Reflections on Biden’s Victory

gabriel conroy

Gabriel Conroy [pseudonym] is an ex-graduate student. He is happily married with no children and has about a million nieces and nephews. The views expressed by Gabriel are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of his spouse or employer.

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45 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    One quibble. This isn’t actually a close election. There was a good post on 538 positing what you would think if you didn’t know anything that happened until now. You would see Biden almost certainly winning with approx 4.3% of the PV and solidly in the EV. That is a strong win. Not a blowout or wave but strong. Yeah the D’s down ballot did not conform to expectations but Biden didn’t eek it out over trump. He beat him well.

    The hard part about having sympathy with the “other side” is you need people on both sides to do that. You have to search for them and healing can be found. To many people, even as they lament polarization, don’t want to mend fences. Lots of other loud people don’t want to find common ground.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to greginak says:

      Yeah, the map is currently looking like 306 to 232. Like, is that close? Not really.

      The popular vote is a difference of 2.85 points right now…but California is only 80% in, and New York is only 73% in. We haven’t been paying attention to them, but…the popular vote for Biden will continue to move up.

      Uh, is it because it took several days to get an answer? Except…that was _deliberately_ because Republicans in PA decided to not allow any sort of mail processing into the day of the election. If they hadn’t done that, everyone would have called this thing Wednesday evening or something…still longer than normal, there was no way around that, but…faster than this.

      Was it because the results were _slightly_ closer to the middle than we expected? I guess. But…were they? I haven’t heard anyone talk about that.Report

    • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

      The problem is that Biden’s victory isn’t going to survive the recounts. The Georgia AG has said the Fulton County voting machines have shown irregularities, and his whole team has now descended on the arena where vote counting is taking place to figure out what’s going on.

      All the key states, the ones that are still counting votes, all use the same machines. Wisconsin, Michigan, and now Georgia have shown very serious problems with the vote count, which won’t remotely match the on-hand ballots. I’ve mentioned Antrim County Michigan where a county with a population of 23,000 had a 6,000 vote shift when they did a hand recount.

      The 4% lead Trump had in Wisconsin will probably be restored, along with his overwhelming leads in Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, and he will probably get Arizona and Nevada, depending on how deep they go with their recount procedures.

      There are simply too many wildly glaring red flags which only occurred in the key states, like:

      * Vote totals mysteriously jumping by large amounts
      * Votes disappearing from one candidate – running vote totals aren’t supposed to decrease at all.
      * Unexplained large ballot dumps that have statistically impossible ratios, like 100% to 0%.
      * Late votes that have skews that aren’t remotely similar to similar non-battleground states with similar voting histories and demographics.
      * Staggering turnouts that are inexplicable except as fraud, and only appearing in key states, and almost entirely in machine-controlled cities.
      * Turnouts in cities dominated by a “machine” that don’t match non-machine cities with similar demographics.
      * Huge ratios difference between mail-in-ballots in one state versus another. For example, Biden’s lead in mail-in-ballots in Florida was 1.5%. In Minnesota his mail-in lead was 4.9%. In Michigan it’s 37.9% and in Pennsylvania it’s 57.7%.
      * Ridiculously long delays in vote counting, but only in the machine-cities that are showing all the other hallmarks of election fraud.
      * Unexplained “breaks” in vote counting. The only reason to send people home is to ship in new ballots through the back door.
      * Large batches of votes showing up late under strange circumstances
      * Large numbers of votes from ineligible people who couldn’t possibly have voted. I myself have confirmed many dead people who voted in Michigan, just from a sample of 14,550 Michigan 2020 voters, age 100 to 120, who are known to be dead, yet which are confirmed by the state to have voted.
      * Extremely skewed returns on the late counted votes that are completely different from earlier ratios. There’s no logical reason that the last ones in the pile would be dramatically more slanted than the earlier ones, unless they were added later, and fraudulently.
      * Large numbers of ballots where a person didn’t vote on down ticket races. In Pennsylvania, such ballots occur at a rate of 1.2% to about 2.9% in all counties but three. In Philly that ratio is 4.74%, and in Northhampton it is 3.9%. They are extreme outliers. This usually indicates election fraud. For Philly, the number of such ballots is 32,528 so far.
      * Vicious opposition to letting the counting process be observed by the other party. If votes are being counted honestly, there isn’t any reason not to pack the whole room with observers from both parties.
      * The forced removal of election observers from the vote counting centers. Again, the only reason would be fraud.
      * Opposition to any recount or auditing process.
      * In Michigan’s case, taking down the online state vote-checker after people used to to find thousands and thousands of dead voters.

      I’m leaving off many other red flags, because there are so many. This was not just election rigging, it was low-rent, ham-handed election rigging.

      If Biden had won, he wouldn’t have been rigging the election, now would he?Report

      • JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

        I don’t think you mentioned ‘curing’ ballots. Also republican voters that were just flat out removed from voter registration and denied the vote.Report

        • George Turner in reply to JoeSal says:

          In Arizona some their votes were thrown away, and voters have provided testimony to that effect.

          But that sure didn’t happen to Democrats in Pennsylvania. In 2016 the mail-in-ballot rejection rate in Pennsylvania was 0.9519%. This year it was 0.0364%. Most of the people who did mail-in voting in 2016 had been doing it in previous cycles, so they were experienced with the in-and-outs of it. The normal rejection rate for first-time mail-in-voters in Pennsylvania can run as high as 3%. 90% of this year was first-time mail-in-voters, so there should have been 19,500 to 55,000 rejected ballots (which can be fixed, because they arrive so early). Instead only 951 mail-in-ballots were rejected, which almost certainly indicates that they aren’t doing any checks at all, and are indeed illegally “fixing” invalid ballots.

          Wisconsin was doing the same, and tens of thousands of Wisconsin’s mail-in-ballots may have to be rejected because Wisconsin election officials told election workers to simply “write in” something for the witness and the witness’s address, which is illegal under Wisconsin law.

          The Michigan legislature issued subpoenas for the state’s election officials, and will put them under oath. I’m curious as to whether Minnesota will do the same. Nobody is talking about Minnesota, but it has been voting just like Wisconsin and Michigan.

          If we compare the gap (D – R) in each state, to see how much it deviates from the average of all three state’s gaps, 2020 stands out.
          year – max gap between MI, MN, WI and the average of all three.
          2008 – 1.35%
          2012 – 1.41%
          2016 – 1.35%
          2020 – 7.41% in Wisconsin, 5.39% in Michigan.

          I came up with that one myself, crunching numbers to see if patterns emerge.

          On the all-out-fraud front, Gwinnett County Georgia is pretty interesting. In 2012 Obama got 132,509 votes there. In 2016 Hillary got 166,153 votes. Joe Biden got 236,336, even as Trump strongly outperformed his 2016 showing in the same county. The county population has grown by 12% since 2012, so if every Obama voter showed up, and grew 12% more, Biden should’ve expected 149,000 votes, not 236,336. There’s 87,000 extra Biden votes to somehow explain, and they didn’t come from Trump’s side, because Trump’s votes grew 11.5%, outpacing population growth by a factor of two.

          Does any sane person on this planet think Joe Biden is drawing almost twice as many black voters as Barack Obama, and half-again as many as Hillary Clinton? Anyone?

          Things like this will be exposed in the Georgia recounts, which will soon be underway.Report

    • James K in reply to greginak says:

      The end result might not be super close (unless Georgia or Arizona go for Trump), but Trump still gained votes over last election, even if the Democrats gained even more. That means that there are a bunch of people, some of whom had never voted before, who looked at the last four years and said “more, please!”. That should horrify you, it certainly horrifies me.

      It’s also less than ideal that the Republican hold the Senate, for now at least. The US needs a series of constitutional reforms and enacting even the easiest of them will require the legislature to act. That seems unlikely so long as the Republicans hold one house.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to James K says:

        That seems unlikely so long as the Republicans hold one house.

        The problem is governmental capture. If the Dems had both, they’d still somehow find themselves unable to do stuff. “Because of Republicans!”, I suppose you could point out.

        But the Republicans picked up seats, they didn’t lose them. The Purplish parts of the coalition are currently wobbly as heck.

        And, get this, by being wobbly, they’re serving their constituents.Report

        • James K in reply to Jaybird says:

          Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it was especially likely that the Democrats would do what I think they need to do to put the US on a more even keel, but even the option doesn’t exist right now.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to James K says:

        I mean, here’s Liz (bless her):


        • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

          On the one hand I think reports of any faction’s demise are overstated. Anyone expecting any side to ever get the kind of power a winning coalition gets in a parliamentary system is always going to be disappointed. Our government just doesn’t work that way.

          On the other there is a real coherence problem with the broader left. Like look at that Twitter thread and all the laments about ‘helping poor people.’ How do they expect to do that when their coalition includes a bunch of rich celebrities and media types lecturing huge chunks of poor people about their moral failings? How do they do that when anything but support for endless waves of illegal labor is deemed racist? How do they do that with their increasingly tight connections to corporate America, high finance, and an apparent rehabilitation by Democratic media of neoconservatism?

          Not that there aren’t plenty of voices on the left who identify these kinds of issues. But as long as the people running the show are impervious to introspection it will continue as it has.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

            The fact that leftism is fashionable is bad for it. It allows for people to be performatively left without actually changing anything. Freely dishing out symbolic victories while keeping progress from happening.

            And people who complain about this sort of thing can be mocked as being anti-left *AND* being anti-fashionable at the same time.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to InMD says:

            “But as long as the people running the show are impervious to introspection it will continue as it has.”

            The problem with “the left” is that no one is, in fact, running the show.

            There is no ComIntern, or a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

            The organs of the Democratic Party as following and reactive, rather than actively leading.

            My criticism of BLM and Antifa is exactly the same as it was of Occupy, where they choose a leaderless structure which isn’t appropriate to this fight in this time.

            But also on a deeper level there isn’t an overarching organizing theory of government that has taken hold.

            The main organizing theories of the 20th century, capitalism and socialism, have weakened and aren’t able to demonstrate a clear ability to produce a satisfactory outcome.

            So right now we are in an inter-tidal period where the old regime is crumbling but the new one has yet to take hold.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to James K says:

        That seems unlikely so long as the Republicans hold one house.

        For Congress to pass an amendment requires a 2/3 vote of both houses. Short of a huge political realignment, there are no conceivable circumstances under which Democrats pass an amendment over the objections of Republicans.

        That means that there are a bunch of people, some of whom had never voted before, who looked at the last four years and said “more, please!”. That should horrify you, it certainly horrifies me.

        For the vast majority of Americans, the last four years have been pretty good. Unemployment was at a fifty-year low, and inflation-adjusted median household income hit an all-time high despite being suppressed by a secular decline in marriage rates and a flawed measure of inflation. I’m not saying Trump deserves credit for this, and he probably got in the way with the trade war (on the other hand, the corporate tax cuts might have helped extend the boom), but most people don’t think at that level. The nightmare dystopia predicted four years ago failed to come to pass. By virtually all measures, 2019 was better than 2016 for the vast majority of American voters.

        This year in particular hasn’t been great, but Clinton wouldn’t have totally eradicated COVID-19, so we’d still have strong countermeasures in place, and the economy would still be hurting. Trump’s leadership on this issue has been pretty bad, but not in a way that’s really legible to the average voter, who is hurting more from the countermeasures than from the disease.

        I’m not saying that he’s been a good president, or even merely mediocre, but I can see why a low-info voter could look back at the last four years and say, “More of this, please.” Certainly you should be horrified by voter ignorance, but that’s been going on since the very first election.Report

        • James K in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          Not all constitutional reforms require constitutional amendments. Isolating the Inspectors General and Special Prosecutor from executive meddling, for example, could likely be done by statute.

          As for voter ignorance, it’s bad enough that people don’t know how many senators there are, but to not understand that Trump doing effectively nothing to stop a plague is a bad thing? New Zealanders clearly acknowledged Ardern’s performance with COVID and gave her a record-breaking performance. Now, I get that they don’t understand that all she really did is get out of the Ministry of Health’s way, but people can tell good from bad, right?Report

          • Brandon Berg in reply to James K says:

            Not all constitutional reforms require constitutional amendments. Isolating the Inspectors General and Special Prosecutor from executive meddling, for example, could likely be done by statute.

            Oh, you mean “constitutional reform” in the sense of changes to the rules under which the government operates? I don’t think I’ve heard that terminology before. In the US, when I hear “constitutional,” I think of the Constitution.

            I question whether Republicans would be uniformly opposed to such a law with a Democrat in the White House, such that it’s less likely to be perceived as an attack on their President. I can see at least some bipartisan support for this.Report

            • That’s a good point. There may be an opportunity to curb the power of the presidency, at least a little bit, so as to lower the stakes. And it needn’t involve constitutional amendments. It could involve Congress reasserting its authority. There might be broad enough support for that. Or one would hope.Report

    • Greginak:

      Point noted on the quibble, although I do believe I acknowledged the popular vote margin was large.

      The hard part about having sympathy with the “other side” is you need people on both sides to do that. You have to search for them and healing can be found. To many people, even as they lament polarization, don’t want to mend fences. Lots of other loud people don’t want to find common ground.

      I always get “sympathy” and “empathy” confused, perhaps because I don’t see a lot of daylight between the two concepts, but I was specifically mentioning “empathy,” which is something one ought to have even if–especially if–one wants to win in a contest against them. In a war, a general does better to empathize with their adversary, to see where their adversary is coming from, than to go forward without thinking about such things.

      I think I agree with your point about sympathy,although I agree only partially.Report

      • To be clear, I realize I usually do a two-step with “empathy,” suggesting I mean “sympathy” and then doubling down on the fact that I said “empathy.” I think empathy is more than merely understanding another person’s point of view, at least I think I use it to mean something more than that, something more like a duty each of us owes our fellow humans. That probably exceeds the common definition of empathy, and it’s understandable to confuse that with sympathy. In fact, maybe it is sympathy.Report

  2. JoeSal says:

    The next 7 weeks will be interesting.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    Good news!

    Even better news!

    Things are looking up all over!Report

  4. After rereading Greginak’s and DavidTC’s arguments above, I guess I’ll have to admit I was mostly wrong about the closeness of the election. The Broncos got more points AND they got more yardage. Even so, it’s close enough for the shenanigans of my nightmare scenario, which I hope is only a nightmare.

    ETA: I corrected a minor typo.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      I gotta say, I felt genuinely bad and stressed that it seemed like the election might genuinely come down to fewer than twenty thousand votes spread across three states. It does seem like we’re well beyond that now, but it was one of those “how was it even this close” things. (and honestly it still is, just a lot less so.)Report

      • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

        I’m waiting for the final county level vote tallies to be certified. I think we will see that at that level it WAS really close in a lot of places. And that’s something both sides need to think long and hard about.Report

  5. Chip Daniels says:

    Related election news:
    Criminal justice reformer wins LA district attorney’s race
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Advocates for criminal justice reform who have elected a wave of progressive prosecutors nationwide captured the crown jewel Friday as former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon defeated Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey.

    The bitter race to run the nation’s largest prosecutor’s office was a referendum on reform, but took on greater weight after summer activism over police brutality and racial inequality ignited by George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police.

    In an unusual dynamic, Gascon, a former beat cop and police chief, was opposed by law enforcement unions, while Lacey, the first woman and Black person to run the office, was targeted by Black Lives Matter activists.

    Black Lives Matter members demonstrated weekly for three years outside the Hall of Justice, chanting “Jackie Lacey Must Go.” They celebrated her imminent departure this week and said they were hopeful Gascon would do better, though they plan to protest if he doesn’t.

    Gascon plans to meet with members of the group Monday — something Lacey refused to do.

    It isn’t radical reform, but incremental progress nonetheless.Report

  6. DensityDuck says:

    I’m also glad that Biden won. I hope that his administration makes it a priority to keep Kamala Harris in the loop, giving her experience of governing and operating at that level, so that in 2024 we can get a Presidential candidate who’s actually my age instead of older than my parents.Report

  7. Philip H says:


    Though I don’t see her being willing to be sidelined.

    Just Sayin.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Now that Trump is on his way out and Biden, and normalcy, is back in, I’d like everyone to read this post about how nuclear war is unlikely to cause human extinction. For no reason, really.


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