Guest Piece by America’s History Teacher, Larry Schweikart
Confession: I rarely watch conservative, or so-called conservative, news sites. You can get some information that way, but I find it much more instructive to watch the reactions of liberals to the stories of the day. That is an instant indicator of who is winning and losing. For example, if the Washington Post says “Trump must change tone or face loss,” you know that Trump’s tone is deadly effective. Or, if Politico headlines “Some Senator Say McConnell Moving Too Fast on Barrett Nomination,” you know that Yertle is moving at light speed (for a tortoise) and that the confirmation is assured.
So on election night, what are the signals that Donald Trump is winning or losing?
- Expect any blue state that they can call for Joe Biden will be called within a nanosecond of the polls closing. You can expect Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts to be called immediately.
However, if you do not get instant calls on such states as Virginia or Pennsylvania, then it’s a fight. Most expect because of the vote by mail/early voting in the Keystone State that ballots will be counted for days. But Virginia may be a different story. On election night 2016, Virginia’s call was late as Trump led well into the night until the Northern Virginia area finally came in. Rule of thumb: if they can call a state for Biden, they will do so as fast as humanly possible.
- Expect the Florida call, despite an obvious Trump win there, to be delayed as much as they can. I expect Trump will win Florida by at least 250,000 votes. Full disclosure: I said this in 2016 and was surprised the margin was closer. Nevertheless, there will be a moment when all that remains on the Florida map is a sea of northern red counties and the Panhandle.
- Watch Michigan. Michigan doesn’t have “Republican” and “Democrat” ballots so tracking voter registration is tough there. I have relied on “TargetSmart,” a Democrat outfit that uses “modeling” to predict votes. How does this work? Well, if you are white, older, a gun owner, non-college educated or only two-year college educated, go to church, TargetSmart will label you a Republican. If you’re an urban black female, you will immediately be tossed in the Democrat box. Michigan has steadily not only trended toward Trump but also John James, who now has a two-point lead in his senate race. It’s inconceivable that Trump would trail James, so it’s reasonable to guess that Trump is up at least two in Michigan (as some of today’s polls suggest). Michigan has a Republican legislature, has far fewer outstanding ballots than does Pennsylvania, and is much more likely to be called early. Michigan, this year, will likely be the first breach in “Hillary’s blue wall” (as they referred to the Rust Belt trio of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.) An early Michigan call means the only hope Biden would have would be an upset in Arizona and regaining Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, while holding Nevada, Minnesota, and all the other traditionally blue states.
- Once Michigan is called and Arizona is grudgingly assigned to Trump, I think even the Hoax News networks will have to call the election. I think we will know the winner that night. Once that happens, Pennsylvania’s delayed ballots become irrelevant and may be wrapped up quickly.
As you may know, Richard Baris—America’s most accurate pollster along with Trafalgar—and Tracy Beanz and I will be doing a live election night webcast. We expect to be able to call these races sooner than the legacy media. However, some other things to watch for:
- The John James, Thom Tillis, and Tina Smith senate races. If James and Tillis win, Trump will almost certainly carry those states. If Smith is struggling, Jason Lewis may sneak into a seat that a month ago was on no one’s radar. Then all eyes turn to Martha McSally and Susan Collins. If those two Republican ladies survive, Republicans would be looking at a net gain in the senate of two. The only current nearly-sure loser among Republican senators is Colorado’s Cory Gardner—but even he has a spark of life, given that his opponent, John Hickenlooper, has committed more errors than the Bad News Bears. He may still screw up a race that was all but won.
- The black and 18-24 turnout. Some pundits are trying to claim that the “Yut” vote is up this year. Well, I never thought of a 29 year-old as a “youth.” These surveys include as “young people” 18-29, whereas all my predictions were specific to college-aged kids, 18-24. That age group is most definitely down. Also, if the black turnout is down (as it already appears to be in North Carolina), this will allow for much earlier modeling and predictions about outstanding races.
Finally, if the networks don’t call the House at 8:01 as Fox News did in 2018, we will probably be looking at a tight race for 17-20 seats that would decide control. But if you tune into CNN by mistake and they all have glum faces, you don’t need to wait for the state by state calls.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author, with Michael Allen, of the New York Times #1 Bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: The American President, and founder of the Wild World of History, a history curriculum website featuring full courses in US History and World History Since 1775, including teacher’s guide, student workbook, maps/graphs/charts, tests/answer keys, and video lessons accompanying every unit (www.wildworldofhistory.com).
That is all.
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