Lies, damned lies, and the Trump family “We have won Pennsylvania!” tweeted Eric Trump. Below, interjecting like a narrator, Twitter adds: “Official sources may not have called that state when this was tweeted.”
Whether his presidency is about to end or not, one of Donald Trump’s undeniable legacies will be to have lied so often, so brazenly and so demonstrably that some of the biggest communication platforms in the world had to re-write their rules, several times, to accommodate them.
As Joe Biden gave an address saying the election would not be decided last night, Trump tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Poles [sic] are closed!”.
Put a fork in them, the election is almost done.
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Twitter had already flagged this baseless allegation as “misleading” by the time Trump took to the podium himself at 2am local time to lie that the election had been “a major fraud”, and to lie that, “frankly we did win this election”.
Lest you think this is harmless, consider the “large, animated crush” of protestors trying to push their way into the hall in Detroit where ballots are being counted, thumping on the windows and chanting “stop the count”. The groups are still small at this stage.
This morning, Trump tweeted, with the terminology usually employed by your uncle when he tries to stop Facebook stealing his photos, claimed victory in Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
In defence of experts The US election, once again, looks to be a calamitous one for pollsters.
However, one thing was lost in the wailing and gnashing of teeth: a lot of experts DID see this coming.
Consider the “red mirage”. This is the event, expressed by Michael Bloomberg’s data group Hawkfish and Senator Bernie Sanders that Trump would be well ahead in various battleground states on election night, on account of the delay in counting mail-in votes (which tend to lean Democrat) and use that “mirage” to continue to attack the legitimacy of the election process.
And, word for word, that is what has happened.
What say you, Senate? One area where the experts can’t be let off, however, is the Senate race.
Democrats had high hopes of retaking the Senate, but Republicans are looking better than expected in most close races.
The Democrats lost the seat they were expected to lose in Alabama, and flipped the seat they were expected to flip in Colorado. This left them needing to at least three seats to take majority, provided Joe Biden wins.
Apart from Colorado, Democratic candidates polled well in Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina. Iowa, Georgia, and Montana also looked like they could be in play. Indeed, forecaster FiveThirtyEight gave Democrats a three-in-four chance of flipping the Senate.
And yet. Republican Susan Collins has claimed victory in Maine, Iowa is gone and the Republicans are leading in North Carolina.
At time of writing, there is still a path to a Democratic Senate, but it is tight. Meaning we could well end up with the kind of deadlock that was so much fun during the Obama years.