What We Said 90 Days Ago
When Trump was elected in 2016, I kicked off an art experiment called 90 Days Ago Trump. The idea was I’d write political articles, then put them in a time capsule for 90 days before posting them.
For example, I wrote this on December 26, 2016 about Trump’s very wealthy cabinet and their big ideas for leading their areas:
Advocates of charter schools and vouchers argue that failing schools should be held accountable. I think everyone agrees with that statement. But the track record for Betsy DeVos seems pretty bad. The easiest thing to do is criticize. The second easiest thing to do is try a new approach. But the hardest thing, by far, is proving results.
Betsy DeVos in particular and and the entire GOP platform more broadly are a good example of this. They’re great at talking about how bad everything is. They’re great at rhetoric. […] But results? Ones that show up in the numbers? That’s the hard part. That’s where they haven’t been able to prove leadership or success. Their ideas poll poorly and do worse when implemented. Without some new data point, or some angle I haven’t considered, I see a replay of the George W Bush era coming. They’ll try a lot of things, they mostly won’t work, and they’ll be voted out.
And then the fun part was that the essay wasn’t actually posted live for 90 days, so by then we could compare and contrast with the reality on the ground. You could see conventional wisdom shifting in real time!
I wrote the first burst of essays through the early part of 2017, then stopped until about 90 days ago, because I wanted to record how things were feeling in the final stages of the Biden/Trump campaign. On September 26, I wrote See You In December where I summarised what we were all talking about:
The biggest news on everyone’s mind is definitely Trump’s unwillingness to support a fair election. Also Mitt Romney caved, so Trump will definitely get his Supreme Court seat.
But the post I’d really like to point you to is simply called September 26, 2020. Notable quote:
Second, Trump abso-fucking-lutely will not concede. On election night, there will be ample discussions about uncounted ballots but it won’t matter. Trump will immediately latch on to some “irregularities” bullshit and bang the drum for months. I don’t think things will be called on election night, but it’ll become clear within about 24 hours where the data is headed … and Trump will have an absolute fit.
Then the clock will start ticking. Election day is early November, but inauguration day is a full two months later. Trump will use every single second of that time to contest the results. There will be lawsuits and confusion (helpfully added to by Russia) and it’s going to be intense.
The funny thing about Trump is how transparent he is. We can see things coming from far away because he explains every move he’s going to make beforehand. And projects like this help make that super clear.