SocraticGadfly: Off the Kuff is off his rocker on Biden and Texas

May 24, 2020

Off the Kuff is off his rocker on Biden and Texas

Joe Biden is going to put Texas into play in November, it seems. Actually, Donald Trump is putting it into play for him and it remains to be seen if Biden can keep it in play.

Piece of advice No. 1 for Biden's minders? Make sure that he NEVER goes on a Hispanic version of Charlamagne tha God, that is, Lenard Larry McKelvey. Maybe Stace Medellin might be "safe."

Texan political analyst of long standing Cal Jillson says that if Biden DOES win, he'll likely have won 40 other states as well.

Kuff thinks Jillson is making an overstatement when he scoffs. OK, a bit of hyperbole, but no more, Kuff. If Biden wins Texas, he's won 35 others, not 40. Your own map agrees, Kuff.

So does the Chron's Jeremy Wallace, author of the piece:
Don’t count Texas on that battleground list yet. But Democrats see an opportunity they haven’t had in decades.
Yep, we heard this all two years ago with Robert Francis O'Rourke. The reality was that ALL Dems except Loopy Lupe Valdez ran about as close to Republicans as did O'Rourke.

Update, June 11: Mark McKinnon also agrees with Jillson, saying that if Biden actually wins Texas, it will be part of winning 400 electoral votes. And agrees with Wallace, or goes beyond, on the "we heard this all here before," and also, as a political strategerist, McKinnon suggests that Team Biden shouldn't get too seduced by the swan song of Texas.

Trump wasn't directly on the ballot in 2018, with either the stupidity of his actual presidency or the power of the presidency as an instititution. And one poll has shown Biden with a lead, which Beto never had.

That said, Beto had charisma Biden doesn't, and while he said his own dumb things at times, they were different dumb things that didn't get immediate rebukes.

I don't laugh at Kuff the way Brains and DBC do on his digging in the statistical weeds, but, I'm totally with them in noting that if it's Democratic nominee, Kuff runs them up the flagpole and salutes.

The big issue will be if, trailing by 3-4 points consistently in September and early October, Biden pounds money down a rathole like Hillary did in 2016. His odds appear better on Arizona.

Maybe if Biden, per Katha Pollitt's dreck at the Nation, boiled him some babies in other states, her saying "I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them." .... Meanwhile, Jonathan Turley, sure to raise Dem hackles even more, compares that statement to Trump's "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody." He's half right. But, later in his column, apparently rejecting that Emmet Sullivan actually can interrogate the DOJ prosecutors when they formally appear before him to seek dismissal of charges against Michael Flynn, Turley shows how he can indeed get stuff wrong.

A reminder from a Team Obama economist, Jason Furman, that the deep bust right now could be followed by almost as big a rebound. Biden's staff is already taking note, or notes. On the other, or third hand, many other economists, per Five Thirty Eight, don't expect a full-ish rebound for a full year or more. So, contra Furman, it's more likely to be a "check mark" rather than a "V." How much even that helps Trump and the soft bigotry of low expectations remains to be seen, of course.

The tell? If the unemployment rate is above 10 percent in October, it will take a miracle for Trump to win.

On the third hand, as the NYT notes, demand is still sluggish, and a moderate job bump in May, likely primarily due to short-term hiring for COVID-related needs by grocers and other retailers, along with delivery for restaurants and other things, isn't likely to last. (In other cases, the rehirings were done to meet the terms of the Paycheck Protection Program. That's "semi-temporary," and remember, that program is loans, not grants.)

Update, June 14: Kuff is now backwalking things a bit, with a new post about the Economist's economic modeling of national and state-by-state odds.
As of this writing, Biden has about a 20% chance of carrying Texas, which frankly sounds pretty robust to me.
Not at all what you were indicating three weeks ago.

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