As I write this, Election Day is a mere three days away. Most observers agree that this election will be a pivotal one for America.
According to a recent Gallup Poll voters are feeling more enthusiastic and, at the same time, more fearful than in previous elections. As I write this, already some 87 million voters have already cast their ballots in early voting. 87 million! The lines have been long, but people have been determined to vote. At this pace, the 2020 election may turn out to have one of the highest turnouts ever.
A recent Gallup poll reported that 77% of voters agree that the stakes are higher in this election; 69% are more enthusiastic about their candidate; and 64% are afraid of what will transpire if the other candidate wins. A Fox News poll reported that 86% of Americans are anticipating “unrest” following the election regardless of who wins. Based upon the rioting, lawlessness and violence we have already witnessed this year I would say those concerns are justified, particularly with the potential for controversial results in many states.
In my view, as I have discussed in previous blogs, there are substantial differences between the philosophies of the GOP and the Dems as well as between the two candidates, themselves. Therefore, depending on which Party wins, it is very likely that the country will move in radically different directions politically, economically and socially for many years to come. The voters realize that the stakes could not be higher, hence the high turnout and levels of enthusiasm.
I have questioned the validity of the polls in previous blogs. I have outlined their many flaws. The focus of this blog will be on the differences between what the pollsters are telling us and what we see with our own eyes at the campaign rallies.
According to the recently-released polls President Trump is gaining on Biden, but Biden is maintaining a small lead in the national polls as well as in most of the battleground states. These polls have been fairly consistent. Depending on the particular poll Biden’s lead in these states is between 3% and 7%. So, in essence, the polls are telling us that Biden will win, perhaps by a comfortable margin.
But, not so fast. The eyes are telling a different story. President Trump has been drawing huge, enthusiastic crowds to his rallies. This is obvious whenever the cameras pan into a wide view. In addition, he has been holding as many as three in a given day. He has 14 scheduled in seven states in the next three days.
On the other hand, Biden has held far fewer rallies. Some days he does not even leave his basement bunker. When he does appear his crowds appear smaller, less enthusiastic, and more desultory. Until the last few days, his strategy seems to have been to avoid a mistake and “run out the clock.”
This discrepancy between the polls and the eye test is not new. It appears to be a characteristic of Mr. Trump’s campaigns. It is reminiscent of the 2016 election. Back then, the polls showed that Clinton had a comfortable lead, and she appeared to be a “shoo-in.” Yet, Mr. Trump won. This year the pattern seems to be repeating itself. Many observers are concerned that the same thing may happen again this year. For example, Dem supporters, such as filmmaker, Michael Moore and political analyst, James Carville have been urging the Biden campaign not to be complacent. They have been expressing concern that the poll numbers may be wrong. They were fooled in 2016, and they don’t want to be fooled again.
I believe that one of the major keys to this election will be the “shy” Trump voters. These are voters who plan on voting for Mr. Trump but won’t admit it, even to their friends, due to concerns of retribution, retaliation and/or ridicule. Some even fear it would impact their businesses or their jobs.
As I see it, the questions regarding the “shy” Trump voters are:
- Do they even exist, or are they a figment of imagination?
- How many are there?
- In which states are they located?
- What is the demographic makeup?
- Will they turn out to vote?
No one really knows the answers to these questions, although opinions abound. In my view, they hold the key to the whole election, and hence the country’s future.
My opinion is that:
- They do exist. I know this for a fact because I know many of them personally.
- I don’t know the number, but I suspect there are enough of them to “move the needle,” especially in the battleground states.
- They are located in every state, but, as one might expect, their influence will be most profound in the battleground states.
- The demographic makeup is difficult to assess, but based on news reports I feel strongly that it includes a significant number of Blacks and Latinos.
- I feel they are strongly motivated and a significant amount of them will vote.
As I have said many times, the likelihood is that we will not know the winner on Election Night, because many states will have close races, and disputed results. In addition, the loser, whomever it may be, may not concede until he has exhausted all available legal remedies. Don’t be surprised if the issue is ultimately decided by the House or the Supreme Court months after the election.
There is a possibility that we may not have identified the winner by Inauguration Day. In that case, what does the Constitution say we do? Who knows? I, for one, do not want to find out. If nothing else, this election could be a boon for the lawyers.