Programming note: Tomorrow I'll be joining Tucker for a special Sunday edition of the all-time cable-news ratings champ, "Tucker Carlson Tonight". Hope you'll check it out.
On the other hand, if you seek a respite from politics for All Hallows' Eve, I'll be right here this evening for the conclusion of our annual Tales for Our Time horror yarn - The Vampyre.
For our American readers, please note the clocks go back tonight in order to give Florida Democrat operatives an extra hour to rustle up the black and Hispanic votes they're sorely lacking. If that's not enough, tomorrow they'll find a judge to put the clocks back forty-eight hours.
~One of the points I've made again and again over recent months is that influential people who show signs of getting it need to get it a lot faster.
Exhibit A: the comic genius John Cleese, whose recent elegies for the England he mocked mercilessly at the height of his celebrity have advanced to supporting the notorious "transphobe" J K Rowling and issuing the unanswerable challenge: "Tell me a woke joke."
As far as I'm aware, approximately three-quarters of his wives have been American, so, whether or not he has formally taken US citizenship, he's certainly been entitled to it multiple times. It is disappointing, therefore, that his only contribution to the current election is to bemoan Trump's "unbelievable corruption". For what? Ukraine? Putin? Nah, just for having Amy Coney Barrett sworn in at the White House - as all other eight members of the Supreme Court have been, whether by Clinton, Obama or the Bushes.
Is the Minister for Silly Tweets serious about free speech and political correctness and the plonking totalitarian humorlessness of wokery and all the other stuff he's been saying in recent years? His preference this election is a man who wants to gut the right to freedom of religion because it gives "hate" a "safe harbor". The one thing that can be said for certain about a Biden-Kamala administration is that an already diminished culture of free speech will shrink faster and faster, and a policing of gags already approaching Milan Kundera level will become total. Maybe the answer to "what's a woke joke?" is John Cleese.
~Exhibit B: a great novelist and Spectator columnist, Lionel Shriver. Ms Shriver is American but lives much of the year in the UK and has been on the sharp end of these issues elsewhere within Her Majesty's Dominions. A random sampling of her column headlines this year:
Why Hachette were wrong to drop Woody Allen's memoir
Is living without risk really living at all?
Marching against racism is too easy
The vanity of 'white guilt'
The trouble with a 'decolonised' curriculum
Covid has killed off our civil liberties
Etc. And yet Lionel Shriver has just voted for Biden - and thus for fewer civil liberties, more curricular "decolonization", more "white guilt", more marches against racism, more risk-averse pseudo-living, and more canceled memoirs, including one day hers. In the published apologia, she acknowledges that her vote is at odds with everything she's written this year, and she is filled with "foreboding" about President Biden Kamala's policies on lockdown, open borders, court-packing, runaway spending, higher taxes, and the unleashing of the hard left - all of which she's just voted for.
Gee, it's almost like these great artists aren't serious. Even the death of their own profession - indeed, the death by thought-policing of creative expression and the imaginative arts - can't overcome their social distaste for Trump.
If you're a loser who lives in a rusting single-wide driving your 1993 F-150 to a dilapidated school gym to cast your vote, be grateful you don't have the celebrity-who-semi-gets-it hangups, and you retain, as they apparently do not, a survival instinct. John Cleese and Lionel Shriver's freedom to publish is all down to you.
~As noted above, Democrats are surprised to find Trump over-performing with blacks and Hispanics. (I dislike talking like this, but it's all tribalism all the time now.) On the other hand, Trump's share of the white vote is, per the usual defective polls, way down from the 58 per cent (to Hillary's 37) of 2016. He has about a five-point advantage in most surveys - which, if that were correct, would be insufficient.
Meanwhile, a new study finds that a higher percentage of black and Hispanic women now attend college than young white men. In 2016, Trump was the candidate of "the forgotten man": that's what won him Michigan and Wisconsin. If they drop out of his column this time round, it's because Jared and the wanker consultants forgot "the forgotten man", and in return "the forgotten man" forgot him.
On the other hand, Richard Malaby, a Mark Steyn Club member from a couple of hours south of me in New Hampshire, thinks Trump may be expanding his 2016 base:
Five years ago, I never imaged a world where I'd cheerfully vote for Donald Trump. Your 'Notes on a Phenomenon' column was the first time I'd considered that he could be competitive in a general election, and when he won our state of New Hampshire, (admittedly, I voted for 'Little Marco'), that was when I realized he could win the whole thing. The Smart Conservatives - Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, etc - seem to demand we resist Trump because he's not William F Buckley reincarnate. I don't live in that world, and neither does 80%+ of this country; we get two options and we have to pick the lesser evil. My primary motivation four years ago was to elect a president who would allow the economy to grow so my small business owning parents could retire. As such, I voted for Trump. As Lee Corso says on College Gameday, great pick!
This election season, I've noticed a trend: women who either voted for Hillary or did not vote last go-round are supporting Trump. My proof is exclusively anecdotal and the sample size is small, but I know, have read, or heard a number of women who didn't care for Trump in 2016 but have come around both because he actually sets out to do what he says and because the other side is so hateful it can't help itself. We're told that Trump is doing terribly with women, but my hunch is these are the same women who hated him in 2016.
When Trump's on the stump, it's like watching a stand-up with no set list. When he's interviewed by someone friendly, he sounds like a decent enough guy. When he's unfairly challenged by an adversary, only then is that when he spits bile. Which, in my book, makes him a normal person. I thought Trump would win last time, and I think we're looking at four more years.
Mr Cleese and Ms Shriver should consider that last paragraph, Richard.
~Harvard's biennial Cooperative Election Study is just out, and surveys not the usual 500-1,500 voters but over 50,000. They show Biden up by eight points. Hot Air points out that CES got it right - or less wrong than the other guys - four years ago:
The CES is conducted every two years before and after the national election, which raises the question of how it did forecasting Trump's 2016 upset. All told, pretty well. It had Clinton ahead by four; she went on to win the popular vote by two.
Oh, that's very impressive: They were in the fifty per cent ballpark. On that track record, Biden is up by four points - assuming their 2016 methodology has been modified to account for Covid, early voting numbers now surpassing last time's total vote, and a candidate who hasn't campaigned in seven months.
No one knows nothing: Vote - and, as I say, persuade a friend to vote with you; Rush is more ambitious and says take four friends to vote with you.
~We opened The Mark Steyn Club over three years ago, and I'm thrilled by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. My only regret is that we didn't launch it eighteen years ago, but better late than never. You can find more information about the Club here - and, if you've a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don't forget our special Gift Membership.
Oh, and if you're seriously chafing under the lockdown and looting, there's no better way to cock a snook at the lockdown than by booking a berth on our Third Annual Steyn Cruise sailing the Med next year - and with Conrad Black, Michele Bachmann, John O'Sullivan and Douglas Murray among our shipmates. We'll be attempting some seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, our Sunday Poem and other favorite features. If you're minded to give it a go, don't leave it too late: as with most travel and accommodations, the price is more favorable the earlier you book - and, if the lockdown ever does gets totally lifted, why use your newfound freedom of movement just to visit the county fair or see X-Men 47 at the multiplex when you can bestride the world like a cruising colossus?
Kathy Shaidle will be here this evening with her Saturday movie column, and I'll follow shortly thereafter with the conclusion of our Halloween Tale for Our Time - The Vampyre. See you Sunday night with Tucker.