How I’m Feeling: 2020 Election Aftermath

Like many of you, I’m pretty bleary eyed today. I went to bed around 11:30pm, but it took quite some time to fall asleep (and a whole lot of willpower to resist the urge to check my phone again for new results). Today, much of my down time has been spent refreshing news pages to see the latest updates. Not like it does a whole lot, but it somehow feels somewhat reassuring to know the latest about what’s going on.

Of course, all of this is proof that I was spectacularly wrong yesterday when I thought we’d have a pretty good idea who won by not too late in the night. Now it’s looking like we won’t have concrete answers until Friday

That said, you’ll recall that yesterday I indicated there would be one of four outcomes:

  • The polls this year are accurate. In that case, Biden has a strong win: 319 to 219 according to RealClearPolitics.
  • The polls this year are skewed in Trump’s favor, meaning the reality favors Biden even more. If that’s the case, then this is a landslide victory for Biden. 375 electoral votes or more wouldn’t be out of the question.
  • The polls this year are skewed in Biden’s favor. But even if they’re off by 2016 proportions, that’s still not enough for Trump to win. I think Biden would squeak out a win with around 275 electoral college votes.
  • The polls are just plain wrong. Either the pollsters significantly underestimated how many Republicans would turn up to vote, or the “shy Trump voters” are really a thing and have been consistently lying to pollsters. This is the one way Trump wins at this point. It will take something much more than typical polling errors.

Where are we today? Well, definitely not the second outcome, otherwise this post would be a very different one. But at the same time, I don’t think we’re as much in the fourth outcome as you might think, despite the fact that we’re still here scratching our heads. Of the states that are still too close to call, here’s how I read the lay of the land:

  • Georgia–Trump is up by 83,000 votes, with about 200,000 votes to go. To make up that split, those votes would have to favor Biden 70% to 30%. For a state where Trump is leading 50% to 49%, how likely is that? There’s actually a decent shot. The bulk of them come from DeKalb and Fulton County, which are voting for Biden 83% and 72%. These are absentee ballots, so they’re even likelier to be skewed more than that. The question is how many of the votes from elsewhere in the state might dilute the strong Biden vote. The New York Times gives Biden a 64% shot of winning. We should have a lot more clarity on this by the end of the day. Georgia was a toss up going into today according to the polls, and it’s still a toss up. Go figure.
  • North Carolina–I honestly don’t see Biden pulling off an upset here. Biden’s down by 80,000 votes, with around 290,000 estimated votes to go. Biden would have to win the remaining votes by around 65%, if my math is right. Then again, the bulk of the outstanding ballots are once again from Democrat leaning areas, where he’s pulling anywhere from 60-75% of the vote. So it’s possible it still swings to Biden, but I certainly wouldn’t hold by breath. The New York Times gives Trump an 86% chance of holding on.
  • Alaska–Trump’s up with 63% of the vote, and he was favored to win it at the beginning of the night, with 85% odds. As far as I’m concerned for now, this is already Trump’s. The only reason it’s not red right now on everyone’s maps is because only 45% of the vote is in.
  • Nevada–Biden only has an 8,000 vote lead, with around 200,000 votes still to count. These aren’t absentee ballots that skew heavy to Biden, however. These are votes that were mailed and received yesterday or later. Also, because Nevada apparently doesn’t like counting cards, they’re not going to start counting those until tomorrow. (Boo!) Still, for Trump to come from behind here, he’d have to win 52% of the remaining votes(!) That’s much more close than I’m comfortable with. The silver lining is that the vast bulk of these votes come from Biden leaning areas: Clark County and Washoe County. Biden’s up in Washoe with 51% and in Clark with 53%, with around 85% of the vote in. Still, if these are dominantly Trump votes, it’s in the realm of possibility that the state flips. Not hugely likely, but still . . . Fox News gives Biden a 75% shot of holding on.
  • Michigan–Right now, Biden is up in Michigan by 37,000 votes, with about 340,000 votes to go. Seem good for Trump, right? Except the missing votes are both absentee (which skew Biden) and from Wayne, Kalamazoo, and Kent Counties. True, Kent is going to Trump right now, but the missing votes are from Grand Rapids there, which skew (you guessed it) heavy to Biden. Biden’s up in Wayne with 67% of the vote and in Kalamazoo with 54%. Fox News pegs Michigan with a 95% chance of going Biden, and I agree with them. We should know tonight, I hope.
  • Pennsylvania–Ah, my home state. Trump is up by 393,000 votes, with about 1.2 million to go. To overcome that gap, Biden needs around 65% of the votes. Where are they missing? You guessed it: primarily Biden-leaning counties like Philadelphia (78% for Biden right now) and Allegheny (55% for Biden). There are many missing votes out still, and it’s hard to get a real read on the situation, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Biden ending up in the lead when the dust settles.
  • Arizona–As a footnote, there’s AZ, which has been called by some places (including Fox News). The Trump camp insists they can come back here, but I don’t see it. They’re down by about 95,000 votes, with about 450,000 votes to go. To make up that difference, they need to win about 65% of the vote, give or take. The bulk of the missing votes are in Pima County and Maricopa County. Biden is up there by 60% and 52%, respectively. Looking at exit polls and taking into account the projections already made by others, I think this is a real stretch for Trump, but he’s insisting it’s possible to give credence to his other arguments. We should know by tonight.

So when you look at all these races still to be decided, the deck is definitely stacked against Trump. Could he still come from behind? I suppose anything’s possible, but I think it’s very telling that one side of this election is arguing to keep counting votes, and the other one is sending lawyers to try and find votes they can ignore. When I watched CNN this morning, they were focused on the numbers of the votes. When I watched Fox, they were talking about where Trump might sue, and how wrong the pollsters were. One side is definitely telegraphing “we’re in trouble,” and it ain’t Biden.

So how do I feel? Cautiously optimistic. Hoping to know more by this evening, even as I rage at Nevada for being way too slow to count votes. (And Pennsylvania. Come on, guys!)

How are *you* feeling?


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