Some local election musings; also, math

I did vote by mail– several weeks ago, in fact– but I did not get a sticker. They shoulda included one in the envelope with the ballot, dammit.

Also, the bike has just arrived, so there will probably be another post tonight as I break it trying to put it together. And then I will ride it for the first time– and hell no, that’s not being recorded, I don’t love you enough– fall off, and break a leg, and then we can all agree never to talk about this foolish decision again.

Anyway, Indiana had a primary yesterday. I haven’t talked about it a lot on the blog, because most of my audience isn’t in the Michiana area, much less South Bend specifically, so it wouldn’t be terribly relevant, but there were two local referendum questions on the ballot specifically to raise money for the school district I work for. I have been pretty well convinced for the entirety of this process that we were going to lose; amazingly, it looks like we have won on both counts.

(This is the part where I do math. Skip what’s in between the dividers if you don’t want to see it, but I’d appreciate someone checking my thought process.)

The vote has been stuck at 83% reporting since maybe 9:00 last night; I suspect because absentee ballots account for the remainder of what needs to be counted and that’s going to take a bit longer. However:

So, for question 1, there have been 18,413 ballots cast and Yes currently has a lead of 3,237 votes. I’m going to make the assumption that precincts are roughly the same size, which may not be especially reasonable, which suggests that there are (18413/83 = 221.84, x 100 = 22,184 -18413 = 3,771) 3,371 ballots still left to be counted. I find it highly unlikely that only 134 people who voted absentee voted Yes on question 1, so I think it’s fair to say this passed.

Question 2 is a bit hairier, but using the same process: 18,325 ballots cast, suggesting 22,078 total votes, meaning 3,753 votes are left to be counted against a margin of 2,117. So the vote-by-mail folks would have to break 56-44 against the referendum when all in-person voting was 56-44 for the referendum. That’s possible, but I think it’s unlikely, so I think 2 probably passes as well, but with a lower margin of victory and a higher margin of error.

This is good news! There has not been much of that in 2020 so far. All sorts of fucking awful shit was going to happen in my district without this money. There is still room for plenty more awful shit to happen over the summer, but at least this particular avenue for awfulness looks like it’s probably been closed off.

In other might-be-interesting news: 8% of Republicans voted for Bill Weld, and 76% of Democrats voted for Joe Biden. I was not among them; I sent in my primary ballot before it became sufficiently clear that Tara Reade was not to be trusted, and for that and several other reasons (primary among them being I wanted her to win) I voted for Elizabeth Warren.

For at least the second time in a row, my Congresscritter Jackie Walorski couldn’t break 80% in her primary, even though her opponent’s only qualification for the job was having a penis. I could have sworn I’ve talked about this here in the past but can’t find the post; she’s had basically an invisible primary opponent in the last couple of elections, somebody with no fundraising and no real presence anywhere, and both times that guy has gotten 20%+ of the vote, meaning that Republicans literally shrugged and voted for someone they knew nothing about other than that he had a penis. This guy at least has a website, and the fascinating thing about it is that if you read his Issues page you could be forgiven for thinking that he’s a conservative Democrat. So they not only voted for someone who they knew nothing about, they voted for a fuckin librul, too.

He literally announces elsewhere on the page that he will accept no donations of any kind for this run, so he’s either richer than any man with that facial hair should ever be or he’s a moron. Not sure which.

Speaking of conservative Democrats: there will no doubt be some links to my posts about the last time Jackie Walorski ran for office, where the Democrats managed to run someone who had no interest in actually being a Democrat for the job. By the time the actual election rolled around I hated Mel Hall with a fairly passionate intensity, and I ended up writing in the name of my primary choice, Pat Hackett. I am very pleased to announce that Pat has won her primary and we will have an actual fucking Democrat running for office in IN-02 this year. Redistricting has made this district an uphill climb regardless, but I still think she has a chance of snatching up the seat. We’ll see. At any rate, I’ll be upping the donations I’ve been making to her campaign.

Wait, shit, is that two pieces of good news? Wow.

More later, as I unbox and then destroy the bike.

12:31 PM, Wednesday, June 3: 1,835,681 confirmed cases and 106,312 Americans dead.

Ain’t it the truth

Sat down at the computer 20 minutes or so ago all like OKAY WORDZ TIEM MOTHERFUCKERS and … yeah, apparently that’s at least slightly easier said than done? I dunno, maybe the seventeen hundred words I gave y’all on Nioh 2 yesterday was all I have in me at the moment.

So, politics, I guess.

I am having an interesting reaction to the news about the primary ending. I was not actually expecting rage to be among the emotions I felt once that happened, but as it turns out that one’s kind of leading the pack; it pisses me the hell off that we are two months away from anyone in Indiana getting to cast a ballot in a primary that started off with half a dozen candidates I’d have been perfectly happy to vote for and two I’d have been deliriously happy to get, and we’ve somehow ended with an eight thousand year old white man who I used to refer to as “the Senator from MBNA” winning the nomination before Indiana even got to vote. And I’m not happy about it. This motherfucker has been close to the bottom of my choices for the entire Goddamned primary, and while the math has been clear for quite a damn while that my choices are not everyone else’s choices– none of my candidates managed to get anywhere with black voters, which is critical to winning the Democratic nomination– the fact that I literally didn’t get to cast a ballot before the choice was made pisses me off anyway. I’d have been fine with voting for someone who lost. I’ve done that a whole bunch of times. I’m not fine with this.

The Democratic party’s primary structure is fucked, the way we choose presidential candidates is fucked, and I want this shit fixed. Now, God damn it.

(There is– and I will make this point more than once more before November– absolutely nothing short of the election being cancelled or my own death that will prevent me from voting for Biden this fall. Nothing.(*) But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it, and right now I choose not to be. A good VP choice would go a long ways toward restoring some enthusiasm, but I don’t need to be enthusiastic to vote. I’m grown. I’m gonna fucking vote like it’s my job, because it is.)

(*) Well, okay, Biden’s death would probably also cause me to not vote for him, but this election’s already going to be fucked up enough and I don’t want to even think about what the shit would occur if that happened.

(**) Since I actually know, image credit: @adequateashell

8:03 PM, Wednesday April 8th: 429,052 confirmed cases and 14,695 Americans dead.

In which I STILL don’t know anything

I got asked in comments earlier if I thought Bernie Sanders should drop out yet. The interesting thing is I was already thinking about writing this post when the question came through, and as I’ve thought about it a bit more I’ve decided that the answer is that I think Bernie should drop out, but there is an as-yet somewhat reasonable case to be made that Bernie should not yet decide that he should drop out.

Allow me to explain.

Biden is ahead in the delegate count by 154 delegates, with another 94 pledged to candidates who have endorsed him. Democratic rules mandating proportional allocation of delegates make coming from behind more difficult than it is in the Republican primary, because you can eke out close wins in three states and then have those gains wiped out by losing badly in another state. You might remember a lot of talk about Bernie’s surprise win in Michigan in 2016, which was interesting in a “here is how polls can be wrong sometimes” sort of way but ultimately irrelevant because Hillary blew Bernie out of the water in Mississippi on the same day and her gains from Mississippi were a lot bigger than his in Michigan. He ended the day farther behind than he had when he started.

I’m not going to crunch numbers right now on what states are left and what might go for Bernie and what might go for Biden, except to note that the polls for this Tuesday’s contests look very, very bad:

What I have crunched the numbers on– I did it just now, as a matter of fact, because I was curious and I am exactly that kind of nerd– is that Bernie has gotten a lower percentage of the vote in literally every single contest than he did in 2016. Every single one. The average drop is just a hair over nineteen points, with a median just over 16, and there are five states where his vote total was less than half of what he got in 2016:

This is the clearest evidence that we’re going to get, I think: Sanders’ support has cratered since 2016, and there is no evidence at all that this will get any better. None. And he lost badly in 2016 once all the shouting was over. This will be worse. Stick a fork in him, he’s done. Time to quit. He has literally persuaded no one who he didn’t already have to come over to his campaign.


You may have heard of this Rona shit we got going around, I dunno. They’re starting to talk about it on the news a lot.

Who are Biden’s people, broadly speaking? Voters of color and older voters. Who are Bernie’s people, again broadly speaking? White folk, especially younger ones.

One group is more likely to have fewer polling places, meaning longer lines and longer waits (how long did that one dude in Texas wait on Super Tuesday? Seven hours?) and one group is also a lot more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, meaning that they really ought to be spending as little time in possible doing things like waiting for hours in lines around shittons of other people.

One group is more likely to consider themselves basically invincible and not be as concerned about waiting in those same long lines, and that group is also (again, broadly speaking; college students have been screwed in this respect in some places) going to have easier access to a quick ballot casting than the other.

It is, in other words, entirely possible that the coronavirus is going to work out in Bernie’s favor. Will it be enough to make a difference, given the fairly large margins currently showing in the polling? I have not the slightest idea. Especially since, again, he needs blowouts right now, and shaving a 44-point ass-beating in Florida down to 20 or even a narrow victory is not really going to do him a whole lot of good. But it might provide a slim thread of hope to hang onto, and a reason to stay in the election.

Do I want him to do that? No; in fact, I think the more responsible thing to do would be to drop out precisely to drive down the number of people who want to go out and vote, because I don’t think he can win at this point. Which seems odd to say, but it’s true. And I should make something clear: I’m not mad at Bernie about this, and I don’t think he’s off in Vermont cackling and gleefully rubbing his hands together at the idea that Biden’s supporters might be proportionally less likely to vote because of a global pandemic than his are or anything like that. But I think it’s a real difference between the two populations.

Again: do I think it’ll make a difference?

No fucking idea. Like I said, I don’t know anything about politics.

In which everybody calm down

Okay, one thing is worth throwing a party over: Mike Bloomberg’s ass is out of the race, which is an unalloyed good thing that we should all be celebrating. But it’s been fascinating to me to watch the exact same people who thought Biden was over and done with after Nevada pivot on a Goddamn dime to declare him the invincible frontrunner after last night. Now, don’t misunderstand: last night was great for Biden, and bad for Sanders. But it’s far from a knockout blow, especially since we don’t know yet what the numbers from California are going to look like and Sanders is going to win California. By how much, and how much of a delegate lead that gets him from the state, we won’t know for a bit. But I suspect Biden’s already-slim lead of less than fifty delegates is going to get cut into a bit, and 45 delegates is not a great cushion, all told.

Warren– and it both pains me and makes me deeply angry to say this– is probably out. She’ll take her time and make the decision on her own, but I don’t think there’s much of a path left for her if she’s not even able to win her own home state. It’s fucked up that America is ignoring this good of a candidate, but I felt the same way about Harris. It’s a primary; I’m used to being disappointed.

The worst news for Bernie, to my mind, is that in all fifteen contests held yesterday he didn’t hit his 2016 level of support in any of them, including his home state of Vermont, and in several of them his support was down by half or more. He lost two states, Oklahoma and Minnesota, that he won in 2016. For someone whose entire rationale for being elected is that he will Motivate The Masses To Take To The Streets … well, not so much, apparently? Bernie lost in 2016 and was getting a lot more votes. I haven’t taken a close look at what states are left, but there was a pretty ironclad rule in 2016 that any state that was less than 85% white was going to go to Clinton. Now, that rule is being broken pretty handily by California right now, and his Hispanic support seems to be up from 2016, so it might not hold as well, but he only won four states yesterday. That’s … not great. But there’s a lot of primary left, and there’s no reason to count anyone out yet. Once California’s delegates come in the count is going to be very close. I don’t see anyone outside of Biden or Bernie having a chance, but those two are effectively tied at the moment.

It is at this point where I remind you that I don’t know shit about politics.

There are lots of people yammering about something called electability, and all of them, including me, are wrong. Electability is not a thing. I took a very close look at the Republican field in both 2012 and 2016 and came to the conclusion that it was rationally impossible for any of them to get the nomination, both times, and somehow both times the Republicans managed to nominate someone anyway.

Either of these people are “electable” if we vote for them. So, as it turns out, is Warren. Bernie and Biden have both been clobbering the Current Occupant by wide margins in head-to-head polls for months, if not for years in Sanders’ case, and I need to remind myself of that every time I look at either of them and my brain tries to tell me that there’s no way that guy gets elected President. I still think Sanders’ path to the White House is the more difficult one, if only because the Democrats have been unwilling to paint him as the baby-eating tax-crazed Communist that the Republicans will, and we all know he doesn’t react to criticism very well, but they’re going to call Biden a socialist too; saying insane bullshit about how insanely leftist our candidates are is kind of their thing regardless of its actual relationship to reality. There aren’t going to be any debates so any talk about who will do better against the shitgibbon in one is pointless. We need to quit worrying about this “electability” nonsense and show up to vote. Everything else will take care of itself.

In which I know nothing and neither do you

The one thing I’m fairly certain about tomorrow is that I’m going to go to bed not knowing much, and I suspect a fair amount of what I will know is going to be disappointing. I haven’t seen much polling, and any that I might have seen is probably fairly well invalidated by Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out and endorsing Biden in the last 24 hours. I was kind of hoping that Biden would announce Kamala Harris as his running mate this weekend; the rumors were flying around (and this would be one thing that would definitely cause me to move toward a full-throated endorsement of him) but nothing has come of it as of yet. I still intend to vote for Warren if it’s still possible when Indiana votes in fucking May, but I suspect by tomorrow the math for her gaining the nomination without convention shenanigans is going to be … ugly. I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t think I live in that country. And, honestly, I’d prefer to avoid convention shenanigans one way or another, even if it leads to someone I don’t really want getting the nomination on the first ballot. Hopefully somebody ends up locking up a majority. We’ll have a better idea of who that might be come Wednesday; if any candidate emerges from Super Tuesday with a sizable delegate lead, the Democratic proportional-allocation rules mean that a lead is going to be very difficult to eradicate.

Random, small anecdote, preserved here because sometimes I use my blog as an external memory card: 8th grade boys are not exactly well-known for being accepting when it comes to homosexuality, right? My current building is far ahead of the curve on that particular front for some reason but the f-word is still a go-to insult far more often than I want it to be and regardless of my personal attempts to stamp out its use at least when they’re around me. So I was fascinated last week to watch five or six of my boys during advisory period the other day, all clustered in a corner around one of them and working carefully at … brushing his hair. Like, trading off the brush and everything. I don’t get these kids sometimes; I work really hard at wiping out my own prejudices and internalized homophobia and I gotta admit I’d feel funny just randomly brushing some male friend’s hair. And here there are five or six of them just making a huge production of it, when ordinarily accidentally brushing up against each other is enough to get “You gay!” tossed around.

(No, I don’t think male barbers or hairstylists are gay. But I’m not a barber, and neither are any of these kids. The word “randomly” is kind of important in that sentence.)