## November 3, 2020

### Axios seems to invent the concept of "the mathematical president-elect" as it treats Biden's plan to declare early victory as wise when just yesterday it treated the same plan from Trump as devilish and deceitful.

"If news organizations declare Joe Biden the mathematical president-elect, he plans to address the nation as its new leader, even if President Trump continues to fight in court," Axios reports in "Scoop: Biden's plan to assert control."
Biden advisers learned the lesson of 2000, when Al Gore hung back while George W. Bush declared victory in that contested election, putting the Democrat on the defensive while Bush acted like the winner. So if Biden is declared the winner, he'll begin forming his government and looking presidential — and won't yield to doubts Trump might try to sow.
I'm very interested in the tone of this report because yesterday I blogged an Axios report about Trump's supposed plan to do the same thing. Here's my post. Here's the Axios piece: "Scoop: Trump's plan to declare premature victory" (Axios).

Axios treated Trump as though he'd be doing something wrong to declare victory early. This strategic move was portrayed as premised on "false" and "baseless" claims. But when Biden has the same strategic plan, it's presented as wise and a defense against "doubts Trump might try to sow."

Now, I assume Axios would defend itself by saying the 2 plans are different. Trump's purported plan is to say the election night count should predominate and we should be suspicious of whatever gets counted later. It's expected that more Trump supporters will vote in person on Election Day and more Biden supporters mailed in their votes. Biden's plan is based on something that "news organizations declare" — that Biden is "the mathematical president-elect."

I think we can expect news organizations to declare things that help Biden, and what exactly is this math?! Is it something like the number of uncounted ballots and an assumption about the proportion of these ballots that should go for Biden? Let's say Biden is behind by 1,000 votes in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania makes the difference in who wins the electoral college and there are 50,000 uncounted mail-in votes from Philadelphia. Joe Biden is the "mathematical president-elect," right? Is that the idea?

I'm just guessing. Axios uses the term "mathematical president-elect," but doesn't define it. I'm googling this term, and everything just gets me back to this Axios usage. I'm so skeptical. Trump will only be making "baseless" claims, but Biden will be relying on the experts and math.

AND: Here's a good source of percentages for your expert, news-organizational mathematics: ALSO: The "mathematicians" are there to protect you in case you were counting on there being no math...

mikee said...

Biden cannot tell you what 8 times 7 equals. He is the mathematical president-elect, defined as the one who will have more votes counted for him, real and fraudulent, than the total votes cast for his opponent. This only works when the final vote numbers for the opponent are known, as in the case of Senator Al Franken. It failed, for example, with Scott Walker. It will fail with Trump for the same reason: mail in votes will include Trump votes. Trump's total will not be known until Biden's total is known.

The mathematical president elect is not an office recognized by the US Constitution. Hillary, for example, won the popular vote. HAHAHAHAHAHA

tim in vermont said...

This goes right along with Scott Adams point that if they can bury the Biden-Chinese Communist corruption as a story the press can pretend that Biden won, and who is going to stop them?

Leland said...

I suspect Axios sees themselves as cruelly neutral.

rehajm said...

I think we can expect news organizations to declare things that help Biden, and what exactly is this math?!

It's based on Nate Silver's models, legacy network/university polls from September and what the director of elections in PA says. Voting doesn't get a say...

rehajm said...

Biden's lead in FL is dropping like a hot rock. Prolly not gonna matter, except for the networks holding off on calling states for Trump with 99.9999% of precincts reporting.

rehajm said...

Former Network News Ordained President-Elect Al Gore would like a word...

Temujin said...

"Trump's purported plan is to say the election night count should predominate and we should be suspicious of whatever gets counted later."

Well, yes.
Next point?

Why, as a nation, can we not get votes in by election day? Why are some states able to start counting early votes early, and other states are on hold until election day? Why are some states requiring all votes in by today and other states are allowing votes to come in by mail with or without a valid postmark- after election day? Why are voter ID requests a form a voter suppression? Why is ballot harvesting not a form of voter suppression?

All these and more need to be addressed and fixed. But tonight, it'll be over by 11pm.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Whatever! I’ve already declared Trump the winner based on established metrics, signs and portents. Four more years!

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

And we have an extra 400 rounds for the long gun just in case.

Temujin said...

Oh no! Not the exit polling. Not again?!! Noooooooo.....!!!

tim maguire said...

I never really get past how shameless some people and organizations are with the different standards they employ depending on whether the behavior is from someone they like or someone they don't. Sometimes the comments rescue my faith, but usually not. Axios does not allow comments. No weak spots in their bubble.

Maillard Reactionary said...

It's a shame that Paul Dirac is not available to consult with them on this. Or Paul ErdÅ‘s.

I'm sure the outcome would be interesting.

RoseAnne said...

Didn't Al Gore actually concede to Bush and then withdrew his concession later in the evening?

Iman said...

Fuck Axios. I mean that most sincerely.

rehajm said...

I think it's still the belief Biden has the edge in early voting, then the networks call it early for Biden- long before today's in person votes are counted.

So Biden becomes network news appointed President elect around 8:04EST...

narciso said...

if they didn't have double standards, they would have none,

tim in vermont said...

Math is solid as long as you get the assumptions right.

rehajm said...

Do yourselves a huge favor and ignore exit polls today....

Birkel said...

If we didn't already know which voters have voted before today, your excuse making might make sense, Althouse.

But Trump has literally outperformed everywhere in early voting as compared to 2016.
And Biden has underperformed.

Try disputing that with numbers.

tcrosse said...

Make that the mathematical president pro tem elect.

Unknown said...

It would be Hilarious to watch Biden try to do Math live on TV

mockturtle said...

What can an exit poll tell about early voting???

Unknown said...

We should all watch Woody Allen Bananas instead of this election

Iman said...

Blogger RoseAnne said...
Didn't Al Gore actually concede to Bush and then withdrew his concession later in the evening?

Yes, that happened.

DavidUW said...

Axios just making shit up.

Even with easily verified numbers, they just make shit up.

Sebastian said...

"when Biden has the same strategic plan, it's presented as wise and a defense against "doubts Trump might try to sow.""

So, if Biden does get elected, what will the MSM do? They have a Narrative to promote, of course, but it would get trickier: they wouldn't have Trump to kick around, Biden will too obviously screw up, and they will have to decide how far left they can push him--aside from the practicalities of getting dim-witted Joe and cackling Kamala to answer any questions coherently.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Their math is based upon Social Justice. That is, 2+2 is the Schrodinger Expression, its value can be anywhere between 3 and 5. The exact value will only be known when Comrade Joe's vote total deficit is known. Then Axios will let us know that the Schrodinger Expression will be sized to give Comrade Joe the win.

Darrell said...

Here comes the fake exit polling. Remember the NYT had Hillary as having a 98% chance of winning at 9PM Chicago time in 2016.

"he'll begin forming his government and looking presidential"

One small difference between this and Bush/Gore, Trump is already the president so it'll be tough for Joe to start looking presidential.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Biden advisers learned the lesson of 2000, when Al Gore hung back while George W. Bush declared victory in that contested election, putting the Democrat on the defensive while Bush acted like the winner.

The fundamental failure of people on the Left is that they see no difference between "words" and "reality".

No, I take that back, their fundamental problem is that for the "reality" is defined by "what words we use"

Bush was ahead election night, and he was ahead after every single recount. This reality enabled Bush to act like the winner, because it was clear that he WAS the winner, and that Gore was trying to steal it.

If Biden tries to declare himself the winner of the election while the vote counts have Trump winning, he will look like a corrupt scum bag attempting to steal the election. There is NOTHING that he, his team, and the press could do that would more destroy them with the voters, than to claim victory while behind.

So I encourage them to try this, while their thugs are out there rioting. It shoudl provide a very clarifying moment for America

TwoAndAHalfCents said...

They’re just ‘following the math.’

Big Mike said...

ALSO: The "mathematicians" are there to protect you in case you were counting on there being no math...

We'll try. Some of you have a brain density approaching spent uranium. And, no, I don't mean working neurons tightly packed in.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

1: Gee, and here I thought it was a violation of Democracy to release the exit polls early?

2: Biden is toast
Yes, it is absolutely true taht more women voted than men. And that is good for Biden.

But the rest of that is an utter disaster for Biden:
Age range: They had to do 18 - 34 (not 24, 34) to get the low end vote over 10%
So the Youth vote didn't turn out

Ethnicity: White 74%. Black 11%, Hispanic 8%
I was watching the NC and GA early vote numbers. In both cases whites were overperfomlng by ~3% and blacks were underperforming. I don't know what the national numbers are, but I'm pretty sure this breakdown is a disaster, esp since is going to be the high water mark for the "non-white" vote

Party: Dem 50, GOP 29
Gallup poll said that 62% of Biden supporters, and only 28% of Trump supporters, are going to be voting before the election.
So, if the two were going to get the same number of votes: 28 / (62+28) = 28/90 = 31%
IOW, if the Gallup result is true (and IIRC pretty much every poll that asked had similar results) and the candidates were going to tie in the national vote (not Biden up 10, tie), only 31% of the people early voting would be Trump supporters

Unless "no party registration" voters are breaking 19 - 2 for Biden, or GOP early voters are defecting from Trump 3x as often as Dems are defeating from Biden, that is NOT the breakdown Biden needed.

And now, the dagger through the heart of the Biden campaign:
No college degree: 60%

The 18 - 24 category is well under 10%. So what this means is that the majority of early voters do not have a college degree, and are not currently trying to get one

IOW: The White Working Class came out in DROVES to vote.

Anyone want to claim they came out for Biden?

Kevin said...

If Trump looks like he's winning, Pelosi is going to impeach the election.

If that fails, she can invoke the 1,000,000th Amendment and pack the White House.

Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters, AOC, and Robert Mueller will all serve as President alongside Trump.

The MSNBC crowd will call it "Restoring Democracy".

Michael K said...

A CERTIFIED CITY-WIDE POLL WATCHER IN THE CRITICAL SWING STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA WAS DENIED ACCESS TO A POLLING STATION.
The video reveals the individual, who’s seen with a Watcher’s Certificate from Philadelphia’s County Board of Elections, inquiring with two individuals blocking the entrance to a polling station “You’re not letting me in?”

In a heated response, the man returns “No. Call the police. Do it.” before continuing to refuse to allow the poll watcher in despite his insistence “I have a city-wide watcher certificate.”

Starting early.

Gk1 said...

Boy, that blue tsunami BIDEN LANDSLIDE sure went out the window fast didn't it? Now it's going to be a nail biter requiring lawyers and legal maneuvering to eek out a win. These narratives turn so fast it will make your head spin.

Gusty Winds said...

If this scenario were to play out tonight, I’m sure it would be perfectly fine with the highly educated employees at the University of Wisconsin. So far on Twitter this morning it looks like PA is pulling out all the cheating they can muster. Electioneering signs at polling places telling people to vote Biden, voting machines down in Trump areas, and refusal to allow poll watchers in on the count. We’ll see if the Upper Midwest can save us all from Philadelphia Democrat corruption.

Gusty Winds said...

How do you post something like this and still remain cruelly neutral?

Birkel said...

All of the Republicans who expect to lose because of voter fraud are ready to become Green Grocers.
You have bought into the lies without questioning the suppositions.

Democraticals are not all-powerful super villains.
They are corrupt liars and cheaters and they are resisted by all right-thinking people.

I will not let the would-be prison guards who post here have any psychological advantage over me.
Good luck forging your utopia when a significant Resistance moves against you.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Here's your fun trick for today:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-biden-election-map/

Go to that election map, and put FL, GA, NC, and OH in for Trump

The "538 Election Map" will now tell you Trump has a >50% chance of winning

From the early voting numbers, all 4 of those states should be in Trump's column. Because the Democrats, in a "Biden supporters are all going to vote early" year, got a smaller % of the "voters out" than they did in 2016.

You just can't do Democrat "get out the vote" by Ads, or by phone. It takes people face to face. And Biden didn't do that.

I'm Not Sure said...

"Why, as a nation, can we not get votes in by election day? Why are some states able to start counting early votes early, and other states are on hold until election day? Why are some states requiring all votes in by today and other states are allowing votes to come in by mail with or without a valid postmark- after election day?"

There's no reason anyone should ever know how many votes Candidate A needs in order to beat Candidate B unless they're planning to cheat.

A plan to avoid that...

1. Voter ID is required. No exceptions.
2. All votes not received by the end of election day are invalid.
3. Counting doesn't start until after the final valid votes have been received.
4. Once all counts are completed, the results are released.
5. Any votes "found" after results have been released are invalid.
6. Releasing partial counts or mishandling votes such that they are not included in the count will result in serious "federal pound me in the ass" prison time.
7. Rewards available for identifying intentional fraud in vote handling and counting.

That's a rough draft. Additions and refinements will be necessary, but it's a start.

Chris N said...

Hey, I've got my beliefs, principles and moral sentiments derived from my political philosophy/ideology. I gather in a group, get some rich people mostly, and have them give us money to write stuff and gain cultural and political power.

Do you hate freedom, bigot?

Lurker21 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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Lurker21 said...

If that's like Newton being the "Mathematical King" of England, or Einstein, Hilbert or Frege being the "Mathematical Kaiser," then no problem. Just so long as Joe, Jill and Kamala don't have any real power.

The question about this is: how different is it from predicting the results based on exit polls. Exit polls don't work when so many people have already voted by mail, so it seems like this year's plan is a fall-back, which at least allows that some actual votes be counted before declaring a winner.

About Trump's purported plan: you have to read between the lines. Trump is going to make some encouraging statement tonight, and whatever he says will be interpreted by the major media as Trump prematurely declaring victory. The articles now are preparing the public for what the media will inevitably say tonight.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

They have also falsified what happened in 2000. Bush made the declaration in a "controversial" election because he had, in fact, been declared the winner of enough EV's to win. That this was subject to recount didn't change that. Gore's people were just as aggressive.

There was a sense that the old order had finally been overthrown and after Clinton, the Democrats' rightful place was in the White House. The impression of being robbed had more to do with that than the ballot counts.

Birches said...

Crooks. Does the media realize how little power they have?

Birches said...

Biden actually has to appear in charge and coherent for this plan to work. He'd have to leave the basement. Color me skeptical.

Will said...

"....what exactly is this math?"

It's the math that let Obama/Biden invent a new category called "Jobs created or saved.:

Votes created or saved will put Joe over the top..

Seriously, if the media thinks it has the credibility at this late stage to try a power play like this they are insane. Trump's vote total will be known exactly when Biden's are known. You think Trump didn't analyze the rules of this game?

Skeptical Voter said...

That was then, this is now. Liberal standard explanation for flip flopping positions day to day.

Or as Ron Ziegler might have said, and in fact did say, "That statement is no longer operative."

I'm still wondering about all of the liberal predictions (and maybe wet dreams) that Trump will have to hauled out of the Oval Office by troops so doddering old Joe can take his seat behind the desk.

Maillard Reactionary said...

Big Mike @9:24 AM: More neutrons than neurons, I'd bet.

CStanley said...

In the end, the Mathematical President-elect would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.

stlcdr said...

2+2=?

It depends: which one is Biden?

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Hi Althouse

I'm pretty sure "hadayat online" is spam

DavidUW said...

Just for fun look at majority minority districts, take a random sample across different states.

There is only one I've found that is outperforming the state average for ballots returned--Ilhan's district in MN.

that's it.

Kevin said...

No college degree: 60%

Or as they were referred to on MediaMatters by one of the Democrats, "the not educated".

Static Ping said...

I think we learned about two decades ago that exit polls are pointless. Standard polling is having trouble keeping up with reality and exit polls are the poor man's standard polling. Or perhaps the poor man's poor man's standard polling. Seriously, it poor men all the way down.

AlbertAnonymous said...

I voted this morning in person (California).

Required to wear a mask or I couldn’t enter the polling place.

NOT required to show ID.

I showed it anyway, of course. But then again, the little old lady poll worker couldn’t read my ID anyway.

Yancey Ward said...

That is a bad misstatement about 2000. Florida got called for Bush that night, and for good reason- he was actually ahead when the last precincts counted. In fact, Bush was ahead after every recount for the next 4 weeks. The issue was only decided by SCOTUS when it became clear that Gore's people were no longer asking for recounts but, instead, for assigning votes from ballots where the voter voted for both candidates accidentally- the overvotes. Such ballots are disqualified- you can't mind read mystery people.

Look, I think it was always clear that Gore was the mathematical winner of Florida in 2000- I don't doubt for a second that more people went to the polls in Florida with the intention of voting for Gore, but Gore's voters were just slightly more stupid than Bush voters, and failed basic, fundamental mechanisms for voting. Tough.....fucking......shit.

I, for one, don't expect to go to bed in doubt about who won this election- I think it will be obvious by no later than 12 a.m. tonight who has won (it was obvious in 2016 at that time, too). You will have enough information available to determine this- the only real question is will ones natural bias allow them to accept that information. I, for one, can do that regardless of the outcome, and I will state it here in the comments as soon as I am intellectually convinced of it.

Yancey Ward said...

And there is no way to exit poll early votes- in normal exit polling, you question people who have just voted, and you know they voted because they came out of the polling station. Exit polling people who vote by mail is just stupid- you can't tell non-voters from actual voters. The very best you can do with trying to determine who has the edge is to look at party registration of the people who have returned their ballots or did in-person early voting (like I did). All of that data suggests that more Republicans voted early than almost every survey predicted- we probably have well over 2/3s of the final vote in before 12 o'clock last night. A pretty good majority of the people who vote today will be Republican voters. We will have solid counts by around 11 p.m. in most of the states east of the Mississippi River, and enough information to make a really good guess at the winner.

Jupiter said...

'Biden's plan is based on something that "news organizations declare" — that Biden is "the mathematical president-elect."'

How many troops do the news organizations have?

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Change voting time so it's just 24-hours. Start at 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday and end voting at 8:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday. Counting begins at 8:01 p.m. EST on Tuesday. Absentee ballots for those who can't make it to the polls.

RMc said...

Axios seems to invent the concept of "the mathematical president-elect" as it treats Biden's plan to declare early victory as wise when just yesterday it treated the same plan from Trump as devilish and deceitful.

And this surprises you...why...?

Jupiter said...

"I think we learned about two decades ago that exit polls are pointless."

Indeed. But consider, when you read, in some prestigious publication, the confident assertion that "85% of college-educated suburban dog-groomers voted for ...", what do you suppose that is based on? There is no way to be sure how anyone voted but oneself.

Jupiter said...

What would you say are the chances, that the "news organizations" will turn the crank on their mathematical machine, and say "Huh. Looks like Trump is the Mathematical President!". Say, 60/40?

gilbar said...

as it treats Biden's plan to declare early victory as wise when just yesterday it treated the same plan from Trump as devilish and deceitful.

oh! oh!! oh!!! yet ANOTHER Opportunity for me to say....
In the Immortal Words, of SE Hinton: That Was THEN, This Is NOW

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

There's a false story about how Trump rally-goers blocked a ballot drop box in Eugene, OR. Supposedly they had guns and were blocking access to the drop box. But there are no pictures/videos and this was not reported to 911. Filing a false 911 report could result in prosecution for filing a false police report.

A caller to the Lars Larson show said that two young women drove around in the parking lot giving everyone the two-finger salute while yelling at them. The drop box was not blocked.

Kirk Parker said...

Mike of Snow,

Make that "Absentee ballots for those who can demonstrate a compelling, valid reason they can't make it to the polls" and I'll sign on to your plan.

And a four-year ban on voting If you are found to have falsified anything in your absentee request, on the first offense; and a lifetime ban for a second conviction.

Gospace said...

As far as the Florida vote for Bush vs Gore- remember, the mainstream media actively suppressed voting in the heavily Republican Florida panhandle. They announced the polls were CLOSED- and called the state for Gore almost immediately- when the polls were open for another hour in the panhandle. And when informed- NONE OF THEM CHANGED THEIR ANNOUNCEMENT. Turnout in the panhandle was less then in previous years- because for the last hour of voting, the poling stations were devoid of voters who had been reliably informed by the trusted media that the polls were closed.

tim in vermont said...

Biden campaign is already in full spin mode that they are not out of it yet, it’s only a flesh wound! I remember when the Dukakis campaign was coming up with farther and farther fetched scenarios that it wasn’t over, right up until 5 or 6 PM, IIRC.

Francisco D said...

Gospace said...As far as the Florida vote for Bush vs Gore- remember, the mainstream media actively suppressed voting in the heavily Republican Florida panhandle. They announced the polls were CLOSED- and called the state for Gore almost immediately- when the polls were open for another hour in the panhandle. And when informed- NONE OF THEM CHANGED THEIR ANNOUNCEMENT

As I recall, they announced Gore was the winner an hour before the polls closed, implying that there was no reason to vote.

I expect plenty of premature "Biden Wins! announcements from the DNC media this time.

My name goes here. said...

Wouldn't it be funny if the Trump Campaign talked up Pennsylvania so much that it caused the democrats in PA to do everything they could to counter Trump that it effectively removes the media from being able to call PA for Biden. I read that some (7?) counties are not even going to start counting votes until tomorrow. With that nobody could call PA. Because if the media could call PA at 804PM ET for Biden, they would. And discourage voters west of the Mississippi.

mikee said...

Trump is going directly to the Supreme Court to prevent the "finding" of additional votes after the legally described due dates for receipt by the election offices. This is being described on MSNBC and CNN as Trump wanting to stop the counts of mail in ballots.

The Big Lie is alive and well in newsrooms of America.