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Endorsement October 23, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Scientific American endorses Biden – the first time the magazine has endorsed any candidate in its history. In a way it’s more an anti-endorsement of Trump, understandable enough, than one of Biden. And when they detail all the reasons – they are, unsuprisingly, legitimate:

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

Meanwhile the same magazine has a piece that suggests that Presidential debates have ‘shockingly little’ impact on electoral outcomes. A quote:

“People aren’t really watching debates because they’re like, ‘I’m gonna take this time and really compare these two candidates on their merits,’” says Yanna Krupnikov, a political scientist at Stony Brook University. Most people watching have already chosen their candidate, she says, and even if that candidate does not perform well, “they already have a decision as to how they’re going to vote.”

I think that’s broadly true, though I suspect too that the debate before last night was one which saw a small layer, how small is difficult to determine, detach from supporting Trump again. But the debate really would appear merely to solidify or confirm opinion, rather than shape it. Then again this also rings true:

A variety of factors likely contribute to the ineffectiveness of presidential debates in helping individuals to decide how to vote. For starters, many of the people who take the time to watch debates are those heavily engaged in politics to begin with, Krupnikov says, so they have already committed to a particular candidate. In the U.S. especially, when an election actually takes place, candidates have been campaigning for months—giving Americans plenty of time to have already made up their mind. And even if something sensational does happen in a debate and causes a wider stir, the effects tend to be small and fade by the time of the election. “Debates are short-term events, so they have less effect on people’s choices,” Wlezien says. “These performances just get added into this giant pile of information.”

I doubt many of us here would shift our opinions on the basis of a single debate. And the point about the US system, which has a campaigning period of many months does indeed give voters all they need and more to come to decisions.

By the way, most interesting point here:

Also, unlike many other developed countries, the U.S. has only two major political parties—a dichotomy that contributes to deep ideological divides and a strong us-versus-them mentality. The two-party system likely lends weight to Pons’s finding: compared with citizens of other countries, American voters are significantly less likely to change their decision in the two months leading up to an election.


1. NFB - October 23, 2020

I think some people keep certain debate moments in mind – Nixon’s disaster in 1960, “You’re no Jack Kennedy” etc, even here with the brown envelope in 2011 – and think they are still an environment where a knock-out blow can take place. But they just aren’t.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - October 23, 2020

The brown envelope is definitely one which had a significant effect. I guess again it comes down to the length of campaigns? THere that was a revelation because people didn’t know him?


sonofstan - October 23, 2020

I watch the brown envelope moment every now and then, still, for the laugh and for the expression on McGuiness’s face when he knows he’s got him.

Liked by 2 people

2. tafkaGW - October 23, 2020

Let’s be absolutely clear: although he will probably less bad than Trump, absolutely nothing (other than rhetorical gestures) will be done about oncoming climate catastrophe during a Biden administration.

We’ll have to wait until 2024 for that, assuming the green left in the Democratic Party can take power there.

Luckily (for vanishingly small quanta of luck) the US economy is becoming less significant in terms of it’s CO2 output and the efforts to prevent the worst will be made in Eurasia, if at all.

Liked by 1 person

rockroots - October 23, 2020

Getting ahead of myself here, but… I have to wonder what a post-Trump GOP will look like. It’s senior figures – with the honourable exception of the late John McCain – have defended the indefensible and abandoned any pretence of principle to keep their place in the cult of personality. They’re little more than Trump lackeys now. What happens when the ‘personality’ leaves the stage? A back-to-basics rebuilding of traditional conservative values from the ground up, or a mad scramble to find another shouty used-car salesman? Maybe a member of Trump’s family, as that’s the way US politics are drifting. It’s pertinent for the prospects of the green left.


CL - October 24, 2020

Remember the Whigs? Of course not, nobody does.
Their man, Zachary Taylor, was elected president in 1848,-and the Whigs never recovered.
The Republicans, a shrinking party of aging white males, might go the same way, never recovering from the bizarre, Trump ‘reality show’.

“The Trump administration has “taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy” in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The New England Journal of Medicine says in a scathing editorial that essentially calls on American voters to throw the president out of office.
It is the first time the prestigious medical journal has taken a stance on a U.S. presidential election since it was founded in 1812.”


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