How Trump Will Win (If He Can)

One of the best war movies of the decade is David Ayer’s Fury — and for good reason.

Towards the end of the film, there is a memorable moment during a last stand where the young machine gunner wants to surrender. Surrounded by Waffen SS who have been mauled by a single tank crew, a mortally wounded Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) begs the green recruit to hold fast:

Norman EllisonSergeant Collier? I think I want to surrender.
WardaddyPlease don’t. They’ll hurt you real bad. And kill you real bad.

As it stands right now, the media is convinced that former Vice President Joe Biden stands to sweep the nation with the most convincing win for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Perhaps it is just me, but the whole idea of cancel culture coming for the liberals (by progressives!) is just astonishing. Glenn Greenwald was practically forced out of a publication he founded, something that would be akin to the editors of National Review pushing out William F. Buckley, Jr.

Matt Taibbi — again, no wilting flower on the liberal side of the equation — rose to Greenwald’s defense. Yet all of these protestations at the 11th hour may be for naught.

This is the future of America if Joe Biden captures the presidency with a compliant United States Senate.

Now unlike most prognosticators, I do not see the Democrats capturing the U.S. Senate in 2020. Here’s a few great reasons why according to Real Clear Politics.

South Carolina: Graham +6 (NYT/Sienna)
Iowa: Ernst +0.5 (RCP Average)
Arizona: McSally -5.8 (RCP Average)
Colorado: Gardner -8 (Colorado/You Gov)
North Carolina: Tillis -2.5 (RCP Average)
Georgia: Perdue -1.0 (RCP Average)

Assume for a moment that Alabama and Maine are going to be a push. Democrats will have to capture at least three of these four — Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina and Arizona — in order to make this work …

… and then there’s the enthusiasm gap. Pollsters such as Trafalgar will argue that the “shy Tory” vote is what the pollsters aren’t factoring in over the “angry Karen” vote. Google Trends isn’t showing the same sort of enthusiasm for Donald Trump that we saw in 2016 vs. Hillary Clinton … but it’s there nonetheless:

If we see a similar trend in 2020 to what we saw in 2016? Tillis and Perdue come in for the ride and the Senate Republicans become the firewall yet again.

How deep is this enthusiasm gap?

Let me show you a couple of graphs very quickly. Here’s what Republicans were looking at in 2016 when Trump pulled off an impossible and improbable win against Hillary Clinton.

Nationwide, your gap here between what the polls measured and the actual outcome was Trump +1.1 — again, a national average. If you put the 2016 differentials on a sheet of paper — polls vs. results — you get the following deltas:

South Carolina: Trump +10.1
Iowa: Trump +6.5
Arizona: 
Clinton +0.5
Colorado: Clinton +2.0
North Carolina: Trump +2.7
Georgia: 
Trump +0.3

Smash these numbers together?

South Carolina: Republican HOLD
Iowa: Republican HOLD
Arizona: Democratic GAIN
Colorado: Democratic GAIN
North Carolina: Republican HOLD
Georgia: Democratic GAIN

Here’s the catch.

  1. Someone is going to have to convince me that Georgia is going to swing 6 points.
  2. Arizona voted Republican by 3.5 in 2016. Biden has a 1.2 lead at present.
  3. 53 minus 2 equals a 51-seat Republican majority.

Now let’s talk about Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump for a moment in terms of enthusiasm gap and national numbers:

On 17 October 2016, Clinton was +7 over Trump; the weekend before the election she was +4. Rasmussen’s last poll had Biden up by +3 nationally in 2020; Trafalgar Group — the outfit that is predicting a Trump victory — has been curiously removed from the RCP Averages.

If one believes that the polls suffer from social desirability bias to any degree, one has to believe that cautionary tales such as these from Robert Cahaly with Trafalgar should be given a certain degree of merit.

Social desirability bias is more pronounced among some demographics, Mr. Cahaly thinks, and he claims only that Trafalgar polls minimize it. “You can’t get rid of it,” he admits. To oversimplify his approach: If a poll respondent tells you he’s voting for Candidate A but that same person answers every other question in a way that suggests he’s voting for Candidate B, the pollster may wish to account for that oddity in the overall tally. And in a year when Candidate A is said by the cultural elite across the globe to be the Source of All Bad Things, the need to reckon with disingenuous answers is perhaps more important than usual.

So how does Trump carve a path to victory?

Simple.

PENNSYLVANIA.

One week before the November 2016 election, Clinton was +6 — that’s 6.5% wiggle room in a state no Republican had carried since George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Biden is only up 4 points, guys.

Clinton was up 2.7 points before Trump clobbered her in a series of squeakers in Pennsylvania, then Michigan, and finally Wisconsin.

Assume for a moment that the pollsters are just as wrong as they were in 2016. Trump must carry Pennsylvania in order to have a path to victory. Without Pennsylvania? There is no path. ‘Nuff said.

Should Trump carry PA? Trump will also have to carry Ohio (which he will) and Florida (Trump is within striking distance). At which point, Trump will have to carry either Wisconsin (Biden +6.6) or Arizona (Biden +1.4) where the Dems have dropped four points in the last two weeks.

Should this happen? Here’s your map:

 

 

Of course, this could be totally wrong.

In which case, if the polls are correct? We are going to know very early in Pennsylvania and this will be your map:

 

 

 

Either way, neither side will be coming in for a resounding victory. The nation will still be split very firmly along four distinct regional + ideological variants:

  • Yankee liberals
  • California progressives
  • Western libertarians
  • Southern Christians

The only question for Trump’s campaign at this rate is whether or not he is on track to win this thing on Tuesday, November 3rd. Or whether his campaign is going to win this thing on Tuesday, November 10th (when it is too late)?

Either way, modern polling is catching up with cancel culture. The end result is that pollsters can’t get an accurate read on America and have to munge their data accordingly. Trafalgar is doing that with various data points; Nate Silver and 538 did that in 2016 by misplacing their Bayesian priors.

Meanwhile, voters are deathly afraid not just for the future of the country, but that pollsters aren’t who they say they are anymore. No one wants to lose their job because they are a strong Trump supporter or answered on a survey that they believe in traditional marriage, share pro-life values, or believe transgenderism to be outright weird.

Let’s face it — the deep state is a real thing. The political left owns most of our institutions and it shouldn’t shock a single conservative that they are plagued with systemic racism to their core. Go through the list: media, entertainment, bureaucracy, education, universities, non-profits, corporations, the courts. Can we think of a single counter-revolutionary opposition not possessed by the apparatchiks of the left?

Yes, it can seem daunting. Our internecine conflicts rarely help. For many, it is far easier to hang up your spurs and surrender politics to a meaner and more base sort of person willing to become so-called Gramscians of the right. Anathema sit.

That is all the more reason to resist them.

Vaclav Havel called it power for the powerless. Michael Collins called it the great refusal. Patrick Henry called it picking up a firearm and marching on Williamsburg (not that we need anything so extreme). But there are times and ways to resist both small and large — paths of conscience — that remind us that what our institutions tell us and what reality is are two different things.

Norman EllisonSergeant Collier? I think I want to surrender.

WardaddyPlease don’t. They’ll hurt you real bad. And kill you real bad.

Vote your conscience on Tuesday.

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