Strictly speaking, a coup is an illegitimate change of government by violent means. But what if you can do it without violence? To win without fighting is best, Sun Tzu says. An ostensibly (“mostly”) peaceful ouster from power is preferable to the use of force because it can much more easily be sold as “our democracy” at work.
National polls consistently predicted a huge Biden blowout. That they were wrong (again) is demonstrated by the facts that a) the 2020 popular vote is, so far (California is not fully counted), a mere two-point spread, hardly a blowout; b) Trump got a higher share of the vote than last time; and c) Trump received far more total votes than last time.
But it’s the swing states that matter. Here (again) Trump was supposed to lose—if not necessarily bigly in every case, at least widely.
But throughout the day, the president consistently outperformed the polls. He crushed his 2016 performance in Florida. He also outperformed in Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Senators he was supposed to drag down with him, including Joni Ernst, Lindsey Graham, and Mitch McConnell, won handily. Even Susan Collins, who was supposed to be sure goner and lose by at least three, won by nine. A party that was “certain” to lose the Senate has kept it and gained (so far) six seats in the House.
Looking at states no one expected Trump to lose, his overperformance is even starker. The polling average for West Virginia was Trump +17; he won it by 39. Kansas was estimated at +9; the result was +15.
Throughout the day the president was also outperforming his expected result in key states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He even, for a time, looked like he was within striking distance in Virginia, a state Hillary Clinton won by five points in 2016. At one point the New York Times’s “meter” had Trump’s chances in North Carolina at 92 percent. The needle was also sliding in the president’s direction in Arizona and Georgia, among others.
And then, suddenly, the counting stopped in at least five states (or parts of states): Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; all but one with a Democratic governor (coincidence, surely!). When has that ever happened? Well, it happened in Broward County, Florida, in 2018, when a dodgy Democratic election official appeared to be intervening, illicitly, on her party’s behalf. The process only got back underway when the state’s (Republican) governor intervened and had her removed from the process.
But getting back to Tuesday night, some time in the wee hours, additional ballots were “found” and added to early totals which had Trump ahead. To no one’s surprise, those votes were overwhelmingly—literally as much as 100 percent in some batches—for Biden. According to Nate Silver, no one’s idea of a Trumpist, one tranche of 23,277 votes that turned up in Philadelphia were “all for Biden.” Absent some kind of harvesting or fraud (or both), that’s a logical and statistical impossibility.
Through the night, all such ballots came from heavily Democratic areas posting unusually, improbably high turnout. Eighty-five percent in Milwaukee? A city that turned out at only 61 percent in 2016, and even with Obama on the ballot in 2012, at 71 percent? But 85 percent for Sleepy Joe? According to one report, seven Milwaukee precincts returned more presidential votes than they have registered voters. Turnout in Wisconsin overall is alleged to have been 89.25 percent, more than five standard deviations for the state’s mean turnout since 1960—another statistical impossibility.
One might also wonder why this urban blue wave materialized only in close states. Milwaukee was way up but not Cleveland? Philly but not St. Louis? Granted Ohio and Missouri are red, but their big cities aren’t.
We’ve seen this movie before . . .
Read the rest at The American Mind.