Category Archives: 2020 Election

It’s January 6th. Do You Know Where Your Democracy Is?

When I saw the storming of the Capitol live on TV (we had turned on the TV on a whim to see the certification of the vote, not suspecting anything untoward) I had some trouble taking it sufficiently seriously: a man cosplaying as shaman? Really? Surreal, yes, but the end of an era? Rioters moving almost single file between the ropes in a visitors’ area a bit like a tour group? Surely not an invading army. It wasn’t until we saw the violence, the noose, and then read about the parts we had not seen that I started thinking ‘Beer Hall Putch”.

And then, slowly, the drip, drip of revelations–there was a lot more planning for a coup than it had seemed. And Vice President Mike Pence’s finest hour might not have been just refusing to play along with a coup, but his refusal to get into a car and let the Secret Service drive him away from the Capitol.

Well, it’s a year later (unless “every day is Jan. 6th now“?). Things don’t look so great. As Donald Kagan says, Our constitutional crisis is already here. Was 2021 “The year accountability died“? Will the Jan 6 Committee be enough? It’s a lot to ask of a committee.

Meanwhile, at least we can still laugh.

For now

Image from Meme Generator via Crooks & Liars

Posted in 2020 Election, Post-Madness, Trump | 1 Comment

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 | Comments Off on Is There a Powerful COVID Infection Rate Predictor?

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….

Posted in 2020 Election, Trump | Comments Off on Et Tu, Pence?

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


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 | Comments Off on Nothingburgers