By David S. Kerr
Kamala Harris joins the Democratic Ticket
The safe choice, the only choice, the best choice? Probably yes on all counts. Soon to be Democratic Nominee for President Joe Biden chose California Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate. It’s a big deal and then again, it’s not. The first African American woman to be on a national ticket. That’s a big deal, but after Biden said he would choose a woman – good call – the national Black Lives Matter movement and a nationwide campaign against racism, made a woman of color an even more likely choice. Harris is accomplished, great on the stump, has been vetted six ways to Sunday, and has one thing a Vice Presidential candidate needs. Someone to do the heavy hitting during the Fall campaigns. That leaves the Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, free to keep being Mr. Nice Guy. That’s a role Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Al Gore and even Joe Biden took on with glee when they were number two on the ticket. I think it’s written somewhere in the Vice-Presidential nominee’s job description and make no mistake Kamala Harris is tough enough to put the bite in Biden’s bark.
(Next Week – Trump/Pence – What’s the GOP campaign going to look like?)
Is Election 2020 already over?
There is nothing more than journalists enjoy than a horserace election. One where the polls change from week to week – where one state that wasn’t in play suddenly comes into play – and where every night is a new bit of drama in the run up to the election. Well, sorry, not this year. I hate to tell you. Its over. Donald Trump might have been the surprise of 2016, but that shoe only drops once. This year, the numbers don’t lie, and the trends are completely different.
First of all, no President seeking reelection has ever had such a high negative rating at this point in the election and won. Remember, in 2016, Hillary and Donald Trump were equally unpopular. This year, well at least he wins something, Trump has a far higher negative rating than Joe Biden.
Also, there are the polls in general. In most Presidential election years there is a little flip flopping of the lead or at least they narrow and widen from time to time. Think 1968, 1976, 1988, 1992, 2000 or even 2008. Alas, that’s not happening this year. Joe Biden has consistently led while Donald Trump trails woefully behind and that dynamic hasn’t changed. Could it. Maybe, but not likely.
Finally, never has a President been reelected after a badly handled national crisis or in such a bad economy. But, hey there will still be “tempests in teapots,” outrageous Twitter comments, gaffes, and the debates. So, there is still something to cover. Even if the outcome isn’t that much in doubt this is still America. Anything can happen.
I say that, because, deep down I want a horse race.
The House of Representatives (a new statistical forecast coming)
We’re going to have some fun with statistics in a future edition and look at what a model might say about the future of the House of Representatives. Can the GOP hold on to the seats they’ve got, can they pick some up, or will they lose ground? We’ll let the data tell the story.
The Senate, of course, is not like the House. You can’t Gerrymander U.S. Senate seats and try as we might, even my hero, Larry Sabato, can’t call them all correctly. 2000 is a good example. The Democrats lost the Presidency but picked up 5 Senate seats. A big surprise. This year it comes down to ticket splitting and coattails. Both at the same time. Will the voters of Montana, for example, a state that will almost certainly vote by a wide margin for Donald Trump, split their tickets and elect a Democrat to the Senate? A big maybe. Will this be Maine Senator Susan Collin’s last term? Is Mitch McConnell really in trouble? Not likely, but stranger things have happened. If the top of the ticket Democrat has enough coattails, and add to that, frustration over COVID and our continuing economic decline, none of the prognostications may matter. A sweep, just voting against the party in the White House, may propel some surprise and virtually unknown candidates into office. We’re going to doing our best to see if there is anything that might indicate this to be the case.