Geopolitical Update : As Biden’s massive lead fades .. Trump looks to upset
By Christian Takushi, Macro Economist. 2 Nov 2020 (truncated delayed public release at 1:39 AM CET on 3 Nov 2020)
It is just one day away from Election Day in the USA and here is a brief update. This is not a complete analysis, rather a perspective on some factors that I think consensus is overlooking.
For many months this year I criticised President Trump for the flawed response to the Covid19 pandemic. In the midst of the economic devastation and the uncertainties many Americans faced throughout this past summer, it looked like the Democrats had a safe path for clinching the White House in 2020. My view of a potential Democratic win in 2020 was based on the economy, but also on the Foreign Policy front: After China secured Iran as a new ally, it was also obvious Beijing would not let Iran “mess up” the almost sure Democratic victory. Iran, now under Beijing’s strong guidance, had to behave. I ascertained the Democrats have many paths to victory. Even to take the Senate.
I have seldom seen a party in a Western nation give away such a formidable lead as the Democrats enjoyed during the Summer and Autumn of 2020. My expectation was not based on polls.
Beware of the polls
As many of you may have noticed, I never base my political analysis on polls. Sadly, polls have become just one factor among many. Something I look to for trends or clues, but not something I build my analysis upon. Sadly, polls are being increasingly used to shape public opinion. The polls have been favouring the liberal parties and liberal causes in many crucial votes in the USA, Britain or Israel in recent years. Even a very famous liberal mind said last week “don’t trust these polls, they undercount Republicans”. This may not necessarily be due to systemic manipulation though, it could be related to the way society is suppressing conservative opinion.
Since September it’s just gone downhill for the Democrats
Since early September the liberal forces around the world including print media, TV, social media, big business and political analysts started to do the same mistake they did in the run-up to the 2016 Elections and the BREXIT vote. I was surprised – “Haven’t they learnt nothing out of 2016?”. By mid October the press and social media moved from being biased in favour of former Vice President Joe Biden to being his campaign propaganda arm. Journalists used to keep their personal views out of their analysis and reporting. Those days are long gone.
The coordination of the so-called establishment in favour of Mr. Biden became impressive. Too formidable .. and of a magnitude that makes it much easier for the incumbent, President Trump, to recover lost ground. Not many independent voters like it when they sense the system is rigged in favour of a candidate and that they are being told how to vote. This could trigger just the opposite reaction among late voters, undecided independents and African American voters.
Over the past two weeks the support for Mr. Biden by the press and social media became a total shield as they suppressed the report over alleged corruption of Mr. Hunter Biden and possibly even his father. This I believe is the biggest election mistake the Democrats have done in 2020. The US media should have rather pointed to the flaws in the story. The media warns a lot about foreign meddling into the elections, but it looks the media itself is trying to influence the outcome of the elections.
Here the biggest mistakes by the Democrats and liberal institutions that in my opinion are fast eroding their chances to sweep both the House and the Senate in 2020
- Making their strong bias for Mr Biden a total shield – This total suppression and censorship could potentially lose them millions of votes. Americans want to make up their own mind. Just as they did with the controversial Steel report four years ago
- Attacking Judge Amy C. Barrett on her Catholic faith during the 1st week after her nomination was a terrible mistake. The Democrats behaved as if the votes of Hispanics – staunch Catholics – is theirs. I feel many Hispanics will deny Mr. Biden their vote tomorrow
- The way Mr. Biden instrumentalised the violence following the death of Mr. George Floyd for the 2020 elections was another mistake. Not only did the violent mobs in liberal cities scare many Americans, DNC promoted itself as the party of the minorities, but fact is that many African Americans have fared better under President Trump than under past Democratic administrations. As The Economist pointed out the real median wealth of African Americans rose by 33% since 2016. With many of them experiencing some economic mobility and fewer jail terms in recent years, drumming up the old “narrative that kept them as victims and in resentment” could backfire
- Lack of humility in the Biden team. Take Michigan – how can the Democrats go from a 16% lead in July to a mere 7% lead in October without a strategy crisis? Rather than calling up an emergency meeting, liberal minds were celebrating their “solid lead” in Michigan last week. With the polls probably under-counting Trump voters, that 7% lead is probably a mere 3% lead, well within the margin of error.One thing they failed to realise is that the early Democrat turnout did not materialise. Democrats were told to vote early, but now they should be told to vote on election day. But after listening to Mr. Biden and the media for 6 months of how lethal the Covid virus is, will Democrats really go out tomorrow in large numbers? I know conservative voters will go out to tomorrow no matter what. One former Democrat that will vote for Trump this year put it this way “Republicans will go to vote come wind or cold and even if they have to walk over broken glasses, they are not afraid of Covid”.
- Last but not least, lack of enthusiasm and vitality. It is hard to mobilise millions of voters just by hating your opponent and making him to be a dreadful “virus”. Additionally, Mr. Biden has barely been on the campaign trail to encourage his base. Even Democrats resent that Mr. Biden has travelled much less than Mr. Trump, and that their candidate is always protecting himself from the virus. I am personally surprised that the Democrats chose Mr. Biden over other more charismatic candidates with more vitality & vision for America, and also less potentially disastrous controversies. A longtime Democrat told me “Mr. Biden is likely to be a mortgage for the Dems on November 3rd”
At the speed Mr. Biden is losing votes, the Democrats should be grateful that elections are on November 3rd and not one or two weeks later. Yes, with everything going for him, Mr. Biden could win, but the momentum is clearly Trumps’.
Much is being said about the shifting dynamics among White Americans. I don’t quite agree with consensus, because I think they are scratching at the surface and trying to “divide up” people along the same old fault lines – often overlooking other more sensitive issues like faith and how it is playing out among older voters, younger voters and those that have not voted before. Let’s remember that 30 million Christians didn’t vote in 2016 – are they staying away in 2020? I also personally see many Hispanics (Catholics) and African Americans (devout evangelicals) turning their backs on Mr. Joe Biden or simply staying home. But not all is negative in the last two weeks for Mr. Biden. His strategy seems to be working well in states like Arizona, where he is over-performing. After all, a bad economy in en election year always punishes the incumbent President.
The polls and the political math still favour Mr. Biden – based on them Mr. Biden should have a landslide victory. The experts say the Democrats have still more paths to victory than the Republicans. But these often include Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. On the first three Mr. Biden is underperforming though and a strong turnout of non-college white voters is worrying the Biden Team. In Pennsylvania the lead of Mr. Biden is also dwindling into the “margin of error” territory. No wonder that both sides are descending on the commonwealth, making it the probably most contested battleground in 2020.
This is probably the most complicated general elections I’ve ever covered. US elections are complex, but 2020 tops everything we have seen before. Covid 19 has only added to that complexity, while China seems to be present almost everywhere in the USA in 2020.
With a devastated economy and fighting Covid19 himself, Mr. Trump looked like an underdog that was “down and out” just one month ago. Four weeks before election day, his chances looked much more dire than in 2016. Mr. Trump recovered from Covid19 almost miraculously fast to unleash a gruelling array of massive campaign rallies (up to five a day!) that revived his “Silent Majority”.
The Democrats had victory firmly in their hands. Just a month ago that advantage was still formidable nationwide. But in roughly one month their tight grip on information and social media is backfiring on voters and dwindling their massive lead into the “margin of error” in key states. Because of these late trends some experts are beginning to say this could go either way. Even if that is a fair assessment, I’d like to stretch myself into a clear statement.
Thus, despite the polls, the expert opinion and the vast complexity of 2020, I think momentum will prevail. This means the beleaguered incumbent, President Trump, could deliver an even bigger shock than in 2016.
By Christian Takushi MA UZH, Independent Macro Economist & Geopolitical Strategist. 2 Nov 2020 (truncated delayed release to the public at 1:39 AM CET on 3 Nov 2020)
Disclaimer: None of our comments should be interpreted or construed as an investment recommendation
A distinct broad approach to geopolitical research
(a) All nations & groups advance their geostrategic interests with all the means at their disposal
(b) A balance between Western linear-logical and Oriental circular-historical-religious thinking is crucial given the rise of Oriental powers
(c) As a geopolitical analyst with an economic mindset Takushi does research with little regard for political ideology and conspiracy theories
(d) Independent time series data aggregation & propriety risk models