Could Trump Shock the World Again?

Fear of a reprise of 2016 is still with us.

Despite President Trump not having spent a day with majority job approval in nearly four years in office and not for a nanosecond leading Joe Biden in national polling averages, the fear of a repeat of 2016 has not abated.

The humorist and filmmaker Michael Moore, who sagely predicted a Trump win last go-around as “the biggest F- you in human history,” is letting the chips ride.

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore is sounding the alarm five days before Election Day, strongly suggesting that polls showing Joe Biden in a comfortable lead against President Trump are not accurate.

During his appearance on The Hill TV’s “Rising,” Moore began by calling it “awful news” that Biden was ahead of Trump by seven points in his home state of Michigan and explained how Trump managed to cut Biden’s lead “in half,” citing another poll that had the Democratic nominee “16 points” ahead of the president.

“Trump has tightened virtually every one of these swing states to the point where- what are they saying this morning?… ‘Biden’s five points ahead in Wisconsin… maybe three points ahead in Florida, two points ahead in Arizona’… Listen, don’t believe these polls,'” Moore said. “The Trump vote is always being undercounted. Pollsters- when they actually call the Trump voter, the Trump voter is very suspicious of the ‘Deep State’ calling them and asking them who they’re voting for.”

Polls are “fake news” to Trump supporter, he said.

“So it is not an accurate count. I think the safe thing to do, this is not scientific… whatever they’re saying the Biden lead is, cut it in half, right now, in your head. Cut it in half, and now you’re within the four-point margin of error. That’s how close this is! That’s how desperately close this is!”

It’s entirely possible, I guess, that Trump voters think federal bureaucrats are pretending to be pollsters for some reason and are therefore “shy.” What that has to do with the margin of error of aggregated polling, however, eludes me.

Regardless, Moore has been banging this drum for a while now:

Back in August, the Oscar-winning documentarian warned Democrats about the enthusiasm gap between the Biden base and the Trump base.

“I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,” Moore wrote in a Facebook post. “Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!”

Measuring intensity is perhaps the hardest thing in polling. Still, the evidence seems pretty clear by this point that enthusiasm is pretty much off the charts across the board. Few of us are likely enthusiastic about Biden per se. But the desire to rid ourselves of Trump is rather palpable and evidenced by the massive early voting turnout.

The Atlantic’s White House correspondent, Peter Nicholas, weighs in with a not-very-convincing scenario for “How Trump Could Shock the World Again.” He suggests that four ongoing strategies by the campaign could pay dividends.

Trying to expand the map

The president will be better positioned for another Electoral College victory if he can pry loose a state or two that Democrats won last time. His campaign has been eyeing New Hampshire and Nevada, but another target, Minnesota, has as many Electoral College votes as the other two combined. Clinton carried Minnesota by only 45,000 votes in 2016. Although Republicans haven’t won it since 1972, a play for Minnesota is not a bad gamble: At minimum, competing in the state forces Democrats to divert resources from other battlegrounds.

But this assumes that there are 51 separate, unconnected races going on. Yes, we tally votes that way. But it’s practically inconceivable that Trump will win Minnesota, which last voted Republican for President in 1972, because of a groundswell among the white working class and yet lose Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Indeed, if Trump wins Minnesota, he’s likely to win the election quite comfortably.

Microtargeting Latino voters

Trump’s campaign is sending customized messages to voters of Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan heritage who may be receptive to the president’s anti-socialist rhetoric.

“It’s classic microtargeting,” José Parra, a Democratic consultant and former aide to ex-Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, told me. Trump is “going after the main groups in South Florida that could help him out in blunting Democratic turnout.”

A theme of Trump’s messaging is that he’s a bulwark against leftist ideology espoused by specific political figures in Latin America. “These are folks who are generally religious and culturally conservative,” Nick Trainer, the campaign’s director of battleground strategy, told me of the voters being targeted. “Especially in Florida, the Cuban and Venezuelan voters often have left countries that have communist histories. The advantage of incumbency is we get to spend time homing in on each and every piece of the electorate.”

I can’t imagine Trump is going to make serious headway with Latino voters but, again, this is really about Florida. It’s a must-win state for him but not for Biden.

Shoring up evangelical voters

White evangelical Christians accounted for 20 percent of people who voted in 2016. Today, they constitute only 18 percent of registered voters, according to the Pew Research Center. Some are tiring of Trump’s act. He received 80 percent of the evangelical vote in 2016; a Pew poll earlier this month showed that his support had slipped to 78 percent. “He needs maximal white-evangelical turnout. That’s his only path to winning,” Michael Wear, who handled religious outreach for former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, told me.

This isn’t so much a strategy as a blinding flash of the obvious. But the mere fact that evangelicals have to be shored up is a sign that Trump can’t win, not a sneaky backdoor path.

Holding rallies to recruit new voters

Democrats went through rounds of finger-pointing after Clinton’s defeat. Should Biden lose, a similar reckoning will begin anew. Already, some analysts point to inroads Republicans have made in voter registration as a potential problem.

At Trump rallies, campaign aides have been checking to make sure supporters are registered to vote. (Biden largely chose to forgo big rallies because of the pandemic). In Florida, the Democratic registration advantage is down to about 134,000 voters, out of a total of more than 14 million. By contrast, in the 2000 election, Democrats’ registration lead in Florida was 379,000. In Pennsylvania, Republicans have cut the Democrats’ registration lead since 2016 from 916,000 to 687,000, out of 9 million registered voters. That’s not a trivial difference. Four years ago, Trump won Pennsylvania by just 44,000 votes.

Sean Trende, a senior elections analyst at Real Clear Politics, cites the registration numbers along with Trump’s relatively high approval ratings on the economy as evidence that he could prevail. “If Trump does pull out the win or overperforms expectations significantly, we would look back at these types of things and say, ‘Yeah, it was there all along!'” Trende told me.

I’m unpersuaded that the rallies are going to bring out new voters but it’s plausible that Biden’s bunker strategy has helped in the polls but will come back to haunt him in turnout.

As to the registration gap tightening, my instinct is that it’s a function of Republican voter suppression tactics rather than rally-inspired enthusiasm or diligence. Still, while that’s totally plausible in Florida, it’s less so in Pennsylvania, which has a Democratic governor to go along with the Republican legislature.

Nicholas’ colleague, Derek Thompson, tells us “Don’t Sweat the Polls.” While he understands why Democrats are still having 2016-inspired nightmares, he assures us that this time, things are different.

1. In 2016, the pollsters totally whiffed on the Great Lakes states. In 2020, they’ve changed their methods.

National polls weren’t more off in 2016 than in previous years. The problem happened at the state level. Whereas state polls underestimated Barack Obama’s support by about three points in 2012, they underestimated Trump’s support by more than five points in 2016, the largest error so far this century. The most important reason, according to a postmortem from the American Association for Public Opinion Research, was that state polls undercounted non-college-educated voters, who turned out in droves for Trump.

He goes on in some detail to explain how that happened and how pollsters have adjusted. We already covered that yesterday morning.

2. In 2016, a ton of undecided voters broke late for Trump. In 2020, most of those voters have already decided.

Two weeks before the 2016 election, FiveThirtyEight‘s Nate Silver noted that 15 percent of voters still hadn’t made up their minds, which was roughly three times more than the number of undecideds in 2012. This statistic was the Chekhov’s gun of the last election: the ominous presence foreshadowing a final-act surprise. “One of the reasons why our models still give Trump an outside chance at victory,” Silver wrote four years ago, was that Trump could eke it out “by winning almost all of the undecided and third-party voters.”

There’s more there but you get the idea. This, too, is well-covered ground.

3. In 2016, we had the mother of all October surprises. In 2020, we have the most stable race in decades.

He goes into quite a bit of detail here, focusing on the Comey letter, contrasting it with the consistency in this race. I would argue that the second factor is far more important—and is related to the previous point.

4. In 2016, district-level polls indicated a last-minute Democratic collapse. In 2020, they indicate Democratic strength.

In early November 2016, several careful polling analysts started sounding the alarm for Hillary Clinton in the upper Midwest.

Six days before the election, The Atlantic‘s Ron Brownstein noted that “Clinton has not visited Wisconsin since April, and appeared just twice in Michigan from June through October.” By abandoning these key states, she was acting “like a general who has sent out a large expeditionary force and left modest forces to defend their homeland.”

Five days before the election, Dave Wasserman at the Cook Political Report tweeted a poll from upstate New York that found Trump ahead by 14 points in a district where Obama and Romney had tied four years earlier. It suggested that Clinton’s support among white working-class districts was collapsing at the worst possible time. “Five days from Election Day, it’s clear who has the momentum,” he wrote. “And it’s not Hillary Clinton. This thing is close.”

This year, those congressional polls are telling a different story. Rather than illuminating surprising weaknesses for Biden, they’re reaffirming his strengths. In some cases, the district polls are pointing to an even larger Biden blowout than the national or state surveys. Most important, Trump isn’t getting anywhere near his 2016 margins in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Wasserman observed. Four years ago, there was a quiet “Trump! Trump! Trump!” alarm going off that only congressional polling analysts could hear. This year, they’re listening closely—but no Trump alarm is sounding.

Of course, that’s hindsight. There really wasn’t any collective sense of shifting momentum ahead of the vote. It’s easy to spot, though, once you know the outcome.

Thompson saves the best for last:

5. In 2016, there wasn’t a global pandemic. In 2020, there is a global pandemic.

It’s been four years of one “shocking but not surprising” thing after another. But this year’s October surprises have been—unshockingly, unsurprisingly—all about the plague. The president’s COVID-19 diagnosis, which overlapped with a disastrous first-debate performance, buoyed Biden at the moment when Trump needed to stage a comeback. An autumn surge of nationwide cases refocused the national media’s attention on the pandemic, which the public believes Trump has mishandled.

There’s more but Duh.

The bottom line is that, in 2016, a lot of people were disillusioned with the direction of the country and they figured, what the hell, let’s give Trump a try. He’s now been President for four years. He’s no longer a wild card.

Indeed, I find it hilarious that he’s still campaigning on Make America Great Again. The man’s had a go of it and we can see how it went.

In the last debate of the 1980 cycle, Ronald Reagan asked a country being asked to re-elect Jimmy Carter, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” The answer helped a late swing to the challenger. Implicitly, Biden is asking the question again. The answer is more stark this time than it was four decades ago.*

_________________________

*UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me via email that the most recent Gallup polling on this question (October 14), found that, “A majority (55%) also considered themselves and their family to be better off than they were four years ago.” This from a poll that gave him only 46% job approval overall.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To repeat myself:

    I’ll be honest.

    I just can’t bring myself to take any of the scenarios where a president who has spent the vast majority of his term at 45% or lower approval, has always trailed his opponent and is currently within kissing cousins of losing by a double digit popular vote margin and wins said election, serious. Neither do I believe any of the imagined court machinations will be successful enough to overturn such a vote, especially when the state level polling is so against him, and it is backed up by state level polling showing that his fellow party members are scratching and clawing for their political lives in such stalwart red states like KS, SC, IA, GA.

    And I haven’t even mentioned Texas which just might have a blue House next year.

    So…

    I acknowledge the fact that the future is unknowable, that it is in fact possible trump might actually dive thru a second electoral needle at 60 mph, but that is not the way I bet. I put several hundreds of dollars on the bet that not only would he lose but he would cost the GOP the Senate and even more house seats.

    If I’m wrong, I’ll deal with it on November 4th.

    17
  2. charon says:

    Judging by what I see here, Trump’s chances looking pretty slim:

    https://twitter.com/tbonier

    Trump plus many Republican judges have been clear about their hopes to win by being ahead on Nov. 3 and not counting ballots received after Nov.3.

    Angry voters anxious to toss Trump are reacting as one might expect – voting early.

    9
  3. Mikey says:

    Measuring intensity is perhaps the hardest thing in polling. Still, the evidence seems pretty clear by this point that enthusiasm is pretty much off the charts across the board.

    I have never in my 36 years of voting waited more than about 15 minutes. Last week in Fairfax County I waited nearly two hours. As I’m sure you understand, Fairfax is not a place known for making voting difficult. There were just a lot of people wanting to vote early.

    People don’t line up for two, three, four, or more hours to vote if they’re happy with how things are.

    16
  4. DeD says:

    I’m with Ozark. Keep it simple. Trump is down and he’s dragging the GOP with him. Everyone is shitting the bed about 2016. This ain’t 2016, Biden isn’t Hillary, and Trump is exposed as the fraud he’s been his entire life.

    16
  5. Mikey says:

    @DeD: Same. I think we’ll know on Election Night, and it won’t be close.

    3
  6. Monala says:

    Blaire Erskine is a comedian who makes videos where she pretends to be a Trump supporter. She tends to be so convincing that folks new to her videos don’t always recognize them as satire. (Hint: listen for her kids’ names. Two of her three kids will always have absurd names; e.g., “my kids, Jackson, Corona, and Hydrochloquine.”)

    Anyway, she did a recent video pretending to be a Trump supporter who was stranded for hours in the cold in Omaha, gushing while shivering that Trump was testing her commitment to him and she was determined to pass that test.

    Michael Moore retweeted her video as evidence that Trump would win again, due to his supporters’ dedication. He has since deleted it, but Erskine captured a screenshot: Link

    12
  7. Mikey says:

    @Monala: Poe’s Law strikes again!

    2
  8. JohnMcC says:

    @charon: Well, thank you for that. It’s the sort of thing that makes me occasionally think that being on twitter would be cool. And I s’pose I’m like Michael Moore — the more I want in my head for Trump and the GOP humiliated, the louder I hear the ‘OH NO!’ in my gut.

  9. Scott says:

    the fear of a repeat of 2016 has not abated.

    Good. Fear is good. I hope voters are afraid. And act.

    4
  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Michael Moore is Trump’s doppelganger, a needy, narcissistic creep.

    Moore: no ones paying attention to me

    Moore: Biden going to lose!

    Oww, Fox news is paying attention to me. sighs in satisfaction.

    On the other hand Florida Dem Party incompetence could cost Biden the state.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/29/miami-voter-turnout-democrats-433643

    I’ve been a bit dubious about Biden winning FL, because it is predicated on a large turnout of unreliable voters in a state where the party apparatus has been criticized for ineptitude.

    For no logical reason, except TX Dems have an opportunity to radically revise the political script, I think Biden has a better chance to win TX than FL.

    3
  11. wr says:

    I don’t know why Moore who, at his best, is a formidably talented filmmaker, has chosen to devote his life to becoming the Scott Adams of the left. He’s becoming as useless as Bill Maher…

    22
  12. charon says:

    @JohnMcC:

    I have had a twitter account for maybe 3 years now, I have probably posted maybe 1 or 2 tweets of my own over that time.

    But I do a lot of retweeting, several times per day usually, stuff I want to save for reference. and I have a list of sites to look at.

    1
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    Contrarianism combined with celebrity is a trap. Moore’s defined himself as a guy who will always oppose the conventional wisdom. You never want to ‘always’ be anything unless you want reality to leave tread marks on your back. He had his stopped clock moment, and with a bit of luck we will soon be rid of him.

    7
  14. Paine says:

    I’m getting an eerie sense of deja vu going back to early 2016. After Scalia passed I thought to myself, “Well, Obama gets an appointment and there’s no way Hillary loses to Trump so she’ll get at least two SCOTUS picks and we’ll get the court moved to the left.” What I didn’t factor in was GOP machinations to make all of that *not* happen. So, I’m mildly optimistic but who knows what sort of schemes the GOP have going on in the background that could upend everything.

    2
  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’ll re-type what I typed yesterday;

    Biden winning is the sunshine filled happy ending to a dark evil tragedy that only happens in the movies.

    Unfortunately this is not a movie. The country as we know it can, and likely will, end.

    4
  16. Kylopod says:

    The humorist and filmmaker Michael Moore, who sagely predicted a Trump win last go

    And he also predicted Mitt Romney would win in 2012. If there was ever a poster boy for the stopped-clock metaphor….

    9
  17. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Contrarianism combined with celebrity is a trap.

    I absolutely agree, but I’d add that the ultimate source is narcissistic self-regard. When you hear people like, say, Susan Collins or Joe Lieberman who like to present themselves as “reasonable centrists,” it’s not quite the same brand as the likes of Moore, Maher, Adams, etc., but it comes from a similar place, the idea that “my” opinions are wiser and more independent than all you thoughtless sheep following the herd.

    9
  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    Tim Miller’s quick and dirty review of election scenarios.

    https://thebulwark.com/election-preview-snapchat-edition/

    1
  19. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Michael Moore is Trump’s doppelganger, a needy, narcissistic creep.

    Absolutely. Remember when he was booed at the Oscars? Later he claimed it was just two people in the back.

    1
  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump has cancelled plans to appear at the Trump Hotel in DC on election night, and will appear at the WH instead.
    Make no mistake….he has no intention of ever leaving the White House.
    And he knows damn well that he has the SCOTUS, Baghdad Bill Barr, Esper, Ratcliffe, and the Senate, to help him stay for as long as he wants.

    4
  21. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: That voice that comes from the darkest corners of my head, YOU’RE HEARING IT TOO!

    2
  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @JohnMcC:

    the darkest corners of my head

    The prefrontal cortex…

    1
  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    And he knows damn well that he has the SCOTUS, Baghdad Bill Barr, Esper, Ratcliffe, and the Senate, to help him stay for as long as he wants.

    But he’ll be wrong. If the election hinges on one or two states within the margin of ratfracking they may hang on. Otherwise Barr, Esper, Ratcliffe and the rest of the admin will be fully occupied with trying to find cushy spots in Wingnut Welfare, SCOTUS will focus on overturning corporate regulation, and McConnell will turn full time to obstructing all of Biden’s works and ways. They’re loyal to power, not to Trump.

    11
  24. Scott says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    and will appear at the WH instead.

    Stealing the silverware and the light fixtures take time.

    3
  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    They’re loyal to power, not to Trump.

    It’s a cult of personality.

    2
  26. Bill says:

    A simple answer to the title of this post- Yes

    The Democrats have nominated a weak candidate and the polls can be wrong.

    1
  27. Bill says:

    @charon:

    Angry voters anxious to toss Trump are reacting as one might expect – voting early.

    Pandemic or pandemic, I think it is stupid to stand in line for an hour or more to vote early.

  28. KM says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    We also need to break people of the idea that voting out Trump will magically fix things. This country is screwed for at LEAST a decade because of the things he’s done, if not far longer. We’re going to need multiple Dem POTUS with Congressional backup to begin to repair the damage, especially if a Barrett on the SC starts noping all the good they may accomplish.

    Trump has destroyed this country much like a hurricane has. Repairs are possible and we can even build it better than it was before. However, repairs need to be done before another storm can compound the damage and some things are just gone forever. Some things just need to be recreated or reimagined and that means there will be priorities, things left by the wayside and forgotten. PR is *still* affected by the storm from years ago – there are places where the electrical grid damage from the hurricane and subsequent earthquake are still iffy. There are places where the damage was just left to nature because it wasn’t worth saving.

    Getting rid of Trump isn’t going to give us a happy ending. It just means we’ve managed to make the kaiju attack of the moment stop. He’ll still be around, still have access to Twitter and FB. His nutty followers will still be on Youtube making insane videos about conspiracy theories. His cronies on the courts will still be doing damage decades after he’s in the ground and everyone he’s slid into power doesn’t automatically leave with him. Next week is the start of the beginning, not the end of the chapter.

    15
  29. mattbernius says:

    @wr:

    I don’t know why Moore who, at his best, is a formidably talented filmmaker, has chosen to devote his life to becoming the Scott Adams of the left.

    Counterpoint, Moore has always been a polemicist bully (see for example any interaction with office workers and low-wage employees in “Roger and Me”) and like a lot of talented filmmakers, was at his best when he had others to curb his worse excesses. Unfortunately, like many others (see, eg, Zack Snyder* and George Lucas) that ship sailed a long long long long time ago.

    (I’d also argue Snyder is a talented cinematographer who somehow got labeled as a “visionary director” despite absolutely no evidence that he understands how to actually tell a sustained story).

    6
  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Bill:
    Biden’s a weak candidate? He’s held a 7-10 point lead nationally against an incumbent president for months. He’s ahead in every state Hillary took, and a bunch of battleground states Trump took in 2016. To top it off he’s printing campaign money.

    All Democratic candidates should be so ‘weak.’

    16
  31. Joe says:

    I am going to go with gVOR08 on this one and not with Daryl and his brother Darryl. It’s a cult of personality for Trumps voters, but for the likes of Barr, Esper, Ratcliffe and McConnell, it’s only about the power. Sucking up to his personality is just to be next to the power.

    @Bill: I don’t think it is stupid to stand in line for an hour or more to vote early, I think it is criminal to underplace and underman voting facilities that result in this.

    10
  32. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Moore’s defined himself as a guy who will always oppose the conventional wisdom.”

    I think that’s what’s happened to Taibbi, too, to rope in another forum. When just about the entire left is united, you don’t get noticed by fighting the right — everyone’s already doing that. So you claim your lefty credentials and attack Democrats and you stand alone again.

    3
  33. Bill says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Biden’s a weak candidate? He’s held a 7-10 point lead nationally against an incumbent president for months. He’s ahead in every state Hillary took, and a bunch of battleground states Trump took in 2016. To top it off he’s printing campaign money.

    All Democratic candidates should be so ‘weak.’

    Michael,

    Before the pandemic and the resulting hit it made to the United States economy and while Biden was the declared frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, I proclaimed around this blog multiple times that Biden would more than likely lose unless the economy went in the toilet.

    He’s old and tired
    His judgment on important issues over the years has been questionable
    etc etc

    The Pandemic hit with over 200,000 dead in this country , millions have lost their jobs. A straight out recipe for political disaster for an incumbent president. (Ask Jimmy Carter) What are we doing right now? Asking ourselves if 2016 can happen again. If supporters of Biden are so confident, why are they asking this question when we’re in the circumstances we’re in at present?

    3
  34. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “The humorist and filmmaker Michael Moore, who sagely predicted a Trump win last go”

    I think there’s a typo in there. It’s not “sagely,” it’s “SAFELY.” As in, the polls were tight, there was momentum for Trump in the midwest… and Moore got a lot of attention for predicting his victory. When he won, Moore could claim to be a visionary; if he’d lost Moore would have said “thanks to my warning we headed that off.”

    It’s just self-promotion.

    5
  35. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “And he knows damn well that he has the SCOTUS, Baghdad Bill Barr, Esper, Ratcliffe, and the Senate, to help him stay for as long as he wants.”

    Do you also think the defeated Republican senators are also going to give up their seats? Because the new congress begins before the presidential inauguration…

    1
  36. wr says:

    @KM: “We also need to break people of the idea that voting out Trump will magically fix things.”

    Who actually holds this idea, or are you just building a straw man? I have not heard one person ever say this. It’s “First we get Trump out and then we start to rebuild…”

    4
  37. Gustopher says:

    Someone in the open thread mentioned that Texas has already matched 2016 voting levels. I don’t think polling with a likely voter screen based on previous years can be relied upon. Do they adjust the models correctly? If voter participation is way up, I would expect it to challenge some of the assumptions in the polling methodology. Now toss in increased efforts at disenfranchisement.

    I think it means Trump is in for a world of humiliation, but we’re in uncharted territory here.

    For some reason, I’m reminded of young people who want to change the world, and just assume that if they do it will be for the better. It’s what they hope will happen, but… how can they be sure?

    I’m not a polling skeptic, per say, I’m just skeptical about the polling this year. Too many variables too different from past years. My skepticism doesn’t make me want to unskew the results, it makes me want to increase the error bars.

    3
  38. Gustopher says:

    @wr: Except a lot of the polling showed that Moore was right — not just about the outcome, but about the issues that resonated with 2016 Trump voters that Clinton wasn’t getting her message through on.

    Donald Trump ran on economic populism, and a lot of people wanted that. He hasn’t done anything in office for economic populism, but he was running on it.

    I think it’s hard to distinguish a concern troll from a professional troll who happens to be legitimately concerned. I’d put Moore in the latter camp.

    3
  39. Gustopher says:

    @Bill:

    Pandemic or pandemic, I think it is stupid to stand in line for an hour or more to vote early.

    Lines are going to be longer on Election Day.

    4
  40. Teve says:

    @Bill: Bullshit.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden is starting the week of the Democratic National Convention with an unprecedented lead over President Donald Trump, according to multiple polls released over the past few days.

    A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Biden with a double-digit advantage over Trump with both likely voters (54%-44%) and registered voters (53%-41%), while a CBS News/YouGov poll taken between August 12 and 14 found Biden with a similar 10-point lead (52%-42%) over Trump. The lone good poll for Trump over the weekend was CNN, which still found Biden with a 4-point lead outside the 3.7% margin of error.

    All three surveys were conducted following Kamala Harris’s selection as Biden’s running mate last week. And though it’s still early, Harris had a higher approval rating than both Biden and Trump, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, in an NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll released last week.

    Biden’s lead at this point is historic. In the last 13 presidential elections where an incumbent was on the ballot, no challenger was at 50% or more in the polls at this point in the cycle, according to CNN. The closest were Jimmy Carter in 1976, who went on to defeat President Gerald Ford, and Thomas Dewey in 1948. (Dewey lost to President Harry Truman; the polling failures of that year paved the way for modern polling techniques.)

    2
  41. Monala says:

    @Mikey: Sarah Cooper joins in on the fun:

    Sarah Cooper
    @sarahcpr
    Replying to
    @MMFlint
    Wait… I know how this ends. Michael Moore shares satirical video, a trump supporter uses that video in a commercial as a testament to Donald Trump, Donald Trump then retweets it, the NYTimes interviews Blair, who stays in character, and that’s how Trump wins Michigan

    2
  42. @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    It’s a cult of personality.

    I guess we may have the chance to test this hypothesis, because I agree that they abandon him when he is no longer in power.

    May there be a true-believing straggler (Stephen Miller)? Sure. But Barr et al don’t care about Trump for Trump’s sake.

    4
  43. @Bill:

    The Democrats have nominated a weak candidate and the polls can be wrong.

    They can be wrong, yes. If they are really this wrong, then the entire polling industry is going to have to blown up and reconstructed.

    And while Biden was not my first choice and clearly has his flaws, it is hard to call a candidate polling at or above 50% consistently (and at +8/+9/+10) “weak.”

    11
  44. @Bill:

    If supporters of Biden are so confident, why are they asking this question when we’re in the circumstances we’re in at present?

    Easy: 2o16 PTSD. The Best Democrat Ever could be polling 60-35 and Dems would be nervous.

    16
  45. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    In the last 13 presidential elections where an incumbent was on the ballot, no challenger was at 50% or more in the polls at this point in the cycle, according to CNN.

    I believe that point is not as relevant as it sounds once you factor in the influence of third-party candidates. In 1980 there was Anderson. Reagan in the end just barely broke 50% in the popular vote despite winning a massive electoral landslide. In 1992, during the period in which Perot temporarily dropped out of the race, Clinton was over 50% in polls (an additional data point refuting the myth that Perot was a spoiler candidate who split the Republican vote).

    There have only been four presidents voted out of office in the past hundred years, and in two of those elections (1980 and 1992) there was a significant third-party candidate, which probably explains the challenger’s failure to break 50% in the polls by this point. As the article mentions, in 1976 Carter did break 50%–despite the fact that his win was very narrow. That can pretty much be explained by the lack of a third-party candidate. The same probably holds true for 1932, though there weren’t polls back then so we have no way of knowing.

    1
  46. Joseph says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:start preparing to deal with it because you are so wrong!

  47. @Bill: Also, Biden was polling at 50% against Trump on 3/1/20. That was before the pandemic was an issue and before the economic downturn.

    Your thesis only works if Biden was behind prior to the lockdown. He wasn’t.

    6
  48. Bill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Your thesis only works if Biden was behind prior to the lockdown. He wasn’t.

    My thesis is voters vote their wallets. See 1980, 1992, 2008. People think the economy is bad, they blame the incumbent party in the WH.

  49. Bill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Your thesis only works if Biden was behind prior to the lockdown. He wasn’t.

    My thesis is voters vote their wallets. See 1980, 1992, 2008. People think the economy is bad, they blame the incumbent party in the WH.

    Or if the economy is good, they vote for the incumbent. What was our unemployment% before March 1?

    1
  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    What people forget about ‘conventional wisdom’ is that while it can be wrong, it’s far more likely right.

  51. Joseph says:

    Americans have a choice: They can vote for President Trump, the candidate who just delivered the fastest quarter of growth in the nation’s history, or for Joe Biden, who as vice president presided over the slowest economic recovery since World War II.

    The difference is stark.

    2
  52. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    …true-believing straggler (Stephen Miller)?

    And Miller is a true believer, because he realizes that he will be radioactive to any of the normal wingnut welfare landing spots. Difficult to see him at Hoover, Heritage or AEI, a university, not likely and few corporations would want the controversy.

  53. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Bill:
    It’s different this time. This election is not about the economy alone. I got the tax cut, I’m still voting Biden even though he will raise my taxes. Abortion. Gay and trans rights. Climate change. Race. These are all factors this time. As is cruelty.

    As Steven points out, Biden led when the economy was strong. But even the notion of a strong economy has become more nuanced. People have started to notice income inequality, they’ve noticed that even with a job they can’t afford housing or student debt. Some are even noticing the stainless steel robot horde on the horizon. A job is no longer all it takes to quiet the hoi polloi.

    7
  54. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    There have only been four presidents voted out of office in the past hundred years, and in two of those elections (1980 and 1992) there was a significant third-party candidate, which probably explains the challenger’s failure to break 50% in the polls by this point. As the article mentions, in 1976 Carter did break 50%–despite the fact that his win was very narrow. That can pretty much be explained by the lack of a third-party candidate. The same probably holds true for 1932, though there weren’t polls back then so we have no way of knowing.

    But significant third-party candidates aren’t randomly distributed. They are going to be more common with weaker incumbents.

    3
  55. @Kylopod:

    I believe that point is not as relevant as it sounds once you factor in the influence of third-party candidates.

    But the presence of a significant third party candidate when there is an incumbent running for re-election is evidence of discontent with the incumbent, and likely, therefore, helping drive them below 50%.

    1
  56. @Teve: I see you beat me to it.

    1
  57. Teve says:

    @Bill:

    Or if the economy is good, they vote for the incumbent. What was our unemployment% before March 1?

    BLS says seasonal adjusted unemployment numbers for March 1 and the two years prior were at or below 4%. From about March 20-April 20 it zoomed from ~5% to 14%.

    1
  58. @Bill:

    My thesis is voters vote their wallets. See 1980, 1992, 2008. People think the economy is bad, they blame the incumbent party in the WH.

    In fairness to my position, that is not what you said above.

    Or if the economy is good, they vote for the incumbent. What was our unemployment% before March 1?

    Google tells me it was 4.4% for March, and that matches by general recollection.

    Also: you are ignoring the fact that Trump was underwater on approval his entire presidency, even when the economy was good.

    2
  59. @Steven L. Taylor: And more significantly for a 3/1 poll number, the unemployment rate for Feburary was 3.5%.

    3
  60. @Gustopher:

    I don’t think polling with a likely voter screen based on previous years can be relied upon

    As I understand it, the main screen for likely voters is self-identification by the person being polled. As such, proper sampling should be capturing increased turnout.

    Beyond that, with so much early voting, a lot of people who are being polled can answer that they have already voted, which may, in fact, lead to more accurate likely voter screens since pollsters are capturing votes already cast instead of potential votes that may or may not actually happen.

    1
  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM:

    He’ll still be around, still have access to Twitter and FB. His nutty followers will still be on Youtube making insane videos about conspiracy theories.

    Maybe, but who will be paying attention to them when he’s no longer the current occupant? Real question (because I don’t know): How many Twitter followers did Trump have before he was a candidate for President?

    As to “his cronies on the court” while they are a concern to be sure, they weren’t Trump’s cronies. They are the same cast of idiots who would have been chosen in a Cruz, JEB!, Kasich, Christie, Rubio, whoever administration. And say what you want, Trump was the most defeatable Republican candidate in the pack.

  62. Bill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My thesis is voters vote their wallets. See 1980, 1992, 2008. People think the economy is bad, they blame the incumbent party in the WH.

    In fairness to my position, that is not what you said above.

    What I wrote-

    Before the pandemic and the resulting hit it made to the United States economy and while Biden was the declared frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, I proclaimed around this blog multiple times that Biden would more than likely lose unless the economy went in the toilet.

    Tell me how that isn’t voting your wallets?

    1
  63. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: @Steven L. Taylor: I agree that third-party candidates are in part a reflection of dissatisfaction with the incumbent, but it’s not an absolute, as seen in 1932. Someone has to come forward and take that step, and it usually has to be someone with enough name recognition to be noticed. They also have to have a motive for attempting such a seemingly impossible route to the presidency. TR in 1912 probably thought he could win; the rise of the Republican Party itself (which started as a third party) wasn’t that far in the past, he was a former president, and besides, he was mighty pissed at being shut out by the GOP convention. I think Perot was also in it to win it, and given that he led in some early polls, that wasn’t totally insane. I think his 1996 run was mainly an attempt to get the new Reform Party off the ground. Thurmond and Wallace weren’t trying to win outright but trying to cause an electoral deadlock. They failed, but it wasn’t totally implausible they could have succeeded. As for Anderson? I don’t know enough about his run to guess his exact motives.

    But one way or another, just because there’s some public appetite for a third-party candidate doesn’t mean anyone actually appears to fill that hole. And this year, despite the weak incumbent, the public is in no mood for third parties (which is part of the reason even a massive celeb like Kanye barely makes a blip–other than the fact that he’s certifiably insane).

    3
  64. An Interested Party says:

    The Democrats have nominated a weak candidate and the polls can be wrong.

    At this point, who would have been a stronger candidate?

    Pandemic or pandemic, I think it is stupid to stand in line for an hour or more to vote early.

    It is even more stupid that we have this idiot in the White House, but here we are…

    3
  65. EddieInCA says:

    @Bill:

    Pandemic or pandemic, I think it is stupid to stand in line for an hour or more to vote early.

    First day of early voting in California was Saturday, starting at 10am near us. We were in line at 9:30 and got finished at 11.

    I’d have waited all day to vote. All. Day.

    11
  66. charon says:

    @Kylopod:

    TR in 1912 probably thought he could win; the rise of the Republican Party itself (which started as a third party) wasn’t that far in the past,

    You can not be a third party if there is no second party, the Whigs had collapsed and left an open niche.

    1
  67. Mikey says:

    @Bill:

    Pandemic or pandemic, I think it is stupid to stand in line for an hour or more to vote early.

    Well SOME of us thought we’d be OUT OF TOWN ON ELECTION DAY. And when the lines for early voting are over an hour EVERY FUCKING DAY we don’t have much choice but to stand in them.

    8
  68. Mikey says:

    @Monala: Last night we watched Sarah Cooper’s Netflix special, “Everything’s Fine.” It was pretty good.

    But I didn’t realize until it started that I had never heard her actual voice. She does do some lip-syncing (including a great segment where she and Helen Mirren re-create the Access Hollywood tape) but most of it is just her.

  69. jfoobar says:

    @Kylopod:

    In all fairness, Moore not only predicted that Trump would win in 2016, he accurately predicted *why* Trump would win. Even if Hillary had eked out the win, Moore still would still have deserved some credit for the win. At a national level, the Democratic Party is a three-legged stool. Clinton’s campaign effectively ignored one of the three legs of that stool and, as physics dictates, the stool fell over. Moore saw it coming. I do not claim that he is some grand, omniscient prognosticator, but it doesn’t look like he is predicting a Trump victory this time either.

    2
  70. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: First day of early voting (ever!) in NYC was Saturday — lines were four hours long. We’d planned to go Sunday but decided to hold off. Went yesterday, waited 45 minutes (two thirds of that outside in the rain until we got inside Madison Square Garden) and were done in less than an hour.

    Usually NYC elections are a mess — this was beautifully organized, with dozens of volunteers and employees keeping people informed and moving. It’s just that people really really want to vote.

    And I suspect that about 99% of them aren’t voting Republican…

    2
  71. jfoobar says:

    @jfoobar: @An Interested Party:

    Exactly. Any candidate who would have energized one segment of the Democratic electorate would have scared the crap out of at least one of the other segments. In this case, the personable, experienced pablum candidate was the correct choice.

    2
  72. JohnMcC says:

    @Bill: U.S. unemployment in Feb ’20: 3.5%
    Same for March: 4.1%

    Presidential preference in March ’20: Biden 51%/Trump 43%

    2
  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: PTSD.

    You say you think Biden is a weak candidate. I don’t know why. The reasons you enumerated are little more than “Joe isn’t perfect.” Well, this may surprise you but in my 42 years of voting I have never voted for a perfect candidate… Wait a minute, I did vote for a dead guy once, he may have been close.

    6
  74. mattbernius says:

    @Joseph:

    They can vote for President Trump, the candidate who just delivered the fastest quarter of growth in the nation’s history,

    Which would be amazing if he was also the candidate who delivered one of the greatest economic crashes in the history of the country, so bad that the fastest quarter of growth you mentioned has still left us behind where where were in March on most economic indicators. And also that economic indicators are also trending in a downward direction.

    See, eg, https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/recovery-tracker/

    Not sure why you opted to leave that out.

    11
  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joseph: Oh Jeebus, go crawl back under your rock.

    4
  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: March 1st is ancient history. What is it now?

  77. @Bill:

    Before the pandemic and the resulting hit it made to the United States economy and while Biden was the declared frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, I proclaimed around this blog multiple times that Biden would more than likely lose unless the economy went in the toilet.

    The problem with this hypothesis is that Biden was leading at roughly the same level before the economy went in the toilet.

    So yes, you said Trump would win if the economy was good, but that doesn’t explain either a) why Biden was polling so well while the economy was good, and b) why Trump’s approvals were negative the entire time.

    2
  78. Mister Bluster says:

    Where I live in Jackson County, Illinois early voting at the Courthouse in Murphysboro began on Thursday, September 24 and continues all the way to Monday, November 2. Including 8am to noon tomorrow Saturday, November 2. I voted Tuesday September 29 since I was there delivering the paper. No line ahead of me. When I walked out of the County Clerks Office there were a few people in line. It was mid morning.
    By the time Tuesday rolls around It will have been 35 days since I cast my ballot. All you good Citizens who had to wait hours in line in the rain to vote might consider relocating to this corner of Paradise so four years from now you can vote early and stay dry for your trouble.
    Camel Rock, Garden of the Gods

    1
  79. Mister Bluster says:

    test don’t recall setting italics and of course there is no edit function

  80. @Bill: More to the point, your original assertion, which was really guiding my understanding of your position was “The Democrats have nominated a weak candidate and the polls can be wrong.”

    I countered

    And while Biden was not my first choice and clearly has his flaws, it is hard to call a candidate polling at or above 50% consistently (and at +8/+9/+10) “weak.”

    When I referred to your thesis, I was referring to your assertion of Biden’s weakness.

    But, also, in regards to the economy, Trump should have had approval ratings in the 60s are least with 3.5 % unemployment, and yet he didn’t, indicating that the bromide that people vote with their wallets being perhaps not too convincing.

    1
  81. @Mister Bluster: I fixed it for you.

  82. Kylopod says:

    @jfoobar:

    In all fairness, Moore not only predicted that Trump would win in 2016, he accurately predicted *why* Trump would win.

    That depends. He did get Trump’s appeal to white working-class voters in the Rust Belt, and I’m sure that partly has to do with his being the son of a factory worker from Michigan. But that was just one of a bunch of unrelated reasons he gave for why Trump would win, and he gave the impression he was spitballing.

    Moreover, Moore’s thesis was wrong, since Trump wasn’t likely to win. It required a perfect storm. A lot of people are confused about probabilistic statements. It’s how they buy into the hype surrounding people like Moore, and why they say Nate Silver’s 71% chance of a Hillary win proves that “Nate Silver got the election wrong.” Saying that something is unlikely to happen (or has a less than 50% chance of happening) isn’t tantamount to a prediction that it won’t happen, and the statement isn’t proven false if the event does happen. If you want to give Moore credit for having some insight into Trump’s appeal to the white working class, fine, but he was hardly alone in this (a lot of pundits realized it, and it could be seen in the data), and he used it as the basis for a sweeping, confident prediction that he didn’t actually have any basis for. It just happened that lightning struck in the direction he inaccurately claimed was likely, and he got unwarranted “credit” for it because so many people are prone to treating pundits like would-be fortune tellers.

    3
  83. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius:

    Not sure why you opted to leave that out.

    Because like nearly all Trumpies he completely lacks both intellectual honesty and personal integrity.

    5
  84. JohnSF says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    It’s a cult for the base.
    No way do McConnell, Barr, Pompeo etc have anything but contempt for Trump.
    I would bet that McConnell in particular is consumed by rage at him.

    1
  85. JohnSF says:

    @Joseph:
    Economic trends work that way.
    It is quite plain that the highest rate of growth during the Trump administration of 2.927 did not much exceed the peak under Obama of 2.881.
    Just look at any chart of growth rates since 2008 objectively.
    There was also a massive continuing effect from the Great Recession of 2008/2009.
    Therefore a continuing trend should be expected to show continued improvement over time.
    It would be remarkable had it not.

    IMHO presidential responsibility for economic booms or slumps is limited, except when it comes to “taking away the punchbowl”.
    See G. W. Bush and the failure to dampen growth caused by excessive credit leverage. And even there it can be argued the Fed was more to blame than Bush.

    There is a case to be made that Trump’s actions on regulation, and in promoting tax cuts, may have pushed up top-line growth figures, and made Wall Street happier.
    But a lot of that is based on shaky foundations for the longer term, and of course ignores collateral costs.
    AKA: Help yourselves to the punchbowl, boys!

    1
  86. JKB says:

    One interesting element to come out of this campaign is that flying the American flag is considered by, at least, the most aggressive Biden supporters to be showing support for Trump. Trump supporters have adopted this differentiation enthusiastically.

    How this development impacts pro-American Democrats hasn’t been investigated and is a bit of a wildcard.

  87. An Interested Party says:

    One interesting element to come out of this campaign is that flying the American flag is considered by, at least, the most aggressive Biden supporters to be showing support for Trump.

    Oh? And who are these alleged Biden supporters? Unless, of course, you are just trafficking in your usual bullshit…

    Meanwhile, even though it has been stated before, it bears repeating–it is now completely obvious why Trump and his campaign feared Biden so much that Trump himself committed impeachable offenses trying to dig up dirt on Biden…

    5
  88. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Beyond that, with so much early voting, a lot of people who are being polled can answer that they have already voted, which may, in fact, lead to more accurate likely voter screens since pollsters are capturing votes already cast instead of potential votes that may or may not actually happen.

    And since we expect a difference in political persuasion between those who vote early and those voting on Election Day, I would be wary of deciding how to weight things. It’s not an independent variable.

    For the less statistically inclined readers, I offer this analogy.

    Estimates of Biden’s total votes would likely might be more accurate than Trump’s total votes at this point, as a greater percentage is known. That seems straightforward, no?

    Given that, how can we say that estimating the ratio of Biden votes to Trump votes is as accurate this year than normal years?

    Most years the early vote vs. day-of vote is more evenly distributed across the electorate. Give or take, if 10% of Democrats vote absentee, about the same number of Republicans will. (Or if there is a discrepancy that discrepancy has been there for several cycles and is known)

    1
  89. Mister Bluster says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:..fixed…
    Thank you. I don’t know which is worse all italics or ALL CAPS! Both are hard on my eyes.
    I think what happened is that I meant to

    block quote

    the item and hit the italic button by mistake. I use the block quote sometimes for longer script as I think that it is easier to read but then some readers ask me who I am quoting.
    Now that EDIT is a fickle function I try to proof several times but I still miss errors.

  90. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..tomorrow Saturday, November 2
    Good grief Goober. That should read “tomorrow Saturday, October 31”.

  91. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Oh, maybe she meant that fondling and humping the American flag is seen by Biden supporters as support for Trump the Pervert in Chief?

    1
  92. Kathy says:

    @Bill:

    The Democrats have nominated a weak candidate and the polls can be wrong.

    You’ve gotten enough grief over this comment, and I will not pile on. But I do want to say: a candidate need be only stronger than their opponent.

    Biden passes with flying colors against Trump, but then so would just about anyone with a pulse, and a fair number of people without one.

    3
  93. Jax says:

    @JKB: Yeah? That’s odd, because every Democrat I know flies an American flag proudly above their Biden/Harris sign. In fact, I’m a Democrat, and I wrapped 1,259 hay bales in American flag net wrap.

    My hay stacks look pretty damn awesome, by the way. I was in the tractor in turtle mode the other day and couldn’t get close enough, fast enough to catch the bald eagle on the end of my American flag haystack, BUT IT WILL HAPPEN.

    8
  94. Teve says:

    Trumpers have been moving away from the American flag to an ugly fascist black and white one. Can you imagine if Obama held political rallies and drastically changed the colors on the flag?

    that’s some ugly shit

    4
  95. Mister Bluster says:

    pro-American Democrats

    I am a natural born American Citizen. I have voted Democratic all my life. My American flag flies over the Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro, Illinois. My American flag also flies over the Carbondale, Illinois City Hall. My American flag flies over all the schools in the county. My American flag flies over the State Capitol in Springfield. My Amercan flag flies over the Capitol Building and the White House in Washington DC. I saw them both when I was there in 2016.
    I have seen my American flag all over this country when I drove from coast to coast at one time or another.
    All Democrats are pro-American you dimwit.

    4
  96. Steve V says:

    The bottom line is that, in 2016, a lot of people were disillusioned with the direction of the country and they figured, what the hell, let’s give Trump a try.

    They were? What were people disillusioned about? As far as I can recall things were going pretty well in 2016.

    1
  97. Mikey says:

    @Steve V:

    What were people disillusioned about?

    A lot of white people were disillusioned because America elected a black man President.

    3
  98. Mikey says:

    @JKB: That’s funny, because all I’ve seen from the Trumpists I know is that it’s THEY who believe flying the American flag is a foolproof indicator of a Trump voter.

    Those of us who have spent our lives defending that flag, and who support what it truly represents, just laugh at the performative flag-waving of Trumpists, who have not and do not.

    4
  99. Steve V says:

    @Teve: yeah I was gonna say, it seems that the American flag isn’t good enough for a lot of Trumpers, and they have adopted that creepy black-white-and-blue thing. I wonder how that’s affecting America-loving Republicans.

    2
  100. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    One interesting element to come out of this campaign is that flying the American flag is considered by, at least, the most aggressive Biden supporters to be showing support for Trump.

    Can you provide some cites for this claim. To @Teve’s point, the only complaints I’ve seen in my pretty liberal circles around flags is the fact that at a number of recent events, the Trump campaign has greatly increase the prominence of “Thin Blue Line” versions of the flag.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/10/28/fact-check-thin-blue-line-flag-prominent-trump-rallies/6058924002/

    Have completely admit that as someone invested in Criminal Legal System reform, I find that pretty offensive and a short hand for stoking white nationalism.

    2