One Finite Planet

Winners! but.. without the senate?

First Published:

Posted 2020-Nov-5 6:07am UTC (midnight Nov 4 US Eastern Time)


307* (306) votes? But is Harris, the ‘heir apparent’ a winner without the senate?

There have been two big surprises on and following election day. The first, is how precisely election results have been in line with predictions:

  • as predicted, Trump would narrowly lead on election night based on counted votes
  • as predicted, Trump would declare victory on election night
  • if the last prediction is correct, the Trump initial lead will fall apart once all votes are counted, so as predicted Biden/Harris will win
  • again as predicted, a Trump victory will now require a ‘filibuster’ tactic, preventing one or more states being able to submit their nomination by December 8.

The second surprise has been how calm it has all been so far. Here is hoping it stays that way!

Estimated Presidential Outcome from Here

There are also elections for ‘the house’ (congress) and for the senate, but most people are focused on the election of the president.

On current counts, Biden/Harris would be expected to win the electoral college by 307 to 231.(306-232see update) Almost the same margin Trump won by in 2016. Due to lack of data, this calculation omits the possibility of a ‘flip’ in North Carolina.

As discussed before, last night there were 5 key states where Trump led in the count but there was a significant chance Biden would win. There were also two states where Biden led by a slim margin, although I do not predict a change in the position in those states.

The ‘pivot’ states where Trump led:

  • Wisconsin
    • Biden took the lead by less than 1% so Trump can request a recount
  • Michigan
    • Biden took the lead by over 1% blocking a recount, but Trump has filed a legal challenge
  • Pennsylvania
    • Trump still leads but the projected final outcome is Biden 3.6 million votes to Trump 3.4 million votes (see below)
  • Georgia
    • Trump still leads but the projected final outcome is Biden 2,587,451 votes to Trump 2,501,889 votes (see below) which is a lead of 86 thousand votes
  • North Carolina
    • Trump still leads – but I have no updated vote count over a time of almost one entire day. This means no projection is available.

In Pennsylvania between last night (or technically early this morning) with 74% of the vote counted, and tonight with 89% of the vote counted, Trump rose from 2,964,853 votes to 2,215,969 votes, which is 16,741 votes per percentage point which if continued would yield a final count of 3,400,121 votes. Biden rose from 2,286,865 votes to 3,051,555 votes, which is 50,979 votes per percentage point which if continued would yield a final count of 3,612,328 votes.

In Georgia between last night (or technically early this morning) with 92% of the vote counted, and tonight with 95% of the vote counted, Trump rose from 2,381,870 votes to 2,426,877 votes, which is 15,002 votes per percentage point which if continued would yield a final count of 2,501,889 votes. Biden rose from 2,279,736 votes to 2,395,129 votes, which is 38,464 votes per percentage point which if continued would yield a final count of 2,587,450 votes. The small percentage increase means rounding may make the numbers imprecise, but even calculating based on the rise representing 4% and there being only 4% of votes remaining to be counted, Biden would still win by over 38,000 votes.

Arizona, and particularly Nevada are tight, but in both cases the locations with the most votes to be counted favor Biden, so I cannot see either state returning to Trump.

The last step is that the data I have shows Biden winning both districts in the split system of Maine, and one district of the three districts in the split vote in Nebraska. Other tallies do not seem to reflect this, but I am not sure why. Maybe this is an error in the source data, and it is an error my count will be out by 1.

The Path for Donald Trump: Filibuster

This projection means Trump needs to have votes from 3 states disallowed for Trump to win. Should Pennsylvania or Georgia not complete the count of votes, or the trend of current votes change resulting in a Trump victory, in either or both states, the path for Trump would be much clearer.

Trump has ‘lawyered up’ in sufficient states, but changing the outcome in 3 states it a huge ask.

One or two states would be ‘unprecedented’ (in the year of unprecedented use of the word unprecedented), but three? Surely if the challenge does end up at 3 states, Trump will fold. Biden has already offered the olive branch suggesting there is no plan to treat the other party as the enemy. Does this even suggest a pardon?

However, it is still likely there will be bitter noises and tweets from Trumps, inciting his adulating supporters to feel there is a grave injustice. They may feel for them that the moral path now includes violence and civil disobedience. So far I am aware of no significant post-election violence, and hopefully none will occur. There have been protests, and armed protestors, but the no significant issues so far.

Congress and the Senate

Congress will remain under Democrat control, although, should the Presidential election be decided by congress, Republicans still control the majority of states, so Republicans can determine a president selected by congress.

The major issue for an incoming Biden/Harris Presidency is the Senate, and while technically still possible, it seems unlikely Democrats with have control. Fighting a recession, the Senate could put politics over country and block any stimulus package.

Biden/Harris: is winning a good thing?

It is a tough time to take over the reins to the US government. For Biden, it is the pinnacle of a long political career. For Harris, having already run for president it is her apprenticeship. For Harris, it has to run well.

There is a pandemic to deal with, a deep economic recession, a very divided nation, and a hostile Senate and hostile Supreme court.

The problem of the pandemic does not simply go away. I saw a statistic that something like 91% of Trump supporters feel the virus is under control compared to 7% Biden supporters. Things will likely get worse before the new presidency starts, and a change of president will likely not change the approach of the partisan electorate. About the same number of people will take steps to avoid the virus: almost all Democrats and very few Republicans. Change will be hard.

On top of that, actions to combat the virus may be blocked by the senate and the supreme court could make life more difficult by striking down the affordable care act. Biden pledged to introduced an improved health insurance scheme, which may be impossible with a hostile senate. Health will be off to a troubling start.

Then there is the recession. Most businesses that hire people could really do with the planned stimulus, but again, that could be blocked by the senate. The big tech companies alone can drive the Dow higher, but do little to solve employment nationwide. The economy could become a two speed mess that leaves most people hurting while again the rich get richer. A return to positive economic indicators while most people feel pain.

It could be a very difficult presidency, leading to a difficult mid-term when it could be the turn of Harris to take the lead role, given that Biden would then be weeks from his 82nd birthday.

Update: 8:49 PM Thursday, 5 November 2020

That error of 1 vote bothers me.

Reviewing the changes from 2016:

Wins for Biden/Harris

  • 1 district in Nebraska (Biden leads in one district)
  • 1 district in Maine No-Maine is still split 3-1
  • Arizona (11)
  • Wisconsin (10)
  • Michigan (16)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Georgia (16)

Total= 75 74

Tally for Trump, 306-75 = 231, Tally for Biden 232+75 = 307

Ok, all the maps should Biden winning a district in Nebraska.

And, all the maps show Trump previously held one district in Maine, but lost that district?

Ok, now I find the problem. Of the four votes from Maine, only 3 are allocated so far. The fourth vote for the rural district is not allocated. That fourth vote will almost certainly go to Trump… so my previous count had an error of 1, because it gave all votes from Maine to Biden, not 3 of 4 votes to Biden and 1 to Trump. Total should be 306 Biden, 232 Trump!


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