100 days out

Setting your expectations for the 2020 election.

Setting your expectations for the 2020 election.

During my time in quarantine I spent a few mindless hours going back and watching some old SNL skits.  I stumbled across an old episode from November of 1991, and a skit called “Campaign ‘92: The Race to Avoid Being the Guy Who Loses to Bush.”  The moderator began with “Welcome to this, the first of a series of debates among the five leading Democrats who are trying to avoid being forced by their party into a hopeless race against George Bush.”  The skit went on to have the Democrats trying to outdo one another for why they were least qualified to go up against Bush in the 92 elections.

George H.W. Bush had an incredibly high approval rating of 89% after the Gulf War, and at the time of the skit it was in the mid 50s.  On top of that the last three elections were basically Republican landslides, with Reagan winning 44 states in 1980, 49 in 1984, and HW Bush winning 40 states in 1988.  It was no wonder that SNL thought the race was hopeless for the Democrats.  But more striking than that to me was the fact that the skit spoofed people like Mario Cuomo, Lloyd Benson, and Al Gore but not future President Clinton.  Just 1 year out from the election and not only did they think Bush winning re-election was in the bag, but they didn’t even have Clinton on their radar.

So when you think about the general election do not think anything is set in stone.  You might be utterly convinced that President Trump will win a second term, you might be utterly convinced of the opposite (and the polls seem to indicate the opposite), but so much can happen in the next few months that such predictions aren’t worth that much.  Conventional wisdom right now seems to point to Trump losing in November, he is down with key groups by double digits and Biden appears to be winning in every swing state, but this is by no means a done deal.  So check your expectations at the door.