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Reflection, More Work

(I wrote this for the Urban News in November 2020.)

Well, thankfully, the hand wringing is over. For days after the election I had anxiety and nervousness. I was constantly checking my cell phone and the TV news networks and the old radio. Finally, it is over. Former VP Joe Biden won the presidential election!!! Sen. Kamala Harris has been elected to serve as vice president.

In the meantime, our current president has been … well, he has been himself. He has spun up conspiracy theories about our elections. The only conspiracy theory that he hasn’t thrown out there on Twitter or Facebook would include the one about the Klingons using their Star Trek transporter to magically cause millions of votes for Trump to vanish into thin air.

What happened?

After the 2016 election, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what happened. Although Hillary Clinton was probably not the best progressive candidate, she was good. She had solid support. Of course, there were circumstances that she could not control, which included FBI director James Comey reopening an FBI investigation into her emails just weeks before the election. Yet there was something else that happened in that race. (Pun intended) Although the polls tightened, they really did not suggest a Donald Trump victory.

In their book Identity Crisis, authors John Sides, Lynn Vavreck, and Michael Tesler try to explain not just the fact that Trump won but how he won. They suggested that race played an incredibly large role in Trump’s victory. Trump won white men with only a high school education by a large margin. Trump connected with that demographic. Somehow, almost inexplicably, Trump also won suburban white women by a large margin. The 2016 presidential election was all about race.

Although we were promised that 2020 was going to be different, it may have been more the same. Prior to the election the national polls suggested that Joe Biden was way ahead of Donald Trump. The polls suggested that states like Texas and Florida were leaning Democratic. Yet Trump won Texas by six points and Florida by three points. Yes, some of this is within the polling margin of error, but there has to be something else going on, since it appears that every poll underestimated the Republican candidate. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis was trailing his Democratic rival in almost every single poll yet, somehow, he won the election. How were the polls so wrong? Some analysts have postulated a “shy Trump voter”—middle-of-the-road, average Republicans who simply wouldn’t admit to pollsters that they’d be voting for Trump. (I think that this explanation is popcock. Trump supporters are NOT shy.) Others have suggested underlying racism among the electorate that Trump appealed to—and those voters, too, wouldn’t admit they liked Trump for that reason.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. All I know is that I’m not sure that it’s wise for anybody to trust polling until we figure out how to fix this problem. Some have suggested that caller ID is the problem. Thirty years ago, pollsters would expect that 50% of the calls that they made the person would hang up and not answer any questions. Now, pollsters expect that over 90% of their calls do not go through. This is a problem with telephone polls.

Georgia

With all the craziness that happened with polling, it is kind of amazing that Georgia seems to have slid into the Democratic column. Georgia. It is actually kind of mind boggling. If Georgia can turn blue, any southern state can turn blue. Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana—they can all be blue. We still need to do more research in figuring out how Georgia was able to make this huge transformation, but it appears that Stacey Abrams, former gubernatorial candidate and former Minority Leader of the Georgia state House of Representatives, was a large part of the reason. (more…)

By |2020-12-13T00:45:23-04:00December 13th, 2020|Elections|Comments Off on Reflection, More Work

Say it ain’t so – Is the birther movement dead?

The judge in Georgia, who was wasting his time listening to this bogus case, decided that he has had enough.

From Outside the Beltway:

The birther movement suffered yet another totally predictable setback yesterday when a Georgia Administrative Law Judge ruled that President Obama was eligible to be President under the Constitution and would appear on Georgia’s ballot:

President Barack Obama’s name will remain on the Georgia primary ballot after a state law judge flatly rejected legal challenges that contend he can not be a candidate.

In a 10-page order, Judge Michael Malihi dismissed one challenge that contended Obama has a computer-generated Hawaiian birth certificate, a fraudulent Social Security number and invalid U.S. identification papers. He also turned back another that claimed the president is ineligible to be a candidate because his father was not a U.S. citizen at the time of Obama’s birth.

The findings by Malihi, a judge for the State Office of Administrative Hearings, go to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who will make the final determination. Last month, at a hearing boycotted by Obama’s lawyer, Malihi considered complaints brought by members of the so-called “birther” movement.

With regard to the challenge that Obama does not have legitimate birth and identification papers, Malihi said he found the evidence “unsatisfactory” and “insufficient to support plaintiffs’ allegations.”

A number of the witnesses who testified about the alleged fraud were never qualified as experts in birth records, forged documents and document manipulation and “none … provided persuasive testimony,” Malihi wrote.

Addressing the other claim that contends Obama cannot be a candidate because his father was never a U.S. citizen, Malihi said he was persuaded by a 2009 ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals decision that struck down a similar challenge. In that ruling, the Indiana court found that children born within the U.S. are natural-born citizens, regardless of the citizenry of their parents.

Obama “became a citizen at birth and is a natural-born citizen,” Malihi wrote. Accordingly, Obama is eligible as a candidate for the upcoming presidential primary in March, the judge said.

By |2012-02-06T23:20:57-04:00February 6th, 2012|Obama administration|2 Comments
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