Sunday 1 November 2020

My Prediction –A Biden Win

 When I was an active politician, I used to try to project the sense that we Canadians think for ourselves and are not overly concerned by what is happening in the United States.  The reality is, however, that American culture really dominates this country far more than I would wish.  That has been true all my life but never more so that right now.  We are on pins and needles and have been for four years because of the often vitriolic and always mercurial approach the American president has toward all other democratic countries.  It has forced our prime minister and global affairs ministers to carefully tiptoe around every issue.  (Doug Ford might be the exception to this self-control being exercised by Canadian politicians, having gone over to the United States and publicly endorsed the reelection of Donald Trump).

No doubt, American movies and American television have exaggerated all this but we should not forget that Confederation itself was, at least in part, the result of concern that there might be yet another attempt to take us over.

Despite what I have said about my public stance, I have always found American politics to be fascinating.  This fact is largely the result of their founding fathers trying to write down a very complicated recipe to always avoid what they found to be wrong with British rule, a system of checks and balances.

I remember the day after the American election in 1948 when we found out that Harry Truman had defeated Thomas Dewey despite the Gallup poll prediction to the contrary.  My parents were happy as I recall.  I was only eleven and so all I could really do is reflect my parents' happiness.

Four years later I was fifteen.  That made all the difference in the world.  I followed the conventions of both the Republican and Democratic parties from gavel to gavel on the radio.  That meant listening from nine in the morning until as late at night as my parents would allow me.  Incidentally, the conventions were much more exciting then.  If I am not mistaken, the Democratic convention that year was the last convention of either party which required more than one ballot to choose a candidate.  It took three ballots for Adlai Stevenson to defeat Estes Kefauver.

I can only think of once that I didn't chear for the Democrats.  That was 1996.  I was rooting for the underdog, Republican Bob Dole, because I was generally unhappy with Clinton's first four years.  After twelve years with Republicans in the White House, I was hoping for something a little more revolutionary.  Clinton would have been considered a right of centre politician in Canada. Believe it or not, at that time the two parties seemed to almost be like tweedly dum and tweedly dee.  Personally, the second reason was that I had actually met Bob Dole.  In 1986, he was the Senate majority leader and I was the chairman of the Ontario Free-Trade Committee.  I don't know that our meeting accomplished much, but I found him to be a very charming human being.

None of the elections in my lifetime, however, seemed to be nearly as important as this one.  It is a sad commentary to admit that over 40% of Americans are prepared to accept a form of authoritarianism that history shows us could easily lead to fascism.

But enough of that.  We have had an endless stream of talking heads lamenting the existence of Donald Trump.  It is now Sunday evening, November 1st, forty-eight hours before the results will start coming in and I am going to make some predictions.

I predict that Joe Biden will win, by far, the most votes and further, he will easily have the most electoral college votes, the ones that really count.

To be specific, and looking at the so-called bellwether states, I expect him to win in Michigan, Wisconsin and, maybe, either Florida or North Carolina.  That depends in part on whether or not he travels down the eastern seaboard tomorrow.  It is that close.  I don't expect him to win Ohio or Texas

As for the poor people in Pennsylvania who are the most sought after voters in the country, I just feel sorry for them.  I think most of their mail in votes are marked for Biden.  There will be a great deal of brazen voter intimidation at the polls in Philadelphia, however, and the result on election night will likely seem to be close.  This may result in Trump muddying the waters and trying to claim victory.  (Pennsylvania seems to be a long way away but I am reminded that their Erie Otters used to play our local hockey teams, when hockey teams use to play hockey.)

In reality, however, I think Biden can win even if he loses all of the states I have spoken about above.

This leads me to ponder over some comments I made a few months back when Pete  Buttigieg gave up his campaign to be the candidate.  While I still think he might have been a great leader for the free world, the reality is that the world is not going to be looking to the United States for leadership in the future.  More important, unlike Joe Biden, who, let's face it, is very bland, Buttigieg would have been a very polarizing figure, the sort of opponent Trump would prefer to be able to attack.  Likely by now, the big issue in the United States would have become how one should treat homosexuals.  Fortunately, that didn't happen.

If my predictions are accurate, some people predict that the next few weeks will be frightening.  Once that period is over, I do believe the United States has the capacity to recover.  Americans are great people.  I do not believe that I have met a single American who I don't like.As a people they will recover and I hope they will be stronger because of what they have gone through.

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