Things to Look for on Election Night
The short answer is that I have no idea. Anyone who says they do, is wrong. They don’t. That’s the TL;DR. If you want it short, you can stop reading now.
For those who stayed (if any), here are a few things to look for. First a caveat. While I am talking about the presidential part of the election, that is possibly no more important than the Senate and House races. I am not forgetting them. In fact, I think that these will be largely bellwethers and as such, are the ones to really pay attention to on Tuesday night.
So, far as the Senate and President go, there are 4 possibilities after Tuesday night (or whenever it’s finally decided).
- Trump Wins – Senate stays Republican
- Trump Wins – Senate goes to the Democrats
- Biden Wins – Senate stays Republican
- Biden Wins. – Senate goes to the Democrats
For Republicans, the only positive outcome in #1. Even though Trump wins in outcome #2, if the Senate is Democrat, the chances of the House impeaching again and the Senate convicting, are astronomical. Trump will not serve for 4 years. That is almost a guarantee.
Further, this would mean almost certainly that Trump won by a small electoral majority. Leftist groups will be on the streets causing chaos. This is not a scare tactic or red meat for Conservatives. Leftist groups are planning this, and will happen (possibly in any Trump win). It would also mean that Trump will have won with a smaller total number of votes than in 2016 nationally (most likely). That would be more fuel for the “Resist!” crowd.
While #3 is not a dream for Democrats either, it might also create as much chaos as the second option. I also think that this option is the least likely of all possibilities.
Option #4 is a nightmare scenario. Even for average Democrats, I don’t see how it could be palatable. If the Dems had total power of both branches, the Supreme Court would be the only bulwark. The possibility of court-packing would be pretty certain. Ending the Senate filibuster rule would also happen, and the Democrats dream of getting rid of the Electoral College would be on the agenda.
I don’t think that last one would happen. I think that Democrats might try it, but there are still too many Republican or even moderate states. If the Electoral College were to end, the United States would break up. States would leave. But, even if the Supreme Court is packed, that might start to happen too. So, for all but the most Left-leaning of Democrats, having control of both the Presidency and the Senate should be scary.
The only real hopes for a Republican win are either that the polling is wrong by a small amount, and it continues to improve for Trump. In this case, he squeaks out a win. The other possibility is that there is a hidden Red Wave.
I do see those as real possibilities. Trump does seem to have momentum. The nice thing is, early returns will show what is happening. Here are the 5 states to watch on Tuesday night.
- Maine. Biden will likely win here. Every poll shows it. Most have him winning by double-digits. Quinnipiac has him winning by 21%. All the polls also show Sara Gideon beating incumbent RINO Susan Collins by single-digits (except for Quinnipiac), but some are even in the margin of error. What to watch: Does Susan Collins win? If she does, then either the polls were not accurate, or we’re seeing a Red Wave. If Susan Collins wins, and Trump loses by single digits, or miraculously wins, we are seeing a Red Wave. If Trump wins Maine, the election is over. Turn off the TV.
- North Carolina. Incumber Republican Senator Thom Tillis has been down in the polls by single digits. The numbers have been tightening on this race in recent weeks, and are now within the margin of error. For Trump, this race is basically tied in the polls. Most show the winner within the margin of error, some showing Trump, others showing Biden. What to watch: Does Trump win or lose by a lot? Does Thom Tillis lose by a lot. Slight wins for Trump do not negate the polls, but landslides denote a Red Wave.
- Michigan. This state is a huge canary in the coal mine. All polls are showing the incumbent Democrat, Gary Peters, beating Republican challenger, John James. His lead is in the mid to high single digits, outside of the margins or error. What to watch: If Peters wins by a small margin, or if James wins, it might portend a Trump victory. It also might show that Trump is doing very well with black voters. Further, if Trump wins, then it will likely be a bad night for Democrats.
- Georgia. Do not pay attention to the Senate race in this one. It’s weird. But in the Presidential election, some polls have Trump ahead, some Biden, some tied. No major poll shows the winner outside of the margin of error. What to watch: The winner here will show how accurate these polls have all really been. It is an early one to watch.
- Arizona. While this is a later state to watch, being on the Western side of America (but Arizona will be with the rest of Mountain Time on Tuesday), the polls have recently flipped, showing Trump with a very narrow lead. This is mostly within the margin or error here. What to watch: If Trump wins by more than 5%, then we have a Read Wave for sure.
If you want to research this yourself…
Here are a few good links to look at
Yes, it is CNN. And no, you can’t really take it is gospel. But it is food for thought.
Politico is clear on its bias, but this seems as fair as numbers can tell right now.
The polls have changed a bit since they updated this map, so you can’t look at it without keeping that in your mind.
RealClear has been right before. They’ve been wrong before. This is good to get a quick sense of individual races, though.