What it means to get the election wrong

Yesterday morning, the New York Times asked, in a headline, “Can Biden still win?” The story made clear that he could, but as FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver pointed out, the question seemed backward, since President Trump seemed to be facing the thinner path to victory. That the Times framed the question around Biden, Silver wrote, felt rather like an “artifact of the mood right now”—Biden had not, as many liberals had hoped or expected, crushed Trump across the map, leading to a feeling, in many quarters, that Trump was on the front foot. Astead W. Herndon, a politics reporter at the Times, framed the situation better in a tweet: “If you’re a Democrat whose goal was America repudiates Donald Trump and his politics I understand disappointment,” he wrote, but “if you’re a Democrat whose goal is Joe Biden becomes the next president, it’s not that bleak.” As yesterday progressed and more votes were counted, the key states of Wisconsin and Michigan were called for Biden, who now looks to be in a much stronger electoral position than Trump. It should be noted here that the perception of one candidate gaining on, or pulling away from, another in a dynamic way is a function not of any actual voting, but of vote counting, the timing of which is political. It’s likely that Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which remains too close to call, could have declared their results earlier if Republican officials in those states hadn’t stood in the way; now, of course, the Republican... Continue reading at 'Columbia Journalism Review'

[ Columbia Journalism Review | 2020-11-05 13:00:02 UTC ]
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