Within the past 24 hours the Presidential election has hit about as close to home as it’s going to get, where here by ‘home’ I mean Woodbury MN, the suburb of St. Paul where we have a house and where my wife is registered to vote. (I’m still registered to vote in Chicago, where we own a condo.)
First, as I noted yesterday both Presidential candidates made appearances in locations a comfortable driving distance of the house: Biden at the state fairgrounds parking lot in St. Paul, and Trump at the Rochester MN airport. This happened on the same day that Minnesota set a new daily record for newly reported COVID-19 cases, exceeding 3000 new cases for the first day ever.
Trump originally had intended to have a full rally at a private business site half an hour west of Rochester. However Minnesota does currently have a restriction on public gatherings in excess of 250 people, and in the end Trump’s event complied with that requirement (although hundreds more supporters lined fences in an attempt to get a glimpse of the President). Trump was clearly livid, though, criticizing not only his opponent but also Minnesota Governor Walz and Minnesota Attorney General Ellison, both of whom are Democrats.
I know we’ve gotten inured to the things this President says on a daily basis, and they’ve ceased being shocking. But, since I’m writing for posterity here to commemorate these times, let’s pause and remember that four days before the election, in a public event at a state he’s probably going to lose, the President of the United States said this: “Keith Ellison and Joe Biden want to imprison you in your homes while letting anarchists, agitators and vandals roam free as they try to destroy your cities and states.” And this: “Biden is a grimy, sleazy and corrupt career politician.” And this: “Under the Biden lockdown, which he talks about and cherishes, countless Americans will die from suicide, drug overdoses and deferred medical care at a level like you haven’t seen before. There will be no school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no 4th of July, no Easter, no nothing. There will be no future for America’s youth.”
Second, this morning Tiffany Trump was hosting an official ‘Breakfast with Tiffany’ campaign event in Woodbury, and the event was taking place at our favorite restaurant in Minnesota’s 9th-largest city, Angelina’s Kitchen. Naturally, some of the locals are calling for a boycott of the restaurant. While I am a big believer in the notion of taking a business-owner’s political views into account when determining whether to patronize a business, personally I’m going to give them a pass here. It’s hard to criticize a restaurant owner for looking for any possible source of incremental revenue during these difficult times. And besides, if I stopped patronizing Angelina’s Kitchen, I don’t know where else I’d want to go in this exurb to eat…
COVID-19 continues to be the big story three days out from the election, even if President Trump continues to assert at every opportunity, as he said yesterday in Rochester, that we’re “rounding the turn on the pandemic with or without the vaccine.” This afternoon British Prime Minister Johnson announced new plans for a four-week lockdown throughout England, although schools will remain open. The school district in Woodbury MN announced yesterday that students in grades 6-12 will shift from a hybrid model to distance learning in mid-November, due to worsening case rate numbers in the county; for now my 3rd-grade stepson will continue to be in a hybrid model, but that may need to change at some point. The U.S. death count has remained fairly steady over September and October, with the 7-day average remaining in the range of 700-800 deaths per day, but in recent days that average has again drifted up above the 800 mark. The U.S. case count has reached levels not previously seen, with a new daily case count record set two days ago and then broken yesterday.
Nothing earth-shattering in the past 24 hours in terms of political polls. There is an interesting new article from FiveThirtyEight that tries to put some order around the critical question of, when can we expect each state’s vote count to be reasonably complete? They’ve put the states into three buckets based on how much of that state’s vote we should expect will be counted/reported on election night itself: “nearly all”, “most but not some”, or “only some”. Some highlights of their classification:
- Nearly all includes Florida. Nebraska is also here, which should give us early clarity on Omaha’s single electoral vote. New Hampshire is the only other state in this category where the Presidential race is in modest doubt. However Montana, of interest for its Senate race, is here.
- Most but not all includes all the Midwestern states of interest (IA, MI, MN, OH, WI), the non-Florida Southern states of interest (GA, NC, TX), and also Arizona and Colorado.
- Only some includes all-important Pennsylvania, as well as Nevada.