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final election 2020 commentary

As of this morning, Real Clear Politics has the four way race going for Biden at around 52%, Trump 45% and the Libertarians (Jorgenson) and Greens (Hawkins) at about a combined 2.5%. I am not going to spend time forecasting elections results because the popular vote is clearly going to Biden. Nate Silver’s posits a 10% chance of an Electoral College upset for Trump and that seems reasonable. A Trump Electoral College win is definitely unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility. If you’re a Democrat, you might enjoying knowing that Michigan progrssive groups have been massively spam texting me for a month becuase I used to live there. Clearly, “we’re not letting THAT happen again!”

Instead, I’ll add a few comments about other aspects of this election. Let’s start with 3rd parties. I take this election cycle as more evidence for the “parking lot” theory of third parties. A lot of voters will say they are interested in 3rd parties in surveys but when it comes around to voting, they really just want a brand name major party politician. This year just confirms the hypothesis. The Greens and Libertarians are doing even worse than in 2016. We have a beleagured president and a tepid challenger and yet, third parties are just having no impact, aside from being spoilers at the state and local levels. The message to me is clear – 3rd parties remain pretty ineffective tools for political influence for fringe ideas.

Second, I’d like to talk about police reform and the “party in the street” hypothesis – namely, movements back off when their party is in power. In the Spring, we saw a big push for police reform and even some folks arguing for defunding or abolition. I thought that when Kamala Harris became the VP nominee, we’d see some big push back from party activists because of her “law and order” record. But very little happened. My prediction is that should Harris win, many police reform folks will praise the candidate that they loather earlier in the year. The Party in the Street hypothesis 1, police abolitionists 0.

Have any other perspectives on this election cycle? Put it in the comments!

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Written by fabiorojas

November 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Posted in uncategorized

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  1. Ralph Nader in 2000. Jill Stein in 2016. Each one narrowly, but decisively flipped the Presidential race to a candidate who was presumably farther away from these third-party sentiments than the Democratic opponent. As a flagpole for new ideas, maybe such parties would be worth it. But each candidacy, though it offered new ideas, became simply a protest vote. Maybe that’s tarnished the appeal of third parties for a long time.

    On a related topic, see the NYTimes on ‘The Boaty McBoatfacing of America’, on the perils of letting the Internet decide important things as long as it works much better at propagating jokes.

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    Don Frazier

    November 3, 2020 at 5:34 pm

  2. Fair point. The question is how much such candidates change the platform. Perot did manage to actually get one of his issues (balanced budget) taken seriously. Nader and Stein, a little unclear to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    fabiorojas

    November 3, 2020 at 5:59 pm


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