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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Remarks to Temple Beth Israel

Historical Context:

On the one hand, Biden won 306 electoral votes -- exactly the same as Trump in 2016 (until he lost two faithless electors).  That total is on the low side for a winning candidate.

But ...

  • Biden's raw popular vote total (79.8 million as of today) was the largest in history.
  • Biden's popular-vote percentage (51 percent as of today) was the highest for a challenger since FDR in 1932.  
  • Biden won a larger percentage than Trump in 2016, Bush in 2004 or 2000, Clinton in 1996 or 1992, Reagan in 1980, Carter in 1976, Nixon in 1968, Kennedy in 1960, or Truman in 1948.
  • Biden was the first challenger to defeat an incumbent since Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush in 1992.
  • Trump was the first president since Benjamin Harrison in 1892 to lose the popular vote twice in successive election cycles.
  • And when the count is final,  Biden's percentage will probably be a little higher than Obama's in 2012 and Trump's will be a little lower than Romney's
How did it happen?


Then came the triple crises:

  • COVID

  • Economy

  • Civil Unrest


BUT the election was not a repudiation of the GOP

Democrats did not take the Senate (yet)