The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Election Scenarios

I recently sat down for an interview and one of the questions was about election scenarios. (The question didn’t excite me so I talked instead about planning for election outcomes.)

You can listen here. (It’s only about 5 minutes.)


Update: link changed to one that shouldn’t be region locked (though embed still will be.) If you couldn’t listen before, try the new link.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 25 2020


The 6-3, 5-4 Supreme Court


  1. Zachary Smith

    I can’t say I’m obsessing about “election scenarios” either, for nothing I can do will make a whit of difference. What continues to worry me is “post-election” stuff.

    Trump & Company have publicly washed their hands of the Covid pandemic, and that’s going to be icing on the cake in what I expect to be an election wipe out. Trump is a bad loser, and the RNC is going to encourage him to go berserk on making life impossible for the incoming President Biden.

    “Trump’s ‘Stephen Miller acolytes’ in the civil service could destroy a Biden administration from within, insiders say”

    They will do all they possibly can to muck-up the US of A. This is probably just a hint of the things they might do. They’re going to have an extremely rightwingnut Supreme (kangaroo) Court to help in every way with this.

    Google headline:
    “The US formally notified Congress of a proposed $1.8 billion in advanced weapons systems sales to Taiwan, a move sure to increase tensions with Beijing”

    On the international front, they can also leave a great many messes. Poking Russia and China is insane, but this is something Biden is likely to fall in line with. Trump might do something both awful and unexpected in Syria or Iraq. He might “gift” some modern weapons to Ukraine. I don’t know what he could possibly provide to the Apartheid state to stir things up – but there could be something. Give them a few free B-52s? A couple or three “surplus” B-2 bombers?

    Packs of crazy Republicans both on US streets and in DC confronted by Mr. Joe “Coalition/Peacemaker/Bi-partisan” Biden. This is the stuff which gives me nightmares.

  2. Thomas B Golladay

    @Zachary Smith

    Trump will win. Accept it, make your peace with it, because unlike Biden, Trump is working to earn votes in the key demographics he needs.

    All the polls that got it right in 2016 are calling it for Trump. They found the hidden Trump vote and they will tilt this to him.

  3. different clue

    I believe US Gov Civil Servants are protected from peremptory firing. But are they protected from “re-assignment”?

    If a President Joemala appoints Status-Quo-Ante Restorationists to head all the Departments, Agencies, sub-Agencies, Divisions, etc. . . . is there any legal reason why these Joemala-installed housecleaners and roach-finders cannot create special Field Offices for all the Steven Miller Left-Behinds . . . and send them to those Field Offices with the same rank and pay as before? Only without the same power as before?

    If nothing legally prevents it, then Joemala’s people can decree the building of some special field offices somewhere in the Nevada Desert, perhaps in Area 51, and tell all the Steven Miller embeds that if they agree to work there and live there, they can keep their jobs and pay and benefits. And they won’t have any phones or computers or internet, and they won’t have to do any actual work. So it will be like a paid vacation till retirement! . . . out there in Area 51. Or they can always resign from the Civil Service.

    If my little suggestion about what to do with the Milleroids is not even legal, then it is a mere pipe dream, best forgotten.

  4. As noted downstream, having recently bubbled back to the surface, this is not unlike our little problem with revolutions: no one has any idea what to do on the other side of one. While hanging a few NAZIs or beheading some royales is emotionally satisfying, albeit both mob emotion and satisfaction, it does little to insure the safe delivery of my next grand-daughter sometime today. It’s a waiting game at this point, this will go one of two though not terribly divergent never-the-less distinct directions, and while some long-range plans may be lain we really can’t move for lack of a better term until we get there, until we know which row it is we are to hoe.

    Once again I am reminded of Doctor Zhivago (the book), and the fat n’ sassy middle-class bourgeois sitting around sipping good wine pontificating on how things would be if they were in charge, who when the shit hit the fan were nowhere to be found.

    Chance of rain today, maybe some wind …

  5. Ché Pasa

    For many of us, the kind of cynicism Ian displays in this interview is a coping mechanism. After all, we know for certain that things are going to shit in the US no matter who ascends the throne come January 20, 2021. Or rather, things are going to shit for most of us, quickly under Trump, not so fast under Biden. But the destination is the same, isn’t it? The Biden regime would make it somewhat less intolerable and tortuous. OK, then. Most of us would choose that regime over the other.

    The notion that Trump will win no matter what needs to be throttled back. While he might pull off a stunning victory in the end, it would only be through endless fraud and chicanery, massive voter suppression, and extraordinary court intervention. He is a minority president now, and his voter base has been shrinking throughout his term. With even less popular support in a second term, his “victory” would look pretty hollow, no? Of course, Power doesn’t care about popularity, does it?

    Is the Revolution any closer? Not from the Left, no.

  6. GlassHammer

    Post Election Predictions:

    1. Politicians and Political Operatives Stick Around – The Bush gang and the Clinton gang are still with us years after those elections ended so regardless of the outcome I would expect the same to happen for Trump’s gang.

    2. The Anger Remains – Elections never provide the catharsis we wish they would. The spectacle just can’t satisfy the tension we build up.

    3. Still Stuck in Late Stage Empire – Foreign Policy will remain an absolute mess because no one knows how to wind down an Empire.

    4. Drowning in the Trivial – As material conditions worsen people will seek distractions not reality. Expect online escapism to increase.

    My Post Election Actions:

    1. Getting Offline – Thinking about spending more time reading books in the first 90 days after the election.

    2. Sharing the Fall Harvest – Started the fall Garden for my family but I will probably end up giving it to neighbors. It builds good will and reduces the food bill for those near me.

  7. anon

    I can’t see how a Trump or Biden win will significantly change the course that America is headed on. This is going to be a tough decade for Americans no matter who wins. I predict that there will be a stock market and a real estate market crash in the next 1-2 years that will plunge the USA into a deeper economic recession. Whoever is president at the time will be blamed and neither Trump, Biden, or Harris will do what is necessary to put the country on the right track. The only difference that Biden, Harris, or another Republican like Pence or Romney have over Trump is that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing whereas Trump is a bit more sociopathic and can’t even pretend to show empathy in front of the camera.

  8. Plague Species

    The living planet cannot withstand any more hollow victories. All victories are hollow victories, or better yet pyrrhic victories, within the auspices of the current system.

    Meanwhile, GoFundMe is enabling unregulated, exploitative, inequitable socialism with a 5% service fee, of course.

    Yep, right, sure, America has the greatest economy in the world. Even if it did, but it doesn’t, as if that’s a good thing. It’s certainly not good for the living planet that has fed us and sustained us, but not for much longer.

  9. Plague Species

    What is hanging my comment up in moderation? I didn’t mention anything about beheadings or retribution in any way, shape or form. Is it because I linked to Jimmy Dore on YouTube? I didn’t use any cuss words although I did refer to our dying habitat as the living planet, so maybe that was it.

  10. StewartM

    Thomas B Golladay

    The mainstream polls were pretty much correct in 2016. Hillary led by about 5 % points about 2 weeks before the election then that lead eroded both nationally and in the swing states the last two weeks to about a 2-3 % advantage, which essentially correctly predicted the final result. If you go to and look at the polling maps day by day, you start seeing states that were slightly blue go slightly red and ‘likely blue’ states go light blue. Remember, polling is a snapshot of *past opinion*,not current opinion, but the trend is obvious.

    As for thumb-on-the-scale partisan polling (Trafalgar Group?) that sure worked for Republicans in 2012 didn’t it? (Remember the shocked look on Karl Rove’s face when Ohio was called for Obama?) Here is a list of pollsters that 538 ranks and you can see that Trafalgar is a C- based on their historical accuracy. You have to count what they got wrong, not just brag about the times they were right (a stopped clock is right twice a day, correct?) As I said, the mainstream polls were also catching the anti-Clinton trend in 2016, and if the decline had started a week or so earlier, they would have also predicted a Trump victory, one doesn’t need to invoke hypotheses about ‘shy Trump voters’ to explain it.

  11. StewartM

    Insofar as election results, if Trump wins I very much doubt we will have anything like a free election again in the US; he wants to be an autocrat and the Republicans and his base are glad to oblige him, as they know if we keep bothering with ‘this democracy stuff’ they cannot win. Various maps are online of the 2016, and I saw one (but can’t find it of 2020 polling, 18-35 voters) of just the Millennials:

    (And remember, most of these voters would prefer someone like Bernie over Biden or Clinton)

    Republicans are not going to change their message, nor their politics, so they’ll just double-down the repression. They cannot win if we have free and fair elections so we won’t.

    It also impacts me personally as I took Ian’s recommendation to heart to ‘get out’ and made plans. But now because of CoVID, Americans can’t go anywhere and with a Trump victory we’ll probably never get over CoVID, as 1) herd immunity is a myth, and 2) a vaccine will probably take years to develop, then the Repubs will insist that Big Pharma should allow to charge people whatever it wants, and that insurance needn’t have to cover it, and thus many people won’t be able to afford it.

    A Biden victory, by contrast, will hit the pause button on most things though I expect some things will continue to decline (though more slowly). However, Biden-Harris will *not* disassemble the surveillance state, nor take away the powers of the presidency that will make a future autocrat, likely worse than Trump, possible. Nor will they act decisively on economic or climate issues; I think a lot of time and effort will be used chasing the magical unicorn of bipartisanship on most issues. Because of this, a return to an autocrat is possible in 2024 or 2028. Getting CoVID under control will be a problem too, as the Republicans will be the pro-CoVID party and will politicize and oppose all attempts to rein in the disease, but I think Biden will try to do the right things.

    But if something close to even a shitty ‘normal’ is maintained, by 2028 I should be out of the US. There is no place really good to move to, but I fear the US I fear will become spectacularly bad. I fear “spectacularly bad” for the demographic picture I have shown. Fascism is the response of conservatives who can no longer expect to win free and fair elections.

  12. Biden is off the campaign trail. According to Steve Bannon, on his “War Room Pandemic” show, Biden will remain so, through election day. (I doubt this is official, though they made it sound that way.) Biden is avoiding being confronted about the implications – including and especially child abuse, and the national security risk – of all the dirt on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Democrat apologists make it sound like Trump cruelly just wants to shame Hunter Biden. That’s just garbage. Hunter Bidens’ addiction problems are not in the same league as national security.

    Besides the high level corruption long since suspected, there’s questions of child abuse, including Joe Biden effectively enabling his (grown) child to ‘enjoy’ an addicted lifestyle of cocaine and hookers. But there’s more serious stuff about Hunter Biden exposing himself to a girl or girls. Including a relative?

    A guest on the show suggested that the cyber crime division of ICE be employed to actually, seriously investigate the child abuse implications. The FBI simply can’t be trusted. At best, they will slow walk this. They’ve had the laptop over a year. Apparently, ICE has a much better reputation for efficiency.

    I’m much more optimistic about Trump winning, than I was a couple of weeks, ago. But I haven’t seen any good signs that Trump can tie the Democrats, as a whole, to the awful corruption we see amongst prominent Democrats. What if Trump wins, and the Senate and House are Democratic? We will still have endless political persecution of Trump.

    If Trump wins, he needs to dump Wray and Barr. But what Democrat controlled body will confirm honest, aggressive candidates?

    It would help if Trump weren’t a political idiot….

  13. Willy

    …or a morally insane grifter either.

  14. Zachary Smith

    In my first comment it didn’t occur to me to speak of any possibility of the Apartheid state getting F-22s. Well, at the LGM site this is actually mentioned. Dissed and dumped on, but mentioned.

    “Yes, I’m sure that Bibi would love some F-22s, but ain’t gonna happen.

    “From Fanaticism, or for Reward” was the title of a Harry Harrison short story, and it might fit very well here. Trump will want revenge for losing, the Republicans will want to smash things. Lockheed would be allowed to sell F-35s to all the wealthy Arab nations, and the pissant state would have advanced stealth technology to sell to everybody.

    Besides his revenge/spite motives, Trump is going to be looking for money in the upcoming weeks and months. Zionist billionaires could easily accommodate him with that. The kangaroo Supreme Court would undoubtedly protect him in the unlikely event he doesn’t have the actual power to make such a deal.

    “After UAE Deal, Israel Asks U.S. for F-22 Stealth Jets to Preserve Military Edge”

  15. Plague Species

    What say you, McDonald Trump? The dictator you admire most in the world has just slapped you in the face. What’s your response, tough guy? Huh, big talker? What ya gonna do? Nothing, that’s what. The Novichok poisoning of Navalny was meant as a message for you, McDonald Trump. Navalny was merely the medium. You pay up, or you get the Novichok. It’s that simple. Those campaign funds you siphoned off, the hundreds of millions, they belong to Putin. You can renege on debts to Western financial interests but not Russian.

    “But well yes he had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this (being criminal).”

    McDonald, I have one word for you. One word, McDonald. One word. Are you listening?


    There’s a great future in Vagine. Think about it.

    High Five!!

  16. From breitbart’s home page, top billing, to God’s laptop computer! :

    Biden Leaving Basement!

    Campaign Announces Live Event After POTUS Says Joe ‘Waved a White Flag’ in Final Week of Race

    Looks like I’m smarter than Steve Bannon!

    Possible future Biden quotes:

    “My son did not have sex with that hooker”

    “Donald Trump can’t defeat me; and neither can he de-feet my son”

    “Nobody can be a national security threat, unless the FBI says so. Nya, nya, nya!”


  17. KT Chong

    “I voted against Hillary in 2016.”

    “I am voting against Trump in 2020.”

    “I will vote against Biden in 2024.”

    … I’ve just heard these interesting comments from someone:

  18. NR

    Trump supporters complaining about Hunter Biden is hilarious when Trump’s own son literally ripped off a children’s cancer charity. To say nothing of the rank corruption Trump himself regularly engages in.

  19. @NR

    Stephen McIntyre tweeting:

    Stephen McIntyre
    Oct 25
    Twitter censorship had an open window briefly in middle of night when “Hunter Biden” was on Trending list and contained many interesting links, This morning, Twitter has remorselessly suppressed Hunter Biden and links sanitized.

    Heh. I was going to quote a McIntyre tweet I’m pretty sure I read not 3 hours, ago, but it appears Twitter has scrubbed it. It was about Hunter Biden and a young, female relative. You know, to flesh out comparisons between the Bidens and the Trumps. One can hopefully infer the different level of national security threat from the different level of grift, treason, hypocrisy, and degradation between the two families.

    And, if one chooses to believe there’s a moral equivalence, well, I’d still fail to see anything hilarious about it.

    Unfortunately, the McIntyre tweet seems to have been disappeared.

    Trump has taken to showing giant videos of Biden (e.g., talking about kids playing with his hairy legs; less creepy things like saying he’s going to ban fracking) at campaign rallies. Perhaps we’ll look back and say that Trump BEGAN to develop a more efficient truthful propaganda effort in October of 2020. He’s a slow learner, but perhaps he’ll take a quantum leap, and his 2nd term will be markedly different, if he wins.

  20. Hugh

    The Republicans are a minority party. The only way they are even remotely competitive is push voter suppression as hard as they can, gerrymander, choose the least democratic offices like the Senate and Presidency, stack the judiciary, and of course hope the Democratic leadership will try to foist another Hillary level monstrosity on us. Biden is not a monstrosity. He’s a ham sandwich.

    Policy-wise, the Democrats are the new Republicans, and the Republicans are for those who can remember it the old John Birch Society.

    We need radical, revolutionary change fast to deal with climate change, social inequalities, and overpopulation. We are not going to get it. American politics, and most other politics as well, is all about re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  21. NR


    “One can hopefully infer the different level of national security threat from the different level of grift, treason, hypocrisy, and degradation between the two families.”

    Yes, you’re right. That level is far, far higher with the Trump family than it is with the Biden family.





  22. BlizzardOfOzzz

    The Democrats are a minority party. The only way they are even remotely competitive is importing millions of impoverished foreigners with the help of big business hungry for cheap labor, push for abolition of the electoral college so that the few populous states they control can run the whole country, and near total control of mass media to propagandize their low IQ voter base.

  23. Willy

    The Republicans are a minority party. They need selfish matures with nest eggs who’ve lost touch with their youthful idealism, white supremacists, and Christians easily suckered. The problem is that all are being less and less created anymore, thanks to Republican policies and “leadership”.

    As for IQ, I’d bet for BLMs against Qanons on any Family Feud TV game show.

  24. @NR In order to compare A with B, one must delineate facts within categories, for both A and B.

    With that in mind, is there anything that, upon reflection, you think might be missing from your post?

  25. different clue

    The Republican and Democratic Parties are two minority-of-the-population parties. If the majority of the population had a party, it would be the NOTA Party. For now there still is no NOTA Party. There is just a vast hole where the NOTA Party could be if it existed. Maybe some visionary political operators will found a NOTA Party by whatever name and grow it to Majority Party Status and Power.

    In time enough to fix broken things and reverse some ongoing over-the-waterfall trends? Maybe yes, maybe no.

  26. mago

    Looks like a virtual food fight at the comment club while others try to suck their own dicks and bespoke at the same time. Or something.

  27. NR

    Willy: Everyone knows that the Democrats are a minority with 50%, while the Republicans are a majority with 39%. I guess you’re just too low IQ to understand Blizzard’s highly advanced math.

  28. NR

    metmars: Oh, Biden sucks, no doubt, but there’s no comparison between him and Trump in all the categories you listed.

  29. bruce wilder

    Reading StewartM’s comment

    I would really like to see some evidence for the proposition that the Democrats are friendly to the continuation of free and fair elections. Really, where is the evidence?

    When Democrats run their own elections — the Primaries — they cheat with no apparent pangs of conscience. When they lose a general election, they are not hesitant to call into question the constitutional order. They are fine with false accusations of traitorous conduct. They are fine with cheating the campaign finance laws.

    The Democrats are not even effective partisans. They never mount a serious challenge to luminaries of the other Party, they scarcely play the game at all in roughly half the states.

    I am not saying the Parties are alike. Targeting minorities with phony id requirements is despicable. Depriving select precincts of adequate polling station capacity is malfeasance of a high level. But, when have Democrats responded vigorously and effectively? They want the news of injustice to herd their voters and are quick to praise persistent voters but slow to champion voting, with resources for registration drives et cerera.

  30. bruce wilder

    I do not understand the “there is no comparison” assertion.

    Of course, there can be comparison.

    Both are clearly stupid, poorly educated men. In terms of mental acuity, Biden seems to edging into senility and is frequently unable to carry a thought to the end of a sentence.

    Trump has no concern for the truth. Biden is a fabulist.

    Trump, like most authoritarian leaders oriented toward social domination, is a cheat, a conman and open to corruption. His transactional concept of politics just compounds the sin.

    Both represent the interests of an economic oligarchy with predatory ambitions.

    Biden’s brother and son, Hunter, are deeply corrupt and have been feeding off Biden’s access to power for decades.

    Both Biden and Trump have faux populist schtick in which they appeal to working men and common sense.

  31. Willy

    bruce, you of all people should know better.

    Dems cheat against their own, but repubs cheat against everybody.

    And if you can’t take it, then at the very least you’ll get called stuff like dumbo, crazy, goofy, mini, low energy, flakey, monster, lyin, cryin, crazy, sleepy, sloppy, shifty, shady… (takes breath)

    …or any other possible seven dwarf or Disney cartoon name imaginable.

  32. bruce wilder

    The Republicans just nailed their Supreme Court pick. They have definite goals and work effectively to achieve them. They are not my goals.

    It seems to me that the Democrats do not even want to win or govern. In politics that is pretty much the definition of cheating everybody. If, for example, you run a candidate against McConnell in Kentucky because you can raise a lot of money, but choose a candidate sure to lose, that is cheating everyone. Republicans, whatever else you may say, play to win and to govern.

  33. z.k. bones

    1. Trump loses 2nd term bid.
    2. Biden wins only term; immense failure assault by Republicans.
    3. Republicans tout “we told you so”; Democrats wilt as usual.
    4. Trump given second term in 2024; without Pence.
    5. The nightmare continues: until death do us part.
    6. Possible hope: progressives fifty years younger than I am.

  34. Willy

    They use unethicality to win, because there are so many more weapons under the scope of “unethicality”. It’s the simpler way, the idiots cheat codes. Unfortunately, cheating is now all they know.

    And still he gets support. True, ignorance is bliss, but there is brainwashing. I’m especially interested in the brainwashing aspect. There are some ethicals amongst them, non-cultish. But they’re voting D this time, so they say.

  35. It would be very interesting to familiarize yourself with this content, but for some reason it is not available to me … The US election race is being watched not only in America.

  36. Ian Welsh


    put in a new link, click that and it should work (the embed still won’t.)

  37. StewartM


    You’re saying that Dems toss out votes? Close polling stations? Make it hard for people to register? Send teams of ‘poll observers’ to polling stations t o challenge the legitimacy of voters?

    And the closed-source voting machines are like, made by Democratic donors who want M4All?

    Really, Bruce, it’s friggin’ obvious. Despite the Clinton/Obama shenanigans, which I complained about too, they did not try to keep people from voting. The Rs do.

  38. StewartM

    I see Blizzard is using the same definition of “We the People” and citizenship the Nazis used.

  39. @NR
    “metmars: Oh, Biden sucks, no doubt, but there’s no comparison between him and Trump in all the categories you listed.”

    I guess you’re not very detail-oriented, are you? Have you considered shortening your handle to just “N”; or just “R”? It would save you some typing.

  40. Willy

    Says the guy who habitually strings together unrelated skepticisms and calls them a cohesive whole.

    Speaking of patterns, this is starting to look like a Trump Country map to me:

  41. Zachary Smith

    Headline: “Adelsons got a lot from Trump for $75 million — but media won’t tell you what”

    Adelson is throwing big money at Trump very late in the game. He expects something for that money. Personally, I think it’s not for Trump’s re-election because that game is pretty well played out, and in any event Biden is a stout friend of the Apartheid state. Since Trump won’t leave office for nearly three months, Adelson wants to buy something else. Those F-22s? An attack on Iran?


  42. Ten Bears

    Lizzard of Booze, Stewart, believes the dead kids and teachers at Sandy Hook were “crisis actors”, and that those dead teachers and kids at Sandy Hook are in fact not dead. ‘Nuff said?

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