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The 2020 Race Is Almost Over, but When Will the Nightmare End?

On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure are looking forward to the end of the election –– and hopefully, of Trump’s presidency. But they’re divided between cautious optimism and outright anxiety.

  • With just days left in the 2020 race, and if the polls are to be believed, Biden has a commanding lead.

  • Despite his lack of a platform or any convincing argument about why he should be reelected, Trump is still a threat –– especially because he has stacked the courts in his favor.

  • As a third wave of COVID-19 spreads across the country, the Trump administration claims it has “conquered” the virus. Is Trumpism a cult? And is the country primed to escape its clutches?

By the time democracy-ish drops next week, we’ll have a new president, God willing.

“Or at least the election will be mostly complete,” says Toure.

“I think you're being super optimistic, but something will have transpired,” Danielle says.

More than 80 million Americans have already cast their votes ahead of the November 3 deadline, and with just days left, our long national nightmare could be over quite soon.

“For about nine months, Biden has held the largest lead of any presidential contender since Ronald Reagan landslided Walter Mondale,” Toure notes. “The numbers have been extraordinarily consistent across many major, stable, respected polls.”

One of the truisms of electoral presidential politics is that the incumbent president’s approval rating is reflected in the vote count. Trump’s approval numbers have rarely risen above the mid-forties, and aggregate prediction models suggest that’s what the popular vote will look like, too. As of October 29, FiveThirtyEight predicts a 53.3 to 45.4 race in favor of Biden (a 347–191 Electoral College victory).

“We are headed for a shellacking,” Toure says.

Danielle is skeptical. “I don't want people to get attached to these numbers, which really don't mean anything. We are dealing with the most criminal enterprise we’ve ever faced.”

Episode Highlights –– We Have Hope

Worst-case scenario: ‘fraud’ in a Biden blowout

Danielle’s wariness about poll numbers is warranted –– after all, Trump has repeatedly told us the election was rigged before it even began, and he refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

That’s why, she says, if Joe Biden pulls off a blowout, Trump and his cronies will claim: We've never had this many people vote in an election; something must be wrong.

If it’s too close, they’ll say it needs to be kicked to the courts.

“If we were dealing with a party that believes in the Constitution and the rule of law, I’d say by the time that we air next week, we will know definitively who the president is,” she says.

But that’s not the world we live in.

“Do not underestimate these people. They are the absolute worst and will do the most.”

Right-wing swamp things and fever dreams

Toure agrees that the threat is real. “The Republican party's silence-slash-glee at the attempt to steal the election, while they steal a Supreme Court seat, just shows how craven, power-mad, and outside traditional democratic norms they are.”

It’s possible to cheat in a close election, but it's hard to cheat in a landslide, he adds.

But if it comes down to litigation, “it becomes a bit ridiculous when a lawyer has to try to make a coherent argument, absent of evidence, of a conspiracy that does not live for a millisecond outside of a Republican wet dream, fever dream, fever swamp, whatever you want to call it.”

The (evil) queen’s gambit

Toure hopes the Democratic party emerges from this election “stronger and tougher” –– but he doesn’t want it to engage in the same kinds of dirty politics Republicans have perfected over generations.

He uses an analogy: We're playing chess, and the right-wing is like, we’re going to move every piece like the queen. Dems say, no, let's play actual chess. We’re going to move this pawn one step forward. Republicans respond with: well, we just captured all your pawns.

“We're not playing the same game,” Toure says. “I want to see us play the game with more spine, just so that we can get to