Oh No, Here It Comes Again, That Funny Feeling

Sat on the porchListened to the rainSmoked a cigaretteAnd counted to tenOh no, here it comes again,
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  1. Avatar for mckett mckett says:

    68 million votes already cast though Ben

  2. In 2008 the Dem’s were playing chess while John McCain played checkers. Today it seems like the Dem’s don’t even get the concept of checkers while Trump is playing chess from his iphone through each tweet he sends.

    I do think an interesting difference this election is that in 2016 there were a lot of trump voters “afraid” to admit their support beforehand. I am seeing some people this time around “afraid” to admit they aren’t voting for him.

  3. Ben,

    Bingo, you got it, Ben. This is what I fear.

    Trump controls the narrative. The media loves it. The media supports it.

    He has captured a large percentage of the unconscious minds of the voters.

    One of my favorite poets, Maya Angelou, captured the inspirational spirit of those that I admire AND those that I don’t admire.

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”― Maya Angelou

    Sadly, IMO, Donald Trump, emotionally and unconsciously plays to the core feelings of his followers. They will NEVER forget how he makes them feel.

    Next week, America faces its greatest hours.

    May it be a decisive defeat for Trump.

    Jim Handshaw

  4. Fascinating.
    Well, my biggest fear is a Democratic sweep, especially when Ben points out AOC has “figured it out”.
    A Democratic sweep with AOC as the true point person is a very scary proposition for the country.

  5. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    Yes. As I mentioned in the note, my sense is that this is too little, too late for Trump. We’ll see.

  6. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    This is a fear. This is not my greatest fear.

  7. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Nothing in politics really measures on my ‘greatest fear’ scale, but this is one of several possible outcomes I would not be wild about.

  8. My hope is that, after 4 years, rage is a far greater motivator than … whatever it is that turns out the MAGAts.

  9. AOC does play Trump’s game, no apology, just divide and conquer. Seems to me the biggest risk for markets is Biden win, House stays Democrat and Senate stays Republican. Of course, that also might be the shortest path for the Fed buying equities. Americans vote against and not for, that’s why Biden wins. What comes next? I don’t know, but we keep taking “the end justifies the means” to new levels. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

  10. The number one knock on Trump leading up to 2016 was that he was “unelectable” and that he divided the party severely. Fast forward to today and Trump has bent the entire party to his will, mostly by employing the techniques that Ben referenced and forcing other Rs to get on the train or retire. It’s been more effective than I ever imagined for him. The Dem’s are taking the absolute opposite approach. It will be interesting, that’s for sure.

  11. Avatar for Dan Dan says:

    I think Biden is playing a longer game. Social media algorithms are tuned to creating competitive games, not cooperative games. But Biden wants the latter, hence he chooses algorithms that reinforce cooperation.

    He names himself as a transitional figure, and as such, his glide path doesn’t mean to elevate him as a polar star figure, and thus a polarizing figure, like Trump, AOC or Bernie.

    Here’s another prism casting a similar light on the images we are seeing:

    • https://www.wired.com/story/biden-social-media/
    Additionally, Biden's surrogates do use the tools of culture (e.g., music, poetry and image) to reach out to the many sub-crowds of the Biden coalition. See, e.g., here:
    • https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1320477737249722369?s=20
    By contrast, Trump rallies are meant to coalesce around what I would say is a smaller sub-crowd, namely, a nostalgic white nationalistic / cultural Christian sub-crowd, or a sub-crowd that prefers an macho alpha male figure (appealing to certain subsets of black and Latino males that were traditionally part of the Democratic tent) as opposed to a nurturing, Mr. Rogers type of alpha male (these sub-crowds include many women, many of the more educated).
  12. Ben, I have been reading your notes for well over 5 years. Most notes are enlightening and I have learned to look at things in new ways. Occasionally I disagree with a point you make , but NEVER had I thought anything ludicrous…Until now. "I think that they are genuinely prepared to “sell out” for Joe Biden " —Now if you had said “They are ready to sell out for anybody that runs against Donald Trump” I would agree and maybe that is what you are getting at—. Obama would not even “sell out” for Joe.

    On a side note as I write this Twitter is losing the Meta Game in a landslide.

  13. I want to peel back your fears on AOC and her view of politics and economics. Joe and Suzie Sixpack have seen themselves crushed twice in the past dozen years. Lost their home through the “Rocket Docket” in Florida and elsewhere where the Jaime Diamonds of the world were telling them to default and then work on a mitigation while fast tracking their foreclosure. result? Millions of homes now owned by AH4R and others rented back to them. This year they saw $1200 (Mnuchin said it should last 10 weeks when Louise Linton spends double that at the day spa every morning and $600/week which Lindsey Graham said is a “disincentive to work.” Meanwhile Scott Wapner was being slapped by Chamath when he said why shouldn’t hedge fund centimillionaires be bailed out and the high functioning sociopaths at the airlines took $365 million in stock based compensation whiles spending 95% of free cash flow in stock buybacks totaling $47 billion in last 4 years and then demanding $50 billion which they got no strings attached, not even an equity position or stock options?

    Do you think the Sixpacks are stupid? They see monay flowing everywhere, hundreds of billions to big people and crumbs for them to fight over. They want their bailouts, and why not? Health insurance, college tuition, drops in the bucket (except for the Fuckery of private colleges, read Scott Galloway on them) compared to the oil depletion allowance, carried interest and ZIRP that kills savers while enriching public corporations who have $5 trillion in BBB debt that was used yo buy back stock. They used to be called “raiders.” Now it’s just another day at the office…

    Are you not a regular reader? If so then you must be getting something different about what’s written here than I do!

    So you’re apparently afraid of “Socialism?” Forget it, the government has been captured by the huge corporations. No trust busting on monopolies so Jeff Bezos can spend $100 million to put diapers.com out of business. No my friend, AOC is a pissant in the grand scheme of things. We have a quasi-fascist government. Paddy Chayefsky got it right in the scene from Network a novel and movie 4 decades before its’ time: https://bit.ly/37JfT8C

  14. I always get as much from the Pack comment to the comment. This time, some levity in the Wired link included above. Fart smell congruence with prognosticating!

    Prognosticating about what will happen in the future with national politics is like loudly trying to guess precisely what your next fart will smell like. There’s no way to do it without appearing vulgar and discomfitingly confident. Election Day’s outcome remains uncertain, no matter what predictive pollsters say.

  15. I’d like to believe the Biden camp has come up with the secret sauce to win, but I don’t believe that. I do believe he will win, but again, it will only be because he is the default candidate running against Trump. This election is simply a Vote For or Vote Against Trump and nothing to do with Biden. Full disclosure, I’m voting against Trump or at least I thought I was since my 11-year-old daughter tested positive on Monday. She got it from 1/3 grader on her cheer team which consist of 40 girls ages 8-20. So now I may not make it to the polling place. Going to get my own virus test today. I’m not blaming anyone for her getting the virus, I knew the risk when I sent her to cheer practice.

  16. I think the “literally Hitler” fearmongering from 2016 got out more anti-Trump sentiment than whatever residual of it is left after 4 years of continued oligopoly, occasionally broken up by globalist deathgasms.

    Speaking from my vantage point in a heavily minority neighborhood in a firmly blue county in a quasi-up-for-grabs state with a lot of electoral votes, I’m seeing an awful lot more support for Trump than Biden on the ground. The blatant support of rampant lawlessness this summer was a whole lot more motivating to the red tribe than to the blue tribe.

  17. Concur with the lack of seeing anyone willing tell sell out for Uncle Joe. I haven’t seen anyone try to mount a convincing defense of him as a candidate, meaning a defense willing to understand and refute the criticisms. The closest I’ve seen was someone on r/liberalgunowners who at least sourced a bunch of campaign talking points. The entire Biden team seems like they are hoping that if they don’t look at the scandals they’ll go away, and they’re focusing their entire message on “He’s not Trump!” on social media. That plays fine on twitter, but isn’t too motivating to enough people to matter.

    Positions or ban? RTX 60.50C 11/6; Predictit: TX not blue, Pres not Biden, Popular vote GOP 7.5% - 10.5% margin (not counting on the last, but I liked the odds). Just playing with Vegas money, nothing serious.

  18. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I don’t think anyone in the DNC or its orbit is holding back anything in this election, and I think many clearly were in 2016. Selling out for a teammate doesn’t mean that you like the guy. It means that you keep hustling for him. Joe Biden is no Jay Cutler.

  19. I would have agreed a couple of years ago, but it seems to me that today, Trump would be doing better in the 2020 race if he had not been so thoroughly assimilated by the Republican mainstream. All Trump has today for policy is tax cuts. If he were running the 2016 (Bannon’s) playbook he could hit dirty old Joe where it hurts. But he can’t, because now he’s an R and they’re all just as dirty in the same way.
    The “unelectable” thing was always a smear by elites who felt threatened, applied to both Trump and Bernie. During the 2016 primaries I would tell my family that Bernie and Trump were like Stalin and Hitler, but in a good way. [That’s a joke by the way]. In 2020 there’s still a remarkable symmetry between DT and BS. Each has been completely co-opted by the party he thought he had conquered. Trump’s got nothing but tax cuts, and Bernie’s stumping for the archetypal swamp creature, with literally no evidence that his movement will be represented in even the smallest way in a Biden administration.
    One takeaway is that change from the top just ain’t gonna happen. Maybe BITFD from the bottom has a better chance.

  20. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    On this dimension, I think it’s a distinction without a difference. The idea is that nobody is withholding endorsements, donations or rhetoric.

  21. Watch FL, MI, WI on election day as bellwethers as mail ins are due that day. NC, OH, and PA have deadlines from +3 to +10 days.

  22. Trump goes for the gut. He knows how to bypass the mind. Bypass the mind and you bypass the fear. In an uncertain time that is a powerful potion.

    Trump’s rallies are defiant of the COVID realities. The narrative of defy or cower has been presented ( although that is just a narrative as biology has taken a back seat).

    When life has been pushing you around defiance feels good.

    Although we are going to elect somebody, this ain’t settled.

    May you live in interesting times.

  23. electionprojection.com - which pretty much just averages all the available polls out there and gives states accordingly…has Trump at 231 and Biden at 307. I think Trump will outperform the average of the polls , they have FL and PA narrowly for Biden, if Biden loses those --he loses-- and Trump will have 279.

    I will be watching those 2 VERY closely.

  24. Joe Biden is no Jay Cutler.
    My God. Never before have you made a more apt comparison.
  25. The three other big differences I see from 2016 are:

    1. Far left will turn out to vote for Biden in large numbers - they didn't with Clinton because a) they didn't like her (because Sanders...) and b) THEY THOUGHT SHE'D ALREADY WON - I see Biden and the Dems going to great pains to send the message that they haven't won, and it's still close - so not sure I agree that Biden is using the polls as his signal as much as you think
    2. Agree he played the game well, but also Trump won largely because moderates and working-class thought: "we're disillusioned with politicians - let's give the business guy a shot". Now he's no longer "unknown" and "different" - it's "well, that didn't work"
    3. Absentee/Mail-In Ballots are huge - will fuel greater turnout, but clearly biased towards youth/Dems. I think turnout in person could actually be pretty low, given that a) it's always low, and b) there are more risks involved. Trumps strategy of trashing mail-in could badly backfire - he's been trashing it mostly to his own followers, who therefore won't use it as much and will intend to vote in person but will often fail to do so in practice. Also voter suppression could encourage more dems to vote mail-in, and more will do so than would have shown up in person.
    You make a reasonable point Ben, but it's hard for me to believe it's not too little, too late to override the above - I'm guessing Biden landslide.
  26. My neighborhood is middle-to-upper-middle class. Nothing special in terms of demographics. More minorities than I grew up around, but it generally reflects the demo of the (very blue) county. Four years ago there were 0 Trump signs on my street and maybe handful in the whole neighborhood. There was exactly one ‘Hillary for Prison’ sign (yes, really). I believe I saw two or three Clinton/Kaine signs in total as well.

    Flash forward to this year and…I should have gotten into the sign business. Trump signs, flags, and banners everywhere. But there are also a ton of Biden signs. Trump probably has the edge, which is interesting since my precinct split 55-45 for Clinton. Seems all those shy Trump voters ceased to be shy this year. Anyone who’s expecting a huge, out-of-nowhere surge of new supporters is going to be left scratching their heads. But I have found myself questioning the polls–and I’ve never been one of those people–when I see so much Trump support in a deep blue county in a swing state. I’m less certain about this election than I was two months ago, and that feels strange because fundamentally nothing has changed. All I’ve done is watch the crowd and now I’m not sure what exactly I’m seeing…

  27. American Flags are the 2020 Trump sign in many markets.

  28. Avatar for bpatno bpatno says:

    I understood your point in the article that way. Also, DNC has among many other things changed voting laws in several states to increase their changes of winning. Clearly, DNC is not taking this election lightly.

  29. I can’t compete with Ben’s insights or the amazingly perceptive views of the pack. But, in recent days, I too have sensed a shift in the momentum of the race. Trump shows a jaunty confidence that reminds me of the iconic picture of FDR smiling, head tilted upward. All that’s missing is the cigarette holder. His confidence and sheer joy of campaigning has an infectious quality.

    Trump has made no attempt whatsoever to appeal to moderates or independents because there are fewer of them to persuade but, more importantly, his field operations have been magnificent in registering his kind of voter – males with high school diplomas who have been shafted for the past 25 years. I’m not going to be so quick to conclude that record turnout in the swing states is a bad thing for Trump.

    I know that 2020 is not 2016. There are fewer voters who will make up their minds just ahead of Election Day. Biden enjoys more goodwill than Clinton. Trump is not a what-the-hell gamble; he is a known entity and the election is a referendum on him. But, less than one week ahead of the elections the polls eerily show the same sort of spread in favor of Biden as they did for Clinton. Maybe it’s enough this time. Maybe.

  30. My sincere apologies. I tried to post a table from RealClearPolitics comparing current polls in the swing states versus 2016. Ben, how do I get to edit remarks on these posts?

  31. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    I don’t know, like, outside of the narrow point Ben is making, if I had to go through a list of politicians in history and say, “which one of these dopes reminds me the most of Jay Cutler”, Biden is pretty high on the list. He’s not Al Gore or Dan Quayle high, but he’s high.

  32. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    No worries, Jim! We can edit posts as an admin after they’ve been posted, which we’re happy to do. Currently looking into extensions for this commenting app that will let users edit their own posts, too.

  33. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    Haha! In terms of accomplishments and stats as a professional QB, I think you’re exactly right, Rusty (so far, anyway). Joe Biden IS Jay Cutler. In terms of teammate support, I think Joe Biden is a pure neutral, exactly in the middle between a Dak and a Jay. I dunno … Ryan Tannehill?

  34. Avatar for apiarx apiarx says:

    I live in Blue Raleigh, NC surrounded by Red rural areas. After reading all the previous comments today, I’m a little surprised not to read what is a frequent assertion hereabouts. If one watches Fox News, one sees new videos every day showing Candidate Biden befuddled and confused. What scares a lot of us is that Kamela Harris is almost certainly going to be the first female president of color, probably sooner rather than later. Hiding serious diseases close to elections is not without precedent: FDR died 82 days into his final term. That may be longer than it will take to invoke the 25th amendment. Anybody looking forward to the worst-performing primary candidate ascending to the White House?

  35. I’m voting for Biden and think it’s a fair concern. I think that narrative of Biden backfired on Trump though, whether it’s true or not. They painted this grand picture of a guy who’s wobbly and can’t put sentences together before the debates, yet I’d say Trump looked more like the grumpy old man than Biden did in the 1st one. That narrative also lowered the bar quite a bit for Biden, all he had to do was seem somewhat coherent and it was a win. We all deserve better than 2 guys in their 70s who don’t even know how to use email for candidates in 2020. 25th amendment could apply to both of these guys, and neither would get hired if they applied for a job as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But we will elect him president of the free world!

  36. Trump 2016: What have you got to loose? Now we know!

  37. Avatar for apiarx apiarx says:

    Carl, you are spot-on regarding the abysmal quality of the 2020 Presidential candidates! This was the same in 2016, when the least-disliked candidate was elected. The Republicans actually fielded non-starters in previous elections (John McCain and Mitt Romney). However, anyone who votes for Mr. Biden without realizing they are assuring at least 7 years of President Kamala Harris is just plain uninformed. If you have not yet voted for Mr. Biden, please Google “Fr Ed Meeks staring into the abyss.” While much of the 20-minute video is specific to Roman Catholic beliefs, even more of it reflects what used to be mainstream American values–values specifically rejected by the Democratic Party.

  38. Jay Cutler didn’t care if anyone liked him, Biden does. Biden is more like Mark Brunell. Sure, he has a ring, but that’s because he was a backup to Brees (Obama).

  39. I would be willing to bet a decent sum of money that he does not survive the full four years. I take no glee in thinking about that. Even though he’s a politician I still feel a measure of sadness at the whole farce. I think his being alive is the only thing that keeps Hunter from falling apart completely (again). As much as I despise the graft and corruption of our ruling class–and make no mistake, Biden is part of that machine–I still see a son whose struggles with addiction are painful for the father who, despite everything, loves his boy more than life itself.

  40. I believe “Joe & Jane Sixpack” have been abused for almost 30 years. It has been led by two major government policies

    First, Trade Policy — when the Communist world (1/2 the world’s population) went to capitalism. 80%of the benefits went to corporate executives ( and shareholders) while 80% of the pain went to the Middle Class as good jobs went abroad. That started under a Democrat, Bill Clinton.
    I understand it was inevitable, but to just rip the bandaid off and give the vast Middle Class little to no chance was a terrible move by the Government, especially the Democrats ( historically the Blue collar worker’s major supporters).

    Second, Monetary Policy, not understood by many, hidden, but absolutely one-sided, again with corporate executives getting 80% of the benefits while the Middle Class takes 80% of the pain.

    Now mostly because of these government policies we have massive wealth and income inequality . Frustration abounds.
    The Democratic Party aligned MSM is trumpeting this as a racial discrimination issue.
    It is primarily a Wealth Inequality issue ,cutting across all races.

    The problem is that if it’s framed as a racial discrimination issue then the obvious solution ( to Dems ) is to intervene with REAL Discrimination . Forced “Diversity “ requirements ( Quotas) which could/will enrage the vast Middle Class given its inherent unfairness.
    And especially because of their relative losses of the last 30 years , most are fully aware that something is wrong.
    They see a President who for the first time in at least 35 years is presumably looking out for them.
    Some ( not “many” Ben!) might say Trump isn’t doing that either but I think he is a greater supporter of the Middle Class than Biden and the Democrats.

  41. I don’t know if i would want to cover a bet of any of us surviving another four years the way this one is going!

  42. I am a bit surprised no one has talked about the idea of increasing the number of justices to the court. The one great achievement of the past 3 years has been the appointment of 3 Supreme Court Justices that will enforce the limits of government set forth in the Constitution. I always thought it hilarious when the President is compared to a dictator–these are the last people someone obsessed with their own power would put on the high court. The right of the citizens to be armed is also not a thing any dictator would fight for.

    You know what a dictator would do? Disarm the citizenry and pack the high court with people that would allow the destruction of personal liberties in the “name” of security. The former VP has had every chance to deny that these are his plans - but will not do so.

    This is the single most terrifying outcome IMO --a total pollicization of the court—where the number of justices are increased every time the party in power wants to violate our Constitutional protections.

    The discourse in our country has become beyond toxic , and Trump has his fingerprints all over it , We may not recover , Ben may be right. The Constitution ,however , is the one document that can preserve our freedom until we find our way.

  43. The Venezuelan Congress dealt a severe blow to judicial independence by packing the country’s Supreme Court with 12 new justices, Human Rights Watch said today. A majority of the ruling coalition, dominated by President Hugo Chávez’s party, named the justices late yesterday, filling seats created by a law passed in May that expanded the court’s size by more than half.
    From 2004

  44. Biden is running neck-and-neck with Trump in Georgia and Texas. Georgia. And. Texas. This thing is over. It’s been over for the last three months, but the narrative requires a horse race, lest we become uninterested and stop watching/clicking/liking/sharing.

  45. What I cannot come to terms with, is the those who held there nose and voted from Trump and now regret it. Those, who for so long voted R that they pulled the lever saying “how bad could he be”. Those votes are gone.

    What I also find interesting, is that this time around the lighthearted puckishness of the first Trump campaign is gone. The memes, gifs, and other social media content that those on “both side” could chuckle about are just absent. It all just feels mean spirited now. No one is laughing anymore. His outsider shuck and jive just isn’t working on a meta level.

  46. You’re proving my point. In 2016 Trump was at 49% according to the polling averages. In 2020 Biden is at 49%. Reading that as good for Trump is simply impossible for anyone who’s engaging in an actual discussion.

    As far as Texas goes, Biden isn’t going there because he hasn’t been going much of anywhere. His campaign has basically been a bunch of lid days followed by a few sparsely attended events here and there. But he hasn’t had to do any real campaigning and yet he’s maintained a solid lead throughout.

  47. I’m in a suburb west side of Houston, it does not feel like Texas is in play for Biden around here. Maybe it’s just my circle, but feels like I’m on an island as white male Biden supporter in Fort Bend County.

  48. i don’t think Dems take TX this time either, but could as soon as 2022.

  49. in a world where literally anything can AND HAS happened, I think Biden has it sown up.
    The three biggest reasons:

    1. He's polling slightly behind Trump in the midwest regions dominated by non-college educated. Trump beat HRC by 20-30.
    2. Those who despise both candidates, said they'd vote for Biden 3-1. that was the reverse in 2016.
    3. While we see the Trump rallies, what people don't see is the MASSIVE youth mobilization on TikTok - millions of views , and thousands and thousands of videos, that are anti-Trump/ Get out the Vote. I think the Youth vote comes in big. (Reminder - 18-29 was up 30% at the 2018 midterms. midterms !!)
  50. Whatever the outcome smart investors and libertarian thinkers will be able to protect individual liberties by zigging when intrusive govt zags. The smartest folks in our wonderful country are not in government

  51. I would suggest that there may be something missing from your analysis: Your argument is something akin to the “enthusiasm” data point that IBD/TIPP uses in their polling. Effectively, Trump is naturally capable of stoking greater Pro-Trump enthusiasm in his base than Biden can stoke Pro-Biden enthusiasm in his own. But, I would submit that anti-Trump enthusiasm is an underappreciated data point in that constellation of concepts. I would suggest that, in this election, people are not so much voting either For Joe Biden or For Donald Trump. They are voting either For or Against Trump.

    Trump has spent 4 years giving the middle finger to 60% of the country. He is motivating his base by alienating a far larger majority. From that perspective, Joe Biden was the perfect candidate to run against Trump because his candidacy allows this election to truly be a referendum on Trump. Trump does best when he can focus all his efforts on discrediting the opponent. He would have been able to build a coalition and turn out the moderate right in his favor if he could have made this election a referendum on socialism or far-left progressivism. But that was impossible with Biden. And Trump has a track record this time around, rather than being the finger-pointing outsider with only claims and promises to be judged as he was four years ago. Every tweet, every video, every media appearance is stoking Trump’s base, but also stoking massive enthusiasm to get him out.

    No, this election – just like the 2016 election – will be decided by motivating more of YOUR people to get up off their asses and get to the polls than the other guy does with HIS people.”

    In other words, I am suggesting that one perhaps shouldn’t underestimate the degree to which Trump is also doing a ton to motivate Biden’s people to get up off their asses and to the polls.

  52. We wont have to wait long now --I agree with you - If TX or GA go for Biden the election is indeed over , at the end of the day both will go for Trump.

    To me PA is now the key - FL flipped for Trump on electionprojection.com --I think Biden’s team see’s it the same way as his final 6 stops have ALL been in that state.

  53. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Well this aged OK

  54. Yet it did. Somehow I’m picturing Ben with the big hat and cape as Carnac the Magnificent from Johnny Carson.

  55. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    I can confirm that Ben does, in fact, own a cape.

  56. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    And a top hat. But not a Carnac swami hat.

  57. Somebody get Ben a Swami Hat, STAT!
    I shared the 2016 post far and wide for the last 4 years.
    Have not read ANYTHING that better explained what was happening.
    You two are providing a valuable forum with insights not found easily.
    Truth is Treason and all that.
    We must all now commit to Repair and Restore regardless of our Politics.
    Can we return to The Cooperation Game?

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