The US election: 50/5 odds and it is not tearing Expats apart
Image: BBC News
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic. Vice Media ran a story recently about the US elections tearing apart Lakeside Expats. It cited complaints from a few locals and a mild incident at the Dildoria, but no fistfights at LCS (social distancing wouldn’t allow it), no table pounding at Gossips, no Pendejo Trump banners hung in the San Antonio Tlayacapan Plaza. Most expats have more pressing problems than antagonizing their neighbors over what is essentially a personal choice.
My impression is that, except for political junkies and tireless partisans in an MSNBC or Fox bubble, most folks in Lakeside don’t harass friends or acquaintances who support the other party. Their Facebook pages may be a partisan billboard, but they are quiet F2F. They do care about the election — overseas voting is breaking records, thanks in part to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act – they just aren’t fighting about it.
But, since I am a political scientist, people ask me my prediction about the election outcome – hoping I will bolster their side. I am happy to predict, but no bolstering. Right now, I think it is 50-50. There may be a Blue Wave, but it may not put Biden in the White House.
According to today’s Washington Post/Real Clear Politics and USA Today polls, at least 9 swing states are still swinging as the gap narrows. Biden leads Trump in Georgia by 1 point. Trump leads Biden in Texas by five points – or none, depending on the poll. In Pennsylvania, Biden is up by between 5 and 8 points. And he is up in Wisconsin between 9 and 10 points and in Florida by 2. But Trump moved up in Ohio by 1 point.
So why not an edge to Biden? Three reasons: voter suppression, the Courts, and the House.
Voter suppression and vote theft has been part of American politics by all parties since the country was founded, but Republicans have raised it to a high art in the past decade. Democrats have to outvote Republicans by 3-5% to get enough votes counted just to tie. And this does not even include the Russians, the Iranians, and the Post Master General, all trying to sow chaos.
The Courts will decide at least 380 voting lawsuits by January 20, 2021. The outcomes at the lower courts have slightly favored Democrats; the outcomes at the Supreme Court have slightly favored Republicans. Bottom line: we may not know who will be allowed to vote and whose votes will be counted in every state by Dec. 12 when the Electoral College meets.
The House is Constitutionally the final decider. Trump knows this and seems to be following three strategies: (1) massively get out the base; (2) aim for a Electoral College win by one or two votes from red counties in blue states with proportional representation in the College, and if (1) and (2) fail, challenge the vote tallies so if SCOTUS refuses to step in, he can take the decision to the House where the State delegations decide – Republicans have 26 and the Dems 22.
So, if Trump doesn’t win enough red states and counties for 270 in College, he can count on SCOTUS or the House for victory. Biden must win every blue and purple state by at least 6 points and win over as many red counties in blue states as possible to overwhelm the Electoral College, forestall a Supreme Court loss, and stay out of the House. Either candidate could pull it off. Hence, 50/50. Whoever wins, I can say with confidence the Expat community will be watching Social Security and Medicare very closely- that is something they will fight about.