Sunday, September 27, 2020
Earlier this week, I was working on an article that claimed Joe Biden had better results in state polls than in national polls.
I don’t have a particularly strong take on how the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will affect either the presidential election or the race for control of the U.S. Senate. And I’d encourage you to avoid putting too much stock in anybody else’s take for now, too. The very earliest indication is that President Trump’s desire to move full-speed ahead toward naming Ginsburg’s replacement could be unpopular, but that’s based on only one poll.
The 2020 election is already underway in several states, but that doesn’t mean the rules aren’t still changing. (We’re tracking them all here.) In the past eight days alone, four important swing states have tentatively extended the deadline by which mail ballots must be received.
Two of the biggest questions in the aftermath of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death are, “Will whomever President Trump chooses to replace Ginsburg be confirmed?” and “How will the nomination and confirmation process affect the 2020 elections?” Those two questions are, of course, connected. And the place where they really intersect is the U.S. Senate.
There’s this theory that won’t die. It goes something like this: Some unknown segment of President Trump’s support is too “shy” to admit they back him. Usually offered as an explanation for why Trump’s poll numbers weren’t better in 2016 or why they’re not better now, the idea hinges on Trump being such a controversial candidate that it’s not socially desirable to say you support him, and as such, there is a lot of hidden Trump support not captured by the polls.
UPDATE (September 24, 2020, 9:15 a.m.): On Wednesday, President Trump refused to say whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he lost in the upcoming election, telling reporters: “We’re going to have to see what happens.”
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump will have his third opportunity to nominate a justice to the country’s highest court. This nomination, however, has the highest stakes yet for Trump, the Republican Party and the conservative legal movement. If successful, it may cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that could fundamentally push law in the United States to the right.
Tomorrow will mark the start of what could be one of the swiftest Supreme Court fights in modern history. On Saturday, just a week after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump is expected to announce his nominee for her replacement: Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is currently serving on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Of all the massively consequential questions raised by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the more callous — but nevertheless important — is, “How does it affect the 2020 election?” The short answer is that nobody knows; it’s simply too early to tell. But we can use the FiveThirtyEight forecast to lay down a marker and advance a few plausible theories.
Democrats are slight favorites to regain control of the Senate, according to the FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast, which launched today. But the map is wide open, with at least a dozen competitive races — none of which are certain pickups for Democrats — including some states where Democrats are playing defense.