1 Day – We All Hate Uncertainty

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is election day. Early voting is over so if you haven’t voted, tomorrow is your last chance. And if you haven’t mailed in an absentee ballot, it’s way too late–drop it off at a polling place tomorrow instead.

There’s not much left to say about Trump. We all know he’s a sleazy, lying, degenerate grifter who cares only about himself. His response to Covid has been a catastrophic failure and his current downplaying and trivializing of the exploding spread is a heartless, unforgivable affront to the quarter-million dead. He was impeached for bribing a foreign power to smear his current presidential opponent. More of his corrupt circle of cronies have been indicted and/or gone to jail than any president since Nixon. His presidency has been a non-stop firehose of scandal, trashing sacred norms and wrecking cherished institutions. So many scandals, in fact, that the human mind cannot keep track of them all. He wants to be a dictator, and he wants to avoid prison for the financial and tax fraud that has come to light since his election. As Tom Friedman of the NY Times said, “The bad news is that if we have to endure four more years of Donald Trump, with him unrestrained by the need to be re-elected, our country will not be the America we grew up with, whose values, norms and institutions we had come to take for granted.”

We’re all exhausted and anxious. We want this political nightmare to end. But we have to be prepared for all of the possibilities. Biden might win in convincing fashion, and we might have a strong sense of the outcome tomorrow night. Or, we could end election day with Trump in the lead and millions of votes yet to be counted. It might take weeks to certify an outcome while an army of Trump lawyers tries to invalidate millions of votes. Nobody knows, and that’s the hard part. We all hate uncertainty.

The best election analysis I heard this weekend came from Nate Silver, director of renowned polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight. He said that, assuming Biden wins Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin (he has big consistent leads in all three), Trump needs to win Florida, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona AND North Carolina to win.  If Trump loses any one of those six, OR if Biden flips a state like Ohio or Iowa, Trump can’t get to 270. Biden is currently polling ahead in five of the six (Texas is a tossup). In other words, it’s possible for Trump to win but he will need to “run the table” and overcome long odds. The polls will need to be significantly more wrong than they were in 2016, which seems unlikely. One thing we know for sure is that we are seeing record turnout in many states. Texas and Hawaii have already surpassed their 2016 turnout and Montana, Washington State, and North Carolina are already less than 5% away from their 2016 totals. And according to the US Elections Project, overall vote totals are expected to hit 65%, or 150-million votes, the highest level since 1908. Higher turnout generally favors Democrats–which is why Republicans are constantly trying to suppress votes and disenfranchise voters. So this seems like good news but we can’t take a single vote for granted.

There are still plenty of opportunities to pitch in and help local candidates, as well as Joe Biden.

There’s an online Get Out The Vote event this afternoon at 2pm with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to help support Karen Smythe for State Senator. Sign up here:

https://www.mobilize.us/smythefornysenate/event/361761/

Rep Delgado also has events today:

https://www.mobilize.us/delgadoforcongress/

You can also help make calls and texts with a variety of national groups like Indivisible:

https://2020.indivisible.org/phonebank/

Or with VoteSaveAmerica:

https://votesaveamerica.com/volunteer/

If we all pitch in and work together there’s a good chance we can remove Trump from power and get our nation back on a path toward progress. Many of us have been fighting this battle for three and a half years–or longer. We’ve put parts of our lives on hold because we care about this nation and recognize that Trump is a cancer on our body politic. This election is what we’ve been working toward, what all our effort has been aimed at influencing. It’s not over yet but we’re almost there.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

4 Days – When Will It End?

It’s hard to believe this is the final weekend before the election. The last 3.5 years seem like ten, and the last month seems like an eternity. Trump’s scandalous, destructive, dishonest presidency has been an exhausting toxic marathon and anxiety among resisters and activists has reached an all-time high–compounded by a raging pandemic that’s killed a quarter-million Americans and is getting worse thanks to Trump’s catastrophic dereliction of duty. When will it end? Michelle Goldberg wrote an excellent piece in the NY Times on this topic last night:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/opinion/trump-arts-culture.html

The best way to transform our anger and anxiety is to take constructive action. As we enter the weekend, here’s a summary of the most important acts we can take.

If you have a mail-in ballot, DON’T MAIL IT – deliver it instead to one of the five early voting polling places in Dutchess County, where you don’t have to wait in line to submit it. The post office can no longer reliably deliver it on time.

If you haven’t voted, please go and do it. You can vote early today from 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday. Here again are the exact details for Dutchess County.

Next, please call your family and friends and make sure all of them have voted, especially if any of them live in swing states. Biden’s national poll numbers are good, but in several key swing states it looks like a toss up, like in Florida where turnout in Democrat-heavy Miami Beach has been below expectations. If each of us can motivate just one more voter to cast a ballot, it could mean the difference between winning and losing.

Next, volunteer for a local candidate like Rep Antonio Delgado or State Senate challenger Karen Smythe. Delgado is holding a GOTV texting event today at 3pm and you can find details here:

https://delgadoforcongress.com/get-involved/

Next, volunteer for a national organization like Indivisible, MoveOn, SwingLeft, or VoteAmerica. Just Google them and you can easily find volunteer links and resources.

The next four days are going to suck, and probably a few more days after election day as well. I have no illusions about a clear Biden win on Election Night. I hope it happens, but I’m expecting a close and unnerving contest that will take days to resolve. I’m not confident that Biden can win in Florida, and a narrow win for Biden in Pennsylvania might end up being invalidated by the Supreme Court for whatever bullshit reason they pull out of their asses. Biden can still win without those two states, especially if he can get a surprise win in, say, Texas, but the narrower Biden’s margin of victory, the more his win will be jeopardized by Trump’s dirty judicial tricks. Another four years of Trump is simply unimaginable, but at least, overall, the wind seems to be at our back. And there is still important work to do.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Wishing you a productive weekend.

5 Days – Hand Deliver Absentee Ballots

Financial markets dropped sharply for the third day in a row yesterday as traders reacted to the rapidly widening pandemic in the mid-west. Such a large-scale viral spread is already leading to a contraction of economic activity as citizens quarantine and try to avoid becoming the next victim. The outbreak also seems to be leading to a reaction against Trump, whose incompetence and dereliction of duty kept our government from adequately informing and protecting our citizens. This dereliction continues in the way Trump and his regime conduct themselves, holding huge rallies with little or no Covid protections, and urging states and schools to “open up” even as they suffer huge increases in infection rates. Markets are finally confronting the reality that until the pandemic is fought properly on a national level, the economy won’t recover, especially if the GOP-controlled Senate is incapable of passing meaningful Covid relief for the average citizen.

In the states where Covid cases are booming, Trump’s poll numbers are sagging. His best chance to salvage a razor-slim victory seems to be in Pennsylvania, where he’s behind by 5 points, a deficit not much larger than the margin of polling error. So the tailwinds are favorable for Biden but Trump still has a path to victory if one or two long-shot scenarios come through for him, especially because if the election is close the Supreme Court is poised to hand him the election by ruling that mail-in and absentee ballots received and counted after election day should be invalidated–even in states with laws allowing this. Two takeaways:

1. There’s still a lot of work we can do to help in swing states, by volunteering to urge voters to get to the polls and vote.

2. We also need to urge voters with mail-in/absentee ballots to hand-deliver them to their board of elections, official ballot drop boxes, or polling places that accept them, especially early polling places–because the USPS can no longer guarantee timely delivery of the mail. This applies to all voters in the United States, including New York State, where mailed ballots must arrive by 9pm on Election Day to be counted.

We can also help crucial Senate races by giving money or volunteering with their campaigns. One fascinating race is happening in Georgia, where Jon Ossoff is running against incumbent Trumper David Perdue. Ossoff is a young and incredibly capable politician whose ability to communicate clearly and powerfully is unsurpassed. They held a debate last night and Ossoff brutally blasted Perdue. Ossoff said to Perdue’s face, “It’s not just that you’re a crook…”! Wow.

You can watch it on Ossoff’s facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/1336293769761923/videos/393519588696508/

We urgently need Senators who will hold corruption to account, like Ossoff, who is currently in a toss-up race with Perdue in Georgia!

Early voting is open again today in Dutchess County, continuing every day through Sunday. Keep in mind that there is NO early voting on Monday.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

6 Days – Out In The Cold

Trump held another large superspreader rally at an airport in Omaha last night and many of the attendees waited for four chilly hours to see him. After the outdoor rally ended and Trump flew away, thousands who had been shuttled in from a remote lot were left stranded in the freezing Nebraska night air. Forty buses failed to show up to take people back to their cars so many, including the elderly, walked 3.7 miles in the dark 25-degree wind chill, and as many as 60 of them ultimately needed medical attention. Late night social media exploded with ridicule, asking how a president who can’t even organize shuttle service for a rally can organize a response to a pandemic. The obvious answer is, he can’t. It’s hard to imagine a better symbol of the Trump presidency than his supporters left out in the cold.

Around the same time, Trump’s campaign website was hacked and debilitated, and for a while featured a large sign asking for ransom to unfreeze it. Law enforcement was looking into the incident, but again social media rushed in with criticism. How can Trump protect the nation when he can’t even protect his own website? Embarrassing.

The Trump regime released a “fact” sheet yesterday listing Trump’s accomplishments in office and at the top of the highlight list was “ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC” which of course caused a violent backlash of outrage in the media as Covid cases surpassed 500,000 in a seven day period for the very first time. States in the mid-west continued to struggle with hospital capacity and many were sounding the alarm yesterday that front-line healthcare workers were being overwhelmed. The contrast between the reality of a deadly, worsening pandemic and a president who lives in a heartless fantasy-land of pretend success couldn’t be any clearer or more damning. How could anyone vote for this disgrace?

I voted yesterday in Rhinebeck. I joined the waiting line at 3:10pm and walked out of Town Hall at 4:25, so the process took an hour and a quarter, which seems to jibe with other Rhinebeck voters I’ve talked to. Early voting has been a huge success thus far, and the voting numbers seem to point to record turnout. If you received an absentee ballot and haven’t mailed it back yet, the USPS is warning that they can’t guarantee timely delivery so you should consider dropping it off to the Dutchess County Board of Elections or any of the other early polling places. You can skip the line and take your ballot directly to the poll worker in charge of managing the polling place entrance.

While the presidential race is still close in many crucial swing states, one emerging metric is good news for Democrats. The number of young voters casting ballots in early voting apparently implies a much larger participation percentage of young voters than in prior elections, and the youth vote skews solidly Democratic.

One easy way to take action and help get out the vote is to call your family and friends and make sure they’ve voted or have a plan to vote. If each of us can find one person in our social circle who was poised the blow off voting and convince them to cast a ballot we can help boost local candidates who might win or lose by a handful of votes.

Early voting continues in Dutchess County today through Sunday.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

7 Days – The Consequences Have Arrived

One week from today states will begin tallying the votes in the most critical election of our lifetimes. Yesterday, despite public outcry and suffering amid a pandemic, Amy Coney Barrett was affirmed to the Supreme Court. Aside from the fact that she’s one of the least qualified SCOTUS nominees, and aside from the fact that she belongs to a religious cult, and aside from her paper trail of radical extremist views, her nomination exposed Moscow Mitch McConnell and the entire GOP leadership as craven liars completely bereft of dignity or scruples. They conducted themselves in bad faith throughout the Obama presidency and when they lucked into an improbable and slender electoral college win with Trump in 2016, they continued their bad faith, culminating in the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Opposite two weeks before a presidential election. We should never forgive nor forget the shameless and hypocritical packing of the federal courts by McConnell in a treacherous attempt to lock in policies that are unpopular and getting ever more so. This kind of minoritarian rule requires corruption and subterfuge, and that’s what McConnell and Trump have been doing–and will continue to do.

Our only remedy is to vote them out. In order to stop the damage to our nation, institutions, economy and global standing, we have to rid the White House of Trump. And in order to undo much of the damage, we have to flip the Senate. We only have one week left to take action before it’s too late. If Barrett’s confirmation doesn’t motivate you, what will? Both good and bad, elections have consequences.

What can we do? We can help get out the vote in swing states by volunteering with any one of a number of groups, like Indivisible, SwingLeft, MoveOn. See this recent blog post for details:

https://indivisiblethefightison.com/2020/10/21/13-days-every-single-vote-matters/

We can also take action in the sphere of public opinion. It’s obvious that Trump is pushing several lies that he hopes will help him cheat the election, lies that Fox and other outlets will echo to shield his cult from the truth. Here are his top two lies:

1) Mail-in ballots are a giant fraud. Trump needs people to believe this when his lawyers challenge the millions and millions of absentee and mail-in ballots what will be cast this year due to the pandemic. If Republicans in states like Pennsylvania feel they can tell a convincing story to citizens that mail-in ballots were rigged, they can go ahead and cast their electoral votes for Trump no matter how many votes Biden got. This is one way Trump can steal a close election.

Response: In every national election since at least 2010 roughly 25% of ballots cast were absentee and mail-in, and there’s never been any widespread fraud. Our election system can handle a larger volume of mail-in votes, it just takes longer to count.

2) A Red Wave is coming that will elect Trump in a landslide. Once again, Trump needs his people to believe this lie so when Biden beats him he can complain that he was on course to win big and his loss is therefore a sign of massive vote fraud. You can hear him now, “So unfair! They rigged the election!”

Response: We have to point out that Trump has been trailing in the polls for months (while at the same time encouraging Democrats to turn out in big numbers just in case–it’s a tightrope). Even polls conducted by Fox show Trump behind. His lies about a red wave are fantasies based on desperation.

Trump is lying about Covid, too, even as daily case rates hit record highs. Hospitals in many mid-western states are at capacity and some folks are being turned away from ICU beds. Despite Trump’s lies about the virus “rounding the turn” and being “on the way out,” there is no end in sight to the broadening spread, and no effort by Trump and his derelict regime to slow or contain the outbreak. The GOP under Trump has become a death cult.

Early voting continues today and every day through Sunday. If you haven’t already, please make a plan to vote and consider voting early.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”