Election Eve Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Bill says:
  2. CSK says:

    Trump hinted at a Florida rally that he might can Fauci after the election.
    When the crowd chanted “fire Fauci,” he replied “thanks for the advice.”

  3. Bill says:
  4. Kylopod says:

    This will be my final 538 report before the election.

    Biden’s national lead stands at +8.5, a half-point drop from last week (+9.1), which itself was a 1.5-point drop from the week before. Last week I explored some theories about why this apparent tightening might not matter or might even be an illusion caused by early voters being underrepresented in subsequent polls. Could be wishful thinking, but it’s worth considering.

    The larger picture, of course, is that Biden still has a commanding lead, bigger and sturdier than Clinton’s four years ago, and therefore it would require a much greater error for Trump to win again. Either that, or Trump succeeds in his efforts to “win” by having millions of votes thrown away, the right-wing courts backing him up, effectively spelling the end of American democracy and the transformation of the US into an authoritarian state.

    Um, where was I? Let’s look at the details. The tipping-point state is still Pennsylvania, where Biden has a 5.1-point lead. The most interesting development to me is that AZ (+3.1) appears to be bluer than FL (+2.2), and NC is only slightly less blue (+1.9). I don’t trust FL, so NC could be a fail-safe on Election Night. I think Gov. Cooper, running for reelection, is helping Biden.

    If Biden wins all the states where he’s ahead in the averages, he gets to about 350 EVs (I say “about” because of the sparse polling in NE-02 and ME-02). He’s behind in OH by a razor-thin 0.2, in TX by 1.1 and in IA by 1.6. There was a brief moment a few weeks ago where TX appeared bluer than OH. I admit I’m a bit disappointed to see that evaporate. He’s still got a chance in both states, but if I had to choose between the two I’d pick TX–not just because it has more electoral votes but because it would be such an absolute political earthquake. Winning OH would be nice, but it would just be a continuation of the norm, not a seismic shift.

    MN: +9.2
    MI: +8.2
    WI: +7.9
    PA: +5.1
    NV: +4.9
    AZ: +3.1
    FL: +2.2
    NC: +1.9
    GA: +1.0
    OH: -0.2
    TX: -1.1
    IA: -1.6

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas supreme court rejects Republican effort to toss 127,000 drive-thru votes

    The Texas supreme court on Sunday denied a Republican-led petition to throw out nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-through voting places in the Houston area.

    The all-Republican high court rejected the request from a state representative and two Republican candidates without explaining its decision. Their effort to have the Harris county ballots thrown out is still set to be taken up during an emergency hearing in federal court on Monday.

    Conservative activists have railed against expanded voting access in Harris county, where a record 1.4m early votes have already been cast. The county is the nation’s third-largest and a crucial battleground in Texas, where Donald Trump and Republicans are bracing for the closest election in decades on Tuesday.

    US district judge Andrew Hanen is expected to rule on the same issue on Monday. Hanen’s decision to hear arguments on the brink of election day drew attention from voting rights activists. The Texas supreme court also rejected a nearly identical challenge last month.

    Why do I feel it is unlikely Hanen will show similar judicial restraint?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yesterday I linked an article about how in AZ climate change is accepted by the vast majority of Maricopa county. Here’s another along those lines: ‘In the sun they’d cook’: is the US south-west getting too hot for farm animals?

    South-west of Phoenix, Arizona, in the hottest desert in North America, Beth and Tim Wilson use sprinklers to cool their 300 pigs. Nearby, the Adams Natural Meats bison ranch employs shaders and misters. North of the city, chicken farmer Dave Jordan says he cannot put his 10,000 birds out to pasture.

    “If they were out in the sun, they would just get cooked.”

    Animal agriculture accounts for one-third of the US south-west’s agricultural revenue. Like the rest of the world, however, the region is changing. Between 1901 and 2016, its average temperature increased by 0.9C (1.6F), and by 1.6C (3F) in some of its hottest places. Arizona recently struggled through a summer that was the hottest ever recorded in some parts of the state.

    Animal farmers are now compelled to find ways to adapt to this climatic shift, exploring new ways of keeping chickens and cows cool, or importing more heat-resistant breeds. Lingering in the air is the question of whether the climate crisis is making animal agriculture in this part of the world impractical.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    FBI investigating Trump supporters who swarmed Texas campaign bus

    The FBI has confirmed it is investigating an incident in which a convoy of vehicles flying flags in support of President Donald Trump’s re-election bid surrounded a tour bus carrying campaign staff for Democratic challenger Joe Biden on a Texas highway.

    Friday’s incident prompted the Biden campaign to cancel at least two of its Texas events as Democrats accused the president of encouraging supporters to engage in acts of intimidation.

    “FBI San Antonio is aware of the incident and investigating,” special agent Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Antonio, told Reuters in an email. “No further information is available at this time.”

    In response to news of the FBI’s investigation, Trump tweeted on Sunday night that the people involved in running the bus off the road were “patriots”.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dr. Tom Frieden

    Covid Epi Weekly: Scariest. Halloween. Ever.

    Hard to imagine a worse confluence. Cases surging in much of US. People are tired of limitations the virus is imposing. Economic harm is real, painful, and persistent. White House communications continue to mislead, divide, deny. 1/

    Bottom line (almost) up front: there IS one thing that can stop Covid. For months I’ve said there isn’t, but there is one thing. Not masks. Not travel limitations. Not staying home. Not testing. Not contact tracing. Not isolation. Not quarantine. Not even vaccine.

    It’s TRUST.

    Around the world, the best predictor of controlling Covid is social cohesion. The understanding that we’re all in this together. We’re all safer when we all mask up, support tracing, and, eventually, get vaccinated. No group can get infection without endangering others. 3/

    That’s why the unspoken advocacy for herd immunity by the White House is so revealing. “Protect the vulnerable” sounds great. But doing that while allowing the virus to spread among the young is an impossibility. It’s a scientific blunder emanating from a philosophical error. 4/

    When we understand we’re all connected, we can win. Prioritize services to people and communities most in need. Protect ourselves, our families, our community. There’s only one enemy: a virus. White House divisiveness is the best ally the novel coronavirus could possibly have. 5/

    16 more at the link.

  9. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Let me tell you all something about this area. This is Comal County, north of San Antonio. The area from New Braunfels, west to Canyon Lake and Smithson Valley, was, in the 90s, a hotbed of KKK and Republic of Texas successionists. Apparently, like locusts, they came out to annoy the heck out of people.

    The area has changed a lot in 20 years. Where there used to be a lot of pockets of rural poverty, now has become much wealthier. The poverty is still there but more hidden.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the horizon: the end of oil and the beginnings of a low-carbon planet

    A year ago, only the most ardent climate optimists believed that the world’s appetite for oil might reach its peak in the next decade. Today, a growing number of voices within the fossil fuel industry believe this milestone may have already been passed. While the global gaze has been on Covid-19 as it ripped through the world’s largest economies and most vulnerable people, the virus has quietly dealt a mortal blow to oil demand too.

    Energy economists claim with increasing certainty that the world may never require as much oil as it did last year. Even as economies slowly emerge from the financial fallout of the pandemic, the shift towards cleaner energy has gained pace. A sharp plunge in fossil fuel use will be followed in quick succession by a renewable energy revolution, which will occur at unprecedented pace. The tipping point for oil demand may have come and gone, and major oil companies are taking note.

    Royal Dutch Shell told investors last week that the oil giant will probably never again produce as much oil as it did in the year before coronavirus hit. It is on a mission to overhaul a business steeped in more than a century of oil production and embrace clean energy alternatives. But the admission that its own oil production may have already reached its peak is less of a climate target than an acknowledgment of an inevitable and inexorable march towards a low-carbon future.

    At rival BP, economists have made the case that the peak for global oil demand may have been reached last year, and that a decades-long terminal decline may have begun. The findings, made public in BP’s latest annual energy forecast, dovetail with the company’s existing corporate strategy of reducing fossil fuel production by 40% within the next 10 years.

    BP has been more explicit about the road ahead than its rival Shell, but neither company can be in any doubt about the direction of travel.

    I can hope, but I rather doubt Exxon is anywhere near to surrendering to reality.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I was born in Texas City in ’58, moved to STL just months later. Growing up we went down at least twice a year. My parents met at Baylor post WWII when the old man (a poor Catholic from Joliet) ended up there on the GI Bill. Ma was a proud Texan right to the bone, the only daughter of an old Texas family and I used to give her shit about it all the time. While I still have family there, I haven’t done more than drive thru it in almost 40 years. Even still, much as I am loathe to admit it to myself, I feel a deep connection to that place.

    I am quite sure there is very little of what I remember that would be recognizable to me. Hopefully I can find my way down there for a visit post covid, maybe reconnect with some cousins.

  12. Paine says:

    I work in the international education field. Trump has made just about every day of my job the past four years a nightmare and I’m genuinely fearful of what could happen next should he win again. I just don’t know if I can survive another four years of this clown… Please let this nightmare end.

  13. MarkedMan says:


    A sharp plunge in fossil fuel use

    My understanding is that very little oil is used in electricity generation. Instead, the bulk is gasoline, diesel and plastics. Is there really a significant move away from any of that?

  14. KM says:

    The morning before the end of the world, I’m out of coffee and there’s Trump nuts driving flag-leaden cars up and down the roads looking to start trouble. So apropos.

    Tomorrow is likely ending in a loss for Trump, not that he’ll admit it. Instead, he’s going to incite riots and violence like we saw in TX because he’ll do anything to cling to power for just a little bit longer. A few threads ago, someone asked me if I really believed Trump could hold onto his little cult when he’s not POTUS. The answer is yes. It will be diminished but all the hardcore, grievance-holding angry loons will be front and center. The people likely to attack others, to hold the belief that the Deep State cheated their Lord out of his God-given Office, the ones who will be glad to spill blood in his name – yeah, they’ll still be there Nov 4th and ready to ^@&%* everything up.

    A cult doesn’t have to be big or powerful to do damage. All it needs is a few true believers ready to roll…. and he’s definitely got that. He’ll declare victory tomorrow night come hell or high water, it would be “stolen” later by actual votes being counted and then let the madness begin…. after I get a refill of course. Damn Mondays……

  15. DrDaveT says:

    James Kitfield has an article at Breaking Defense on “Why Those 780 Top National Security Leaders Support Biden“.

  16. a country lawyer says:

    @Kylopod: I feel like a patient waiting for the lab results. The Doctors says she’s sure everything is going to be fine and although I believe her, I can’t shake the feeling of dread.

  17. sam says:

    Sassy Justice from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Imagine Donald Trump as a cross between Paul Lynde and Rip Taylor.

  18. Jax says:

    Apparently they’re erecting a non-scalable fence around the White House. What, is he afraid the commoner’s are gonna drag him out and put his head on a pike?

  19. DrDaveT says:


    Around the world, the best predictor of controlling Covid is social cohesion. The understanding that we’re all in this together.

    So very much this.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    Let’s look to a bright future: A decades-long blue wave

    Millennials and Generation Z are much more liberal than their predecessors and voted for Democrats in previous election cycles. Voting research shows that the president you vote for as you come of age to vote often determines which party you’ll stick with, too.


    What they’re saying: “In the near term, the die is cast,” said Carroll Doherty, director of political research at Pew Research Center. “It’s obvious this is a generation, whether it be Millennials or Gen Z, this is clearly a Democratic generation and without a big change of heart they’re going to remain so.”

    The reports that younger voters are turning out in droves and voting for Joe is encouraging. For those concerned that the polls maybe off and under counting Trump voters as in 2016, know that it is much more likely that the pollster models are under counting younger voters.

  21. de stijl says:

    I am too gunshy to say it out loud lest I jinx it, but things look good. 2016 was a kick to the groin and was repeated daily for these last four years.

    One can hope. I hope.

  22. KM says:

    So I’m reading through Ruth Shalit Barrett’s fall from grace (again) and it seems the tip off that something was wrong was a description on fencing injuries, of all things. Being a fencer myself, I wanted to see what seemed so incredulous to them as I come home bruised every lesson.

    “I wasn’t fixated initially on the son, frankly, but rather on the fencing injuries,” Wemple told TheWrap in an email Saturday. “I had a general sense that fencers are really well protected and don’t often suffer injuries as described in that story, and once I started looking around, that appeared to be a fruitful line of inquiry.”

    (emphasis mine)

    Well protected? Yeah but that doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt! I’m padded all the hell and get hurt. NFL players are padded all to hell and get concussions. The logic is here is… interesting and seems like that of a person who don’t play sports often. To be fair, I help teach newbies so I’m more likely to suffer a bad hit then someone dealing with a seasoned fencer but still, injuries happen especially to the young and inexperienced.

    I went and found a pdf of org article and can see why a layperson might be suspicious. However, I’ve had these injuries personally. I’ve been stabbed in the throat twice (valid target area in epee) so hard I had to take a breather break and been slashed and hit so hard I’ve bleed through my uniform and gotten a deep blue splotch that covered my entire upper right arm for WEEKS. As an offensive fencer, I like going after the face and throat for shock value – it freaks people out for obvious reasons and can get an overly aggressive fencer to back down. If you are short, you might end up jabbing taller people in the throat by accident if your blade’s pointed too high up and breaking skin is the result of in-fighting or being too close in general. These things are semi-common injuries among new fencers so why is it they caught the attention of a writer as being “unlikely”? True, it turns out it was all made up in this case; however, that’s like saying a fictional NFL player broke their leg and got a wicked concussion and a rando going “hmmm, that’s so sus I’ve never heard of that happening I need to investigate this story”.

    Essentially this woman got caught in a larger lie because someone thought her listing of real semi-common injuries were too unreal and must be fake.

  23. gVOR08 says:


    Around the world, the best predictor of controlling Covid is social cohesion. The understanding that we’re all in this together.

    Probably also a good predictor of the quality of response to any other crisis, or routine problem. And Republicans have been running for decades on social division.

    Tom Levinson at Balloon Juice has a piece on the Russian subversion process. If Trumpsky, Moscow Mitch, and the rest of them aren’t in the pay of Russian oligarchs, the Koch Bro and his ilk will do.

    Just as the President’s, his surrogates’, and his supporters’ attempts to make it so that nothing is true, therefore anything, everything, and nothing is possible are intended to demoralize, so too are the activities, actions, and statements heading into election day. And regardless of the outcome of the election, whether they are able to make projections and calls early or whether it takes several days because things seem close on Tuesday and we have to wait for the ballots to be counted, the attempts to demoralize will continue through January 20, 2021. The President, his campaign, the Republican Party, the now clearly misnamed conservative movement, the President’s surrogates, and the President’s supporters want you demoralized. They want you on edge. They want you scared. Because they want the demoralization and the fear to immobilize you.

    The political science PhD part of me, in line with Charlie Cook’s projections, looks at the data and information we have and recognizes the high probability that VP Biden wins without much difficult and the Democrats are able to achieve a 52 seat Senate majority. The low intensity warfare professional in me looks at what’s going on and is exceedingly concerned regardless of what happens on Tuesday.

    GOPus delendus est.

  24. Jen says:

    @DrDaveT: I’ve been saying for a long time now, our country’s “rugged individualism” was going to be our undoing.

  25. Kathy says:


    How does the end of the world get any worse than no coffee?

  26. sam says:
  27. KM says:

    Tea supply is low as well – on my last bag as a matter of fact. Sibling used it all to make a jug of “ice tea” for Halloween and burned through a box on her own. Nothing left – idk who drank it but it wasn’t me. I can make a run after work but I’m barely caffeinated for the next few hours; we’ve got to make several stops beforehand, including dropping off flowers at a wake. Next caffeine refuel could be as late as 8pm. The horror…..

  28. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes, it’s already too hot for animal farming, notice the remedy being used is water which is going to be in very short supply there when calls on the Colorado River begin in earnest in the not too distant future. The upheaval in the Southwest is going to be major.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: Interesting analysis. Thanks

  30. de stijl says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    Much of the Southwest is living on borrowed time. (Actually on borrowed water)

    Absent insulation and AC, AZ is at edge of habitability for humans range during high summer. Some hardy folk will survive if they have working wells.

    The folks who live in Death Valley by choice fascinate me. They chose that. They’re interesting pioneer types that are rational beings but adjacent to crazy.

  31. de stijl says:


    That was cool.

    I know nothing about fencing except for my friend Art who was super into it. That and bagpipes – ‘nother story.

    I loved it.

    More, please.

  32. Teve says:

    @de stijl: there’s a blog i used to read by a guy who lives in North Minnesota, and one day on the way to work he drove past one of those bank displays that shows you the time and the temperature, and he took a photo because it was something like -50°. Right then and there I said to myself, I will never live anywhere that if my car breaks down I might die.

  33. KM says:

    @de stijl:
    Random stuff off that top of my head:

    Anytime you see “swordfighting” in movies, it’s a basic drill. Parry 4, then 6, then 7 and 8 – Inside high, outside high, outside low, inside low, repeat. A good example is Darth Vader’s hallway massacre in Rogue One (starts at a minute in). He swirls between parries to be more dramatic but that’s something any beginner can do. Good for muscle memory and looks impressive to someone who doesn’t know what they’re seeing.

    The panicky move people do instinctively to get a blade coming at them out of the way? Officially know as the Quinte but most will know it as the OH SHIT Five. Oh shit, I’m gonna get stabbed – oh shit, what do I do now?!! A bad move since you’re trapped – they can easily disengage to stab you in lower belly, legs or feet while your blade’s off three feet to left of anything target. Do not do, in real life would be a fatal mistake.

    Breaking your blade on a person is remarkably easy to do. In fact, breaking a blade on someone’s chest or arm is like a weekly occurrence to the point we had an armourer on site. We have a safety poster up on the wall to let people know a good portion of the truly terrible accidents happen because you didn’t realize you’d broken your blade and stabbed someone with an accidently sharpened object. People have died from things like slashed femoral arteries because their opponent didn’t notice the tip had been severed earlier on and went for a juicy thigh target. I have so many broken blades I use them in my garden to hold up growing plants. It looks rather badass if I do say so myself. 🙂

    A fleche is essentially a ramming attack. Blade out, sprint full speed at someone and try not to get hit yourself by the person sidestepping you. Best fleche I ever saw had someone literally bounce off the wall because he couldn’t stop, roll ass over teakettle about 3ft and stick the landing despite still being wired-in to the ceiling. Damn near ripped the reel out but he made it *and* landed the point!

    If you ever want to wonder just WTF happened to cause a stupid rule to be created, go read the rule book (FIE and USA). The noodle incidents that had to have occurred for some of these rules are something else. No clear nailpolish on your blades for one ….. because it means less conductive areas for a legit hit. The bout begins and ends with a salute from both…. refusal to salute is a black card (exclusion, suspension from the tournament and 60 days in the naughty box). Rules on how long you can before a touch happens (60 seconds and it’s “unwillingness to fight”) and thus match is forfeited go to a legendary match where the fencers just shuffled back and forth a step without touching each other for 14 and a half minutes. It’s on Youtube if you want to be bored.

  34. Mikey says:

    Dave Wasserman at the Cook Political Report had a couple interesting tweets earlier today:

    Tbh wouldn’t be shocked by any of the 16 possible win/loss combinations in FL/GA/NC/TX (although it’s more likely the states fall mostly in one direction than split down the middle).

    It’s a big reason why the line between ~290 and ~400 EVs for Biden is astonishingly thin.

    Here’s how I roughly think about the map. If Biden wins popular vote by…

    3% or less: Trump probably wins AZ/PA, wins w/ 279+ EVs
    4-7%: Biden flips AZ/MI/PA/WI/#NE02, wins 290 EVs
    8-9%: adds some combo of FL/GA/NC/TX/#ME02, wins 305-389 EVs
    10% or more: adds IA/OH, wins 413 EVs


  35. Mu Yixiao says:


    I lived in Texas for a time, and met a young gal who had to venture into a small town in the North Woods during the dead of winter. She was shocked at how helpful everyone was.

    I replied that we have to be friendly up here–If your car breaks down in January, you want people to like you well enough to stop and help. 🙂

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:



    Around the world, the best predictor of controlling Covid is social cohesion. The understanding that we’re all in this together.

    So very much this.

    So basically, in the US we’re pretty much fwkt, then?

  37. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Further on OTB website issues:
    Went to “New PA Poll” discussion added a comment.
    Closed browser (Chrome) and opened OTB, selected “New PA Poll”
    Alongside Steven Taylor’s name and the date, it said “10 Comments” but actually looking at the comments there are only 3.
    Am I doing something wrong?

  38. Sleeping Dog says:


    The 3 comment page was stored in your cache and that was displayed when you returned to the post. Simply reload the page.

  39. Mikey says:

    Republicans lose, America wins again.

    Ari Berman
    Breaking: federal judge rules GOP plaintiffs challenging drive-thru voting in Harris County don’t have standing to sue, refuses to invalidate 127,000 votes already cast

  40. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: It hasn’t surprised me that the courts are ruling against the GOP on this (so far), not because I believe the courts are committed to democratic fairness but because this is too blatant. Their usual gambit is to seize on esoteric things most people will have trouble processing, as an excuse to throw out votes. In 2000 it was hanging chads. In the coming days and weeks, the Republicans are going to attempt to seize on every technicality they can come up with, giving it some obscure name (e.g. naked ballots) that will leave most people scratching their head and enabling the media to bothsides it to death.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Why do I feel it is unlikely Hanen will show similar judicial restraint?

    I am so very happy to see that I was wrong about Judge Hanen. My apologies, Sir.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: A correction: That piece was by by Adam L Silverman, he is the “low intensity warfare professional” at Balloon Juice. Was deployed to Iraq twice I think as a DoD civilian employee (don’t take my word for it, look up his bio over there ifn’s your interested in the particulars)

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mr. Prosser: I was thinking about that too, reading of sprinklers and misters being used to keep animals cool. It’s just not sustainable in the SW.

  44. Gustopher says:

    Russia’s ‘Sausage King’ killed with a crossbow in a sauna

    Totally normal thing in a totally normal country that has a totally normal relationship with the US.

  45. reid says:

    @Kylopod: One of the technicalities I’ve heard about this year is mis-matching signatures.

  46. Jax says:

    @reid: This will become more of a problem as time goes on and we teach less “handwriting” in schools and everything becomes more digital, I think. Everybody I know that learned cursive has a distinct signature, mine has been the same since high school.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with a thumbprint being a verifiable signature.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: My signature has deteriorated over the years. To the point that Trump’s signature is more legible than mine. Mine was never particularly good in the first place, but the tremor that I’ve had since I was a child keep giving and giving.

    Apparently, it’s hereditary, too. My brother was telling me that he’s started having a tremor–so bad that he uses an alphabet stencil to write with. 🙁 (I probably should, too, but I refuse to.)

  48. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Signatures are really…..1770’ish. 😉 There’s a lot of things that need updated since then, as we can see now.