Jonathan V. Last in The Bulwark makes the case for Trump finished.
Yesterday morning [Oct 22] I wrote about how the polling data are all lined up in a way that makes logical and numerical sense. I painted the picture of a race where the range of outcomes runs from Biden landslide to narrow Trump win.
But by late afternoon, I saw two pieces of data that changed my mind and I have now settled into a view that, barring some unforeseen event—such as a terrorist attack, or a candidate death—the election is over. You can read my reasoning here; it mostly has to do with the level of turnout that we’re seeing.
(A Trump victory would mean that there was a giant polling error and such errors are more common in low-turnout scenarios. The higher the turnout, the more accurate polls tend to be, because math.)
A lot of readers were uncomfortable with this analysis and worried that I was taking a victory lap prematurely.
So allow me to reassure you that this was not my intent. Let me explain.
Over the last two weeks we published two extraordinary pieces at The Bulwark. One was from James Carville, one of the great political minds of his generation in Democratic politics. The other from Stuart Stevens, who is the same, but from the GOP.
I cannot tell you how proud I am to be associated with an institution where these two men—each brilliant, but each having spent their careers opposing the other—could publicly link arms. This is, literally, what it means to put country over party.
I want to quote each of them to you, as a way to explain why I thought it was important to say—now, out loud—why Trump is finished.
In just a short time, America will go from its darkest hour to its finest hour.
Very seldom in American history have there been periods when people can nobly wage a crusade to create real and lasting change. But when these crusades do occur, when those moments arrive, what we do to vanquish the threat to freedom builds something everlasting into the framework of our society… .
We find ourselves again at such a turning point. Donald Trump’s authoritarian presence behind the Resolute Desk is amongst the gravest threats America has ever faced from within. And Americans have risen to meet this threat… .
I can say with certainty that in all my years, joining in this crusade to take America back from the brink of destruction is the greatest thing I have ever been a part of in my life.
This crusade is something noble.
And here’s Stuart:
I sense a strange lack of confidence with Democrats, as if they have been juggling eggs for most of a marathon and can’t believe they actually might cross the finish in first place.
In these last two weeks, I would plead with Democrats to change that mindset and banish the timidity. If I ran the Democratic party, here’s what I’d be telling my troops:
We are going to crush Donald Trump and the sickness he represents. There are more of us than there are of them. We are right. They are wrong. This is our moment. This is our destiny. Walk with confidence. Do not falter. Victory will be ours.
Let us go forward in this final stretch with the confidence that our mission is vital and our opponent is weak.
Do not hesitate to swagger. These last two weeks belong to you. Years from now you will look back on these last days as some of the best in your lives. An evil was unleashed in the country you love and you rose to smite it. You will slay this dragon… .
Now is when you turn a victory into a rout. We are all tired, but the other side isn’t just tired. They are frightened and confused. As they should be. Because they are losing the fight for the soul of this country. And they know it.
If you’d permit me to put aside my professional detachment for a moment, I agree with both of these good and honorable men. Completely.
Which is why I thought it was important to say what I thought, out loud, rather than hedging and weaseling and positioning.
He’s going to lose.