November 25, 2020


Democrats got "Punk'd" in the 2020 election. "Punk'd" was a hidden camera-style reality show on MTV in which celebrities where mocked and embarrassed and made to look stupid. Sort of like the media, political pundits, pollsters and top Democrats were on Nov. 3.

For Republicans it was a lose-win-win. They lost the White House, presumably kept the U.S. Senate, picked up seats in the U.S. House, and retained their state legislative majorities in states like OH, MI, PA, TX, FL and NC. Now Biden-Harris will have to produce and perform.

PRESIDENT: Trump-Pence was supposed to lose to Biden-Harris in a blowout, succumbing to a 'Blue Wave." Trump's chaotic, polarizing and incompetent governance was supposed to have alienated and diminished his 45 to 46 percent base, energizing the left-leaning and young voters. Add to that COVID-19 and joblessness and lockdowns, "cancel culture" and school closures, Black Lives Matter and resulting street protests, and mail-in voting.

It was supposed to culminate in a massive Trump repudiation, with Biden-Harris sweeping PA, MI, WI, IA, NC, FL and even TX, along with the Deep Blue West Coast (CA, OR, WA. HI), the Deep Blue Mid-Atlantic (NY, NJ, MD, VA) and Deep Blue New England. That would have amounted to 380 to 400 electoral votes, close to resembling 2008's 365 to 173 Obama-McCain blowout.

It didn't happen. Trump lost because he lost Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania with a combined electoral vote of 73 by a combined 242,000 votes out of 20 million cast. That was no blowout, but it was the ball game.

The latest popular vote has it 74,880,303 (50.6 percent) for Biden-Harris and 70,490,384 (47.6 percent) for Trump-Pence, a margin of 4,389,919. That equates to an electoral win of 306-232, with no changes expected. Trump won 24 states and Biden 26. In 2016's Clinton-Trump contest it was 65,853,514 (48.2 percent) for Clinton and 62,984,828 (46.1 percent) for Trump, a margin of 2,868,685; Trump nevertheless won 30 states and a 304-227 electoral vote.

Trump got 7,505,556 more votes than in 2016, which indicates that his base didn't atrophy or collapse, and increased by 1.5 percent, while Biden got 9,026,789 more votes than Clinton which indicates that the anti-Trump base expanded by 2.4 percent. There were 147,989,657 voters in 2020, 11,120,380 more compared to 2016, which creates an anomaly: How could the Trump/ Biden vote grow by 16,532,345 votes? One answer is a major shrinkage in the third-party vote, which was 5.7 percent in 2016 and just 1.8 percent in 2020. There was no "protest" vote this year. There was a choice.

Another anomaly is that the blue state (Democratic) vote fell off where it should have ballooned. Clinton won New York 4,556,124-2,819,534, by 59-36.5 percent, but Biden, according to unofficial tallies, won NY 3,905,273-2,917,734, by 56.4-42.1 percent. That means the Trump vote was up by 100,000 (5 percent) and the Democratic vote down by 550,000. Where was the "woke" vote? Maybe law-and-order had an impact. Clinton won New Jersey 2,148,278-1,601,933, by 55.5-41.4 percent, but Biden, according to unofficial tallies, won 1,955,642-1,294,361, by 59.4-39.3 percent. That means the Democratic vote was down by 200,000 and the Trump vote down by 300,000.

The West Coast was another story: Clinton won California 8,753,788-4,483,810, by 55-31.6 percent, but Biden, according to unofficial tallies, buried Trump 9,325,844-4,814,402, by 55-33.4 percent. CA turnout was up about 900,000, of which 575,000 went to Biden. In Oregon and Washington, where protesters/rioters were in the streets for 6 months, there was no pushback . Clinton won Oregon 1,002,106-782,043, with 50.1 percent; Biden carried it 1,267,744-891,853, with 56.9 percent. Clinton won Washington 1,742,718-1,221,747, with 52.5 percent; Biden carried it 2,126,078-1,319,923, with 60.2 percent. Clinton won Nevada 539,260-512,048 in 2016, and Biden won it 670,613-634,339, gaining 140,000 votes. Biden picked up about 1.8 million votes on the West Coast.

It was in Republican states that he outperformed Clinton. Democrats fantasized that Texas and Florida were going blue, and that Georgia and North Carolina were in play.

Trump won Florida 4,617,886-4,504,975 in 2016, with 49.1 percent, and he again took the state 5,668,731-5,297,045, with 51.2 percent, upping his vote by over a million. Biden upped the Clinton vote by nearly 700,000. Clearly mail-in balloting was a factor, but maybe the Democrats should just give up on Florida in general?

Trump won Texas 4,685,042-3,877,868 in 2016, with 52.2 percent, and he again took the state 5,873,068-5,217,942, again with 52.2 percent, boosting his vote by nearly 1.2 million, with the Democrat vote up 1.34 million. Trump added over 2.2 million votes to his national vote in those two states.

Georgia, with a 30 percent African-America population, was the surprise. Trump won the state over Clinton 2,089,104-1,877,963, getting 50.8 percent, a margin of 200,000. With an extraordinarily heavy Black turnout this time, Biden won 2,475,141-2,462,851, or 49.5-49.2 percent, a margin of 12,000. Biden got 600,000 more votes than Clinton, while Trump was up by 400,000. A million more Georgians voted.

North Carolina, a historically marginal state, went 2,362,631-2,189,316 for Trump in 2016, giving him 49.8 percent. It was a bit closer this time: 2,754,822-2,681,124, with Trump getting 50 percent, up 400,000, but Biden getting 500,000 more than Clinton.

In was in key Rust Belt states where Biden surged: PA, MI, OH, WI. Trump won Pennsylvania 2,970,733-2,926,441, but Biden beat him 3,369,499-3,322,284, a 47,000-vote margin and a gain of 440,000 - Trump was up by 350,000. Trump won Michigan 2,279,543-2,268,839, a margin of 10,709 votes, but Biden flipped that to a 149,350-vote win by 2,788,425-2,639,035, a gain of over 500,000.

Ohio has become solidly Republican. Trump won 2,841,005-2,394,164 in 2016, a margin of 450,000. This time it was 3,038,247-2,576,590, a margin of 462,000. Biden upped his vote by 182,000, Trump by 197,000, slightly more.

Wisconsin flipped to Biden 1,630,535-1,610,001, a margin of 20,000. Trump won in 2016 1,405,284-1,382,536, a margin of 23,000. Trump grew his vote by 210,000, Biden by 250,000.

After all of 2020's tumult, America did not change very much politically. Everybody still despises his or her adversaries. The Biden/Democratic base grew 2.4 percent, the Trump/Republican base by 1.5 percent. There is a divided partisan government. There will be no "democratic socialist" agenda. Gridlock and bickering will prevail. That's what business and the markets want. That's what America voted for.

U. S. SENATE: It is significant that Trump-Pence voters opted for Republicans down the ballot, while Biden-Harris voters did not do so to a similar extent. The vote in U.S. Senate races almost exactly mirrored the presidential contest in states where Trump won handily - KY, WV, TX, OK, LA, AL, SD, TN, NE, KN, SC, AR, AK ID, MT, WY - as well as those he won narrowly, in NC and IA. In states where Trump lost narrowly so did Republican senate candidates, in MI, AZ and MN, with the two GA seats going to a Jan. 5 runoff. Where Trump lost, the result was mixed: Incumbent Cory Gardner was buried in CO but incumbent Susan Collins survived easily in ME.

Democrats spent hundreds of millions of dollars to flip the 53-47 Senate, where 35 seats were on the ballot. A Republican held 23 of them, with nine having been elected in the Class of 2014, riding a strong anti-Obama tide to victory. Remarkably, eight of those nine were re-elected. Of the 31 incumbents on the ballot, only three lost (pending GA). Pre-election polls showed Republican incumbents in IA, NC, MT, KY, ME, TX and SC either losing or within the margin of error. All won easily. The "change" issue was a dud.

U.S. HOUSE: There was no "blue wave." The House was 236D-199R after 2018, with 218 seats needed for a majority. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), much like Newt Gingrich (R) in 1998, predicted an expansion. Instead, the Democrats' majority contracted by 8-10 seats, with some districts still uncalled. Every Republican incumbent won, and virtually every "toss-up" race went Republican. Many Democrats who won suburban districts in anti-Trump 2018 barely survived in 2020. Democratic socialists will press their agenda on Biden-Harris and in the House on Pelosi.

Members from marginal districts will make tough votes. Biden will have his share of screw-ups. The angry "Trump Nation," will turn out in 2022 (unlike 2018) and flip the House. So Biden needs to get his agenda passed in 2021-22. Trump's loss is the Republicans' win.

STATE LEGISLATURES: This is the most significant political story of 2020. There are 98 legislative chambers (Senate and House) in the U.S. (plus one non-partisan). Democrats expected an anti-Trump tide to produce a lot of flips. There were 83 chambers on the Nov. 3 ballot. Only New Hampshire flipped from Democratic to Republican.

There was no Biden-Harris trickle-down outside of the coasts. Republicans control 59 chambers, to the Democrats' 39. They have 1,058 legislators to the Democrats' 829. They control TX, FL, GA, PA, MI, OH, WI and IA, controlling congressional and legislative redistricting in 2021 following the 2020 census, and bodes ill for Pelosi's majority.

While Trump is out, everything else stays the same. So who got "Punk'd?"