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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remarks to CMC Alumni, April 2

I.  ELECTORAL PROCESS

Some states have postponed primary elections.

So many people are wondering: could a president remain in power by unilaterally canceling or postponing a general election?

NOPE: the Constitution sets strict expiration dates for terms of office, with no exceptions.
  • 20th Amendment: "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin."
Congress, however, could shift the election date, but only by a few weeks at most, because of the dates above.
  • Article II, section 1: "The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States."
  • Article I, section 4: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."
Congress could pass a law requiring all states to offer all voters the option of voting by mail.

The conventions are in limbo.

II.  CAMPAIGN OPERATIONS

Shane Goldmacher at NYT:
Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden face the same headwinds. But the president began March with an enormous financial advantage over the Democrats: a combined roughly $225 million in cash on hand between his re-election campaign, the Republican National Committee and their shared committees. Mr. Biden and the Democratic National Committee had only $20 million, after accounting for debts.
Jim Rutenberg and Matthew Rosenberg at NYT:
 Mr. Biden has only 4.6 million Twitter followers to Mr. Trump’s 75 million, 1.7 million Facebook fans to Mr. Trump’s 28 million, and nothing resembling the president’s robust ecosystem of amplifying accounts.

III.  THE STATE OF THE RACE

POTUS has gotten a bump in approval.

The change is modest compared with the bump that Bush 43 got after 9/11:



And Biden is running ahead,

IV,  THE FALL CAMPAIGN AND POSSIBLE OUTCOMES

It is already a tough campaign.



The economy will be a problem for the incumbent. Alan Abramowitz Electoral Vote Forecast: