All You Need To Know #5
Let’s start this week with the Five States That Matter. Trump can’t win without Florida, and there he’s behind by 5%. North Carolina is solidly Republican, and he’s losing there by 3.3%. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have him down by 6.5%. His polling continues to go ever-lower, and the United States continues to sink deeper and deeper into despair. That’s how things look in the middle of July, 2020.
So let’s touch on a bunch of other topics and events that are percolating in the race.
“Roger Stone is a free man!”
We know, with hard evidence, that Roger Stone was communicating with WikiLeaks and the Russians to align their efforts with the campaign. We know that Trump knew about it. We know that this is illegal. Roger Stone was sentenced by a jury of his peers for being involved with a cover-up with the president. And yesterday Trump sprung his friend out of prison. I had a friend ask what the strategy is here, and it struck me that there’s no strategy. This doesn’t help him with voters. This doesn’t help swing Florida. This doesn’t help him raise funds. It’s just him being a mob boss and rewarding his loyal henchmen. Not even Nixon went this low, and that’s saying something.
Biden’s running mate
I’ve had my eye on Kamala Harris since the very beginning of the campaign. Not just as Vice President, but as President. So I might be biased, but I think she’s the best choice for Vice President. And with Biden pushing 80, the Vice President has a very good chance of becoming president someday. There are other great options as well, so we’ll have to wait and see. But I think it’s going to be Harris.
America has congressional elections every two years, and 2022 is shaping up to be a doozy for the Republicans. Both the House and Senate will be a stretch for them, but the real story is the Senate. It’s a surprisingly favourable map for Democrats, which will help them with the midterm blues that all presidents go through. It happened to Obama in 2010, it happened to Trump in 2018, and it’ll happen again in 2022. But even if you assume 2022 will be hard for Democrats, it appears they could have some built-in advantages.
Every ten years, America does a bunch of redistricting and calculations based on the results of the latest census. Being the party in control at the beginning of each decade means you’re the ones drawing the maps. If Biden wins, Democrats will be able to design some decade-long advantages to how votes are divvied up.
We also have to remember that even if Trump loses in November, he’ll still be president until January 2021. And once he’s no longer president, he’s open to criminal charges, like any other US Citizen. This week, the Supreme Court declared that Trump’s tax records cannot be off-limits to prosecutors in New York City. This means eventually his dirty laundry will come out. I saw one analysis that explained just how quickly this could potentially happen. We’ll see!
Speaking of the Supreme Court, they just announced that about half the land in Oklahoma legally belongs to Native Americans. It was yet another example of the Supreme Court making a decision that you might consider a more progressive point of view, despite the court’s conservative slant.
Speaking of the conservative slant of the court, the math is really clear about what the next four years hold. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are 87 and 82 years old, respectively. They’re both liberal. It would not be surprising if they retire in the next four years. So that means if Biden wins, the idealogical split of the court will stay the same, favouring conservatives 5–4. But if Trump stays in power, the numbers tilt to 7–2 in favour of the conservatives. This is a really big deal.
We need to temper our enthusiasm, because the Senate is still a pretty heavy lift for Democrats. It’s highly likely that the GOP retains control of the chamber. And it’s the Senate that decides whether or not to confirm Supreme Court justices. But if the Democrats do manage to control the Senate, it means their Supreme Court seats will sail through. Remember, it was the Republican Senate that simply refused to seat Obama’s Supreme Court appointment. And they’d do it again.
If Trump had tempered his impulses by even 10%, he might have been able to maintain the bare minimum of support he needed to get re-elected. Plenty of voters in the center are willing to give him leeway as long as they believe he’s a decent human being. And in that election, he could have gotten away with everything. A 7–2 Supreme Court, another two years of Senate control, and he might have even found a way to bolster his numbers in the House.
But he did the opposite. He’s done everything you’d want him to do if you want to see him self destruct gloriously. It’s the story of King Lear, or Scarface, all over again. He was riding high. He thought he could do no wrong. The final chapter of his story might end up with him losing everything, in the crosshairs of the law, saying “my kingdom for a horse.” We’ve never had an American president who deserves it as much as he does.