get Biden’s Instagram feed and it’s a nebbish. But, folks, What can he do?

    What do you folks of Cuomo instead of Biden?

    • Harrison
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Cuomo’s filling the same role as Guiliani post-9/11. He’s out there making a big show of Doing Stuff during a crisis while behind the scenes pushing policies that have made or are in the process of making said crisis worse.

      As to the speculation of a contested Democratic convention allowing the nomination to go to him, that would be absolutely disastrous for Dems. Imagine saying to every Democratic voter “I know you thought your vote mattered, I know we outright told many of you to go out and vote during a deadly pandemic which directly led to thousands of additional cases, but our party bosses have decided to go with someone who wasn’t even on the ballot.” It would be the end of the Democratic Party for sure.

  31. Posted April 5, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    A few months from now, virtually everyone in the US will know at least one person close to them who died from COVID-19. At the same time, the fact that Trump has slow-walked everything having to do with the response will have had time to be reported in detail. The Fox News responses will have had time to be debunked and reach his supporters. While some will ignore the facts and wallow in their fake news and conspiracy theories, not all will. This will tank Trump’s support.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I agree, and I think it’s better for Biden to hang back now, because our attention is focused on the virus. After the Democratic convention when Biden is nominated, will be time to crank up the ads. And think of all the material the Republicans are supplying that will make great ads!

      • Posted April 5, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Biden hanging back makes sense. Better that the country comes to its own conclusions about Trump’s performance. If Biden were to be too vocal at this point, Trump would pull out the “un-American” label. Governors, mayors, and healthcare leaders can do all the dirty work as they are simply protecting their constituents. Biden can’t do that. His time will come soon enough.

  32. Posted April 5, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    When I said Biden was the worst possible candidate the Dems could have run, none of you believed me.

    Well, now you’re starting to see it.

  33. Posted April 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    In Germany, Mrs Merkel PhD, had last year approval low as 23 % after 15 years as chancellor. Reminds me of times, we had a dynasty. She had herself contradicted a fifth legislature. After Corona-Covid19, it looks like she might overthrow her decision and attach a further term. 82% of voters seem to prefer no change, leaving her at power if there would be eligibility. Even with a member of her own party predetermined to replace her. Risk avoidance is the answer to reinforced uncertainties.

  34. Vaal
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Many have hoped the Pandemic would help bring people together and bridge the partisan divide to some degree, but thus far I’m not seeing it. If anything it’s worse.

    To Trump Haters, this pandemic has only ramped up their alarm at how he’s handled it, making their worst fears a reality. “We told you he was a potential danger. Now he’s an ACTUAL danger, people are dying because of his inherently ill-suited traits for the job.
    We need this guy OUT, FAST!”

    Where the Trump supporters are rallying and giving Trump a bump.

    I’m a Canadian but share the surreal horror of Trump being president with my sane American friends. Of course Trumps actions have consequences for Canada (and the world).

    It’s been hard enough since Trump has been elected not to be furious with those who elected him. If Trump is elected again it will be almost impossible to think without having to reason through a cloud of rage: You gambled on electing him. You SAW the results. And it made you happy enough to elect him AGAIN???!!!”

    It would just further the divide – Trump supporters seeming to ever more “unlike” us, like some different species we have to figure out, ever more beyond hope of fruitful communication. It just seems like a huge disaster coming to add on to the current disaster.

    I know intellectually of course that Trump supporters often consist of good people, intelligent people, that we have to keep open to the other view. I try. But a second election would make what was already hard to do in keeping lines of communication open far harder.

  35. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    So, have you heard anything from Biden lately? I thought not.

    Biden is in a no-win situation. If he speaks out and criticizes Trump, he’ll be accused of politicizing the coronavirus pandemic. If he remains silent, he’ll be accused of evanescing in a time that cries out for leadership.

  36. rickflick
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    There’s still a very long time before the election, so I don’t think the taking the political pulse now is going to tell you too much. In terms of the trend, however, I think Biden will be elected.

  37. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Dubya got a 35-point bump after the 9/11 attacks, and was still riding high through the fall of Baghdad (with the repeated video replays of Saddam’s statue being dragged off its pedestal). That bump began melting away as Sadam and the Iraqi army melted into the Iraqi countryside, there to wage perpetual war against the infidel invaders — to the point where Dubya won the 2004 election over John Kerry by a mere 2.4% of the popular vote and 35 electoral votes.

    Similarly, Dubya’s daddy was coasting along with an approval rating north of 80% after the US military handed the Iraqi army and its vaunted Republican Guard a three-day ass-whipping in Operation Desert Storm. Yet Poppy lost reelection to a little known governor from Hope, Arkansas, just a year and half later, as the US economy tanked.

    The meager bump Trump received as a result of the rally-round-the-Flag effect of the COVID crisis will disappear as the immediacy of the pandemic dissipates and a more dispassionate review of why the US was hit so hard ensues.

    The fact of the matter is that over half of the US electorate will not vote for Donald Trump no matter what, virtually ensuring that Republicans will lose the popular vote for the eighth time in the nine presidential elections held since 1992, and making the chances of Trump’s once again sucking out an electoral college victory by fewer than 78,000 votes spread over three rust-belt states remote.

    • Posted April 5, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Strikingly similar Ken, to what you (very kindly) said to me about the 2016 election.

      Fact is that the there are only two people capable of standing up to Trump and defeating him, and one couldn’t be bothered running (Oprah), and the other is tragically already dead (Frank Zappa). (!!!)

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Please, it is insensitive to refer to Zappa (or anyone else) as “dead”. The preferred term is “vitally challenged”.

        On the other hand, I guess this rule is not applied to “dead white men”, although it is unclear whether pop musicians are ever filed under that heading.

        • Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          It was poetic license, used purely for rhetorical purposes. But I realise I should have used more sensitive terminology so as to avoid offending those whose elan vital is currently fluid, metaphorically speaking.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Look here, brother, they’re just jivin’ with that cosmik debris.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Frequently wrong, but never in doubt is my motto, Yakaru. 🙂

        • Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          I vividly remember sitting on a bus in mid 2016, listening to Dylan’s ‘Only a Pawn in their game’ and realising ‘Holy heck, he’s going to win, isn’t he…” Later I wrote a comment on this site, which you kindly answered, along the lines of ‘he won’t win– the American people just aren’t that stupid’. I believed you, and it saved me 6 months of horrified stress. But I still kinda knew…

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            Those of us who bet against Trump in the last election learned the hard truth of H.L. Mencken’s maxim: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

            • Posted April 6, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

              Yes, well the American people do rather seem to have outdone themselves with this!

  38. Posted April 5, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “the virus is pretty much what we want to hear about.” Not me. I admit I’m actually trying to get some non-virus time somewhere. I’m not sure it’s good for our mental health to hear about it 24/7. It doesn’t feel like it is for mine anyway.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Idaho had a 6.5 magnitude earthquake early last week. I hadn’t heard a thing about it until someone who’s from there sent me a message.

      So, yeah, COVID-19 is crowding everything else out of the news.

  39. John Dmytrenko
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I certainly hope Trump loses, but I would not bet on it. In 2016 I thought he had no chance. Then on a Wednesday morning I woke up to see our new president. It was no dream.
    A very big problem with Trump’s narcissism is that it makes him tremendously confident. An average person would understand they are in way over their head. But Trump is not average. He is the best ever. He can say the most idiotic, demonstrably false thing, be called out on it and then say the reporter is a hideous person. You don’t need an example of one of his utterances either. You can just scroll for 20 seconds through his Twitter feed.
    I am also concerned that a lot of Sanders supporters may not support Biden or may even vote Trump. Joe Rogan recently said in a podcast with Eric Weinstein that he would vote for Trump over Biden. Rogan said that with Biden you would have to rely entirely on his cabinet due to Biden being incapable of leading. Who needs a cabinet when you have Jared Kushner. Earlier in the year Rogan endorsed Sanders. How does someone go from Sanders to Trump? It isn’t through any kind of sober reasoning I can think of.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      An acquaintance of mine, a woman who must be a model of the “low information voter”, went from Sanders to Trump in 2016. She came to that decision because she had learned that Hillary was plotting to poison America’s farmland by “fracking it”. She also explains that she receives direct guidance from Jesus.

  40. Posted April 6, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Prof. C. I live in the hot zone, Manhattan.
    I’ve read you for a few years now but I’ve got to say a really relaxing and interesting part of my day (I usually read you at 2am – I used to say when it is quiet, but it is ALWAYS QUIET IN MHTN NOW! 🙂 ) is your site. I look forward to it.
    Thank you.
    I’m not a big duck fan but it is actually quite calming also.

  41. Donald Hadden
    Posted April 6, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    While perplexing why 45.8% approve of Trump’s poor handling of this, it’s a very poor showing for a president in this situation. While not strictly an American disease, the rally-around-the-leader in a crisis is strong everywhere in the world (I could say something nasty about Americans, but will refrain in this time of crisis).
    Contrast Trump’s rather miserable rating to Bush after 9/11. Bush’s approval rating, which had been around 50%, soared to 90%. He was a dumb-ass as well, although that standard has been redefined by Trump.
    see; https://news.gallup.com/poll/116500/presidential-approval-ratings-george-bush.aspx

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