The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Election Eve Prediction Time

Posted on | November 2, 2020 | Comments Off on Election Eve Prediction Time


Don’t know who created that meme, I just saw it on Twitter. Election Day is tomorrow, and the time for making predictions is running out. Also, I’m running past deadline on a 2,500-word piece for the print edition of The American Spectator, in which I evaluate the prospects of a post-election civil war. (Spoiler: I’m against it.)

The RCP average of national polls today has Biden by nearly 7 points, with The Hill (Biden +4) and Rasmussen (Biden +3) on the low end and NBC (Biden +10) and The Economist (Biden +11) on the high end. Obviously these are not encouraging numbers for Trump supporters.

Strangely enough, Trump supporters are undaunted by the poll numbers. Yesterday, the President held five — count ’em, five — gigantic rallies, including one in my old stomping grounds of Rome, Georgia. Actually, while the address of Richard B. Russell Airport is technically in Rome, it’s much closer to Armuchee, but that’s a detail I don’t expect journalists to notice. And never mind how you pronounce “Armuchee.”

Trump campaigned last night in my old stomping grounds of Rome, Georgia. What I can't figure out is how they landed Air Force One at that airport. It's a 747. Did they expand the runway?

Posted by Robert Stacy McCain on Monday, November 2, 2020


Here’s the question: Does it really matter? No, I’m not talking about how you pronounce “Armuchee,” I’m talking about the campaign rallies. We are told that Joe Biden, who scarcely leaves his basement and can’t draw any kind of crowd, is nonetheless leading by a landslide margin. If that is true, then all the ordinary business of on-the-ground campaigning — from yard signs to rallies to door-to-door canvassing — is obsolete. All that matters in politics now is media and the Internet.

Or so we are supposed to believe. There is a wide gap of cognitive dissonance surrounding this campaign, and I don’t profess to know what explains this gap. Nor do I consider myself qualified to make any predictions about how it’s going to turn out. Have at it yourself.

UPDATE: One of the the shabby hustles that the media engage in is what can be called Contingent Prediction, which is not an actual prediction, but rather involves an “if . . . then” sort of rhetoric. Here is a classic example of the phenomenon:

These counties “could” prove decisive in the election, the New York Times informs us, before proceeding on that basis to engage in a lot of blather enhanced by authoritative-looking graphics. This is an illusion of expertise, because if Biden is really heading to a landslide — as all the polls tell us — then these allegedly crucial counties won’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things. Go back to 2016 and watch all the TV pundits pointing at their “interactive” maps in the first couple of hours of coverage, before it became evident that something was drastically wrong with all the pre-election poll numbers.

It is only in hindsight that anyone can understand what happens in elections, and most people still don’t really understand even then.



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