Category Archives: 2020 Election

Is There a Powerful COVID Infection Rate Predictor?

Interesting Twitter thread about the following question: If you plot the US state-by-state  COVID infection rates since Sept 1, 2020–i.e. the recent and now receding surge–which is a better predictor:

  1. The percent of the population infected before Sept 1, or
  2. The margin of Biden’s victory in the state?

You might expect that states which had lots of COVID before Sept. 1 would have more of it after Sept. 1 for the same reasons they were getting it earlier. Or, I suppose, you might expect the reverse: states learn from their mistakes, and if infection rates were higher earlier then more people have immunity, so there’s a negative relationship between earlier infection rates and later infection rates.

According to Youyang Gu, both of those expectations are broadly wrong:COVID before/after Sept 1 2020

Instead, the single variable with the most predictive power is how strongly states voted for Biden.
COVID Infection vs Biden Vote

As commenters in the thread note, at an R-squared of about 0.5, this is not a fully explanatory variable–there’s a lot going on, no doubt. Youyang Gu’s suggestive claim is only that as single-variable explanations go, this is the most powerful.

Posted in 2020 Election, COVID-19 | Leave a comment

A Message to Republicans

A friend sends me this video, which it seems is making the rounds. It’s long (9+ minutes), and may come prefaced with a commercial (sorry about that), but it’s pretty good.

I wonder, however, whether it will reach its intended audience, and if it does whether it will persuade any of it?

Posted in 2020 Election, Trump | 1 Comment

Et Tu, Pence?

I missed this video when it came out — been busy grading — but it seems it got Trump agitated about being (metaphorically) stabbed in the back….

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Full Text of Decision by Judge Brann in PA Voting Case

Looking for the full text of Donald J. Trump For President v. Boockvar, the case in which U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann very thoroughly rejects claims that the Pennsylvania Presidential vote result should be set aside? Well, look no further.

It shouldn’t be relevant, but in case you care Judge Brann is a former Pennsylvania GOP party official and Federalist Society member, albeit one nominated to the bench by President Obama.

Posted in 2020 Election, Law: Elections, Trump | 2 Comments

Nothingburgers

So the prognosticators say Biden will win PA, and then it’s over.  Nevada would be icing; Georgia would be a second helping.  Arizona likely his too, although the math is a bit odd there.

At that point, the issue is whether the Trump forces have a colorable legal argument, and if not whether they have the stomach for insurrection.  I can’t speak to their stomachs, but I can maybe speak to the legal issue, even though I am not by any stretch of the imagination an elections lawyer.

And so far, I’m not seeing anything.  Indeed, the best summary I’ve seen of the Trump litigating position is this:

“A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

I understand the wisdom of the old saying, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained” but in this case, I think it’s more a case for Prof. Billy Preston:

So far, these lawsuits look like desperation ploys, nothingburgers, perhaps filed with some hope that the Supreme Court is so partisan it will bail out the losers. But it’s not in the Court’s interest to do that: it can go eviscerate the New Deal, and the Great Society, plus any later add-ons, and can do it all quite happily without Donald Trump, especially if Mitch McConnell will block any legislation much less more fundamental reform that might get in their way.

Posted in 2020 Election, Law: Elections | Leave a comment

Vote (Lincoln Project edition)

If you haven’t already, now is the time to


Video version:

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