Blue Arizona, Georgia and Florida toss-ups, Texas only “leaning red”… what planet are we on?

The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics publishes regularly updated predictions on nearly every national and state election race of significance. Their web-based newsletter, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, is named for the center’s director, Larry J. Sabato, and they have an impressive track record of predicting the outcomes of elections going back to 2004 (though they’d prefer not to talk about 2016).

Still, one year ago, could you have imagined an Electoral College map that looks like this one?

Electoral College map showing predictions for the 2020 Presidential Election, done by Sabato's Crystal Ball.

Fringe beliefs and conspiracy theories

Thirteen people have been arrested on charges related to domestic terrorism in Michigan including a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer so she could be transported to Wisconsin and put on trial for “treason.” Six of those arrested face federal charges and the other seven face state charges.


Signs, signs, everywhere signs

There are quite a few yard signs in my neighborhood, not unusual, really, for a presidential election year. The “Trump” signs, flags, and banners were out first, but there are a significant number of “Biden” signs (not nearly as many flags and banners, however) on display now. But most homes don’t have any signs at all.

I imagine it would be uncomfortable to live next door to someone who is supporting the candidate you don’t like. There are two houses a few blocks away where a”Trump” sign isn’t more than three feet from the neighbor’s “Biden” sign. I’ve never put yard signs out for any election; living on a side street in a small town it’s doubtful it would influence much (I have my doubts about them even on main roads), and while I have a pretty good idea about my neighbors’ political views (and they probably have a good idea about mine), I’d prefer to have friendly conversations with them, and about anything but politics. Besides, all they have to do is Google me and they can read everything I’ve written on Twitter and on my blog over the years and their suspicions about me will be confirmed.

The signs I really don’t understand are the “We support our police” variety. I know why that’s an issue, of course, but it’s unfortunate that we’re so binary about it. I support my local police because I certainly would like them to stop by if I have someone breaking into my house, but that’s not a blanket approval of anything they want to do. There’s plenty of documentation of police malpractice around the country, particularly aimed at persons of color. But we seem to have divided the issue in such a way that you’re either fully supportive of police (who are therefore above any criticism) or you want them completely de-funded and disbanded (and you’re probably a communist, too, come to think of it). Wouldn’t it be nice to have a rational discussion about how to fix civil rights violations committed by police officers while also acknowledging that “no police at all” isn’t a reasonable position?

But that’s not where we are, less than two months from one of the most consequential elections in American history. On the bright side, maybe we can beat each other over the head with our signs when it’s finally over.