I decided to write tomorrow’s piece tonight. Election day is going to be wild as it always is. I’m going to run through three scenarios of what might happen. I think you will notice a pattern and understand the reason why many of us are nervous.
Scenario One: Biden wins in a blowout
538 actually did a better job of predicting the 2016 election than many pundits said after the fact. They had Hillary winning by five to six points. She won by three points. Those three points are within the margin of error. It just so happens that national polling doesn’t matter as much as people like to think. Everything broke right for Trump. He managed to bleed two to three points off of Hillary’s lead nationwide.
When you are in a race that will come down to a couple of percentage points, those two to three points can make the difference between winning and losing. He won several states by less than a percentage point. In other words, it was the electoral equivalent of winning an eight game exacto parlay.
538 has Biden up by 8.8 points going into tomorrow. That’s nearly four points more than Hillary had four years ago. So, if you get the same three point bleed rate then Biden wins by between five and six points. That’s not an electoral blowout, but it’s significant. If you don’t have the bleed rate it’s a blowout.
Trump is not going down without a fight. He will probably still sue and he won’t concede. Even if he does concede, he can still do a lot of damage between November 3rd and January 20th. Keep in mind, this is the very best we can hope for. We could get civil unrest, but it would be on the progressive side. If Trump tries to contest an election where Biden wins handily it could end up causing protesting in Washington and other major cities.
Scenario Two: Biden Wins a Nail Biter
So, let’s say that 538 is right, but we have the same kind of bleed rate that we had in 2016. Why do these bleed rates occur? Well, there is a margin or error. Sometimes people change their minds. Sometimes the voter suppression tactics work. Sometimes the sample that you used isn’t 100 percent representative of the overall voting population.
If a nine point lead becomes a six point lead then it is next to impossible for Trump to pull off the magic trick he pulled off in 2016. Still, it will be close enough for him to tie up the election for weeks until the Electoral College is supposed to vote on December 14th.
The problem here is that you end up activating the nuts that have been causing all of the unrest in recent weeks. So, the idiots will go out with their guns and their trucks and make a lot of noise. It will be a tense few weeks, but hopefully the courts will uphold the victory.
Scenario Three: It’s Too Close to Call
This is the nightmare scenario. If 538 is seriously wrong then it could turn into another two or three point race again. It will probably still Biden with the two or three point advantage, but we saw how that turned out in 2016. Trump will be able to tie up the election results as long as he wants or declare victory tomorrow night and force Biden to fight for mail in ballots to be counted.
The worst part of this whole thing is that both sides will think they are getting screwed. Progressives will wonder how a nine point lead turned into a two or three point result. The other side will be fomented by frequent talks about voter fraud. This will especially be true if the election comes down to those mail in votes.
The most likely scenario is scenario number two. One of the phonomenom we noted in 2016 was the notion of the “shy Trump voter”. Essentially, these are the folks that would answer poll questions with either an undecided vote or for Hillary. They felt ashamed to say they were voting for Trump.
That can be a logical explanation for the bleed rate we saw in 2016. I wonder if those folks are still shy about voting for Trump. Still, I think their voter suppression methods are more sophisticated now than they were then. So, I think the most likely scenario is a victory in the neighborhood of six points nationally. That would make the EC count somewhere between 300 and 350 for Biden.
The bigger issue is the legal schenanigans and protesting that will come from this. When you spend as much time poisoning the water as Trump has, there is no turning back. This thing won’t be over tomorrow night no matter which way it goes. We can hope for the best, but we are going to have to strap in for a bumpy ride.