Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Last Call For Mississippi Burning, 2016 Edition

I'm getting bone weary of events like this happening, like's it's something right out of 1968.

Authorities investigating a historically black church burned Tuesday night in Greenville also found "Vote Trump" spraypainted on the side. 
The FBI has been notified of the burning of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. 
“The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville, and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed,” said spokesman Brett Carr. 
Fire Chief Ruben Brown tells The Associated Press that firefighters found flames and smoke pouring from the sanctuary of the Hopewell M.B Church just after 9 p.m. Tuesday. 
Brown says there was also a political message spray-painted on the side of the church, but would not say what the message said. 
An online fund has been established to raise money for the church, telling readers, “Can we help show the world, the country, and most importantly, the churchgoers of Hopewell Baptist that we, as a society, are better than this? Please give.”

I'd like to think America is a "better society".  Clearly if Donald Trump has a non-zero chance of being president, we're not, and the above is why.

Yes, these racist events have certainly happened under President Obama's watch. An America without racism is simply not going to happen in my lifetime.  But if we're going to follow Obama up with a guy cheering this on, well...yeah, it was nice knowing all of you.

That's Real White Of You, Con't

The now officially endorsed candidate of the Ku Klux Klan seemingly has no problem taking support from the violent right-wing fringe of the white nationalist movement, and they plan to be out in force in an effort to stop those people from voting on Tuesday.

Neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin plans to muster thousands of poll-watchers across all 50 states. His partners at the alt-right website “the Right Stuff” are touting plans to set up hidden cameras at polling places in Philadelphia and hand out liquor and marijuana in the city’s “ghetto” on Election Day to induce residents to stay home. The National Socialist Movement, various factions of the Ku Klux Klan and the white nationalist American Freedom Party all are deploying members to watch polls, either “informally” or, they say, through the Trump campaign. 
The Oath Keepers, a group of former law enforcement and military members that often shows up in public heavily armed, is advising members to go undercover and conduct “intelligence-gathering” at polling places, and Donald Trump ally Roger Stone is organizing his own exit polling, aiming to monitor thousands of precincts across the country.

Energized by Trump’s candidacy and alarmed by his warnings of a “rigged election,” white nationalist, alt-right and militia movement groups are planning to come out in full force on Tuesday, creating the potential for conflict at the close of an already turbulent campaign season. 
“The possibility of violence on or around Election Day is very real,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Donald Trump has been telling his supporters for weeks and weeks and weeks now that they are about to have the election stolen from them by evil forces on behalf of the elites.”

Of course we've seen these threats before, and if anything, they only helped to increase turnout for Democrats in 2008 and 2012.  But the threats themselves are very clear and have been for decades.

It is difficult to know at what scale these plans will materialize because Anglin and his fringe-right ilk are serial exaggerators, according to Potok. And rather than successfully uncover widespread voter fraud — for which there is a lack of compelling evidence — or successfully suppress minority turnout, Potok said the efforts are most likely to backfire.

“If on the morning of Election Day it turns out that we have white supremacists standing around looking threatening at polling places, I think it would arouse anger,” he said. “People would vote just to prove they’re not being intimidated by these radical racists.”

Despite Trump’s claims that American democracy is compromised by massive voter fraud, so far in this election only one person — a Trump supporter in Iowa who attempted to vote twice — has been arrested for it. That has not stopped fringe groups already inclined to believe that minorities are stealing the election from heeding Trump’s call to monitor voting in “certain areas.”

This time around the fear is that it will be different.  So far these idiots haven't been able to cause too much trouble in polling places, but that was before the GOP made voter suppression of black and Latino voters a top priority and nominated a presidential candidate endorsed by the actual KKK.

Of course, the real problem is all the people voting for Trump who are looking the other way on this. They're just as likely to look the other way should violence break out at polling precincts too.

A Split Decision That Splits America

I know we've talked about "2016 Election As..." other presidential election years around here, 1968, 1992, 1976, 1980, 2012 and 2008, but Nate Silver is raising the less-than-zero possibility this turns into the dreaded 2000 where the Republican wins the electoral college but loses the popular vote.

We’ve written about this before, but I wanted to call your attention to it again because the possibility of an Electoral College-popular vote split keeps widening in our forecast. While there’s an outside chance that such a split could benefit Clinton if she wins the exact set of states that form her “firewall,” it’s far more likely to benefit Donald Trump, according to our forecast. Thus, as of early Monday evening, our polls-only model gave Hillary Clinton an 85 percent chance of winning the popular vote but just a 75 percent chance of winning the Electoral College. There’s roughly a 10 percent chance of Trump’s winning the White House while losing the popular vote, in other words.

As an illustration of this, we can compare Clinton’s current margins in our polls-only forecast against President Obama’s performance in 2012. Clinton — despite Trump’s recent improvement in the polls — leads by 4.7 percentage points in the national popular vote, a wider margin than Obama’s 3.9-point victory over Mitt Romney in 2012.

But Clinton is performing worse than Obama in 10 of the 12 states that were generally considered swing states in 2012. In some cases, such as Floridaand Pennsylvania, the difference is negligible. She’s underperforming Obama substantially, however, in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Nevada and to a somewhat lesser extent in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She’s considerably outperforming Obama in Virginia and North Carolina, conversely, but that’s not enough to make up for her losses elsewhere.
So how is Clinton doing better in the popular vote overall, despite failing to match Obama’s performance in most of these swing states? A lot of it is her strong performance in red states, or at least red states where a significant number of Romney voters were whites with college degrees. Thus, Clinton is putting states such as Arizona into play and — although she’s unlikely to win them — states such as Texas, Georgia and even Utah are liable to be much closer than we’re used to. Texas, in particular, can cause a potential Electoral College-popular vote skew because of its large and growing population. If the Democrat goes from losing Texas by 15 percentage points to losing it by 5 points instead, that produces a net gain of about 0.6 or 0.7 percentage points of the popular vote — larger than the margin by which Al Gore beat George W. Bush in the popular vote in 2000 — without changing the tally in the Electoral College. 

In other words there's a chance that Clinton will do better in red states like Texas and Georgia this year than Obama did, but still lose those states, and then lose close battles in the Upper Midwest and Rust Belt, on top of losing squeakers in big swing states like NC and Arizona.

That map would basically be the "Trump narrow win" scenario where she loses NC, FL, OH, NV, IA, and CO all by very close margins, and comes tolerably close in TX, GA, MO, AZ and SC, giving Trump an electoral college win, but a popular vote loss.  It's happened at least 4 times before, including 2000. 

The issue then becomes possible automatic recounts if those states are close enough, which is basically the nightmare scenario of this election times ten.

I don't think that's going to happen.  I think Clinton has banked enough early voting lead to prevail and again, Silver's numbers show her with a stronger lead than President Obama had in 2012. I still think she'll win both Florida and North Carolina early on Tuesday night, plus Pennsylvania and Virginia, and this race will essentially be over before 10 PM, Trump will be done.  Without FL and NC, he has no path at all to 270, even if he wins every Midwest and Rocky Mountain state other than Illinois and New Mexico.

Of course I went to bed that night in November 2000 thinking Al Gore had put away the Sunshine State, too.

We'll see.


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