We are all Pennsylvania pundits now: US election bingewatcher’s guide

By Nikhila Natarajan
New York, Nov 3 : The whirr of carpenters’ buzzsaws boarding up glass windows on main street, heightened police mobilisation, overdose of Pennsylvania math, Trump supporters trying to shove a Biden bus off the freeway, fears of violence, undelivered ballots turning up on social feeds via whistleblowers – US election bingewatchers think it’s all mostly “nuts!” and “bananas!”

That’s not all. The quest for the shy Trump voter continues. That shiny word was coined in 2016 as an explanation for the Trump bombshell win. Now that pollsters have hit the submit button on final 2020 projections, the spaces between what pollsters’ projections tell us and what could happen is often punctuated by the ‘shy Trump voter’ question mark that hangs around in the thick, wintry air.

“There are no shy Trump voters!”, we heard from the Trump campaign bullhorn this week.

On the beat, in speaking with the voters, we find nuance to that soundbite.

Some voters just don’t want to be named, they are haunted by the prospect of turning up on their “wife’s Facebook feed”, as one voter in Westfield, New Jersey, told IANS.

“Five hops later, what you said to someone becomes something else and I don’t want to deal with that. Nah,” he said.

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Coming back to the shy Trump voter, where do Republicans think they’ll find them in election day turnout, which has traditionally been better for Republicans, including in 2016. Trump’s favourite network Fox News is urging people to vote like never before.

“Despite the early vote numbers, we can still do this,” Trump’s favourite Conservative radio host and Republican kingmaker Rush Limbaugh told Fox and Friends.

Turns out, Limbaugh’s remark points to the sunny side of the US elections – the stunning early voter data. Nearly 100 million Americans have voted. That’s more than 70 per cent of the total vote count in 2016. Let that sink in. This is happening in the middle of a pandemic that’s roaring back and was never really crushed.

What does the data mean? In America’s quarantined neighbourhoods, the answers come in whispers, from behind masks, in voices slightly unsure but hopeful.

“May be they’re being very careful because of what happened in 2016 but this could also be a landslide, right?” one voter trails off.

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And, we’re all Pennsylvania gawkers now. The US election punditry industry informs us that this is where it ends up – the lawsuits, the numbers, the overused metaphors of a ‘race to 270’ and all of it.

Connected to that is a “subtraction” theory of election day count having quite a moment. It comes as a package deal with data visualisation magic boards and generally speaks to the Trump path.

The simplified version goes like this. Trump’s numbers are shakiest in Wisconsin and Michigan which he won by razor thin margins in 2016. So, if you subtract that from his 2016 count, then he must win Pennsylvania and Florida to stay in the game.

The American voter has it all figured out. Car’s in the parking lot, school’s out, job loss around the corner or on the edge in any case, vote’s in the mailbox and an uneasy calm all around.

What if it goes to the courts, we asked one such “shy” voter.

She didn’t even wait for the question to finish. “Meh, it will,” she shot back.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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