The last debate tonight: inevitable pandemic death and taxes
The second actual debate could be three too many as we expect more of the same stunts despite a mute switch for the two-minute responses to questions. The GOP has telegraphed some of the debate’s tactical options including foreign interference, even as they whined after foreign policy wasn’t included as a topic. And then there’s this bit of self-sabotage:
With 130,000 to 210,000 avoidable deaths, Trump when asked about what else could have been done differently, says “not much”.
U.S. Election Campaign Endgame Nears
Tonight in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. voters and the world will have their second and last chance to see U.S. President Donald Trump and his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, go head-to-head on the debate stage.
In the three weeks since their last meeting, Trump has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, a debate was cancelled, and Biden’s polling lead has grown in key states. The Real Clear Politics average of polling data from the last ten days puts Biden 4.8 points ahead in Pennsylvania, 4.6 points ahead in Wisconsin, and 2.1 points ahead in Florida. Nationally, Biden averages a 7.6 point lead.
Of course, Trump has been here before: widely deemed to have lost all three debates to Clinton in 2016, he faded in the pre-election polling only to prevail in an electoral college victory.
People identify themselves and make their political choices in nonstraightforward ways. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned with economic issues. Most voters focus mainly on what’s right in front of them: Did the local factory move abroad? What’s the minimum wage? Has my employer laid people off? Having once been the party of working people in the United States, Democrats are just beginning to relearn a language that addresses those immediate economic concerns and to be critical of deregulation, anti-unionism, and the concentration of economic power. Joe Biden, unexpectedly, is running for president on a less market-oriented economic platform than any Democratic nominee has done in decades, and the party is moving in the right direction. But it is not clear whether, even if Biden wins, that will be enough to power the passage of a New Deal–like economic program.
Inequality has been rising for half a lifetime, and it will take more than just defeating Trump to turn the tide against it. But a happy result in November would make for a promising start, especially if it entails successfully presenting the Democrats as the party that is more authentically concerned with the lives of working people.
Time is running out.
The process of nominating electors varies by state and by party, but is generally done one of two ways. Ahead of the election, political parties either choose electors at their national conventions, or they are voted for by the party’s central committee.
The electoral college nearly always operates with a winner-takes-all system, in which the candidate with the highest number of votes in a state claims all of that state’s electoral votes. For example, in 2016, Trump beat Clinton in Florida by a margin of just 2.2%, but that meant he claimed all 29 of Florida’s crucial electoral votes.
Such small margins in a handful of key swing states meant that, regardless of Clinton’s national vote lead, Trump was able to clinch victory in several swing states and therefore win more electoral college votes.
Biden could face the same hurdle in November, meaning he will need to focus his attention on a handful of battleground states to win the presidency.
Under the winner-takes-all system, the margin of victory in a state becomes irrelevant. In 2016, Clinton’s substantial margins in states such as California and New York failed to earn her enough electoral votes, while close races in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Michigan took Trump over the 270 majority.