We’re down to the wire. You’ll note that I haven’t done another election forecast since the one in June, when Donald Trump was at his nadir. The reason why I haven’t is simple – the fundamentals of this election are so much in flux because of the hysterical coronavirus response that it’s impossible for me to make a concrete prediction. Donald Trump is thankfully not in the position he was in June and many historical factors are now in his favor. These include…
- Voter registration trends (social proof factor in Stumped).
- The Trial Heat and Convention Bump models, which predicted the two-party vote share within 0.2 and 0.7% last time, respectively. They project a 49.7 to 49.3% split this time, narrower than 2016 (pendulum and better offer factors in Stumped).
- Oxford’s GDP model (ditto).
- Primary results (social proof).
- Social media activity (social proof).
- Google search trends (social proof).
- Gallup’s “are you better off than you were four years ago” question. This is at an astounding 56%, despite the Chinese coronavirus (pendulum/better offer).
- Approval ratings in battleground states (pendulum factor).
- A high approval rating on the economy.
- An upward ticking overall approval rating in the final days (pendulum).
- Battleground state cookie polls which have accurately predicted the winner in the past (social proof).
- Halloween mask sales (social proof).
- Donation trends in key counties (social proof).
- Voter expectations.
- I need not detail the difference in charisma between the two candidates.
- The difference in crowd sizes also speaks for itself.
- The enthusiasm gap is even bigger than in 2016.
- The incumbent’s support amongst his base – it’s higher than anyone not named Ronald Reagan.
- Trump’s opponent does not resemble successful candidates in the slightest (see Stumped as a whole).
- Trump has gotten his act together at just the right time, coming as close to Ultra Instinct as I’ve ever seen.
There are, however, other factors that predict his defeat. The stock market is down over the last three months and that usually portends an incumbent party defeat. Of course, that happened because of the selloff over the final week due to more coronavirus hysteria and Europe going into another lockdown. Will it matter?
(I’m putting this song here to entertain you and because I think the lyrics are especially appropriate for our situation:)
Then there’s Allan Lichtman’s keys, which I’ve used in my own calculations. The problem with the keys, though is that most of them are subjective. I usually like them, but I’m not sure that model applies as tightly as usual because of the ahistorical nature of this election. It’s now clear that the economic keys being applied to Trump are tenuous because of the artificial nature of the coronavirus recession – which ended in May, relatively early in the campaign. At what point in the campaign does the end of the recession matter? At any rate, the President has consistently led his opponent by double digits on the economy, with around 55% approval on it overall. The keys are based on the theory that elections are incumbent referenda, but it seems the public doesn’t blame him for the downturn we saw in the spring. So do the two economic keys really turn against him here? The Trial Heat and Convention Bump models certainly don’t think so, which crystallized some of my thought process on this (coincidentally, Trump’s overall aggregate approval is trending up in the final days toward the exact number those two models predicted his share of the vote split to be – 49.3%).
Similarly, three of Lichtman’s other keys are also questionable. Impeachment hasn’t even come up as a campaign issue for Democrats and it was underwater both overall and in battleground states last year, rendering the assignment of the “scandal” key dubious. The lack of a foreign policy success has also now become dubious, given the outbreak of peace in the Middle East and the Balkans. The civil unrest key is harder to determine – is it more about race relations or policing and crime? In either case, even if we assign it to Trump, he would still have enough positive keys for re-election if the economic ones don’t apply.
That’s always been the problem with the keys – the measure of subjectivity. This year is far harder than most to use them, but who knows? He might be right.
I’ve gone on longer than I thought on this. This is not meant to be a prediction post. There was no way Trump would have won if the election were held in June. Things look a lot better now, but we can’t be totally sure because of the ahistoric noise this year. We also need to take into account the unprecedented hysteria, media propaganda, and social media censorship, which has rendered some of the old Stumped playbook less effective.
Instead, in line with the imminent release of Lives of the Luminaries, I would consider this election’s political marketplace to be shaped by moral questions. Quintus Curtius was correct in that this year is a moral crisis more than anything else, with our population’s hysterical reactions this year. The extent to whichever moral ethos prevails is likely to decide the victor.
1. Are Americans Still a Worthy People?
“Hero” originally meant “he who is worthy.” Who gets the glory and the renown? The people that do the most to deserve those things. This required bravery, fortitude, vision, mental clarity, and skill. Does this sound like the American population today? Unfortunately, my answer is no.
Since the Cold War ended, what feat of greatness have we achieved as a country? Sure, we pioneered the digital economy, but that is a double edged sword. It has opened new industries and opportunities, but it has also encouraged plutocracy and hysteria. It has encouraged a world that emphasizes disembodied “data” over real human connection and experience, which no doubt created much of the lockdown mentality.
We have now become so domesticated, hysterical, and fearful of our own shadows that we’ve surrendered our lives and fortunes to a virus with a ~99.98% survival rate for anyone under the age of 70. There is no aspect of our humanity that the “experts” will not try to take using the virus as a pretext.
For a long time, the fear was at such a high point that we accepted it, but even in Europe now, there are massive protests underway against the new lockdowns. The media refuses to cover them, of course.
To what extent has the same fatigue and anger set in here? To what extent will it show up? Donald Trump has finally shifted to being the anti-lockdown champion of hope and normal human life, just in the nick of time, and perfectly timed to the growing backlash.
Are we still a people worthy of freedom and renown? Do we still have courage? Or have we just been beaten into submission and fear? This is one of the central moral questions that this election will answer.
2. Can American Men Still Shut Down the Hysteria of their Women?
This is the question you will never, ever hear asked except in places like this. All of Louis XIV’s warnings concerning taking the advice of women are, sadly, playing out this year. This isn’t to cast undue aspersions on the fair sex. The behavior of the “men” this year has been even more repulsive, but that’s the point.
Most of this hysteria is female-driven (the origin of the word, by the way). There is equal blame to go around in the origins of the hysterical response, but its foot soldiers skew female. Mask enforcers skew heavily female.
Where are the men?
Will men be able to take up their traditional role and assert themselves, husbanding their female companions, or will they fail this shit test, surrender, and lose all respect from those women in the process, as well as their country? I find this the best summation:
Twitter trolling is fun, especially because you can ruin the day of so many blue-check bumblefucks.
But, IRL, what wins is having your shit together and being a leader. Self-assurance, confidence & kindness to those around you will change minds faster than anything else.
— Jay Fivekiller (@JayFiveK) November 1, 2020
How much are we still men with masculine virtue? How much respect do men still command? Have we been too emasculated to make a difference? We’ll see.
As I said four years ago, it is up to us and our power of persuasion now.
Go out and vote, no matter where you are. America and Western civilization itself depends on you.