Trump Likely to Claim Victory

The expectations game will be especially tricky this year.

President Donald J. Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Friday, July 10, 2020, en route to Miami International Airport in Miami
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

If, a Biden landslide becomes obvious tomorrow evening, we will even President Trump is likely to see the writing on the wall. But it’s quite possible that Trump will appear ahead at the end of the evening because so many Democrats have voted early. And that could be the start of a crisis.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan:

President Trump has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s “ahead,” according to three sources familiar with his private comments. That’s even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.

The latest: Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Trump denied that he would declare victory prematurely, before adding, “I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it’s a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over.”

He continued: “I think it’s terrible that we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election. … We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”

“We don’t want to have Pennsylvania, where you have a political governor, a very partisan guy. … We don’t want to be in a position where he’s allowed, every day, to watch ballots come in. See if we can only find 10,000 more ballots.”

Behind the scenes: Trump has privately talked through this scenario in some detail in the last few weeks, describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won.

For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia.

Why it matters: Trump’s team is preparing to falsely claim that mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 — a legitimate count expected to favor Democrats — are evidence of election fraud.

Details: Many prognosticators say that on election night, Trump will likely appear ahead in Pennsylvania — though the state’s final outcome could change substantially as mail-in ballots are counted over the following days.

Trump’s team is preparing to claim baselessly that if that process changes the outcome in Pennsylvania from the picture on election night, then Democrats would have “stolen” the election.

Trump’s advisers have been laying the groundwork for this strategy for weeks, but this is the first account of Trump explicitly discussing his election night intentions.

What they’re saying: Asked for comment, the Trump campaign’s communications director Tim Murtaugh said, “This is nothing but people trying to create doubt about a Trump victory. When he wins, he’s going to say so.”

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller predicted that Trump “will be re-elected handily and no amount of post-election Democratic thievery will be able to change the results.”

This strikes me as not only plausible but likely.

Further, as Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan notes, this plays into a particular weakness of the American media culture.

“The public has been conditioned to expect a winner within hours of the polls closing, but the numbers collected on election night are not necessarily decisive,” wrote veteran news executive Vivian Schiller in Columbia Journalism Review. She and Garrett Graff, the former editor of Politico Magazine, offer 10 recommendations for journalists, based on discussions at the Aspen Institute, where they both now work.

At least one of their pieces of advice seems close to impossible for the mainstream media, as we’ve come to know and love it, to ever achieve: “Don’t parrot premature claims of victory.”

Journalists at this fraught moment carry a heavy burden to do something that is not in their nature: to be patient, to linger with the uncertainty and to explain relentlessly rather than join a rush to judgment.

“This is a watershed moment for American journalism,” Alan Miller, founder of the News Literacy Project, recently wrote. ”The stakes for democracy are sky-high.”

Network anchors, both broadcast and cable, will carry a particularly key responsibility. As Miller, a Pulitzer-winning former investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times, puts it: “They need to provide contextual reporting and analysis, explaining that delay does not necessarily signal dysfunction and careful counting does not automatically suggest corruption.”

Just as important, though, will be those who run the network and wire service “decision desks,” which determine whether to “call” a particular state as having been won by one candidate or the other. Fox News — somewhat surprisingly, given its longtime conservative and now extremely pro-Trump bent — has one of the most trustworthy of these. And in this moment, the pressures will be great on Fox News’s in-house deciders.

One of the trickiest tests is that journalists — especially political reporters — have been immersed in this subject for months, even years. They understand very well that the extraordinary number of mail-in ballots brings a particular challenge; in some states, election officials can’t start counting them until Election Day. Journalists have also been keeping track of the various court decisions, including ones in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that could have profound effects on which ballots are counted and when.

But most Americans, even if they care deeply about the election’s outcome, probably haven’t followed those ins and outs. As in the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, they just want to know who won.

Still, like Sullivan, I have reasonable confidence that the press learned something from 2000 and 2016. In 2000, in particular, the networks, somehow having not understood that the state had two time zones, all prematurely called Florida for Al Gore while voting was still going on in the Republican-rich Panhandle only to have to recant that call hours later and then, finally, prematurely calling it for George W. Bush. Then NBC News anchor pronounced that, “We don’t just have egg on our face–we have an omelet.”

And, yes, I’m actually reasonably confident that the decision guy at Fox News will also act professionally. Their on-air commenters may not but the news desk itself takes pride in doing serious journalism.

The problem, actually, is that so much of the “media” is no longer comprised of professional journalists. I can only imagine what Twitter and Facebook are going to look like tomorrow night, especially if it’s closer than I’m predicting.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, 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. KM says:

    The problem, actually, is that so much of the “media” is no longer comprised of professional journalists.

    Actually, in this case the problem is the 24hr news cycle and TV expectations. The idea that we’ll know by “end of the evening ” – not even midnight proper! – how tens of millions of people have voted is absolutely absurd, especially if you don’t start counting till that day! It’s not like they’re talking about starting exactly at 12:00:00 AM and stopping at 11:59:59PM. Trump wants a definitive answer by the end of prime time or else he wins by default – such a reality TV show thought.

    Most of the country didn’t find out who won the election till MONTHS later for the history of the country because of how news travelled. By horse to a small town in the midwest in the winter – hah, if they got it by Inauguration it would have been impressive. It’s NEVER been normal to know who won that night; it’s only been in the last 5 elections or so that the *guess* of who won could be breathlessly reported at 9pm.

    This is the media setting unrealistic expectations purely for ratings and say what you will about the man, Trump’s all about the ratings. He doesn’t care about accuracy – he wants DRAMA and tension and tune in next week to see how it gets resolved! He wins automatically as the defending champion – another TV concept with no basis in the Constitution but one he’ll push anyways. That way, when he loses we get decades of “Dems stole from Trump!!” nuts screaming and sabotaging the country all so he can save face for a day.

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  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Sure. Wy not. He has lied about everyhing except the day of the week… asnd if he lied about that, his minions would cheer wildly and agree vociferously.

    From his perspective, he has nothing to lose and everthing to gain.

    Sadly for us, his focus for winning this is like a dog defending a ball. Doesnt want it, can’t eat it, no real use for it, but teeth barred will fight to draw blood.

    That Lithuanian passport is looking mighty good right now,

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  3. Kylopod says:

    And, yes, I’m actually reasonably confident that the decision guy at Fox News will also act professionally.

    Except for anchor John Ellis Trump.

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  4. Andy says:

    I think too many, particularly partisans and the media, are fighting the last war. This isn’t 2016 and for a variety of reasons, I think Biden will win easily and it won’t be close. If Trump somehow does manage to win, then the entire political science profession should just throw itself off a bridge.

    The problem, actually, is that so much of the “media” is no longer comprised of professional journalists.

    I think that is part of it, especially among younger journalists who are much more predisposed to activism and are almost uniformly progressive in ideology. But in my view, the bigger problem is the current business model for journalism – such as it is. News outlets don’t control a lot of their own revenue/ad sources and they depend on the tech and social media giants to generate the clicks needed to get that ad revenue. So the incentives are not to provide good journalism, but to generate content that will get lots of “engagement.”

    Here in Colorado, I decided to support a different model for local news – the Colorado Sun, which is owned by the journalists that work there and doesn’t rely on ad revenue – instead, they use a membership and sponsorship model. The result is they do fewer but higher-quality reporting than the traditional Colorado newspapers do.

    But I do agree the media hasn’t done a very good job and their tendency to “worst-case” everything Trump says or does, as is the case here (for the thousandth time) is another example.

    In that regard, we should be thankful for our decentralized election system that does not give the Executive branch any control over the process and result. Many people, including several here at OTB as I recall, have expressed frustration with this decentralized system and previously advocated for a nationalized system where elections for federal offices or at least the Presidency is taken away from the states and managed by the federal government. If there’s ever an illustration of what a terrible idea that would be, it is the prospect of such a centralized system in this election run by Donald Trump.

    Thankfully we don’t have a nationalized election system so the reality is that Trump has no control over the result. He can tweet, he can say a lot of things, and he and his proxies can file lawsuits, but that is it. The fretting about what Trump “might do” is completely overblown once one looks at what is in his power.

    But I don’t expect any of that to come into play because I think all the evidence supports the prospect that Biden is going to unequivocally crush Trump.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: I don’t know that anyone is advocating for the federal government to run elections. We don’t have the mechanism in place for that and not would be redundant to build one. Rather, we just want to count the votes in all 50 states plus DC and then add them together rather than have 51 separate winner take all contests with a bizarre weighting.

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  6. Jay L Gischer says:

    He might do this, we should expect him to do this.

    At the same time, the Trump I know, the one who’s been collecting money premised on a protracted legal fight over the next month to six weeks, might well figure out a way to grab the money and run. Concede the election, pull the funding from the lawyers, resign and hop to the Cayman Islands or something. Or figure out some way to stay in Trump Tower because he thinks he can beat whatever prosecutions might be coming his way.

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  7. DrDaveT says:

    The real question is, when Trump announces that Biden’s victory was fraudulent and that he really won, which media will denounce this for the arrant nonsense it is, in definitive terms? It wouldn’t take much “fair and balanced” to turn a petulant tantrum into a genuine constitutional crisis.

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  8. KM says:

    @DrDaveT:

    This. Trump can blather on all his likes about his “win” but that all it is – blather. The media is what’s going to give it weight if they decide to play along. A Biden win is a win, even if it takes a few days to be certified. Any legit media person that doesn’t immediate call out Trump for his BS should be banned from Biden’s WH and the networks they’re associated with should not given any media access during his Presidency so long as they’re still employed. They will be playing with fire and might set our nation aflame just to get a story; it should be known they’ll be treated as they deserve once the dust settles.

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  9. Joe says:

    @Andy:

    In that regard, we should be thankful for our decentralized election system that does not give the Executive branch any control over the process and result. Many people, including several here at OTB as I recall, have expressed frustration with this decentralized system and previously advocated for a nationalized system where elections for federal offices or at least the Presidency is taken away from the states and managed by the federal government. If there’s ever an illustration of what a terrible idea that would be, it is the prospect of such a centralized system in this election run by Donald Trump.

    This x1000!

    I understand, James, that the Electoral College has consumed more attention here and in the current news, but I think the saving grace of this election (and probably earlier ones and almost certainly later ones) is that, to engage in any widespread hack, a perpetrator would have to crack not only 51 different systems, but the dozens to a hundred County Clerks’ offices in each of those states. To the extent each is a slightly or greatly different system, the hack is that much harder.

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: We also want uniform standards on who can vote, how and when. And how long they should have to wait in line to vote.

    If there’s ever an illustration of what a terrible idea that deferring entirely to the states is, it is the people waiting in line multiple hours to vote.

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  11. Jen says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know that anyone is advocate for the federal government to run elections. We don’t have the mechanism in place for that and not would be redundant to build one.

    In fact, wouldn’t it be accurate to say that we specifically are directed to leave this to the states, via Article 1, Sec. 4?

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  12. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know that anyone is advocate for the federal government to run elections. We don’t have the mechanism in place for that and not would be redundant to build one. Rather, we just want to count the votes in all 50 states plus DC and then add them together rather than have 51 separate winner take all contests with a bizarre weighting.

    I may be misremembering things on nationalized elections – this would have been from before the Trump era and may have only been from commentators.

    As to the question of the popular vote I also support it in principle. Colorado this year has the popular vote interstate compact on the ballot and I voted for it.

    But the problem is that I don’t see anyone interested in doing the actual work to make the popular vote happen. I tend to have an uncharitable view of complaining about problems while not doing anything about them.

    My preferred option is an 80% solution – expand the House. That wouldn’t require a Constitutional amendment and would make it much more difficult if not virtually impossible to generate an EC-PV mismatch depending on how big the expansion is. It would help address a lot of other problems too. I’ve been personally advocating this to my representatives at all levels but there seems to be little interest or traction to put in the work, even among Democrats who I would think should support this since they would benefit the most from this change.

    Instead, Speaker Pelosi recently argued in an interview that the SCOTUS needs expanding to account for the increase in the US population – oh the irony. And of course, the interviewer never asked her what should have been the obvious question about expanding the House – another example of our incurious naval-gazing media at work.

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  13. I’ll take the contrarian position.

    Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor, Sec State and AG: the votes will be counted. All the Biden states will be counted. The possible problem areas are in reach states – Georgia, Texas and of course Florida. But if PA manages a fairly organized count, and if Biden has a clear win there, it’s over for Trump.

    What viewers at home will see is the map lighting up blue on the east coast, and the upper midwest: MI., WI and MN, which will all go blue. By that point we’re going to be seeing a whole lot of blue on the networks. No one will be looking at the map by that point thinking, Hmm, I wonder if Trump is going to pull this out?

    A declaration of victory will be just the latest lie from the Autocrat of Falsehood. About half his people, the true hardcore MAGAt culties will believe Trump. The other half of Trump’s people will hem and haw. And the 55% that will vote for Biden will laugh them out of the room.

    I’m less concerned with Trump trying to hold onto the White House than I am about what malicious he’ll do with three months left on his term. He will certainly try to steal money. His campaign chest has already been looted, and sorry, but I don’t think it was all Parscale. I will bet a dollar that Trump looted his own campaign chest. He’ll look for ways to do the same with US taxpayer money.

    He will certainly lash out at the media, probably by encouraging violence against reporters. He’ll sign off on any arms the Saudis or Israelis want. He’ll pardon all his gang. He may take another shot at getting rid of sanctions on Russia, and may well transfer top secret intel to his owner. He’ll have Stephen Miller and Bannon writing executive orders to do as much damage as he can to Blacks and immigrants. If a red state flips he’ll look for ways to punish that state.

    Then, once again, if he gets a late dose of the smarts he’ll resign, get Pence to pardon him and GTFO of the country ahead of the New York AG.

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  14. JKB says:

    The problem is that over the years, the mainstream media has created the illusion that they “call” the winner. When nothing is further from the truth. They can project, but until those official election results are issued by the Secretaries of State in each state and territory, the media’s propaganda is just that propaganda.

    With the push for mail-in and absentee voting, the media being a big proponent, they killed their election night coverage. Tuesday night means little unless there is a blowout that moots the mail-in/absentee ballots. Political and media pundits should be presented with empty audiences tomorrow night. The projected winner will likely be able to be confidently announced 2 pm Saturday or Sunday, maybe not until the weekend of the 14/15th.

    Until then there is every reason to say you won if you are up, and refuse to concede if you are down. Then you throw in the court battles.

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado all start counting mail-ins and absentee ballots before election night. Georgia starts counting at 7 AM tomorrow.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but we’ll get AZ, NC, CO and possibly FL, tomorrow night. Other states – MI, OH, PA, TX – may take til Friday. But I’d bet the shape of things will be clear by late Tuesday night.

    Unless… Unless you, JKB, yes you, can find the video of Hillary meeting with Satan to discuss their plan to grow babies in pizza parlors and drink their blood in order to stay eternally young – and you have all seen that Hillary looks 24. You could be the one to save your tangerine Jesus! Get busy!

    Just don’t forget your tactical gear and your guns. We wouldn’t want a brave fellow like you walking the streets without at least two guns and a hundred rounds of ammo.

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Andy:

    My preferred option is an 80% solution…

    Here, here.

    When the House was expanded to the current size, there were approx. 440000 individuals per district. A return to districts of a similar size would result in a House of ~750 members.

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  17. Jen says:

    @JKB: As Michael correctly points out, a number of states will count mail-in/absentee ballots early.

    Jake Tapper–a member of the mainstream media you suggest is part of the problem–just the other day cautioned that people need to be ready for “blue mirages” and “red mirages” based on how states count their absentee ballots, and warned people not to sink too much significance into returns until all votes are counted.

    With this, election night coverage will be election WEEK-plus coverage. I don’t think they are crying in their oatmeal.

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  18. wr says:

    @JKB: “When nothing is further from the truth. They can project, but until those official election results are issued by the Secretaries of State in each state and territory, the media’s propaganda is just that propaganda.”

    Which is why all the networks say… wait for it… “we now can project a winner for the state.”

    I don’t think it’s the media that’s guilty of spreading propaganda here.

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  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    Mr. McInturff said that Mr. Trump’s hopes rested on an Election Day surge of support.

    “The only thing that’s at stake here is whether there’s a level of turnout tomorrow beyond what we’re projecting in this data. Because, wow, there’s one thing left in this data that looks good, and that’s the ‘not yet voted,’” he said, referring to the large margin of support Mr. Trump carries among voters who say they have bypassed early voting options and will vote on Election Day.

    “And the ‘not yet voted’ is not large enough. Which is why we as Republicans are behind,” Mr. McInturff said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/swing-state-poll-finds-no-late-shift-in-presidential-race-11604329351?mod=djemalertNEWS

    Another article opining that there is little or no movement in the polling as we come to election day and indication that Biden’s lead in early voting is insurmountable.

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  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t think that Parscale is the only Trump campaign looter either, but I’d be willing to do Matt’s charity bet that Parscale looted more money from the campaign than Trump and family did. It’s the whole “Trump leaving most of the money on the table” thing that others have talked about.

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  21. Paine says:

    It looks like this reporter is in the courtroom for that hearing on the Harris county, Texas drive-through vote challenge. Doesn’t seem to be going well for the plaintiffs:

    https://twitter.com/ErnestScheyder

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  22. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Andy: Very much this– all the feinting couches and smelling salts being stockpiled in case the loser “doesn’t accept the results” is ridiculous. The States will tally up the votes and certify a winner–it doesn’t matter what the loser accepts. If its Biden, he’ll go home–if its Trump he’ll get his fat ass our of our White House. Period.

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  23. Northerner says:

    What’s the formal process that decides who won the election in America? If no one concedes, who officially decides who won?

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  24. Northerner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He will certainly try to steal money.

    If he offers to leave peacefully (ie not doing anything but play golf until his term ends) for a billion dollars or so (who knows, he might, it’d make him a real billionaire), I’d suggest taking the offer.

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  25. Kylopod says:

    @Northerner:

    If no one concedes, who officially decides who won?

    Concession is legally meaningless. It isn’t outlined in the Constitution or any statute. It’s just a formality expected of losing candidates. If I’m not mistaken, Andrew Jackson never conceded in 1824–he felt he’d been cheated. It didn’t stop John Quincy Adams from taking office. There are many modern examples of non-presidential races where the losing candidate didn’t concede.

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  26. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod:

    There are many modern examples of non-presidential races where the losing candidate didn’t concede.

    In 2000, Gore conceded the night of Election Day and un-conceded the next morning.

    I think if a concession has any relevance it’s as an indication the apparent loser accepts the loss as legitimate at that point and won’t be pressing on with a bunch of pointless challenges.

    Does anyone think Trump is capable of any of that? I don’t. But hopefully we’ll see very soon.

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  27. dazedandconfused says:

    Seems a likely scenario. I see a flaw in Trump’s call for “our lawyers”.

    Whose lawyers? Barr’s lawyers? Barr is a toady but he’s not an idiot. Barr has already refused to prosecute Biden. Barr will know that the States declare the winner and manage their own elections. Any case against that will be pointless, it’s so clear cut even Kavanagh could see it after a Saturday night at the frat. Trump discover his “lawyers” leading the rush to the lifeboats.

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  28. Northerner says:

    @Kylopod:

    Thanks. So basically the problem with Trump not conceding (or declaring victory on the night of the election) is how many of his supporters are likely to react?

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  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I’m with you JB and frankly I believe that the SC is not going to invent some magical originalist argument to save Trump. The most damaging cases to Biden will be defeated by Roberts and the liberals joined by either/and Barrett/Kavanaugh. And the argument will draw on the decision in Bush/Gore.

    The SC realizes that their legitimacy is at stake.

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  30. JKB says:

    @Northerner:

    All the media hype tomorrow has always been officially meaningless. A couple week or so after the election, the states certify their election results. Then in December, the Electoral college meets and votes. Then the results of that vote isn’t officially received until opened by the NEW Congress after they are sworn in in early January. If the Electoral College isn’t settled then the House votes for the President by state delegation and the Senate votes for Vice President.

    Regardless, Donald Trump is president will full powers until, what is it noon, on January 20 when the new president is sworn in, whether that be Trump or Biden.

    The only real problem is the television media having developed election night entertainment shows with the illusion that their projections are simply predictions based on reported vote counts. If the media had any honor, they would simply pack up at 11 pm election night with no projections given the expansion of the mail-in/absentee ballots to a likely level that could still impact the vote outcome when opened and counted after the election night count.

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know that anyone is advocate for the federal government to run elections.

    I am. At least as far as federal elections are concerned. Having 57 voting entities all doing different things makes no sense. Sure the market can promote innovation, but why the heck do we want to have innovative voting methods? How about reliable ones accessible to all people?

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  32. KM says:

    @Northerner:
    Yep. There’s some legal fuckery Team Trump could try and theoretically succeed at to force the election to go to him. But a loss is a loss and if he loses, he’s trespassing upon government property as a private citizen if he’s still in the WH as of January 20, 2021. Doesn’t matter if he declares himself the “official” winner or if the certification process is still tied up in court, that’s when his term legally ends and the next POTUS legally takes over. He may be that POTUS but he personally has zero say in his upcoming deadline. Anyone assisting him in staying is breaking the law and could be committing treason if they give him access and clearance he doesn’t legally have. Things like the Patriot Act, various Official Secrets Act, etc kick in and the federal crimes start piling up fast. His followers in the government would be criminals themselves if they decide to back him and a harsh reading of the law would label it a coup.

    Privately, his followers are going to flip. Expect traffic disruptions and “peaceful” demonstrations at a minimum for the next week. There’s a non-zero chance of violence and homegrown terrorists looking to influence the electors and states a la the Whitmer incident. If Trump declares victory and the states say “hell no”, it’s going to be a mess. Swing state governments should watch their backs; armed protesters invaded a legislature in a purplish state over *masks*, so how do you think they’re gonna react to their Lord losing power? Security’s getting overtime for the rest of the year……

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  33. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He’ll pardon all his gang.

    I could get behind legislation removing the power of the pardon from lame duck Presidents.

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  34. Monala says:

    @JKB:

    Until then there is every reason to say you won if you are up, and refuse to concede if you are down.

    The arguments in your comment weren’t bad, actually. But they lead only to the conclusion of the second phrase above (refuse to concede on election night, since votes are still being counted). They most certainly don’t lead to the conclusion that you can declare yourself the winner on election night.

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  35. ptfe says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “A return to districts of a similar size would result in a House of ~750 members.”

    I look forward to fivethirtyeight.com turning into eightfiftythree.com.

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  36. James Joyner says:

    @Northerner:

    What’s the formal process that decides who won the election in America? If no one concedes, who officially decides who won?

    The Electoral College votes in late December and the Senate counts their votes in open session in early January.

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  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @ptfe:

    Your forgetting the possibility of DC and PR becoming states. It would be EightFiftySeven

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  38. JKB says:

    @MarkedMan: At least as far as federal elections are concerned

    There is only one election that could conceivably be termed “federal” and that is the presidency. And then only if we go to popular vote and basically disenfranchise those outside of large urban corpses.

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  39. Mister Bluster says:

    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
    The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States,
    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State

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  40. Jax says:

    @JKB: How does the popular vote disenfranchise anyone? One person, one vote. The electoral college disenfranchises every urban voter, including Republicans in urban areas, and you seem fine with that.

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  41. Mikey says:

    @JKB:

    Trump got over four million votes in California in 2016. Because of the electoral college system, every single one of those over four million votes was completely meaningless.

    Why would you want to continue a system that does that to over four million voters who agree with you?

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  42. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jax:

    How does the popular vote disenfranchise anyone? One person, one vote. The electoral college disenfranchises every urban voter

    Ummm… no.

    The electoral college allows (in an extremely unlikely scenario) 18 cities to decide the presidential race. If the top 18 cities voted at 85% blue (and everyone else went red), those 18 cities would deliver 272 electoral votes.

    80% of the US population lives in 3% of the landmass.

    The electoral college (and the House) need to be more representative of actual populations, but the idea that Wyoming (at 550k) somehow disenfranchises people in NYC (8.4M), LA (3.9M) or Chicago (2.7M)* simply doesn’t hold water.

    * Those populations are for the actual cities, not the greater metropolitan areas.

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  43. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..One person, one vote.

    …large urban corpses is honkie slang for where the ni99ers live. Everyone knows this.

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  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    ETA:

    If representatives were actually proportional (pegging “1” to the state with the lowest population (Wyoming at ~550k)) NYC would have 15 representatives in the House. Not New York State, but New York City–within the city limits.

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  45. Jax says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Most states are a “winner take all” scenario on electoral college votes. So yes, Republican voters in “blue” states are essentially wasting their Presidential votes. Why NOT go with popular vote? At least their votes will matter in the Presidential races.

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  46. Jax says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m also totally fine with increasing Representatives in the House to match their population totals. AND I want everybody’s vote to count. I mean, I’m a tiny blue dot in Wyoming, and I want my vote to count for electing Biden, but popular votes don’t matter, only the electoral college, and my vote is wasted here, as well.

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  47. Moosebreath says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    “80% of the US population lives in 3% of the landmass.”

    One acre, one vote strikes again.

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  48. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    If representatives were actually proportional (pegging “1” to the state with the lowest population (Wyoming at ~550k)) NYC would have 15 representatives in the House. Not New York State, but New York City–within the city limits.

    Yes. I can’t tell from your comment whether you think that would be a good thing or a bad thing. It sounds about right to me.

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  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: corpses? In what way would these corpses be “large?” Are you talking about obesity? And why would only urban corpses be large? I live in what is termed these days an “exurb,” and people here are pretty hefty. I weigh 270 and am positively svelte by comparison to some of my neighbors.

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  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Additionally, there’s the question, especially considering one of the posts from yesterday (I think), about why corpses are voting anyway–irrespective of whether they are large corpses or small ones. Or urban and rural, as far as that goes.

    I realize that corpses voting was said to have been a big thing in the 1960 election, but that was a long time ago and moreover, unfair even then.

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  51. Moosebreath says:

    @DrDaveT:

    “It sounds about right to me.”

    It’s a bit off. The current New York Congressional districts have 12 districts including areas within the 5 boroughs of New York. And of them, both Gregory Meeks’ 5th District and the 16th District changing hands this election from Eliot Engel to (almost certainly) Jamaal Bowman include areas in other counties. So it’s more like around 11 districts in New York City.

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  52. An Interested Party says:

    80% of the US population lives in 3% of the landmass.

    So? Who gives a shit (other than Republicans who want to retain power even though their numbers are dwindling)? People vote, not land…

    If representatives were actually proportional (pegging “1” to the state with the lowest population (Wyoming at ~550k)) NYC would have 15 representatives in the House. Not New York State, but New York City–within the city limits.

    And the problem with that would be? Perhaps you are like JKB and think of big cities as “large urban corpses”…

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  53. JKB says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Urban centers are dead or dying, especially after the rioting and arson

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  54. Jax says:

    @JKB: Yes. That totally explains why the economy of California ALONE is worth more than the entire economy of Russia. We should totally blow that off so some yahoo’s in Casper, Wyoming can decide the Presidential elections.

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  55. Jax says:

    @JKB: So that wasn’t a typo, you actually meant corpses? I was prepared to give you a typo, but trust me….the yahoo’s in Wyoming heckling down the scientists from the biggest medical center in Wyoming is not a joke.

    Fuck you, and fuck your meth head, Trumpie friends.

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  56. Jax says:
  57. Barry says:

    @Northerner: “If no one concedes, who officially decides who won?”

    Their concession doesn’t matter.

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