2.40am The President entered to the familiar strains of "Hail to the Chief", which seemed very consciously chosen. His remarks were brief, but this line struck me:
I said, 'What happened to the election?' 'It's off...' All of a sudden everything just stopped.
Indeed. The election special mysteriously ground to a halt. Trump could reasonably have expected to be giving his victory speech right now, had not Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina all decided to have an early night and resume in the morning, or afternoon, or next Tuesday.
There is great peril in that.
In our comments, Aly writes:
Isn't there anything that could have been done to stop it before it got to this point, or even right now, for instance? Can't Trump send in the National Guard or FBI (oh, wait...) or investigators from the justice dept. to keep watch over all of this? Heck, even a private detective taking surveillance video of the county elections offices or polling places would do.
Well, for this election the parties spent $14 billion, which is twice as much as last time. You would certainly think that could buy enough gumshoes to cover the shenanigans at Penn polling stations.
Instead, as the President put it, he's headed to the Supreme Court - and the Dems are determined to hole him up in the Chadlands and barrage him with "Count every vote!", just as soon as we figure out how many we're short and leave them in a box round the back of a Philly Taco Bell.
Nothing further will be happening tonight. We will see you in the morning.
2.05am In most of the uncalled states, it's now a ballot-hunting tussle between blue cities and red rural counties. The President is scheduled to speak in a few minutes. Last time round, we called it for him at 2.40am:
In February this year, I chanced to dine with a very eminent Australian politician, who was utterly disbelieving when I suggested that Trump could win both the nomination and the presidency. My dinner guest protested in characteristically Australian fashion:
'But he's a f*ckwit!'
Well, the f*ckwit just won.
Things are moving slower this year. He's had a good day, but it's tightening and heading for the courts.
1.55am In a functioning electoral system, Trump could have put this thing to bed tonight. In Pennsylvania, with 65 per cent of the vote in, he has a lead over Biden of about three-quarters of a million. So the sleazy ballot supervisors decided to send everyone home for the night. What's going on right now under cover of darkness is a Democrat operation to reverse that Trump lead.
My old line, from many election cycles, is that Republicans have to win beyond the margin of lawyer. The states outstanding are bringing this election well within the margin of lawyer and deep into the chad-dangling hell of adjudicated elections.
To use my other old line, chaos is a choice. Democrats choose it eagerly, and hapless GOP fainthearts tend to get dragged along.
1.30am The excuses for why the global superpower cannot run an election are truly pathetic: A burst water pipe and a software malfunction in Georgia, supposedly. Uh-huh. My own sense is that if Trump doesn't win in the next ninety minutes or so, it'll all be making its way to the courts, especially if the President needs Pennsylvania to get to 270.
I'm reminded of the basic problem with Michael Mann's hockey stick - how you "smooth" the proxy data (tree rings) for the first nine hundred years into the observed readings (thermometers) from the mid-19th century on. Here the difficulty has been "smoothing" Democrat-heavy mail-in votes into GOP-heavy Election Day votes. The networks are now suggesting Georgia, Michigan and others won't be called until fairly late on Wednesday. That's a problem for Trump.
1.10am A cautionary note: If the (to my mind premature) call of Arizona holds for Biden, it will all come down to the midwest for Trump - and in that case the small declines in his share of the white vote detectable here and there could prove the deciding factor.
12.40am 538's Nate Silver has recalibrated his model and figures that Joe can sleep easy:
It shows Biden at 88 percent to win the Electoral College, Trump at 6 percent, and a 6 percent chance of a tie.
Whatever gets you through the night, Data Boy.
12.30am Minnesota has just been called for Biden. Joe is said to be planning to address the nation, presumably to declare victory and turn in for the night.
To take the Minnesota call seriously for the moment, Sal Tessio writes below:
It turns out burning a city to the ground is an effective get out the vote effort for the Dems.
12.20am My old friend David Frum is not taking it well:
You have no idea how badly I hoped I would never have to write, think, or talk about Donald Trump after tonight.
Maybe the problem is that you didn't really "think" about Trump at all. If you don't live in Beltwayworld, his appeal is perfectly obvious. And, if it hadn't been Trump, it would have been something else - because, when the alternative to Hillary is Jeb, it's perfectly reasonable to say, you know, I think I'd like a little bit more of a choice.
In 2016 the failure of the ineffectual 21st-century GOP is what enabled Trump.
In 2020 the failure of the GOP establishment (such as David), the media and others to examine honestly the rise of Trump is why poor old Frummy is going to get no respite from Trump.
12.15am It turns out the racist misogynist Orange Hitler is the outreach the GOP has needed all along:
Change from 2016:
White Men -5
White Women +2
Black Men +4
Black Women +4
Latino Men +3
Latino Women +3
There is a tragic element to the above. Think of what the first term could have accomplished had so-called "conservatives" from Paul Ryan to Jennifer Rubin to Mitt Romney to George Will been able, as voters from Miami-Dade to Starr County have evidently been able to do, to get beyond the Tweets and the social revulsion. So shallow.
Midnight Eastern Time: Texas is called, belatedly, so it's Biden 223, Trump 204.
In Texas, the President's won half-a-million more votes than last time; in Florida, a million more.
Meanwhile, back Down East, the money poured into Maine to unseat Susan Collins as punishment for voting to confirm Kavanaugh has availed Hollywood naught as it did against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. The squeaker isn't looking squeaky at all.
11.50pm Trump has just won Ohio, with amazing victories in the Mahoning Valley:
In 2016 Hillary won Mahoning County by 4,000 votes; tonight Trump won Mahoning by 2,000.
Trump seems to be increasing his bluecollar vote, which is good news for elsewhere in the rustbelt.
11.40pm There's a distinct pattern to the TV coverage: States are called early for Biden - Virginia, Arizona - and very late if at all for Trump - Florida, Georgia. Some of the Biden calls look a little premature to me, and his lead in the popular vote - approx 49 to 48 - is a long way from those 16-point, 14-point polls of a fortnight back.
11.35pm The brain-dead left was so busy screaming "Racist!" they failed to notice that the racist had mysterious transracial appeal. The most Latino district in the United States is Starr County, Texas, which is 96 per cent Hispanic. It's also very poor - per capita income, seven grand.
In 2016 Hillary won Starr County by 96 per cent. Tonight, with 98 per cent of precincts reporting, Biden is up by just five points.
11.25pm As I said an hour ago, the reason the networks didn't call Florida is because "they were waiting for the Dementia Kid to flip something". Well, they just called Florida for Trump, and immediately followed it with the news that Biden had won Arizona - the first flip of the night. As the Fox News lower-third has it:
Trump Wins Florida, Biden Takes Arizona
So now Ohio is the new Florida: Ninety per cent of the vote is in, Trump has a 400,000 lead, and no one's calling it.
11.15pm Meanwhile, on the myopic identity-politics left, The Atlantic's Jemele Hill:
If Trump wins re-election, it's on white people. No one else.
If Biden loses, it's on bores like you. Tell it to Florida Latinos and watch them laugh at you. Ooh, sorry, I mean "Latinx", as nobody says.
To take that Tweet slightly more seriously than it deserves, if Trump wins re-election, it's on whiny white liberals who drone on about "Latinx" and "white privilege" and "racial justice" so that everyone from hardcore black Marxists to Venezuelan refugees is just bloody sick of you. Piss off and get a life, if you'll forgive a touch of the Fred Wellmans.
11.05pm In North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn, a 25-year-old disabled man, has just won his race, and will become the youngest Congressman since whenever. Fred Wellman, "Senior Advisor for Veterans Affairs" at the "Lincoln Project", reacted with the customary grace of NeverTrumpers:
Fucking piece of shit. Punk ass liar. You didn't get into Navy you little Nazi shitstain.
Whom the gods would destroy they first make NeverTrump.
Trump right now is holding seniors and bluecollar whites and gaining Hispanics and blacks and Native Americans. He can do without Fred Wellman and Bill Kristol and George Will.
10.50pm Governor Ron DeSantis:
President @realDonaldTrump is up in Florida by almost 400,000 votes with more than 90% of precincts reporting. Why haven't networks called the race? It's a done deal and the refusal to recognize the obvious speaks volumes about the (lack of) objectivity of these outlets.
On the other hand, they called my own state of New Hampshire for Biden on 45 per cent of the vote.
Trump is on course to win - not just against Biden, but against the media, the pollsters and in certain states against a corrupt electoral administration.
10.30pm It's been over two hours since I, a Canadian amateur, called Florida. The corrupt US networks have simply ceased talking about it. The sun has gone down on talk of the Sunshine State.
I get why they held off initially. They were waiting for the Dementia Kid to flip something - North Carolina, Georgia, anywhere - in order that they could report the situation as a Trump hold rendered irrelevant by a Biden gain.
But it's been two hours and there's no flip and Trump is 400,000 votes ahead ...and the networks are apparently willing to destroy whatever remnants of their integrity survive to go all-in on a Biden blowout that was never going to happen.
The score so far:
10.20pm As I mentioned on the Election Day edition of The Mark Steyn Show, in Warren Harding's GOP landslide of one hundred years ago he won both his Democrat predecessor Woodrow Wilson's district in Princeton, NJ and his vice-presidential opponent Franklin Roosevelt's town of Hyde Park, NY.
Biden has spent the campaign representing himself as Lunchbucket Joe from Scranton, PA versus a billionaire's boy from Fifth Avenue. How's that shtick playing in that corner of PA? Returns from Lackawanna County:
Trump 60 per cent;
Biden 39 per cent.
10.10pm Even if the corrupt American media haven't called Florida, the Chinese markets have. Behold the yuan, nosediving like Hunter in a crack house:
As Laura Rosen Cohen says below of the night so far:
This is an excellent FU to China.
10.05pm Philadelphia has announced it will not be counting any more mail-in ballots tonight. They're all tuckered out and need to go home.
Pennsylvania is Belarus.
PS According to CNN, Biden has already won.
10pm Even crap polls have consequences. Whatever happens, there will be no Biden blowout. The worst-case scenario is that, if Joe wins, it will be close. That means that Trump will be perceived to have outpolled expectations. Which means it will be harder for "moderate" RINO squish NeverTrumpers to take back the GOP. Why go back to Mitt when, whatever Trump's final tally, it'll be better than Romney's lousy score in 2012?
So the polls are completely wrong. There will be no Biden landslide - and any transformative elements of the race so far are on the Trump side of the ledger. He turns out to be doing exactly what the pundit class said he'd failed to do: expand his appeal from "angry old white men" to all kinds of other folks. The GOP has been trying to do this for years - through jelly-spined squishery, pandering bromides, and all the usual rubbish dignified as "outreach" - when it turns out that what they really want is a guy who grooves around on stage to "YMCA".
By the way, the polls are wrong on everything, not just the top of the ticket. Lindsey Graham, for example, just won his Senate race handily, notwithstanding the tens of millions showered on the no-name Dem by Barbra Streisand, Lady Gaga et al.
9.45pm This is on course to be the biggest turnout in a US election since 1896. That means that all the turnout models are junk, which is why the polls are junk. It also means that the "national" poll number - which, as a practical matter, is meaningless but the easiest to poll, and the one on which the pollsters preserved a measure of semi-credibility in 2016 - is this time going to be as way off as other polls. Whatever happens in the electoral college, Joe Biden is not going to win the popular vote by anything like the polls have been saying for months.
The pollsters are quack soothsayers purporting to be able to read entrails while not even putting the germane entrails in the pot.
9.35pm The score so far: Biden 129 Trump 123. The betting odds have in recent minutes flipped from Biden 55 on to Trump 60-something. So even hardened gamblers are saps and rubes for polls and propaganda.
9.25pm Has Florida seceded from the Electoral College? I called it over an hour ago, but ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and even Fox seem to have erased it from the map.
Conversely, they were all happy to call New York on the basis of 0 per cent actual returns, and their calling of Virginia a couple of hours ago seems a wee bit premature.
9.15pm If Trump pulls this out, it will be a rebuke to the stone-dead moronic inevitablism of the wanker media: "Oh, Orange Man was just the last gasp of old white males, and a bunch of them have died off since 2016."
Maybe. But he seems to have made compensating inroads among the black vote, the Hispanic vote, the younger vote that has nibbled away at the Democrat plantation in vital places.
9.10pm The non-calling of Florida by the networks is becoming faintly preposterous, no? The reason is that it would necessarily change the trajectory of their coverage - from the assumption of a Biden victory to can he still pull this out?
It's clear that the polls are either incompetent or propaganda. The silence of the network "decision desks" is like state TV in a banana republic.
9pm My electoral-college tally: Trump 102 Biden 91. (I've given Trump Fla, although the networks are lagging a little. Gee, there's a surprise.)
8.50pm Trump's snaffling of Hispanic votes is quite amazing:
Among Hispanics, Biden is 15 points down on Hillary in Georgia, 17 points down on Hillary in Ohio, and a fatal 19 points down on Hillary in Florida.
So far it's looking like the polls will be off by more than in 2016. Nobody should ever take these guys seriously again.
In response to these developments, Trevor Noah, who is everything but funny, has had one of his 137 gag writers create an amusing Gif showing a space laser wiping out Florida.
8.45pm The score to date: Biden 91 Trump 73. As yet, no flipped states.
Having failed to win Florida, the Dems now need to figure out a way to steal it. They're good at that, so one should assume the operation is underway.
8.35pm The Great Adjustment is underway. From 538's Nathaniel Rakich:
It's worth noting, though, that our forecast thinks Biden still has a 66 in 100 shot to win the White House even if Trump carries Florida.
Just for the record, as the evening began, The Economist gave Biden a 97 per cent chance of victory.
8.30pm If those Trump gains among black and Hispanic voters are correct, what's behind it? Some 538-type analysts say it's because black and Hispanic men are attracted to Trump's "macho shtick" - which would be racist if I said it. More obvious, it seems to me, is that, after six months of whiney white trustiefundie women and their trans shock troops appropriating the issue of "racial justice", they're sick of it.
8.15pm This is data analysis from The New York Times, so take that for what's it worth. But from an analysis of precincts where all the vote is in they've broken out the various shifts from one party to another.
On the Dem side are all the ones we've been hearing about from the media - Trump's loss of older voters, suburban women, counties that voted for Obama, white men with high-school educations, etc.
But how big are the shifts? Seniors have moved by two points to the Democrats, Obama counties one point, white high-school half-a-point, rural voters less than half.
On the other hand, what about all the big shifts the media never mentioned? Suburban voters have moved half-a-point to the GOP, majority black areas three points to Racey-Racey-Racist Trump, urban precincts five-and-a-half points to the Republicans, majority Hispanic precincts eleven-and-a-half points.
Trump's won Florida. It's not official yet, but take it from me. Biden's job just got a whole lot difficult.
8.05pm Somewhat surprisingly to me, my own state of New Hampshire and the lone electoral-college vote from Maine's Second Congressional District are still in play. Even if they ultimately go Biden, the fact that they're close is a good sign for Trump.
7.55pm Florida results are beginning to dribble out. Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) has Biden up 33 points. That sounds good, but Hillary was up by 35 in Broward four years ago, and that was one of the key signs that she hadn't done well enough in the Greater Miami area to overcome the Trump vote elsewhere in the state.
7.50pm Mitch McConnell has survived in Kentucky. The media had suggested he was in trouble: Amy McGrath had raised a hundred million bucks, and was giving him a run for her money. In the end it wasn't close: 59-36.
7.25pm A point to bear in mind:
If news organizations declare Joe Biden the mathematical president-elect, he plans to address the nation as its new leader, even if President Trump continues to fight in court, advisers tell Axios.
Hmm. By "news organizations", they mean The New York Times, CNN, NBC... Those organizations will be itching to declare Biden the victor as soon as possible, and put Trump on the defensive, as the guy declining to accept the will of the people. It is reported that, if and when he does speak, Joe will be announcing certain cabinet picks. In other words, the plan is that he'll be acting as president from around 10pm tonight - and Trump will be reduced to a squatter refusing to give up the apartment.
7pm Eastern: Welcome to Election Night 2020. It's been a wacky year and I've been out and about far less than I would normally have been, so I don't entirely trust my instincts. But I'm reasonably confident that Trump will win - but not so confident that he won't have it stolen from him, as is already underway in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
Over on the other side, Joe Biden hasn't put a foot right, and he rounded it out with a final appearance in the only state he campaigns in (the one half-an-hour from his home) in which he introduced his granddaughter Finnegan:
Introducing fans to his family, he put his arm around his granddaughter's shoulder saying "this is my son, Beau Biden who a lot of you helped elect to the Senate in Delaware."
Which would be an odd thing to say to Pennsylvania voters, even if Beau Biden had ever been elected to the Senate.
He then said "this is my granddaughter, Natalie" before noticing his mistake and saying "no wait, we got the wrong one."
Biden then puts his arm around his granddaughter's shoulder and says "this is Natalie, this is Beau's daughter" before embracing "Beau's number two" his granddaughter Finnegan.
Unless Millsfield is the model, we're in for a long night. Mark Steyn Club members are welcome to give their take in the comments below. Any tips on when the looting starts - 9.47pm? 10.12? - are also welcome.
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