Daring To Hope…

A week from tomorrow is Election Day–finally! If nothing else, it will mark the merciful end of the interminable and overwhelmingly awful commercials for local candidates. My abiding hope is for an enormous turnout and an overwhelming BLUE result.

There are some anecdotal indications that such a result is possible. Turnout for early voting has been more than robust–over a week ago, the number of early voters had already exceeded the total early vote in 2016, and it’s hard to imagine that turnout reflects enthusiastic support for Trump.

A FaceBook friend recently posted about standing in the long line for early voting in his small, reliably red Indiana town. A car drove past the line, and the driver shouted “How long have you been waiting?” Someone from the line shouted back “Four years!” and the whole line applauded.

Tim Alberta is a writer/reporter for Politico; as we’ve gotten closer to election day, he has been writing about his “hunches,” which he bases on literally thousands of interactions with voters around the country.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to start unpacking my notebookto share the most significant and unavoidable trends I’ve spotted over the past year. Inching out on a limb, I wrote about four gut feelings I had with just four weeks remaining until Election Day: Trump fatigue peaking at the wrong time; the only “silent majority” I’ve encountered on the ground; the dangers posed by mass absentee voting to the Democratic Party; and the historic deficit Trump could suffer among women voters.

With three weeks to go until Election Day, I inched out a bit farther, describing the changing landscape (literally) of yard-sign politics, the early indicators of explosive, unprecedented turnout and the fork in the road Republicans could face as soon as November 3.

In last week’s column, with just two weeks to go, he shared two more “strongly held” hunches: that the suburban realignment that has been widely reported is not–as most reporting has suggested–just a female phenomenon; and that we are “overthinking” this campaign. 

With respect to suburbia, Alberta writes

Twice in the past week, I’ve been given reliable polling from the ground in battleground states that suggests something that was once unthinkable: Trump is losing college-educated white men for the first time in his presidency. The margins aren’t huge, but they are consistent with a trend line that dates to 2018, when Republicans carried this demographic by just 4 points. What the numbers suggest—in both private and public polling—is that Biden is no longer just walloping Trump among white women in the suburbs, he’s pulling ahead with white men there, as well.

We shouldn’t get carried away with this just yet. Republicanism is deep in the DNA of many of these voters, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a last-minute lurch back in the direction of their political home.

Still, the fact that Trump is sweating college-educated white men two weeks out from Election Day tells you everything you need to know about the state of the race at this moment.

With respect to our “overthinking,” he says

More than 219,000 Americans are dead from a global pandemic. Millions of adults are home from work and millions of kids are home from school. The streets of big cities and small towns have been convulsing with anger and protest and even sporadic violence.

All of this is politically significant. All of it has contributed to an election-year environment that is fundamentally detrimental to the incumbent. But if Trump loses, the biggest factor won’t be Covid-19 or the economic meltdown or the social unrest. It will be his unlikability.

There’s an old political adage that people ultimately vote for the person with whom they’d like to have a beer. To belabor the obvious, that isn’t Donald Trump.

All across America, in conversations with voters about their choices this November, I’ve been hearing the same thing over and over again: “I don’t like Trump.” (Sometimes there’s a slight variation: “I’m so tired of this guy,” “I can’t handle another four years of this,” etc.) The remarkable thing? Many of these conversations never even turn to Biden; in Phoenix, several people who had just voted for the Democratic nominee did not so much as mention his name in explaining their preference for president.

Trump’s overwhelming need for constant attention hurts him. As Alberta points out, Trump  has made himself more accessible than any president in history. He has used the White House and Twitter as performance arenas, and “like the drunk at the bar, he won’t shut up.”

Many of his own supporters are tired of having beers with Trump.  

In any other year, the numerous anecdotes and the polling would reassure me–but the memory of 2016, together with Republicans’ overwhelming assault on vote integrity–are keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Fingers (and toes) crossed….


  1. I hope this ends well. NO tanks on the streets. NO crazy. But in the Trump era, who knows. Hang on tight. Here we go

  2. Even worse for them, a Republican couldn’t drink a beer with Trump if they wanted to. He doesn’t drink and if he did it would be Dom Perignon, not beer, and he’d drink it with Russian oligarchs, not you.

    I respect people who choose not to drink for most reasons. But Trump doesn’t drink because alcohol is a depressant and would counter the effects of his prodigious daily dose of illegal stimulants.

    As for me I would enjoy a nice dish of ice cream with our next President.

  3. “There’s two kinds of problem drinkers. Those who drink too much and those who don’t drink enough.”
    Churchill quote from the movie IKE

  4. “In any other year, the numerous anecdotes and the polling would reassure me–but the memory of 2016, together with Republicans’ overwhelming assault on vote integrity–are keeping me on the edge of my seat.”
    The edge of my seat is worn out from squirming. My wife and I live in a rural area where Trump signs and banners litter the landscape like dandelions in the spring. (Actually I appreciate the beautiful yellow flower and shouldn’t disparage dandelions with the comparison.) One yard I pass by frequently never fails to leave me speechless, where there is a “Trump-Pence 2020” sign right next to a campaign-style sign for “Jesus 2020”. My wife and I have already voted and I don’t recall seeing Jesus’ name on the ballot. But had he been there, I don’t think he would have had an “R” after his name in this election. I suspect he’d run as an Independent. I’m certain that he wouldn’t stump for Trump.
    What I do recall seeing in the long line of voters in the parking lot were many unmasked people wearing Trump hats as they stood in tightly clustered groups chatting. I’m hoping that the majority of others in line were there to help vote Trump out, but I’m not letting optimism cloud my memory of 2016. The edge of my seat continues to wear thin.

  5. Well, Sheila I think this is very thought-provoking today!

    And since we are supposed to offer our own opinions on Sheila’s spark plug thread to get things rolling, I might as well hop in.

    I think this currant presidency has been like no other in modern history. And it has exposed something that many people thought about but it hadn’t been as impactful in their lives. As the thread brought out yesterday, with time, and circumstance, the collective thought process changes with advancement.

    What is more impactful in the society we live in than religion? Many regions have lately torn down the wall between religious teachings and civil society. Religions that weren’t really thought about much in the past, have come to the fore. As a predominantly Christian country, Islam, Judaism, even Buddhism and other leanings like Paganism, Zoroastrianism and Wiccanism have become more mainstream.

    Civil society is like that! This presidency has magnified it, as in magnified the hypocrisy of the Constitution being a dead document.

    This presidency has also magnified the hypocrisy of the Protestant religious zealots looking to run roughshod over every other belief system.

    There is a lot to unpack, even Catholicism has entered into the religious political fray laying bare their own hypocritical conduct throughout history, and, how individuals like Thomas Aquinas led a fundamental change in bringing Aristotle’s philosophical teachings into the church supplanting original apostolic teaching.

    All these things have been in the making for centuries, even millennia.

    A time now when communication is instantaneous, there is no lag anymore! People can view hypocrisy and lies with either approval or disdain. At this point in history the distain far outpaces approval. Whether a week from now or months, or years, religion as is known in the United States and probably around the world is going to be extremely different.

    Because religious organizations are going to feel the need for becoming more active in government to try and change amendments and laws to suit their particular beliefs, the backlash is going to be dramatic. More than likely taxation on religious entities actively dabbling in politics, probably dismantling of some, or all, of the religious protections concerning the law, and the possibility of banning any public discussion and display concerning religion and its practices.

    This is not just going to be local, it’s going to be worldwide! We all have seen religious zealots of all stripes break the peace among civil society. Governments that are the theocratic or theocracies, are going to come under increasing pressure from those who are tired of the constant din of war.

    So, not only is this time in history a snapshot of uprising against unfairness and hypocrisy by civil government co-opted by religion, it’s a movement that has started in a way that cannot be quashed by force. And, the world is going to be a drastically different place, with religious inequities eliminated and science elevated above all else.

  6. Last week we started to hear about the “secret Trump voter,” a kind of silent majority who is ashamed to say they’re for him, but will vote for him when they get into that voting booth. My question for them is, “Why would you ever vote for someone you’re ashamed to support?” I know that logic isn’t the strong suit of the typical orange menace supporter, but that really borders on the ludicrous.

  7. cant have much of a conversation in NoDak of whos best for the job. trump here is spoken with a dignified voice..like the town idiot who cries wolf to me.. sure im being out there,but if ya swallowed poison accidently,heres a good place to barf while in conversation with the locals.i havent been outside of NoDak since march this year. so im reading here and there about the rationale of who doing what to who,when they vote..as it maybe the past,there was a movement to change things. but then along came a con man who used gliter and litter to move his boasted ego into a world stage,to embarass and deep end the working class,our democracy and rights. id like to thank the American media system that props up shit for profit..they seem to think oir long fought democracy is a game..please move on,theres places like russia,iran and china that sees your dominance more in line with the half truths,or lies they feed their own.. the ads are really all cheap rehtoric,with think tank talk. the actual media news,does not,question the person,and allows a game show over reality. but compressed time,and need for commerical success is over the need for real time answers,and securing our democracy for another 4 years… the talking heads for trump, seem to,out number the entire trump families brain cells. the town hall exists only in pre determined time,and effort..if anyone has a question,and it relates to their need to know,before they vote,answer the damn question with out wasting their time,unless your being elected,to waste our time.like a street hussler,taking you on in three card monte..gee,being from jersey,that line would amuse or scare anyone from NYC..trump is that three card monte,dont you understand NoDak…

  8. Trying to read the political crystal ball here in my suburban Indy town: fewer Trump yard signs than in ’16. GOP candidate signs in yards without 45’s. Businesses that were festooned with them are missing theirs. Not one in places that had them last time. Large business banners prominently displayed last time, absent now. There are flags but not many. There was a large “parade” of mainly pickups that went through town a few weeks ago. I’ve seen similar displays of Trump support in nearby towns. Same folks. Also, numerous Biden signs. Many more than for Hillary four years ago.
    I’m hopeful.

  9. Since 2018, has Indiana moved toward more, or less, secure election technology?

    Most Indiana voting machines lack a voting paper trail. Paperless voting has been required since 2019, but a paper voting trail is not required in Indiana until 2030.

    Joti Martin of the IU Public Policy Institute has said, “Without a verifiable paper record of votes, it can be difficult to detect security breaches or errors in the electronic systems.”

    “Without that paper trail, it also is more challenging to try to recount or audit votes in the event of an election-related issue.”

    Will Indiana experience 2020 voting irregularities like Texas and Georgia had in 2018?


    Trump presents as a psychopath. He is a coward, liar and cheat. So, Jack, how is the pandemic doing in N.D.? Say, didn’t Trump’s chief of staff finally spill the beans most of already knew were in the jar? OF COURSE, they won’t do anything to help control COVID. If they did now, it would crumble all the lies that collection of bastards has been flouting for months.

    An overwhelming, un-contestable voting victory for Biden is the only way the American people can have their voices heard over the whining of people like AC Barrett. There’s nothing like abject and obvious corrupt hypocrisy (McConnell and his Senate rules line dance) to destroy democracy and feed the Russian oligarchs who pay his side hustle.

    And some people wonder why people like me are so hard on Republicans…

  11. Riffing Mr. Barnum: “Never underestimate the level that they will go to for voter suppression/vote count hijinks”

  12. Well, now that the Federalist Society has captured the highest court in the land, Americans are going to see exactly why oligarchs want to capture the court while sacrificing Senate seats.

    If we look at McConnell’s district in KY, they don’t have much in common with Charles Koch and his klan. However, they’ve been used by their churches to push an evil agenda on Americans. Do you blame those being oppressed or their oppressors?

    We’ll find out what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are made of in the first 100 days. Once again, the people are being sold “hope and change,” but we’ve been here before, and Biden was along for the ride. It’s why we ended up with Trump.


  13. The more people in government and politics encourage the voice of the people to be heard, the more uncertain election results will become. In that respect, I am pleased it seems difficult to predict what the election results will be. However, several nagging uncertainties surround the coming election results: how much will voter suppression interefere, how much will attempts to alter votes electronically interfere, will the results be challenged or not accepted, etc. I am so sorry the group I gathered with to watch the results roll in, drinks in hand, will not be watching together in this pandemically altered year.

  14. John Carter; in 2016 my small neighborhood had ELEVEN Trump yard signs posted, this year ONE went up across the street from me. It was taken down for about 2 weeks, reposted then removed early summer and haven’t seen it since. The neighbor who had ignored me since 2016 suddenly became friendly again and we are on good terms; had never talked politics in the 15 years I have lived here but he had one of the Trump signs. Every election I have Democratic candidate yard signs but 2016 those who never posted signs had Trump for President yard signs.

    A report on either MSNBC or CNN said that the majority of newly registered voters are Republicans; that does not bode well no matter the lack of Trump signs. The Pandemic and isolation are added to the Trump insanity and I believe therapists will be inundated with PTSD patients once our freedom of movement has been restored. As Americans we have read of other countries living with daily fear of their own government and we have always found loaded grocery shelves to shop from since after WWII; we are living in a new, unfamiliar and frightening era. A One-Man Trump Era which will fill chapters in future history books.

  15. The Trump signs that sprouted around my neighborhood in the NW side of Marion County here in Indianapolis in 2016 are no where to be seen this year.

    White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that the US is “not going to control” the coronavirus pandemic, as cases surge across the country and nearly 225,000 Americans have died from the virus.

    “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas,” Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

    Meadows is stating what in fact has been The Trump “Plan” since the beginning of the Corona Pandemic. For maybe one of the few times in his life The Trumpet faced an enemy in Corona, that he could not bully or sue in court.

    At the critical point back early in the year when The Trumpet knew how deadly Corona was, we did not hear a Gettysburg address, or FDR’s call to arms after Pearl Harbor or a JFK speech which spelled out the threat of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Instead how many times did he bluster, lies, and mis-information concerning Corona at his “Corona Press Conferences”.

    Little of this gross negligence directly laid at the feet of The Trumpet has moved his base.

  16. I did watch an interview with some Trump Voters in Arizona recently. The interview was at someone’s home. They were retirees and lived in an upper middle class home. They were going to vote again for Trump since their 401k’s were doing so well. It was clear their 401k’s were all that mattered to them. This seemed to epitomize this segment of the Trumpet voters – I have mine and the hell with the rest of you.

    There is the much vaster segment of Trumpet voters that admire his Male-Macho-Authoritarian in your face attitude and defender of the Religious fanatics.

    I do believe the voters that voted for Hillary in 2016 will vote for Biden. There was that piece of the electorate back in 2016, that not only did not like Hillary – They loathed her. The Trumpet promised he was the “outsider” – He would drain the Swamp (what ever that meant) and fix it. The addition of Pastor Pence brought the bible thumper’s into the Trump Flock.

    Some did not vote for either Hillary or Trump, they may have not voted at all or voted for the Third Party candidate. These non-voters in 2016 or third party voters are at least IMHO the key piece of the electorate this year. The list of Trump’s failures are numerous, will it translate into a vote for Biden-Harris?? Will these voters realize how utterly dangerous The Trumpet is????

    My hope is to see a big sweeping victory for Biden so the challenges that will surely come from the Trump Cult will be swept aside and rendered meaningless since the Democratic win will be that decisive.

  17. Jack,

    How long have people been falling for the snake oil salesman’s line? And I’m not talking about currently, I’m talking about throughout history!

    Every single time, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, that is, until you get on the other side of the fence.

    This time it could be different than other times! Because we’ve reached a point of complete saturation of information and communication. What happens here is known immediately over there so to speak, and vice versa. So outrage on a national level or a global level can rise
    exponentially and instantaneously. Unlike the days of the horse and buggy.

    There will always be contrarians, those who will work against themselves and their best interests because they are just wired that way. Aggrieved, conspiratorial and masochistic, they would rather plunge their entire known reality into chaos and turmoil, than to be a rational part of civilization.

    Those contrarians will always fall for the medicine man or the snake oil salesman, because those contrarians have the loudest mouths and are able to loudly voice their opinions. They can sway folks with their conspiracies and self-destructive masochistic malfeasance. But like I mentioned earlier the saturation level of communication and information is to a point where every sort of nonsense is rigorously refuted and those people will be more and more relegated to the background of relevance. Ostracized, as they should, because of their negative impact on the health of civilized society.

  18. Last night’s unsettling news for future SCOTUS cases deciding the election…in the case denying Wisconsin counting ballots received after election day, the oh so lovely Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh suggested that NO state should allow that…

    Per the Yogi – “it ain’t over til….”

  19. Since I mailed in my ballot, I have a paper ballot. One would think that with a pandemic on the rise, our state and federal governments would be open to letting everyone vote by mail.

    Every time I see a Biden/Harris bumper stick or sign, I cheer.

    I don’t think we will really know the outcome on 11/3 due to all the early and mail in voting. My plan currently is to avoid watching on election night and just wait till the next am if I can. I hope I can resist the temptation because I don’t want to be biting my nails all night. Trump was elected on my birthday 4 years ago. It wrecked my birthday. I just hope this year that I can REALLY celebrate my birthday.

  20. PW, Trump says he does not drink alcohol. Trump lies constantly. So I don’t think there is any reason to believe him. Plus, there are pictures out there of him drinking what appear to be alcoholic beverages. Finally, Trump consuming alcohol into the late evening hours would explain his tweets during that time. It’s hard to believe those tweets are by someone who is stone cold sober.

  21. Establishment Republicans also detest Trump but since Republicans are in an increasing minority and cannot win at the ballot box their only means of effectively staying in power is by cozying up to this mob boss while capturing the third branch of government for the foreseeable future, which they did last night with the rushed confirmation of yet another Federalist Society candidate, a lady to the right of Scalia. These establishment Republicans have now captured their prize and have used a president they detest in order to nix any initiatives by Democrats in the future they don’t like even though in a congressional minority since they have a SCOTUS to legislate in their behalf, so now I fully expect to see some of them hurriedly abandon Trump’s sinking ship (if they haven’t already) and leave the country with a Democratic president and both houses of congress, but a majority elected by the will of the people hampered from carrying out Democratic initiatives with the usual hue and cry of socialism, appeals to the SCOTUS and budget hawk squeals (from a party that just gave us trillions in additional deficits with their giveaways to the rich and corporate class (and while the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour for over 11 years).

    Our democracy and the credibility of the SCOTUS were dealt a vicious blow last night with the confirmation of a right wing candidate to the Supreme Court in the midst of an election, but we have had worse (e.g., the Civil War). The good news is that, we, the majority, are far from powerless to rectify this dying gasp for power by a court-packing McConnell and his acolytes, with means too numerous to be set forth here. Suffice it to be said that if we are to salvage and strengthen our democracy we will have to take the gloves off and show McConnell what tough is after Biden and both houses of Congress become Democratic and (for a change) two of our three branches of government reflect majority status (aka the will of the people) in real time.

  22. It is likely that Trump’s decline in voter preference is 90 percent due to more and more Americans disliking his bullying manner. That’s a bad sign, which is worse than bad.

    A bad sign? Yep. It’s a sign that too many Americans accept his policies but reject his style, if you can call ignorance style and if you can call brutality policy. I would be so much more confident of our future, if answers to polling questions were more like this:

    “I don’t give a rat’s ass about his style, but I’m done with Trump. Nothing he has done or wants to do is good for my country. And what Trump has done is especially bad for poor and middleclass Americans.”

    Maybe they’re asking the wrong questions.

  23. It’s not a time for cowardice and those who supported Donald Trump because their ideas need protection from the outside world have been surprised I believe that the other side values their freedom just as passionately.

    What’s interesting about that is rightwing cowards have roared, we are brave because we stand unmasked up to the virus in our desperation for wealth redistribution our way from the workers on the front lines of resisting it. That’s not unlike the cowardice of the paramilitary who believe that owning means to kill others from a mile away makes them a force to be reckoned with if they are in full costume whistling their way through the graveyard.

    The majority have just had enough of the posturing and imposing what’s best for select individuals on the majority. The constitution has been dusted off and Americans are finally acting like traditional Americans longing first for freedom.

  24. John, like many of us, has a kind of grudge going on against what he calls contrarians, “those who will work against themselves and their best interests because they are just wired that way.

    I have moments when I am inclined to agree, but then I hear myself condemning wealthy one-percenters for not working for –voting and supporting– policies that benefit the country and the poorest two classes more than they benefit the rich. Come on Charles Koch, don’t be so selfish; think of others for a change.

    How is it possible to reconcile that inconsistency within a unified philosophy that is consistent, a thinking system in which when something is true for one thing it is also true for all things?

    Consistency? I consider consistency to be vital. But some individuals and institutions, when faced with people who demand that policies and laws be consistent, charge them with being damnably inflexible.

    I refute that conclusion.

    It is possible to have flexibility built into your philosophy…primarily by avoiding those precepts that do not belong in fundamental philosophies; it is only the fundamentals that one must keep consistent in order to remain politically grounded, and if the basic preceps are free of paradox, all conclusions deriving from them will be equally free of paradox. The cogs of our values-proportion machine, our real thinking machine, if built correctly to begin with, will handle every issue in a consistent manner and never need replacing or recalibrated.

    Show me anyone’s inconsistency and I will show you someone whose fundamental philosophy is broken or badly made.

  25. Larry,

    Good points! And I agree, the one percenters are usually the flim-flam artist and snake oil salesman. The contrarians are the ones that stand in line with their mouths open as the manure spreader blows by! They will swallow anything, and regurgitate even worse ?

    The one presenters include many of these religious leaders I e preachers who like some of these Fortune 500 corporations, pay no taxes! They use the pulpit or the lectern as a virtual septic tank full of untruths and hypocrisy leading those gullible contrarians just like a Judas goat leads its victims to the slaughter.

    Why do you think the conservatives want to dumb down the educational process? The dumber the population is, the more gullible and ignorant they become. Conservatives are really not religious, it’s a fallacy! Religious tribalism is the most powerful out there, and those that know how, use it to their own advantage.

  26. Is this our last week of tyranny or our last week of hope?
    Maybe I need to buy a gun. I know how to use one.

  27. Isn’t it pleasantly shocking how low the bar is for Biden to be considered a good president?

    If he says nothing salacious about women, he’s halfway there.
    If he speaks respectfully about America’s soldiers he will earn the respect of most.
    If he establishes a better relationship with Macron and Merkel than with Putin and Kim he’s a shoe in.
    If he demonstrates respect for the rule of law all will applaud except for McConnell and Cruz.
    If he avoids nincompoop nominations for his cabinet he’ll look like he cares about the nation.
    If he recruits the best epidemiologists to manage the fight against Covid-19 he will enjoy far more success than his predecessor or Vice President Toady.
    If the economy improves broadly as the pandemic recedes, he will win the hearts and minds of businessmen who thought they only wanted elimination of the pollution laws.
    If he attends church more than once during his administration, church people everywhere will say “Amen”!
    If he builds a federal road somewhere he will have had a more positive impact on our infrastructure that the obese loser who will be standing on the sidelines mocking him.
    If he allows the Justice Department to seek justice rather than defend him for his crimes, that will constitute a great leap forward.
    If he doesn’t sneer and refrains from mocking defenseless people, he will actually look like an adult, an attribute voters tend to respect in their presidents.
    If he doesn’t tweet, people will tend not to regard him as a superannuated teenager.
    If he exhibits no narcissism or paranoia or sociopathy, people will come to see that he is rational.
    If he treats the press with respect people will come to regard him as a lover of democracy.
    If he occasionally says something humorous, all will understand that he is not clinically depressed.

    All these factors, while keeping the bar low, will result in loud approval from everyone who was not ready to see America brought to its knees by an immeasurably ignorant authoritarian.

  28. Terry, lol, I guess you could say the bar is set pretty low!

    What’s the first thing you do if you are drowning or maybe sinking in quicksand? Start reaching and grabbing for a lifeline, anything that can pull you out of your situation.

    It definitely isn’t pretty, and you are not thinking of much except saving your life, everything else is just gravy afterwards.

    When you are starting from a near death event, any alternative to that is a blessing, LOL.

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