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US Presidential Election 2016

Your non-partisan source for the 2016 US Presidential Election. Just the facts. Who's really ahead?
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General Election Polling Discussion Thread (June 2020)

Introduction

Welcome to the /politics polling discussion thread for the general election. As the election nears, polling of both the national presidential popular vote and important swing states is ramping up, and with both parties effectively deciding on nominees, pollsters can get in the field to start assessing the state of the presidential race.
Please use this thread to discuss polling and the general state of the presidential or congressional election. Below, you'll find some of the most recent polls, but this is by no means exhaustive, as well as some links to prognosticators sharing election models.
As always though, polls don't vote, people do. Regardless of whether your candidate is doing well or poorly, democracy only works when people vote, and there are always at least a couple polling misses every cycle, some of which are pretty high profile. If you haven't yet done so, please take some time to register to vote or check your registration status.

Polls

Below is a collection of recent polling of the US Presidential election. This is likely incomplete and also omits the generic congressional ballot as well as Senate/House/Gubernatorial numbers that may accompany these polls. Please use the discussion space below to discuss any additional polls not covered. Additionally, not all polls are created equal. If this is your first time looking at polls, the FiveThirtyEight pollster ratings page is a helpful tool to assess historic partisan lean in certain pollsters, as well as their past performance.
Pollster Date Released Race Trump Biden
Yougov 6/26 National 39 47
Marist/NPPBS 6/26 National 44 52
HarrisX 6/26 National 39 43
KFF 6/26 National 38 51
Climate Nexus 6/26 National 41 48
Fox News 6/25 Texas 44 45
Fox News 6/25 N. Carolina 45 47
Fox News 6/25 Georgia 45 47
Fox News 6/25 Florida 40 49
CNBC/Hart/POS 6/25 National 38 47
Hodas (R) 6/25 Michigan 38 56
Hodas (R) 6/25 Wisconsin 39 55
Hodas (R) 6/25 Pennsylvania 42 54
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Wisconsin 36 45
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 N. Carolina 40 46
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Arizona 39 43
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Michigan 36 47
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Pennsylvania 39 49
Redfield & Wilton 6/25 Florida 41 45
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 N. Carolina 40 49
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Florida 41 47
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Michigan 36 47
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Pennsylvania 40 50
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/25 Arizona 41 48
Data for Progress 6/24 National 44 50
PPP (D) 6/24 N. Carolina 46 48
Ipsos 6/24 National 37 47
Quinnipiac U. 6/24 Ohio 45 46
Siena/NYT Upshot 6/24 National 36 50
Morning Consult 6/24 National 39 47
Marquette LS 6/24 Wisconsin 42 51
PPP (D) 6/23 National 43 52
PPP (D) 6/23 Texas 48 46
Trafalgar (R) 6/22 Michigan 45 46
Echelon 6/22 National 42 50
Gravis 6/20 Minnesota 42 58
SurveyMonkey 6/20 National 43 53
Gravis/OANN 6/20 N. Carolina 46 43
Saint Anselm College 6/18 New Hampshire 42 49
Fox News 6/18 National 38 50
0ptimus 6/18 National 44 50
Civiqs (D) 6/18 Kentucky 57 37
Quinnipiac U. 6/18 National 41 49
UCLA/Democracy Fund 6/18 National 39 50
Change Research 6/17 Arizona 44 45
Change Research 6/17 N. Carolina 45 47
Change Research 6/17 Michigan 45 47
Change Research 6/17 Wisconsin 44 48
Change Research 6/17 Pennsylvania 46 49
Change Research 6/17 Florida 43 50
Change Research 6/17 National 41 51
Civiqs (D) 6/16 Arizona 45 49
PPP (D) 6/16 Georgia 46 48
PPP (D) 6/16 New Mexico 39 53
TIPP/Am. Greatness (R) 6/16 Michigan 38 51
TIPP/Am. Greatness (R) 6/16 Florida 40 51
NORC/AEI 6/16 National 32 40
EPIC-MRA 6/16 Michigan 39 55
Scott Rasmussen 6/15 National 36 48
Abacus Data 6/15 National 41 51
SelzeDMR 6/15 Iowa 44 43
Hendrix College 6/14 Arkansas 47 45
Remington Research (R) 6/13 Missouri 51 43
Meeting Street Insights 6/12 National 38 49

Election Predictions

Prognosticators

Prognosticators are folks who make projected electoral maps, often on the strength of educated guesses as well as inside information in some cases from campaigns sharing internals with the teams involved. Below are a few of these prognosticators and their assessment of the state of the race:

Polling Models

Polling models are similar to prognosticators (and often the model authors will act like pundits as well), but tend to be about making "educated guesses" on the state of the election. Generally, the models are structured to take in data such as polls and electoral fundamentals, and make a guess based on research on prior elections as to the state of the race in each state. Below are a few of the more prominent models that are online or expected to be online soon:

Prediction Markets

Prediction markets are betting markets where people put money on the line to estimate the likelihood of one party winning a seat or state. Most of these markets will also tend to move depending on polling and other socioeconomic factors in the same way that prognosticators and models will work. Predictit and Election Betting Odds are prominent in this space, although RealClearPolitics has an aggregate of other betting sites as well.
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Meet The Freak 10

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Discord
Valentine
The pain in my shoulder kept rousing me from sleep, and damn did I ever need the rest. I'd get an hour or so of sleep, and then something would happen to tweak my shoulder. I'd roll over, or move reflexively to brush away an itch, and I'd be brought reluctantly to wakefulness.
It's not that I was uncomfortable. In fact, this 'hotel' as Wallace called it, might be one of the most luxurious buildings I'd ever set foot in. The furniture down in the restaurant, for example. The quality there, in just one of the pieces, was astounding. It was difficult to get fabric to take dye consistently, to achieve a uniform colour. As such, it was often the upholstery that was of particular prestige, making quality pieces often the centre of a noble's living room. Not only was every piece of furniture in that restaurant of such quality, everything matched. It was as if some sort of perfect automaton had fabricated each piece. And that was to say nothing of the carpentry and metalwork involved, which were similarly astounding.
Then there were the sheets I'd wrapped myself in. It wasn't quite the same as silk, silk had a more sultry quality, and this felt somehow more wholesome. It was more like a warm hug than a- well, than any of the sorts of things I usually got up to when tangled in silk sheets. And with Wallace sleeping nearby, his long steady breaths providing a comforting rhythm, and his scent lingering on the air, I found that I felt safer than I had in a very long while. Not safe, there was a reason I still kept a pistol nearby, there remained a long way to go for true safety, but I was safer.
I only wished I could enjoy it, to bask in the warmth from the pile of blankets, and luxuriate in the feeling that I didn't have an immediate looming threat breathing down my neck. The problem was, my gods damned shoulder would not stop hurting. I tried to find a position that wouldn't aggravate my injury, but despite my best efforts, still couldn't stay asleep for more than an hour at a time.
Finally, angry, bored, and still very tired, I kicked off the blankets in a fit of pique. Of course, that only hurt my shoulder more, and I grit my teeth to keep from waking Wallace with a pained gasp.
I frowned, the steady rhythm was gone.
I snatched a sheet and held it to my chest. With some difficulty, I sat up and peered over the edge of the bed. Wallace had left. Which meant he'd woken up. Which meant he'd noticed me sleeping on the floor next to him.
I sighed. I had been hoping to be gone before he woke, though I wasn't sure what I was trying to hide. That I trusted him? He probably figured that out about when I was huddled naked in the bath.
I wish he'd woken me, we could share breakfast, and I'd follow his explorations, but damn I was tired.
I slithered into the bed, still warm from his presence. I curled up in the middle of the bed where the warmth was the greatest and settled in among the blankets and piled pillows. By some magic, the mattress shaped itself to fit my body, and I quickly found a position that didn't set my shoulder aflame. The heat made me drowsy, and in renewed comfort, saw little reason to fight it.
I had little idea of the time that had passed when I finally woke once more. I only knew that the hollow and tired feeling had abated, and the sun still had not yet risen.
I considered laying there for a while longer. Perhaps I'd doze off again, but thought better of it. I was curious about what Wallace had been doing, had he returned to the room, only to leave me to sleep in peace? Perhaps, but it was a large building. Likely he wasn't finished exploring.
I pushed myself up, found my torch and pistol, and wrapped myself in one of the sheets. So covered, I slipped back across to my room and dressed in the sleeveless shirt and legless trousers I'd worn to dinner. I'd worn the ensemble to dinner out of exhaustion, after all, getting into the flight suit was a bit of a bother at the best of times, and I didn't feel like attempting it with one arm. I'd expected Wallace to make some remark, maybe blush a little. I'd even had a biting retort ready for the occasion, but he didn't protest my lascivious dinner wear. It seemed not to register to him.
I found I quite liked Wallace, which was quite the novel experience. I'd always seen company as something to be avoided unless I'd paid for their time. How strange it was then, that I hoped Wallace would stay once I'd finished teaching him what magic I knew.
With him possibly anywhere in the massive building, I intended to track him by scent. Sleeping several hours in his bed had made that tricky, however, and I had difficulty separating the scents present in the environment from those clinging to me. I could get an idea of where he'd been, but was unable to tell how long ago it was. As it seemed he'd spend the hours I was asleep searching the entire building, I found myself doing the same. I struggled to find a single room that did not have at least a trace of his scent within.
It made me regret leaving my necklace behind, but it wouldn't be safe with my shoulder still healing. That said, I'd only checked the first floor, and I could already feel myself growing faint as I gazed at the door to the stairs.
I am going to make that man carry me back down here.
Just pushing open the heavy metal door- the humans take security seriously it seems -made me feel dizzy. I put my hands on my knees and took a few deep breaths to steady myself before continuing.
I woke to the taste of blood in my mouth, a brutal headache, and the reek of fear. I shifted a little and blinked my eyes open, and I heard a sigh of relief.
"Oh thank god, please, just don't move."
I came to realize that Wallace was holding me in his arms, a little too tightly, as he was making it difficult to move my head.
"Wallace," I grumbled drowsily, "Let me go."
"Valentine, just- please, for fuck's sake."
I met his gaze, and my anger softened as I saw the concern in his eyes. He looked like he'd just seen me die.
"Okay, okay," I soothed.
Wallace calmed a little as the sickly scent of fear was gradually replaced by the musky scent of my pheromones. With so much skin uncovered, the effects should have taken hold much more quickly than they did, but at the very least it didn't appear as if his heart were about to stop.
Wallace took a deep breath, "In first aid- for humans -the number one thing, the most important thing unless someone is gushing blood, are head and neck injuries. "
I placed my palm gently against his chest, "It's okay," I finally understood what had him so shaken, "Fey are different, we're not so vulnerable to getting bumped on the head."
"You're-" he began, but I put a finger to his lips before he could interrupt.
"I know a thing or two about treating injuries, Wallace," I insisted, "I learned all sorts of things about head injuries, but us fey are not like anyone else. If we were, every noble house would have a pile of dead servants who fainted trying to carry the lady's tea up the stairs."
Wallace gently took my hand away from his lips. He held gently onto my hand, our hands clasped loosely across my chest.
"I thought you were dead," he said flatly, "I pushed open the door, and here you were on the landing, limp as a corpse and white as a sheet."
"This isn't the first time I've fainted trying to climb the stairs," I sighed, "I just need a little air."
I gave a little yelp as Wallace gathered me up and rose to his feet, and quickly threw an arm around his neck to steady myself. I squirmed around until I was in a more or less sitting position. The motion made my head throb, and I rested my head against Wallace's chest while I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain.
I'd made it almost to the roof, following Wallace's scent, but that was damning with faint praise. It had been easy to figure out where he'd gone off to once I was in the stairwell, as his scent was present throughout, but the climb had been brutal. To any other fey, my ascent through the building would seem supernal. But to the humans who'd constructed the building, doubtless to Wallace as well, I must have seemed pitiful.
Wallace elbowed the bar across the door, which shifted slightly, and he ducked out onto the roof. I shivered as the cold air brushed across my exposed skin, and tried to press closer to Wallace. It got awfully chilly during The Long Night, and I was a little underdressed.
The roof was altogether more pleasant than that of the 'gas station', as Wallace had called it. There were several cushioned benches scattered about, some small trees here and there, and a few flower beds set against the low wall that ringed the rooftop. Someone, indeed, likely several someones, had gone to some effort to make the space as pleasant as possible.
"What happened to your jewellery?" Wallace asked, his voice low, though I could feel the bassy reverberations in his chest.
"It's not safe to use while I'm healing," I shivered, "So I'm useless until my shoulder is mended."
"You're plenty useful," Wallace insisted, "You teach me magic, and I'll carry you around wherever you want to go," he promised.
He carried me over to one of the benches and took a seat. He let go of me, but I didn't take the opportunity to slide off his lap. Instead, I snatched a nearby blanket and pressed it into his hands. He took it, an amused expression on his face, and helped me settle it around myself. With it trapping the heat, it felt like I was sitting with my cheek resting against a furnace. Between his natural scent and the all-encompassing warmth, I felt myself growing drowsy once again.
I pulled the blankets tight around myself and peered up at him, "Maybe I'll ride you around like a horse," I giggled, "Did Temerity get to ride you around too?"
He immediately turned red, his lips set in a thin line as he tried not to break out into a guilty smile.
"Oh, she did, she did!" I hooted, "Were you face up or face down? The girls at The Blushing Maiden have given it to me both ways, so I can see the appeal in either case," Wallace turned, if it were even possible, a yet darker shade of red, "Now that I think about it, Temerity does seem the sort to take the initiative. Face down then."
Wallace's guilty smile turned to a grimace, but there was grudging mirth in his eyes and the twist of his lips.
I prodded him in the ribs, "You're not even the tiniest bit angry," I asked incredulously, though it was more of a statement.
I pressed my nose against his chest and inhaled deeply, "I can't smell a whiff of anger. If I were a servant, anyone else would be having me flogged right about now to correct my mark against their honour. Or as a noblewoman, they'd be looking for a father, brother, or husband to duel."
He sighed, a wry, grudging smile on his face, "Humans used to be like that," he admitted.
I frowned in thought, "Now that I think about it, I don't believe Simon has ever challenged anyone to a duel. And gods know people have tried to goad him into it."
"Why, to try to get rid of him?" Wallace guessed, "Seems like a losing proposition if it's fey versus human, even if he doesn't go all Super Saiyan on them."
"Super Saiyan?" I inquired.
Wallace covered his face with his hand, "The body magic thing he does."
"Oh, well, you're right. Magic isn't allowed, though that can be hard to enforce. But it's the privilege of the challenged party to opt for a champion to take their place. Usually a sprite, or now that there are other races in the city, a goblin or elf. But it matters little," I explained, "Simon seems genuinely ambivalent to even the most grievous insult made against him. At first, it led to him losing a great deal of respect within the city, but once it was clear he didn't care about that either, I think he was able to turn it into a strength. That said, it's not as if he doesn't get even with those that oppose him. Typically when a nobleman of the city goes after Simon, he'll find that a wife or daughter will have mysteriously fallen for the human interloper," I thumped Wallace on the chest, "Simon's playroom isn't quite as well soundproofed as Temerity's though, I understand that most of the manor, along with anyone out on the street, can hear when Simon is taking the initiative with a new paramour," I put a hand to my chin, as if in thought, "Now that I think about it, that must be some serious soundproofing in Temerity's place, I mean, you must be awfully lou-"
Wallace, very gently, but very firmly, put his hand over my mouth.
"Shhh."
I shrank inwards a little and nodded.
At first, I'd been needling him just to see what it would take to get him to strike me. Humans were still an enigma to me, and I found that people were generally easier to deal with if I knew where the limits were, but now I realized that the greater risk would be making the big mushy goliath feel hurt.
He took his hand away, and I pulled myself up to plant a kiss on his cheek, before sinking back down to nestle against his chest.
"You're an okay bodyguard Wally."
"Thanks, Vally," he replied wryly, "Have you got your daily allotment of teasing me in? Can we get to adult stuff?"
I rolled my eyes, "Val will be fine, and what is it?"
"Well," he began, pulling down the blanket a bit so I could see out into the night, "I picked this bench for a reason, are you able to make out that light in the distance?"
"No, can you-"
Wallace covered both the torches, and I waited as my eyes adjusted to the darkness.
"Maybe?" I said finally, "I might just be seeing what I want to see though. I take it you're more confident?"
He nodded, "It's a campfire. It's way the hell out there, but it's a fire."
"Probably surveyors from Caniforma," I guessed.
"Are they going to be a problem?"
"Perhaps," I admitted, "They might eventually find a route here, but surveyors tend to guard their discoveries jealously. Unless you know who to ask, it's not easy to even learn where to buy such information, and that's to speak nothing of the price. No, they're not likely to pose a threat. That said, if someone is truly determined to come after me, they likely could reach us."
"You mean someone might pull the same stunt we did," Wallace realized.
I pulled the blanket back up over my head and relaxed against the big man.
"Yes. And while we had to spend a day getting through the pass, the proximity of the mountains offers possibilities to the determined."
"You mean someone might try to make their own little rest stop by climbing up far enough? Would that even work with horses?"
"Doubtful," I replied, "But if it came to it, they could abandon the horses to the tide, and sleep out the night partway up some convenient cliff."
"Hmmm..." he rumbled quietly, "Just trying to think through the timeline here. So the horsemen, horsewomen, horsepeople?"
"They were riders, not centaurs," I huffed.
"Whichever, point is, they left late. After all, we left late, and they left even later after that. So we'll assume whoever comes after us has time to prepare, and are down the ramp from the city at first light."
"Not a simple task," I interjected, "There are special carriages that carry horses down, and even if they've planned to have those ready, the descent is yet slower than it was for us."
"Okay, fair," Wallace agreed, "But it does mean that, compared to the riders we ran into, they'll be further along at any given point in time."
"Fair," I agreed.
"Which pushes their point of no return forwards, I don't know, six hours?" he guessed, "That might be a bit generous, but we should prepare for a best-case attempt from them."
"They also won't have spent several hours searching an alien neighbourhood for us," I added.
Wallace nodded, "Which means they get even further. Now include the fact they've got a safe return that's a lot closer... yeah, I bet they could make it. Fuck they'd be tired though."
"I wouldn't worry about it for now, Wally," I assured him, "I have a hard time conceiving of a more defensible position than what we have now. We'll have time to ready ourselves. Besides, they know not what they face at the end of their journey. I don't expect to see them in the next Long Night, perhaps the one after next at the earliest," I peered up at him from beneath the blankets, "Plenty of time for you to learn some magic."
Wallace beamed and seemed to tremble at the mere word, and it gave me a little thrill to see him smile like that.
I thumped my hand against his chest again, "Carry me inside, feed me some breakfast, and we can get started."
Wallace pursed his lips, "What was that you said, something about protecting you but not taking care of you?"
I narrowed my eyes, "You're not taking care of me, you're pampering me.
"As you wish, your highness," Wallace replied wryly.
Still bundled up in the blanket, Wallace brought me back inside through a different staircase. Rather than functional metal railings and hard stone steps, this staircase was thickly carpeted, and the hardwood railings were stained a rich dark brown.
Wallace shouldered his way through the door at the bottom of the stairs, and I somehow found myself in a room that was even more luxurious than what I'd seen below.
Now that wasn't to say that every surface was engraved, gilded, and studded with gemstones as it might be in a royal's palace. The humans who'd built this structure seemed to have a preference for understatement, and instead of displaying wealth with precious metals and rare stones, it was with quality materials. Again, I was astounded by the uniformity with which the carpets and furniture upholstery were dyed. The elves could do work that was nearly this good, but it wouldn't be uniform over such a large area, and the reagents they used to fix the dyes had an unfortunate scent.
It looked to me that the top floor of the entire east wing was dedicated to this single set of chambers. Well, perhaps not 'chambers', as the designers seemed not to have believed in walls. Where they were needed, they were either glass, as the exterior walls were, or did not rise to reach the ceiling, and served simply to break up the sightlines and provide a little privacy.
Oddly enough, the kitchen seemed to be displayed proudly, rather than being out of sight, hidden back in some servant's area. I wasn't happy to see the harpsichord, in what would be the sitting room, had it been a separate room. There was also another of those black glass slabs that humans always arranged their furniture to face. There had even been several in the restaurant below, arranged so that no matter where one sat, a slab could be seen. This one was the largest I'd yet seen and was nearly as wide as I was tall.
The deference shown to the objects suggested some religious significance, and it occurred to me that there had been something similar in the house we'd looted before leaving the human neighbourhood. The materials hadn't been quite the same, and the glass slab at the front had bulged outwards rather than being perfectly flat, but there as well, the furniture had been arranged to face it.
"This is the penthouse," Wallace explained, "I wanted to wait until you were up to ask your thoughts, but I think we should start moving our stuff up here. The stairs are a problem-"
"It'll be fine once my shoulder is mended," I assured him.
Wallace shrugged, and set me down on one of the wide upholstered and high-backed benches in the sitting room, "There's also some conference rooms through there," he went on, nodding towards the central spine of the building, "so there's space for us to work if we need it."
I stretched out on my back while Wallace went over to the kitchen to root through the cabinets.
"Is that what's atop the other wing?" I yawned.
"No, the conference rooms are near the elevators, probably for fancy people to have fancy people meetings," he called back, "The other wing is a presidential suite, so I guess this is an American hotel."
"American?"
"Uh, it's another country from Earth," he explained, "But the language is the same, and I'm familiar enough with the units they use to measure things that it's not a problem," I heard the cabinets shut. A moment later, Wallace was peering over the side of the couch, "I'm gonna go out on the balcony and cook, you stay out of trouble till I get back."
"I'll try, no promises."
With both of us properly fed, I had Wallace join me in the sitting room and drew him down next to me on what he called a 'couch'.
While he'd been busy cooking, I'd poked around the penthouse, looking for something to use for our first magic lesson. I'd found what I'd needed in the bathroom- a bathroom that was larger than some commoner's homes -a box of hairpins.
I took out just one of the pins and handed it over to him. It seemed comically small in his enormous hand, and he held it between forefinger and the odd not-quite-thumb, not-quite-finger that was his extra digit.
"I can do magic with just this?"
"Yes and no. The first thing to understand-" I began.
Wallace beamed, and threw his arms up in the air, "First law of magic!"
I sighed, but couldn't help but share his smile, "You're just a child on the inside, aren't you."
"We're all children on the inside," Wallace replied, "and we're all just pretending otherwise."
My smile turned to a smirk, as I considered what I might do if I wasn't trying to keep up appearances as a noblewoman. And the truth was, it wasn't as if I put much effort into such appearances.
"Are you going to let me teach you magic," I prodded, "or are you going to keep sharing your philosophy?"
"Alright, alright, what's the first law of magic?"
"From a single object, you can only get one type of mana," I recited, "There are exceptions, but for the time being, one object, one type of mana."
Wallace frowned and stared intently at the hairpin, "That doesn't exactly make sense."
"What about it troubles you?"
"The exceptions. Physical laws don't tend to have them."
"Wally, which one of us is teaching and which one is learning right now?"
"I know, I know, but I also spent two decades in one type of school or the other," he insisted, "Newton's laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, Euclid's postulates, they mostly don't have exceptions."
"Mostly?" I repeated, "So then they do have exceptions, why is it so strange then-"
"That's just it," he exclaimed, "Thermodynamics, that's sacrosanct. Pretty sure even magic doesn't violate that no matter how hard you try. But Euclid's postulates and Newton's laws of motion, those are different. Euclid had five postulates. The first four are simple. I mean simple enough that they're a single sentence that a kid could understand. I mean, the first one is that you can draw a straight line between any two points, really simple stuff. But Euclid was trying to explain the very fundamentals of geometry. His problem, and hell, mathematicians worked on it for hundreds of years after him, was his fifth postulate. He was trying to describe the fundamentals behind parallel and non-parallel lines, and it was kind of clumsy. He couldn't quite get the phrasing to be as neat and tidy as the other five postulates. And not just him, like I said, plenty of genuine geniuses worked on the same problem, and couldn't figure it out. See, the truth was, there was a deeper understanding that wasn't known," he paused, I think he'd noticed that my eyes were starting to glaze over, "Um, remind me to tell you about non-euclidean geometry some time. The point is, the way he was trying to describe how parallel lines worked, didn't always apply. But he couldn't even conceive of how it didn't apply. It was as if he was blind to it."
"And you think the same is true for magic?" I said slowly, as I digested his speech.
"Yeah, and you know what," Wallace said confidently, "This is exactly the sort of thing Simon would recognize as well."
I felt a sudden tightness in my chest, not fear, but excitement. Wallace had already been able to provide some hints, but now it felt as if I were finally starting to draw the curtain aside.
"This Newton, what was his mistake?"
"Well the thing to remember about Newton, is that he was a genuine genius. I mean, he couldn't figure out the equations necessary to track the motions of planets, so he invented a new type of mathematics. He was one of the first guys to lay out a set of laws that could begin to describe the way the physical world worked. It's more complicated than that, and others added to his theory to build Classical Mechanics, but there's a reason that Classical Mechanics is sometimes referred to as Newtonian Physics. The trouble was, there were areas where his theories broke down. But like Euclid, it broke down in ways he couldn't conceive of. It worked for apples falling from trees, and planets orbiting stars, but not, for example, black holes, nuclear weapons, and spaceships trying to travel faster than light."
"I feel as if I say this frequently in your company," I told him tiredly, "but pardon me?"
"Newton's theories worked at the scales that most people can conceive of. From the very smallest bit of dust, all the way up to the most very massive stars. As for velocity, it covered the stationary, all the way up to objects travelling more than a hundred thousand times faster than a speeding bullet."
"What else is there?"
"Exactly!" he exclaimed, "It took another two hundred years for a guy named Einstein to come along and invent General and Special Relativity, which explained how things smaller than motes of dust, larger than the largest stars, and nearly as fast as light worked."
"I still don't think I understand quite what you're saying, but I take it, that it is enough to know that there was more to know than Euclid and Newton could fathom."
"Exactly," Wallace agreed, "So, what are these exceptions to the 'one object, one mana type' rule?"
"Gemstones, air, and liquids. Raw gemstones can be cut in such a way as to provide two of the available mana types at once. Garnets, for example, provide four mana types, Metal, Body, Strengthen, and Protect. When it is faceted, the jeweller selects any two of those, and from then on, those are the only two mana types that the garnet may provide. Indeed, the caster must use both types, for any spell that includes the garnet. As for air and liquids, neither can be said to be a single object. With liquids, typically one must use the entire container unless it's something like a spellcaster dipping their hand in a lake or river. That's typically only something experts can do though. Most spellcasters will simply scoop some up in their hand or the like. Air presents the same difficulty, experts can simply use it directly out of the space around them, but most Air magic users will carry glass bottles of various sizes."
"So say I wanted to use this bobby pin," Wallace suggested, "I'd need to use the whole thing, and only for one of its available mana types?" I nodded, and then Wallace bent the pin until it broke into two halves, "And now this is two objects, so I could use what was a single bobby pin, for both mana types in a spell?"
"Yes, that was the puzzle I'd intended you to solve," I admitted, "I sense you're unhappy with this answer?"
"I am," he agreed, "I don't know how the 'one object one mana type' rule is wrong, but it's wrong. What if I had two pins, or let's say I just use both these halves. These are metal, so they've got Metal mana? Okay, so could I use both halves for Metal mana, and then some third object for the other mana type I need?"
"Yes," I said slowly, "I suppose that's the second rule. Controlled magic always takes two types of mana, attempt it with a single type, and only the gods know what will happen."
"Alright, well I'm gonna think on rule one. It feels kind of like a 'blind men and the elephant' situation."
This time I just threw up my hands.
Wallace grinned sheepishly, "Sorry, have you ever seen an elephant?"
"Yes," I replied, more than a little exasperated.
"Coles notes-" he began, and I gave him a dangerous look, "Sorry, simple version is, one blind guy puts a hand on the leg and thinks an elephant is like a tree. Another feels the trunk and says it's like a big snake, so on and so on."
"You're clearly very intelligent, very learned. It's a shame you hide it behind a veneer of utter madness."
"We can argue about who's crazier later," he chuckled, "So we've got the first rule, 'one object, one mana type', and its exceptions, and the second rule, 'one or more verbs, and one or more nouns, or bad things happen'."
"Then there's the final rule, and it applies to the case you suggested, using both halves of the pin for Metal mana. Steel is a Greater source of Metal mana. It doesn't matter how much steel you have, it will only ever be a Greater source. The quantity of steel instead determines how long the Greater source persists."
"Is there a number for greater?" he asked, "What's the scale?"
"I've yet to hear anyone use numbers to try to describe the difference between various mana sources, or at least, try and succeed in coming up with anything that makes sense. No, the scale is Minimal, Lesser, Moderate, Greater, and Significant."
"Hold on. Actual metal is only the second-best source of Metal mana? How does that make sense?" Wallace demanded.
I shrugged, "Only gemstones are a Significant mana source, metals are typically Greater, not just of Metal mana itself, but of whatever other mana types that metal provides as well. Copper provides Greater Fire, for example."
"Hmm, seems kinda weird that it's the most powerful sources of mana that are best known," Wallace mused, "I would have thought it'd be the other way around."
"There are commonly known rumours about colours and herbs both supplying either lesser or minimal mana of a great many different types, but I've yet to hear any specifics."
"How are new types discovered then? Even if most people get the info second-hand, someone would have had to be the first."
"It's tricky," I warned, "And I don't even know if the method I know of is the safest way to do it, but typically one takes a material with a known mana type, and the material they want to understand and attempt to cast a spell. Either the caster can guess at what mana might be present in the unknown material, in which case things proceed as with any normal spell."
"And if they get it wrong?" Wallace grimaced.
"If they get it wrong," I continued, "Or simply try to cast a spell without trying to guess what mana types might be present, then nearly anything can happen. The proto-spell uses the selected mana from the known material and a random mana type from the unknown material, and chaos generally ensues."
"I'm guessing it's generally a good idea to use small quantities then?" Wallace offered.
I nodded, "Anything to limit the potential damage. Transformation magic and Body magic are the worst. Fire magic, to be sure, may cause severe burns if the caster is unlucky, but Healing magic can correct something as simple as an injury. But a body, malformed by magic, is nigh-impossible to correct."
I took his hand in both of mine. It was soft but strong, and large enough that my thumbs didn't quite meet in the middle.
"Promise me you'll listen, and promise me that you won't go experimenting on your own," I urged him, "This is dangerous, and there's only so much I can do. If I were any good with healing magic, I would have fixed my shoulder already. I understand your excitement, but before we continue, I need your word that you'll listen when I warn you something's dangerous."
"Alright, I promise," he assured me, "If I come up with anything crazy, I'll talk to you first."
"Thank you, the other thing I should warn you about is that this isn't going to be easy. I don't want you to feel discouraged if it doesn't work right away."
I didn't want to sabotage him by telling him just how hard it was to cast a spell for the first time, but I also didn't want him giving up. I'd seen both extremes in my time. Some would give up after trying and failing for weeks, while still others would hear such tales and internalize the assumption that they'd never be able to do it. I was by no means a magic tutor, but those I was familiar with had spoken of striking a balance. It was essential to warn would-be spellcasters of the difficulty, without making it seem insurmountable. Magic was a science of the mind after all, and if someone got the wrong idea in their head, it often made their magical journey a great deal longer, if it started at all.
"Everything is hard until you figure it out," he replied, "I'll be patient."
"First," I began, speaking softly, "Close your eyes, once you get more familiar with magic you won't need to, but for now it can help to focus the mind."
He did as I asked, and I let go of his hand to pick up the box of bobby pins.
"The spell you're going to cast will give you an invisible hand, that can pick up only metal. Steel contains Earth, Fire, Metal, Movement, and Protection mana. You're going to use the Metal mana from one half of the pin, and the Movement mana from the other to create this hand," I shook the box so he could hear the pins rattle, "Then you're going to use that hand to pick up some of these pins."
Wallace nodded, an oddly tranquil expression on his face.
"Now. Magic requires you to hold two different understandings of the world in your mind. First, there's the world as it is now, where you're holding two halves of a broken pin in one hand. Second, there's the world as you will it to be, where the halves of the pin are gone, and you have an intangible hand, capable of only manipulating metal. Now I understand that might not make much sense," I admitted, still speaking softly, "But think of it as there being two worlds. There's the mental world as it exists within your mind, and there's the physical world, as it appears to everyone else. Take your time," I said soothingly, "Don't rush yourself, the important thing is to-"
There was a metallic rattling, and then the pins were floating above the small box, as if cupped in an invisible hand.
I leapt to my feet, astounded at what I saw, "Wally, that's amazing!" I exclaimed.
Wallace was not so enthused. He had his eyes open now, but there was an unexpected sadness in them.
"Seems I'm uniquely suited to this," he muttered dourly.
"What's the matter?"
"Nothing, just the universe reminding me that I'm a freak."
"Who cares?" I demanded, "What you just did takes most people weeks or months, you're a freak? Wallace, I would cut off my arm to be a freak like you. You're an enormous slab of muscle with indestructible bones, a supernatural talent for magic, and this is just a guess, but someone your size is also probably hung like a horse."
He immediately turned red and brought a hand to his face, but I went on unabated, "Who cares, if I had a body like yours, I would revel in it. The strength, the power, I would need to run from nothing. And what you said about your body making muscle no matter how lazy you are? Gods, I would eat as much as I wanted, drink whatever I liked, and bed whoever I fancied," I shook my head slowly, "But you don't conduct yourself like that. I would have searched out some shapely elf noblewoman, one that was easier to handle than Temerity, to act as patron and paramour while I ate and drank and fucked the days away," I spread my arms, and gazed down at my scrawny frame, "But instead you're here with me, because I need you, and because you have a good heart."
"Well," he said slowly, "Thanks, I guess," he said with a bland shrug.
I growled and prodded him in the side. I wanted it to hurt, but I think my shoulder ended up worse off than his ribs. At the same time, I bore down on my pheromone glands, forcing out as much of the rage pheromone as I could muster.
"You don't think I know you get angry sometimes? Really really angry?" I demanded, "When we lost that pack, gods, I didn't think the scent of anger could be that thick. And then in the tunnel when you were trying to get through that metal cover, the smell was so strong I thought I was going to faint."
I wiped my brow with the back of my hand. It wasn't sweat. Instead, I was giving off so much of the pheromones that it was beading on my skin, and making my clothes and hair damp.
"But you didn't lash out at me, or anyone else. Who cares if you get angry? It happens, what matters is what you do with it. You're a good person, with a good heart," I informed him, "But time to time you need someone to slap you upside the head and get you on the right track, that's all."
He chuckled at that. There was enough rage pheromone in the air now that he should have long since bashed my head in, but instead, he was laughing.
He raised his hands, "Alright, alright, you've made your point. Now could you please tone it down? If I have to put up with this for much longer, I'm gonna burst a blood vessel."
I switched to the opposite pheromone, and couldn't get much out before my glands ran dry, but it was enough to neutralize the rage pheromone in the air.
I put my hands on my knees and took a deep breath, I don't think I'd ever pushed myself that hard, and I was surprised to find it left me so exhausted. My legs felt like jelly as I stumbled back over to join Wallace on the couch.
"If you're done feeling sorry for yourself," I huffed, "I can finish explaining magic," I offered.
"Go ahead, what's left?" he asked wryly.
Continued in comment
submitted by ThisHasNotGoneWell to HFY [link] [comments]

What evidence is there that Joe Biden is a stronger challenger against an Incumbent than 2012 Mitt Romney was?

In the 2012 election, Former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for President against the incumbent Democrat President Barack Obama. Obama won in an electoral landslide 332 to 206 and won the popular vote by 4%.
  1. Betting Odds: It's hard to get pinpoint data on May 2012, but in January 2012, Romney was behind Obama in the eyes of the betting markets. Any by September 2012, he was still behind. Biden appears to be closer than Romney ever was, only behind 5 pts in these betting odds at the moment.
  2. Incumbent Approval: Trump currently has 43.6 approval and 54.5 disapproval. Obama at this point in 2012 had a 48.2 approval and 47.2 disapproval. Worth noting that Obama had 2.1% more undecideds than Trump. In other words, Obama had more room to grow his support whereas more people have made their minds up about Trump.
  3. Swing States: At this point in 2012, Obama was ahead in basically every swing state (WI,MI, PA, OH), except for Florida and North Carolina. Biden is currently ahead in WI, MI, PA, Florida but down in North Carolina and Ohio. More 2012 polling info here. Bottom line, Romney was still way behind at this point in 2012, but Biden appears to have a slight lead in those swing states.
  4. Economy: In May 2012 we had a 8.2% unemployment rate and GDP growth was very slow, less than 1 percent. While we don't have updated GDP numbers for this current quarter, the unemployment rate is 14.7%.
  5. Primary Performance: The 2012 GOP primary had a notoriously weak field, with Chris Christie, Palin, and Donald Trump refusing to run. Romney's biggest primary challenger was Rick Santorum, who dropped out April 10 2012. Romney was ahead by around 300 delegates at that point. The 2020 Dem primary had similar headlines. Biden's biggest primary challenger was Bernie Sanders, who dropped out April 8 2020, Biden was also ahead by about 300 delegates at that point as well.
submitted by hermannschultz13 to PoliticalDiscussion [link] [comments]

/u/Kotasuoa on As of 2020: Is the Right in America and the West on the brink of defeat? Or can they still recover?

Reply Part 1:
I want to be an optimist about this situation, but in light of these last 3 months it’s really hard for me to see any positive outcome for the right.
Same here.. the future as I see it looks pretty bleak as of lately.
Felix Rex aka Black Pigeon Speaks has an incredible video on why Trump is likely going to be the last Republican to ever sit in the Oval Office. In the video he states that mass immigration from third world nations has dramatically shifted demographics in key red states.
I've taken a notice to this as well. On the bright side, the Rust Belt states, Oregon, New Hampshire & Maine have been shifting Red lately in large part due to an exodus of either urban city dwellers to other states or political realignment due to both parties shifting positions. Either way, I don't see how the Rust Belt + Oregon + a few Northeastern states being Red States can win Republicans the White House in the future with larger states like Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arizona being Blue States in the future. Unless Illinois also turns Red, then there's a slight chance.
It happened to California, which was solidly red since it’s inception, and then flipped blue in the last 30 years because of the importing of migrants.
Well, California wasn't solidly Red since its inception. In fact, it was actually a reliable Democratic state for most of the 19th Century with a few times swinging to Republicans. It become solidly Red in the 1920s and again with Eisenhower. But it hasn't gone Red since due to immigration.
If I'm not mistaken, Hispanics now make up the majority of the Golden State's population.
He pointed out what’s happening to Texas, where border counties are now blue strongholds again because of immigration. In this election cycle, Texas has a slim but attainable chance of flipping blue.
As someone who lived in Texas for quite a while, I'll admit that I'm shocked that Texas has remained a Red state for as long as it has. Harris County, once a Red county has now turned into a Blue stronghold.. Texas will most likely flip Blue in 2028 or 2032 and will be in the solid Blue column at that point as well.
Culturally, conservatives have always been... conservative. They’d rather not fight. They play defense, if they play anything at all.
This is something that I've been railing about for years now. Conservatives keep losing the culture wars because they don't fight back at all, although they'll state otherwise and try to point they have been fighting, even though the evidence showing contrary is so overwhelming. If they do fight back, they only do so when its too late to win. Instead of trying to regain ground and restore what was lost, they gradually surrender battles and save what culture is left. Soon, they'll find the culture all but lost to the Progressives..
Same goes with the electoral college, rather than stay, fight back and try to flip Solid Blue States like Trump did in 2016. Rather than trying to flip California, Illinois, Washington State, Connecticut, Delaware, etc, they simply write them all off and the Conservatives living in those states pack their stuff up and leave. That said, I won't be surprised if many on the Right end up fleeing the country should the Democrats regain control of the Senate and White House this year and continue to hold them throughout this decade. Because they don't have the same fighting spirit their ancestors did ages ago during both the Civil War and Revolutionary War before that. Instead, far too many capitulate and run.
In 2016, we won the battle, but not the war. Trump’s victory infuriated the left. It energized their voter ranks and they pushed harder on the whole “America is a big bad evil place and Donald Trump is proof of it” message. Think of the women’s march, science march, etc any and all “social justice” marches or protests that happened from Inauguration Day through 2018. These emboldened socialist uprisings in major cities, and gave rise to the campaigns for AOC, Illhan Omar and many more. The right was complacent and didn’t concern itself with the future of elections. Since Trump won, how could we lose in the future? Trump didn’t help himself at all either, with every sloppily worded tweet he just encouraged the left even more. The Trump voter base was hibernating. We didn’t fight back when he needed it. It was a stupid move. We sat on our laurels and didn’t fight back when the left came for revenge. And they won 2018.
I remember how amazing the Trump's victory was in 2016. It's a shame that the Conservative Movement blew so much opportunity afterwards though. All of the Conservative thought leaders got caught up in the day to day news and scandals that surrounded the Obama Administration spying on Trump _(which is definitely a big thing, but still it shouldn't have taken away focus from the issues)_and all the while not holding the President or Congress accountable as they spent and passed bloated omnibus bills filled with mainly Democrat priorities, increasing the debt more than Obama did when he was in office.
The base became so overconfident to where as you said, they became blinded by their own victory beforehand. Just like back in 2006 and history repeated itself in 2018..
Now armed with self proclaimed socialists in seats ranging from city councils (see Seattle) to the House of Representatives, the Democrats embraced this new radical authority, since their racial diversity, relative youthfulness, and sprightly energy motivated social justice oriented millennials and gen z’ers to vote for the first time. And now they have war chests full of donations and fundraising money to blockade future elections.
And all of that in itself is pretty scary. Millennials and Gen Z are the two most Leftist generations of all time. Early Gen Xers didn't do a proper job raising Millennials nor did Later Gen Xers do well with Gen Z. The Boomers are guilty of this too, they raised the Old Millennials (born 1981-1988) rather poorly too. The lack of discipline, gratitude and humility of the new generations, it all shows with these riots and the marches from last decade. Racial demographics increasingly moving in favor of the Democrats is a major problem too. Asian Americans used to be staunchly Republican until the mid 2000s before becoming staunchly Democrat. I posted an article from National Review about this not too long ago. With the amount of money raised by the Democrats, they're bound to win more elections in the future than lose..

We let the left win. We messed up, hard. We had the chance to squish these communists once and for all, instead we let them multiply as a result of our own arrogance and laziness.
I fear you are correct. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, but its closing ever so rapidly.
Fast forward to 2020. Now don’t get me wrong, had the coronavirus not existed, we still would’ve had a solid chance at this upcoming election. The thing is, despite letting the left fester under our noses, Trump had a solid record to run on. 3 years of economic social and political successes gave him perfect ammunition to use against the left, who’s platform basically consisted of nothin more than “cheeto face bad”, peach mints, and CNN nothingburgers.
But the coronavirus pandemic did happen. And as you properly pointed out, the economic gains got deleted in a matter of weeks. Unemployment skyrocketed. And now we’re back to the 1960s with race riots and protests that are still going on after nearly 3 weeks.
Indeed. This year went from being a great one to the most disastrous yet in the span of less than 3 months.
Trump’s election prospects, in my opinion, have gone up in smoke. Now what’s fresh on everyone’s minds is how things aren’t back to normal yet, how millions of people are still unemployed, how 1/5 of all businesses might close, how Trump sank this country into debt by spending our annual GDP 2x over in the span of 7 weeks, how socialists have destroyed and taken over cities amidst these race riots.
When America needed Trump the most, he vanished. That’s why his poll numbers plummeted. And it’s impactful. It paints him as incompetent. And this time I don’t think the numbers are lying.
You're absolutely correct. As it stands due to the factors you mentioned, Trump has lost a substantial portion of his voter base as many of the incompetent decision making by his advisors, namely his son-in-law Jared Kushner are showing more than ever before. The riots were merely the culmination of it all and Kushner stopping Trump from taking action against the riots earlier was catastrophic for him, and it shows in his approval numbers:
Real Clear Politics Average: President Trump's Job Approval Rating
As it stands, Trump's approval has at its lowest since November of last year and is continuing to drop. Soon, it could be back to what it was in 2017 and early 2018...
He's now increasingly losing in the national polls against Biden and in the Presidential betting odds:
Real Clear Politics: General Election: Trump vs. Biden
Real Clear Politics: Latest Betting Odds: Trump vs. Biden
PredictIt.org: Presidential Betting Odds: Trump vs. Biden
Continued in part 2 of reply
from Kotasuoa on As of 2020: Is the Right in America and the West on the brink of defeat? Or can they still recover?
submitted by rightwingnews to DebateRightists [link] [comments]

I'mma head out

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How Argentina learnt to stop worrying and combat coronavirus

As anyone who hasn’t spent the last month under a rock knows, the COVID-19 coronavirus is a big deal to the global economy, and governments have taken a number of potentially disruptive measures to contain it. The aim of this post is to look somewhat closely at the likely impact to the economy of this famously unstable country, and to briefly weigh the policy actions of the Alberto Fernández administration against their costs.

A little context

Argentina and economic collapse, name a more iconic duo. In the past decade, the inflation rate went from the twenties to the fifties, and 2019 had the highest recorded figure in almost thirty years: 53.8%. The country has not grown for two consecutive years in an entire decade, and official figures for most relevant variables, including unemployment and production, are unreliable (to put it kindly) since the official statistics agency was intervened by politicians and pretty much faked its data for ten years.
In 2015, the reign of a faction of Peronism (the dominant political ideology/party in Argentina, an economically left, nationalistic, autarchic, anti-globalization movement) known as Kirchnerism, with more ties to the hard left and more socially progressive than the rest of the party, came to a close after 12 years of dominance: their prefered Presidential candidate, Daniel Scioli (an unpopular, unexciting, uncharismatic Governor who lost an arm in a boat racing accident) narrowly lost a runoff to the center-right Mauricio Macri, the mayor of the country’s capital. Macri ran on a platform of change (his coalition of centrist parties was literally named Cambiemos, or Let’s Change) and promised to lower taxes, reduce regulations, open the economy, and lead Argentina into a new era of market-based prosperity. This did not pan out: after a rocky first year, where the lifting of currency controls and sky high raises in public utilities led to a 40% inflation rate, nearly 15 point above the previous year’s, 2017 looked bright: GDP grew, wages increased, inflation returned to its prior levels and seemed to be going down, and the government scored a double-digit win in the midterms.
2018 was even more promising, until May: following a series of policy and communications missteps by the government, investors became more bullish on the nation’s ability to repay its significant dollar-denominated debt; when the Fed raised rates in May, capitals bled out of the country and the peso began depreciating for months, more than doubling from 19 pesos per dollars to over 40 by the end of the year; the economy took a beating, with GDP collapsing and completely erasing the previous year’s gains. 2019 was tougher: Macri became, obviously, increasingly unpopular - but still stood a chance because his likeliest rival, the divisive and corrupt former President and sitting Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, appeared to be an even less palatable candidate - and voters going to moderate Peronist economist Roberto Lavagna looked more like Macri than Kirchner supporters. In an unexpected, risky gambit, Kirchner picked her former Chief of Staff, the little known and more moderate Alberto Fernández (no relation, it’s a common surname) to run for President, with her being his running mate. This bet paid off: Fernández united the entire Peronist party (no easy task, since Kirchner wasn’t particularly popular with Peronist Governors) and surpassed all expectations: while polling had him in dead heat against Macri, the high number of undecided voters made the race extremely volatile. After two hours of delays, the results of the national primaries (basically a trial election) came in: Fernández had beat Macri by nearly 20 points, 49 to 32, and was, by all intents and purposes, the next President. The markets did not take this well, since the winning candidate was notoriously vague and tight lipped in his positions: in a single day, stocks and bonds plummeted by 55%, and the peso depreciated another 33% - to 63 pesos. Macri performed better in the October elections, getting 40% to Fernández’s 48% due to higher turnout, but still lost. 2019 was another bad year: GDP shrank by 2.2%, unemployment soared to 9.7% (it later came down to 8.9%), and poverty rose from 25.4% (a historic low) in 2017 to 35.4% in the first semester; the only positive figures are the fiscal deficit, which went from 4% in 2015 to 0.5% in 2019, and the trade balance, which reversed sign and was an astounding 19 billion surplus; the current account deficit was reduced from a staggering 31 billion in 2017 to 3.4 billion in 2019, the lowest since 2012 and mostly caused by the positive trade and service balances.
The Fernandez administration, meanwhile, surprised in its moderation: efforts have been made to somewhat maintain fiscal balance, while also increasing welfare payments without committing “populist excesses”, to somewhat speak. The fiscal balance has been weak, though, with Economy Minister Martín Guzmán only vowing a surplus in 2023 and returning to the much dreaded “gradualism” of the Macri era. Fernández seemed mostly interested in one issue: restructuring the country’s substantial debt (nearly 90% of GDP), which included a record breaking program by the IMF and the products of a previous restructuring, in 2005, after the country defaulted in 2002 (it would partially default again in 2014) - Guzmán himself is an academic focusing on the issue, and a disciple of the “heterodox” Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia.

The healthcare system

Argentina’s healthcare system is complex, heterogenous, and very poorly supervised - public health is not mentioned in the Constitution, putting it under the purview of provinces, except for some compromises between jurisdictions to make it run smooth.
Considering the demand side of healthcare, the age structure of Argentina is not particularly concerning: only 15% of the population is over 60, and, on average, 88.5% of those over 60% have some kind of health insurance. Speaking of, 60% have any kind of insurance, according to census data - higher with age. Although 35.4% of the country lives in poverty, this number plummets to around 10% in older groups - providing a better safety net for the most vulnerable groups (children, by comparison, have a 52.5% rate). The country is only worryingly densely populated around the nation’s capital, the City of Buenos Aires, whose metro area comprises 13 million people and an expanded definition is inhabited by almost 20.
On the provider side, the country’s hospitals are mostly run by the provinces, except a handful in the orbit of the national government. According to the government, the country spent 9.8% of GDP on healthcare - 6.6% by the public sector, and 2.8% by private companies. The country seems to have a low number of physicians, hospital beds, and nurses - yet the larger provinces with a higher number of cases seem better prepared. Still, the glaring inequalities in the country make it clear that being ill in the wealthy City of Buenos Aires or the oil producing, sparsely populated Santa Cruz would be highly preferable to Chaco or Misiones. Another notable issue is the disparity between systems: private insurers (“prepagas”) offer extremely high quality care, as does PAMI, Argentina’s equivalent to Medicare (it is, in fact, a state-run public insurer for the elderly). The problem comes with the public system, which is much higher quality in richer provinces, especially in the less populated Patagonia.
The country, despite not being at such apparent risk, has taken measures extremely early: a full quarantine was announced roughly 20 days after the first confirmed case. The main situation is the country has only really tested those who either traveled abroad recently or were in close contact to those who did - meaning that official statistics of 500 infected, 8 dead aren’t particularly meaningful, and the number of tests administered isn’t publicly available.

Employment, poverty, and consumption

The country being under a quarantine poses a significant risk: 35% of the labor force works in the informal sector, and another 15% is self-employed. This means that, under a lockdown, nearly half of the population wouldn’t receive any income. The Catholic University of Argentina's Observatory for Social Debt (sworn enemies of mine, if you’ve read my previous post on poverty) estimates that 32% of people don’t receive any kind of formal salary, and that just two thirds of those families don’t even collect welfare checks - so 10% of homes will be deprived of all forms of income during a lockdown. The government has tried to mitigate this: bonuses for welfare recipients and the poorest retirees were announced, a $10.000 bonus for the unemployed,and some self-employed people was enacted, and the steps have been taken to ensure that people don’t lose access to basic necessities: a temporary ban on eviction and loss of utilities, a freeze on housing credits and rent, and price controls. The Social Development Minister, Daniel Arroyo, recently declared that 11 million people are receiving nutritional assistance, 3 million more than before - and 3.5 million of whom are children.
The consulting firm IDESA paints an even bleaker picture: they claim 45% of all Argentinians live off of informality, meaning the quarantine, on this basis alone, could deal a crippling blow to nearly a majority of families. Others have gone further: a recent report claims that 5.5 million people are at “very high” risk of losing their jobs based on their employment status (self employed of informal) and at slightly lower risk depending on the sector they work in, even if they are registered. The government responded to this by banning firings and suspensions by decree, which will obviously negatively affect job creation (which is at historic lows anyway, according to Ministry of Labor data).
Consumption has also been negatively impacted, since the incomes of those newly unemployed will obviously decrease; some retailers have experienced decreases of 50% in sales, and many have estimated that people simply won’t be able to afford their living expenses or their credit card bills (which were recently postponed until after the quarantine is over).

Economic activity and output

Economists estimate that each day of the quarantine reduces GDP by 1 to 1.4 billion, although there is a massive caveat - their projections are all based on national holidays and workers’ strikes, which are quite different because they are both scheduled in some advance, aren’t particularly long (the longest national holiday lasts about 3 days), and national holidays in particular have much higher “entertainment” (cinemas, theaters, restaurants, vacations, etc.) spending than usual.
The aim of government policies so far seems to be to mitigate the loss of income on poor families, while not spending too much - the public sector has an extremely limited margin of action, given that current commitments make up 0.6% of GDP with revenue in free fall due to lower activity (VAT, income tax, and export taxes have been particularly deteriorated lately). The demand shock to some sectors will be highly negative: tourism, entertainment, non-basic goods, etc. As you can see here,the largest sectors of the economy (Industry, construction, and retail) will be hardest hit.
Starting with construction, things are not looking good: work has ground to a halt, while it has already had its worst performance in decades. The sector also has a very high demand for labor, some of the highest rates of labor informality, and is the third largest sector of employment (360k workers in December) which makes it a ticking time bomb of lost income that has to be addressed as soon as possible - and the government has announced new credits for construction, and a 100 billion public works plan. The sector has already registered its lowest employment levels ever this year, and in an omen for things to come, the massive multinational company Techint has already laid off 1500 workers based on estimates that their profits in April will be 0.
Regarding industry, after it has the worst indicators for production in since 2002, only the food and pharmaceutical industries seem to be trending upwards - and they only account for a third of industrial workers, which make up themselves a fifth of all workers.Industrial Union figures claim that just 20% of manufacturers are currently active - and that the entire sector is having difficulties paying salaries or acquiring components. Car manufacturers have shut down production until April, and expect to sell fewer than 200 thousand units this year; and the electronics sector has followed suit. While industry does not have the same level of informality construction does, some issues may arise. The main complication will be supply chains, since many key components for industrial production are imported - and most major manufacturers (notably China) are dealing with the aftermath of their own coronavirus responses. And lower projections for growth in Brazil could especially hurt the automotive industry, where 50% of units sold are destined for the Latin American country, and whose growth has a large impact on Argentina’s manufacturing sector (note: even if the article is old, it still very clearly illustrates the close relations between the countries).
Retail is the biggest problem: after a 30% surge in sales in the days leading up to the lockdown (mostly in large chain supermarkets and wholesalers), sales collapsed as people became more frightened to leave their homes: restaurants have reported a 55% drop in sales, bakeries an 80% decrease, and 70% of small shops have already shut down until people are back in the street, since their sales decreased by 50% as well. Retailers in most sectors express concern, and most restaurants, bars, and “proximity businesses” (drugstores, corner shops, and small convenience stores known as “Chinese supermarkets” because their owners are generally Asian immigrants) have seen their income go from a steady stream to a small trickle, mostly due to online shopping and home deliveries - amd 20% of these smaller stores have closed their doors for the duration of the quarantine. Small business owners have already expressed their concern with the situation, with most expecting steep losses in revenue and some even reducing their staff. The sector is the second largest employer in the economy, with nearly 20% of the workforce as well, and a retail recession, so to speak, could collapse into a vicious circle where a crash in demand is reflected in sales, which forces firms to downsize, leading to even more drops in revenue, which starts the cycle all over again.
Regarding other sectors: hotels, tourism, transportation, etc: have seen their income fall by billions, and combined employ as many workers as the construction construction. Agriculture and other primary activities are probably mostly affected by second order factors, such as lower international demand and lower prices - which puts them in a secondary position for aid; their main issue at the moment is the paralysis in activity affecting docks and trucking due to the lockdown. “Personal services”, the tech sectors, and other highly skilled workers can probably move home and still receive full compensation; some firms, such as “Latin America’s Amazon” Mercadolibre or companies that specialize in consulting or telecommunications, could even thrive in this context. .
All in all, the economy looks like it will take a big hit from the lockdown: experts have estimated that each day in March had a 30% reduction in activity (which could be estimated by the observed drops in the demand for electricity, fuel, and transportation), and some go even further and assume a 45% daily drop in April, due to higher baselines because of seasonal factors. Goldman Sachs predicts GDP would drop by 5.4% in 2020, the largest decrease in 18 years (it was 10.9% in 2002) and more than the previous for years combined.

Trade and the external sector

To begin with, Argentina is basically cut off from financial markets at this point: country risk (the premium the country must pay to borrow) skyrocketed to 4500 points at a maximum, before settling in the high 3000’s, and the country seems to be on the verge of its 9th debt default- restructuring offers are basically dead now, with Guzmán and Fernández previously intending to negotiate during March and April. There is no clear consensus on the specific consequences of a debt default, although this publication by the IMF seems to imply it both causes tremendous damage to a nation’s reputation and cuts off growth by weakening the banking sector (which has taken a pummeling in the last year), even if defaulting itself does not cause degrowth. Since most companies are expected to have difficulties paying salaries due to low liquidity, and most people are also expected to not pay some of their obligations, a financial crash could send shockwaves into an already weak economy. In the longer run, a weak financial sector (like the one Argentina most definitely has) can constrain the access to credit necessary for investment - which is a prerequisite for sustained growth, and which already is at its lowest share of GDP in decades. The government remains adamant that its official position is not to default, but the chances of an offer that both sides are content with are slim - the IMF itself has recently weighed in and supported large haircuts for the sovereign debts of emerging economies.
Secondly, trade: most of Argentina’s leading trading partners (Brazil, the EU, the US, China, South Korea) have been negatively affected by coronavirus - China’s GDP is probably going to plummet in the second quarter, and exports to Asian markets have already decreased by 30%. China alone is responsible for almost a third of all industrial exports, which will surely affect global supply chains negatively, as well as reducing imports. Argentina has mostly been a commodity exporter (they made up 40 of the 65 billion dollars in exports during 2019) and commodity prices have plunged during March - soybean, wheat and corn prices will affect the trade balance most harshly, and oil (which is key to national investment in the Southern provinces) has nearly halved in price, making the U$S 15 billion investments that were planned probably unprofitable. The agricultural sector in particular may be heading to a crisis of its own soon, since restrictions on labor and movement, issues with transportation, and blockages to roads and docks have negatively impacted production and sales - and April is the beginning of the most productive part of the year. Regarding Brazil, Argentina’s largest trading partner, relations have been tense due to the personal and political inminity between presidents Fernández and Bolsonaro (who at one point threatened to leave the Mercosur trade bloc) - and growth and industrial production projections for the neighbouring giant have steeply declined lately, which doesn’t bode well for Argentina at all: those indicators, due to the large entanglements between the two nations, are some of the strongest predictors of Argentinian growth (and vice versa: the Brazilian stagnation and manufacturing recession of these last few years have negatively impacted on its partner, which has also entered a recession of its own to the detriment of Brazil itself).
Another major issue for the government is the peso becoming “overvalued”: due to the high volatility in international capital markets (almost 60 billion fled out of developing countries/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-infobae.s3.amazonaws.com/public/IG6CNPW4IFD6VM3QCC5RY5VWXQ.jpg)), most emerging currencies have been battered, rapidly depreciating with regard to the US dollar. The Argentinian peso became one of the strongest currencies of such category (honestly surprising news) because the high rates of inflation mean that any devaluation will be offset by higher national prices; as a result, any gains in competitivity done after the massive devaluations of 2019 have already been lost, since the real exchange rate is, in fact, lower than it was in August. As a result, the country will lose many of its trade advantages over its competitors, which will negatively impact the trade balance (fewer exports + more imports, despite more rigorous controls) and possibly create difficulties in acquiring the hard currency in such high demand in the economy.

Deficits, debt, and the money printers

Argentina’s government has been quick to take action on the healthcare front, declaring a quarantine not even a month before the first cases were confirmed, and extending it for nearly a full month. Their political resolve in handling the pandemic was widely praised, with leaders across the political spectrum working together and Alberto Fernández himself soaring to 90% approval, with 95% of the population approving of his actions.
On the economic front, things have moved way more slowly. The government has mostly taken actions on the demand side, as was previously detailed, by increasing transfers to individuals on the basis of need and with a means-tested mechanism to ensure that nobody “with too much” gets aid. This logic may be questionable, but it is widely accepted that aiding those most in need is correct; so far, these programs have cost about 0.6% of GDP, doubling the public sector’s deficit (from 0.5% in 2019) amid slumping revenue, due to the ongoing recession (lowering income from VAT and, to a lower extent, payrolls and income) and the collapse in foreign trade (hurting export and import taxes). This will surely create difficulties all over the country, since the government will lose its margin of action concerning any future developments; provincial and municipal governments, extremely dependent on sales taxes, administrative charges, and central government remittances, will take an even larger hit (especially some, such as Buenos Aires, Chubut, and La Rioja, which are having serious difficulties with their external debt).
On the supply side, on the other hand, the government has been extremely slow in offering any real support to struggling businesses. 80% of small businesses don't think they could stay in business if the lockdown continues for an entire month, and 70% of companies are planning on cutting costs. Only some sectors (such as tourism and entertainment) received tax cuts, albeit in homeopathic proportions, and some plans to help the construction sector, such as the Procrear credits and a $100 billion infrastructure plan, will take their time. Companies have shown concerns regarding how to pay their employees’ salaries, since the collapse in sales has surely impaired their liquidity - and the Central Bank took measures to inject up to $280 billion into the economy, which has led to much lower rates in short-term borrowing. The government has also recently announced two new programs: government assistance of up to a minimum wage of salaries for companies with under 100 employees, a doubling of unemployment subsidies, and a 95% postponement in payroll taxes for smaller companies (up to 60 employees). This seems to make sense, until you consider that the largest companies have been hit just as hard by the recession in the past year, and that companies with over 100 employees have bled jobs for the last 12 months; this is without even getting into the sector-by-sector measures that almost all those affected (from construction, to cinemas, and small retailers) have already demanded. The fact that this expansion to spending seems to mostly come from into aggregate demand has not put experts at ease: this will not increase revenue at a time of crisis, but it could also be insufficient to protect firms from bankruptcy.
One of the biggest problems concerning an enlarged deficit is that almost all avenues of financing it are unavailable: reducing the deficit itself is impossible, as has been specified, and Argentina (as previously explained) is teetering on the verge of default, so it’s not like the financial sector is dying to lend. So the only remaining alternative is seigniorage: in March, the Central Bank assisted the Treasury to the tune of $125 billion, and has printed nearly $400 billion in this regard since December. Even if, yes, money printer go brr (for example, former Central Bank President and inflation hawk Guido Sandleris has defended the expansion as necessary, with some caveats, during a conference) many economists have recently rung alarm bells: the government's massive expansion of the monetary base (some say 62% in all of 2020, and it has recently reached the record high of 2 trillion pesos) could become a factor for inflation to still go up, from the 54.8% 20-year record in 2019 to the 60’s or even 70’s (since the exchange rate is under steep controls and the monetary base contracted massively in the previous two years, nobody serious is forecasting hyperinflation yet). The inflationary tax being a way to raise revenue in this dire context could be acceptable in the short term - the Central Bank gave $125 billion for the government, while overall emission was at nearly half a trillion and was mostly justified with measures to keep firms liquid and not allow the chain of payments to break - or force companies to not pay their taxes to stay solvent. And in another positive development for inflation doves, the demand of money has risen recently - since people and companies are having trouble paying their bills, their employees, or even buying groceries. This makes it unlikely the new pesos will go to the currency market (a leading preoccupation of policy makers), since that could put pressure for a devaluation and boost inflationary expectations - which generate inflation of their own.
Concerning debt, the government has taken all available steps to create confidence - despite being at ideological odds with the organism, it was recently announced that they would accept a U$S 3.5 billion dollar SDR that was previously refused, added to smaller loans of a couple hundred billion by the IDB and the World Bank to finance the new spending caused by the crisis. The IMF itself has expressed support for emerging markets giving large “haircuts” to their sovereign debts, which Minister Guzmán seems to have taken at heart: he looks set to offer big cuts to interests and principal, a grace period, and maybe even unorthodox instruments like a GDP based bonus. Bonds recovered slightly, and country risk went slightly down; the problematic aspect could be that part of the recovery in bonds could be by “vulture funds” trying to gobble up obligations for cheap to later sue the country and get the full amount from a more friendly government (as Paul Singer famously did in 2019). While Guzmán’s good intentions were appreciated, bondholders did not accept the offer - and countered with a proposal for a 6 month break in payments and negotiations out of mistrust of the government and the options it presented.

Conclusion

Summing up, 2020 is shaping up to be a tough year for Argentina - or even tougher than expected. All indicators seemed to point at the economy being somewhat on the path to a recovery, with a milder recession, less inflation, and a public sector with a small deficit and a friendly (as possible, at least) debt restructuring. Coronavirus came as bad news (where didn’t it, though) at the worst possible moment.
Despite the obvious political differences of most readers with the Fernández administration, it is clear that his handling of the healthcare side of the issue received wide acclaim, even if Latin America’s standards for it are depressingly low. On the economic front, Fernández acted within the bounds of the mainstream and still focused his efforts on the poorest segments of society. In the immediate context, it could seem like a positive - nevertheless, it’s clear that all actors in the economy will be heavily affected by the crisis, and not providing aid to all of them would be inadequate. The government has also undertaken some deeply populist measures that will have no meaningful effect: a list of maximum prices, enforced by AFIP (the tax collection agency) inspectors which has mostly resulted in crackdowns for the small businesses that can’t actually afford to sell at those values.
The authorities could provide the necessary stimulus to the economy, putting those least affected on the back burner until the worst of the crisis has passed; unfortunately, taking coronavirus as an opportunity to enact even stronger controls on market mechanisms out of ideological purity would do a huge disservice to the country at a crucial time.
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An Overview of Arizona Primary Races - Part 1: Statewide and Congressional Races

Welcome back to my omnibus compendium of Arizona’s upcoming primary races in the style of my 2018 summaries (that’s just LDs 21-30, links for 1-20, Congressional, and statewide races are in that post). The primary is set to take place August 4th – early voting ballots should be mailed out on or around July 6th.
Arizona’s a really interesting state (I may be a hair biased), since it not only is home to 2-3 swing House seats and a high-profile Senate race, but also tenuous majorities in both state houses that could – theoretically – neuter Ducey’s trifecta this fall. And counties have their races this year as well, and I’ll highlight some of the fireworks ongoing in Maricopa.
If you’re interested about which district you live in, check https://azredistricting.org/districtlocato. If you want to get involved with your local Democratic party, find your legislative district on the previous link (NOT CD), and then search for your LD’s name at this link. Feel free to attend meetings, they’re a great way to get involved with candidates and like-minded individuals. If you wish to donate to a “clean elections” candidate (mentioned in the post as “clean”), you will have to live in that candidate’s legislative district to give qualifying $5 contributions (check here if anyone needs it in your area), but they are allowed to accept a limited amount of “seed money” from people outside of the district. The three CorpComm candidates can take $5’s statewide.
If you do not want to vote at the polls, you will need to request an early ballot using the website of your county’s recorder prior to July 4th. Example links for Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal. Others available if needed.
Race ratings for listed primaries will be listed as Solid/Likely/Leans/Tossup and are not indicative of my own preference for that seat. I’ll denote my personal primary preferences at the end of this series, as well as the best Republican ticket for the Dems if someone here really really wants to pull a GOP ballot in the primary. I do not advise it, but since I can't stop ya, you'll get my best suggestions.
Write-in candidates have yet to file, which could give us an outside chance at getting some Libertarians on the ballot (the Greens have lost their ballot access).
If you have any questions about voting in the primary, which races are the most contested, and how to get involved with other Democrats in Arizona, feel free to PM me.
All fundraising numbers here are as of 12/31/2019 – although Q1 numbers are dropping within a week or so. I’ll probably post a quick update after signature challenges are done and all Q1 numbers are in the books. Candidates who are partially self-funding have how much they’ve given to themselves listed after their COH as an indicator of how much of their own cash they’re pouring into the race. Not all of it, obviously, is still on hand.
ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN SOLELY IN MY CAPACITY AS A VOTER IN ARIZONA, AND NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY ORGANIZATIONS I WORK/ED FOR OR AM/WAS A MEMBER OF. THIS POST IS IN NO WAY ENDORSED BY THE ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR ANY SUB-ORGANIZATION THEREOF, OR ANY FILED CANDIDATE.
Statewides
Without further ado, the statewide races! Or more precisely, race. (US Senate is counted as a congressional)
Corporations Commission
I know this is what each and every one of you has been waiting for, the Corporations Commission! (hereafter CorpComm)
Yes, just like Arizona is the only state in the country with an elected mine inspector, it is also only one of 14 which has an elected Public Utilities commission. The AZ Constitution explicitly calls for this because, to quote Wikipedia: “its drafters feared that governors would appoint industry-friendly officials”.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Even though the commission is elected, lax-er campaign finance laws permit for public utilities to spend massive amounts of money on pro-utility candidates. The commission then raises utility rates, which means more money going to the utilities, and more money to spend on pro-utility candidates. And so on and so forth. The former chair, Susan Bitter-Smith, was removed due to a corruption complaint in 2017.
Therefore, corruption by the utilities is a big issue in this race, as well as how much to focus on renewable energy policies. An interesting side-effect is that far more candidates for CorpComm are signing up for public funding, which locks them into some pretty strict rules (thanks to the GOP legislature and voters in 2018).
The commission is a five member board, staggered so that three seats are up in presidential years, and two are up in midterm elections. Because of this, incumbents Sandra Kennedy (D) and Justin Olson (R) are safe until 2022.
Moderate Republican Bob Burns did not file run for re-election (he was kinda pro-solar and viciously anti-corruption, I’ll miss the guy), while definitely-not-moderate Andy Tobin was tapped by Ducey to lead the Department of Administration (HR, procurement, accounting, etc. for state agencies and replaced by 2018 AZ-02 GOP nominee Lea Marquez Peterson ($7K COH, clean – hereafter LMP). Boyd Dunn ($39.5K COH) is the one Republican elected in 2016 who is trying to return for another term.
LMP’s decision to run clean – instead of “traditional” (not taking public funds) – is quite odd for established GOP candidates. This could be a sign of changing voter attitudes, pointing to corruption being a larger and larger issue for both GOP and Dem. voters.
There are three Dems running for the three seats. Former commissioner and 2016 and 2018 CorpComm nominee Bill Mundell ($10.6K COH, clean), teacher and education activist Shea Stanfield ($4.7K COH, clean), and Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar ($1.8K COH, clean). All 3 progress automatically to the general election. Tovar in particular is a big get for Dems – she was a former Senate Minority Leader and it’s a great sign that she’s back in the fight and wanting to run statewides
I’d be remiss if I didn’t quickly touch on my dislike of Mundell – the 2018 CorpComm primary was very contentious due to Mundell persuading his runningmate Sandra Kennedy (and not the other way around, as I had wrongly assumed back then) to going very negative against the other Democrat in the race, Kiana Sears. Mundell lost that primary to Sears and Kennedy (2 seats were up then), but his attack campaign was strong enough that Kennedy and Sears were driven from being pleasant acquaintances (both being liberal black women in utility-related politics) to not being on speaking terms. Sears lost that race – it’s anyone’s guess how much of that was due to the ugly primary. The uncontested nature here should help Dems somewhat from cannibalizing one of their own.
On the Republican challenger’s side there are quite a few candidates. Outside of Dunn and LMP, former legislator David Farnsworth ($6.7K COH) is the chief candidate, and seems set to come into this race with a decent amount of legislative connections and backing. But Kim Owens ($2.5K COH) has stronger experience claims – having spent 3 terms on the Salt River Project Council (basically a mini CorpComm), as well as 5 terms on a school board. The SRP connections come at a cost though, as they don’t play well in this political climate. And despite being endorsed by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ, CD8), Owens has been taking some flack from further-right organizations for her past work on the George Bush and John Kasich presidential campaigns.
Other candidates in the Republican race include 2018 failed candidate Eric Sloan - who is making a visible outreach to the Trumpier side of the party and is running in opposition to clean energy mandates ($3.5K COH, clean) and Nick Myers ($1.7K, clean), who ran for HD12 in 2018 on a platform of banning all public schools. It’s again noteworthy that Sloan and Myers – who both eschewed clean funding in 2018 (and as far I can remember one of the two had strong negative words about the program) – are now running clean. Neither is favored in the primary but Sloan could theoretically muscle himself into 3rd place with enough pro-Trump rhetoric.
The general will probably see both groups of candidates more or less match the generic ballot statewide, but the campaign finance rules in Arizona could play an interesting role. Democrats will naturally be at a disadvantage due to locking themselves into rather restrictive campaign finance rules (can’t raise over a certain amount, banned from using specific party resources, etc.) - but so will LMP or Sloan/Myers if they win. And while the Democrats will all be operating alone, LMP (or the two oddballs) wont be able to do the same things GOP candidates running traditional can do – both from a stance of political pragmatism and of legality. That could lead to some disjointedness that the GOP definitely doesn’t want.
The two sides are evenly matched in terms of candidate quality – LMP and Tovar, Dunn and Mundell, and Stanfield and Farnsworth are all roughly comparable – but this may tilt slightly in the Dems’ favor if one of the other GOP candidates makes it on.
hunter15991 Rating: Dems. unopposed. Solid Dunn, Likely LMP, Leans Farnsworth. Leans GOP general.
Congressional Races
Ok, you've had your veggies. Time for the fun stuff.
Congressional District 1
CD1 is one of 2-3 districts that the national parties are probably focusing in on for this cycle (R+2, Trump+1, Sinema+4). On the Democratic side, Representative Tom O’Halleran ($918.8K COH) is running for re-election. Originally a Republican legislator, O’Halleran slowly veered left as the state party veered rightwards, and is now on the liberal end of the Blue Dog Democrats.
O’Halleran faces a tougher primary than he’s used to (not a high bar to clear, though) in the form of Flagstaff City Councilwoman Eva Putzova ($15.2K), running strongly to O’Halleran’s left. Putzova’s campaign got off to a bit of a rocky start, and while she’s found her footing she still significantly lags behind O’Halleran in COH and in name recognition outside of Flagstaff. While Flagstaff is the largest and most liberal city in the district, it’s still <10% of the total population of this very rural district. Putzova will be able to close the margins O’Halleran set against a similar further-left candidate in 2016, but O’Halleran’s strong connections with the indigenous communities that make up 25% of the district’s population (and therefore close to 50% of the Dem. voting base there) should put him over the line in August. A 3rd big name Dem., former State Senator Barb McGuire, has filed to run for her old Senate seat in SD8 instead and dropped out from the AZ-01 race.
On the Republican side it’s an absolute recruiting nightmare, even worse so than in 2018 when outsider perennial candidate Wendy Rogers beat out theocratic legislative superstar Steve Smith. The current frontrunner for this race is Tiffany Shedd ($112.3K COH), a farmer and shotgun coach who took a distant last place in the GOP primary here in 2018. I’ve linked not to her website but to her announcement video, where she gives the lamest voice-over possible, throws out countless trite references to how horrible it is that “a 29 year-old girl from New York is telling us what to do at the border” (whoever could that possibly be?), and insinuates (but never says) that she once shot at a band of men approaching her farm. It’s worth watching.
I should add at this point that while her video goes on and on with immigrant race-baiting and references to “the wall”, no part of AZ-01 is even in the same county as the US-Mexico border. These are tactics 2018 nominee Wendy Rogers (more on her in the legislative section) loved to use, and she lost to O’Halleran.
Shedd snagged the endorsements of people like Kevin McCarthy and Jon Kyl rather early on, dissuading former baseball star Curt Schilling from running and consolidating the active field of candidates around her (which is good, because one guy who bailed on the race – Safford Vice Mayor and former Army paratrooper Chris Taylor - could have been quite dangerous, especially with his Spanish fluency). Shedd is the only Arizonan in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, listed as “On The Radar” (their lowest tier). The two other Republicans who have qualified for the ballot (pending signatures) are businessman Noel Reidhead ($35.4K COH) and Apache County Supervisor Doyel Shamley (no reports yet filed). Reidhead seems to be a hair more charismatic and professional than Shedd, but stands little chance building anti-establishment cred vs. Shedd, especially taking into account whatever infrastructure she has from her 2018 run. Shamley too could theoretically pose Shedd trouble with his past political experience as a Republican in a very Democratic county (although it’s very polarized, and he lives in the blood-red Mormon area), but he is also quite a conspiracy theorist (all 4 links are worth a read). Shamley also has only ~10.3% buffer on his petition signatures (it’s recommended to aim for at least 25% if not far more) and could be knocked off the ballot by a stiff breeze.
In the general it’s looking like it’ll be O’Halleran vs. Shedd, and without significant GOP backup from IE’s and downballot races it looks like Tom may blow the barn, er, shed doors off this next push by the GOP to oust him. This could shift towards Leans if Shedd posts a good quarter or two of fundraising and ups her digital game.
hunter15991 Rating: Likely O’Halleran, Likely Shedd. Likely O’Halleran general.
Congressional District 2
Moving right along to another GOP mess, CD2. Incumbent Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick ($621.1K COH) was admitted into an alcohol rehab program last fall, which sparked some thoughts that this district may end up being close. Republican candidates however have yet to create any sort of spark in this seat this year (well, outside of one vaguely threatening to shoot Kirkpatrick – upstanding citizen whom we’ll get to in a second).
Kirkpatrick is being primaried by former State Department official Peter Quilter (no reports yet filed). His issues page puts him as roughly rank-and-file with the rest of the party, so I’m a bit curious as to why he filed to run against an ideologically similar incumbent – but that’s his prerogative. Quilter started signature collection rather later and is also in danger of getting bounced off if someone challenges them.
On the GOP side it’s another AZ-01. I’m not even entirely sure who the frontrunner is, it’s that chaotic and stupid. Is it Shay Stautz ($65.6K COH), a rather mild-mannered former university administrator and national security expert, but whose $65.6K warchest includes $60K of his own money and who sits awfully close to falling below the signature line? Is it Brandon Martin ($9.2K), 2018 2nd place finisher and Army vet who seems to lead in the endorsement and signature game, but who has an atrocious burn rate and who has a tendency of insinuating people should shoot the Congresswoman currently representing the seat once held by Gabby Giffords? Is it Joseph Morgan ($4.6K COH), who has a respectable enough background as a newspaper columnist and nonprofit assistant and whom Martin considers his chief rival (judging by his press release claiming Morgan “flip flops on sanctuary cities), but who hasn’t tweeted since October and whose fundraising is abysmal? ($22.2K raised despite filing in February) I guess it isn’t Noran Eric Ruden (no reports filed), who filed late, has little online presence, and in general seems to be doing little campaigning – but with how bizarre the other candidates are Ruden could surprise me.
Whoever Kirkpatrick faces in the general is again going to be limping badly without outside GOP support. And this time the turf isn’t a Trump+1 rural district that’s slowly inching left, it’s a Clinton+5 seat situated in the suburbs of Arizona’s 2nd largest (and decidedly liberal) city. For competent state legislators this’d be a rather tall ask, for the motely crew the GOP have assembled above it’s almost a suicide mission.
The alcohol rehab issue with Kirkpatrick and potential fallout stemming from that is the only reason I don’t currently have this at Solid D. I realize the national and state party will get behind one candidate at some point but I don’t know how they could feasibly pull off this one given they triaged a significantly stronger candidate in 2018 – against a non-incumbent Kirkpatrick – who then lost to Ann by 10 points.
hunter15991 Rating: Solid Kirkpatrick, Tossup GOP (Statuz/Morgan/Martin). Likely Kirkpatrick general.
Congressional District 3
Bit of a snoozefest here (thankfully for me since it’s then shorter to write). Incumbent Raul Grijalva ($211.2K) is running for another term, although he may retire after this next term which would set off a lot of drama in the district. He has no primary opposition and faces OIF Marine and current “Executive Protection Agent” (looks like a cross between a security consultant and bodyguard) Daniel Wood (no reports filed). Running in a D+13, Clinton+29 minority-majority district when your issues page consists solely of the words “Immigration - Coming Soon” is a bold plan. It’s also an insanely foolhardy one.
hunter15991 Rating: Uncontested primaries. Solid Grijalva general.
Congressional District 4
For every yin there is a yang, and in CD3’s case it’s its neighbor to the north, CD4. The current incumbent is far-right Congressman Paul Gosar ($222.6K), whose greatest hits need no introduction. I sat in on a conservative club’s meeting on campus and heard that, in his words, a “Justice Democrats Deep State Plant” was going to primary him soon, and to not fall for what she was spreading.
Well, sure as anything, he did get a primary challenger mere hours after that meeting ended, former McSally staffer Anne Marie Ward ($13.3K COH – no relation). Ward’s website points to her wanting to tack slightly closer to the center than Gosar (again, low bar to clear), in an effort to attract the youth back to conservatism. Her issues pages seems to possibly be purposefully vague. While I’d love for Gosar to be replaced someone less likely to fly to the UK to meet neo-Nazis or author resolutions thanking Hungarian autocrats for their leadership, Ward doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere in a hurry 6 months after she announced.
The Democratic side also poses no threat to Gosar. The nominal frontrunner is nurse Delina DiSanto ($13.3K COH), who lost to Dr. David Brill last year and was, coincidentally, the GOP nominee in CO-03 back in 2004. DiSanto’s political metamorphosis doesn’t end there, back in 2018 she hammered Brill for not supporting M4A enough, but her issues page this year seems very dialed down. DiSanto is being challenged by perennial candidate Stu Starky (no reports yet filed – though they should have since he declared in June). Starky is most noticeable for his Hail Mary Senate run against John McCain in 2004 (McCain won by 56 points), as well as multiple House runs in the late 90’s and apparently considered filing for President once. When he filed I saw his social media had a lot of pro-Green Party stuff in the past, but oddly enough his issues page now has a strong focus on deficit reduction of all things, and advocates for a public healthcare option.
Regardless, none of the 3 other candidates in the race can stop Gosar at this point, and I highly doubt any will ever be able to.
hunter15991 Rating: Solid Gosar, Likely DiSanto. Solid Gosar general.
Congressional District 5
To quote my 2018 writeup: “I promise the fun stuff comes back soon enough. CD5 is something like CD4, except instead of a rural stretch of mountains filled with rednecks, it’s picturesque rows of suburban mansions filled with Mormons. Freedom Caucus nut and former President of the AZ Senate Andy Biggs ($481.8K COH) is the incumbent, having won the seat in a contentious primary in 2016.”
Yeah, not much has changed here. We’ll see what redistricting brings.
The three Dems vying for the seat are businesswoman/animal rights activist and 2018 nominee Joan Greene ($4.2K COH), teacher Jonathan Ireland (no reports filed) running on a standard Bernie-style platform, and attorney Javier Ramos (refusing to take donations, no filings), who’s running a very weird race and seems to be actively avoiding harping on his legal career.
I was impressed when Greene cracked 40% in 2018. There is no way any of these 3 could crack 50% in this district. Biggs’s only threat is in a primary, which he has escaped.
hunter15991 Rating: Biggs uncontested, Likely Greene. Solid Biggs general.
Congressional District 6
Told y’all the fun stuff was coming.
On paper, CD6 isn’t the most flippy of districts. Incumbent GOP Representative David Schweikert ($278.5K) has held the Democrat running below 40% for three straight elections after taking it from former Tempe mayor Harry Mitchell in the 2010 wave election. The candidate endorsements by azCentral for the 2016 Democratic primary bemoaned the lack of strong candidates, calling the eventual nominee “less unqualified for the job”.
But he had his margin cut to just 10 points in 2018 – a sign of swinging suburbs like Scottsdale – and this seat is one of the early few on the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” list this year.
On the Dems. side, 2018 nominee Anita Malik ($46.2K COH), trying to improve on her 10 point loss in 2018. Malik, in my mind, is not the frontrunner in this primary, although I didn’t think she was last year and got stung. Dr. Hiral Vyas Tipirneni ($911.9K COH) is running for CD6 this time round, after two close elections (1 special, 1 general) in neighboring CD8. Hiral has been ribbed somewhat for this district hop, but I buy her justification – her work and community connections are all in CD6, and despite being registered in CD8 her house is so close to the boundary line that I think a small portion of her backyard is in CD6. Joining Malik and Tipirineni are businesswoman and 2x legislative candidate in the 2000’s Stephanie Rimmer ($67.5K COH, $114.5K self-funded), and businessman/former McCain legislative staffer Karl Gentles ($80.3K COH).
Malik and Tipirneni were great friends during the 2018 election, but they’ve rather soured now that they’re running against each other. While Gentles and Rimmer have strong ability for growth, I believe the race will come down to Malik and Tipirneni, and I think Tipirneni ends up taking the win in that regard. Malik enters the race with decent name rec. and has a decent bloc of progressive supporters and volunteers, but Hiral has a massive fundraising advantage (Malik anecdotally hates calling for donations) – far greater than Dr. Heather Ross’s in 2018 when she lost to Malik. Tipirneni is also quite beloved by the AZ Republic (judging by their glowing endorsement of her in the fall of 2018) – this is bad news for Malik because the Republic’s endorsement of her was seen as what pushed her across the line in the 2018 primary (Ross led narrowly in absentees, and Election Day ballots – the only ones post-endorsement – broke to Malik).
In the general, Hiral has all the ingredients going for her. Schweikert is running under the shadow of a House Ethics investigation, is doing atrociously in fundraising, and would be going up against a well-known campaigning and fundraising machine in the form of Tipirneni. Hiral’s drive can be seen by the fact that her first campaign office was opened in last November, a full 51 weeks before the election (typically they’ve opened around here in the spring or early summer). Downballot Dems. in the area are improving sizably in terms of fundraising, and enthusiasm is high. The seat is R+10, but McSally only one it by 3 in 2018, and that’s far too close for comfort if I’m David Schweikert. A private internal (I plied it out of a GOP friend of mine who works in his legislative office) shows Schweikert up by ~7-8, which when adjusting for the fact internals always slant in the commissioning campaign’s favor points to quite the close race. I can definitely see this race entering tossup category, especially if Tipirneni is the nominee.
I’ll close with another anecdote about just how scared Schweikert is of Hiral from the same staffer friend – news broke to Schweikert of Hiral’s announcement back last spring during a staff meeting in his office. Schweikert, on hearing the news she had filed, turned even more pale than he normally is and left the room in a fluster. My friend said he could hear him yelling after he left.
I hope he does the exact same on November 3rd.
hunter15991 Rating: Leans Tipirneni, Schweikert uncontested. Leans Schweikert general.
Congressional District 7
The next two aren’t going to be all that interesting, so due to time constraints I’ll be a hair shallow on them. Incumbent Congressman Ruben Gallego ($859.3K COH) is uncontested on the Democratic side, and faces token GOP opposition in this deep blue district from businessman Josh Barnett ($634.64 COH) and community activist Nina Becker (no reports filed). Neither is particularly far above the signature minimum and if/when Gallego feels cheeky, both could be sued off the ballot.
hunter15991 Rating: Gallego uncontested, Likely Barnett. Solid Gallego general.
Congressional District 8
Once the site of a heated race between Tiprineni and Debbie Lesko ($379.2K COH), the district is on no one’s radar this time around. Lesko faces no GOP opposition in the primary, and the 3 Democratic candidates in the general – former HD22 candidate and businessman Michael Muscato ($14.4K COH), Army veteran Bob Olson ($39K COH, self-funding $50K), and former Litchfield Park City Councilman and City Manager Bob Musselwhite ($844 COH). Olson and Musselwhite ran in past years, with no real success. Musselwhite could theoretically have made a decent enough bid at the nomination either now or in past years, but doesn’t really seem to like campaigning and until recently shied away from his political experience in-district – a bizarre thing to do to say the least.
CD8 has a few intriguing candidates on its Dem. bench – most notably State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman – but for the time being it’s Lesko’s fiefdom to lose. I probably guess the Dem. nomination goes to Muscato, as he’s the only one of the 3 Dems really campaigning.
hunter15991 Rating: Leans Muscato, Lesko uncontested, Solid Lesko general.
Congressional District 9
Home stretch everyone! 1 more district before we fawn over Mark Kelly.
Greg Stanton ($615.8K COH) is the incumbent Democrat in the district. A former Mayor of Phoenix, Stanton was initially considering what is now Sinema’s Senate seat (the two aren’t on the best of terms) before national Democrats persuaded him to instead contest the Congressional seat Sinema had vacated. Stanton easily defeated radiologist Steve “Welfare recipients are like starving pets” Ferrara in 2018, and mostly dissuaded the GOP from fielding a serious candidate this year.
Stanton is facing a primary from the left from “science activist” and quasi-perennial candidate Talia Fuentes-Wolfe (no reports filed). Fuentes ran against Stanton in 2018 (after being the Dem. nominee in CD5 in 2016), but was removed from the ballot over signature validity issues – per friends of mine on the Stanton campaign, massive amounts looked like they were written in the exact same handwriting.
Stanton could be vulnerable to a legitimate challenge from the left (someone like State Rep. Athena Salman or State Sen. Juan Mendez), but Fuentes poses no significant opposition. If she is not removed again for signature validity issues or legal issues with her campaign finance reports that the Stanton campaign offered to ignore in 2018 (that would have led to criminal penalties for Fuentes and her treasurer), she doesn’t have much of a base of support in the district (hell, her website hasn’t been updated since 2018). Talia’s been prone to what I will diplomatically call “eccentric outbursts” at local activists and volunteers (some as young as college sophomores) and hasn’t made many friends in the area. I will leave specific interactions out of this post to avoid dunking on her too much, but feel free to PM me for details.
On the Republican side, 2016 nominee and 2018 candidate Dave Giles ($336 COH) is sticking his head into the meatgrinder again. Giles lost by 20 to Sinema in 2016 and by 27 to Ferrara in the 2018 primary – normally I wouldn’t see him going anywhere again this year. But he has a chance to out-Trump the other two candidates. Pharmacist Nicholas Tutora (no reports filed) is a good equivalent to Ferrara in 2018 – conservative, but not spamming pics of him with Trump everywhere like Giles. He’d be a strong candidate in the primary if he posts a couple good quarters of fundraising, but given that he never filed his Q4 report I doubt things are looking all that rosy for him. Meanwhile, Dr. Sam Huang (no reports filed) is a current Chandler City Councilman also angling to become the CD9 GOP nominee. Huang has by far the best background of the 3 (the only one with political experience) and has both a geographic (Chandler) and demographic (Taiwanese-Americans) base of support, and is probably the most moderate of the 3.
However, both of those advantages are significantly neutered by the layout of CD9. Most of Chandler is in CD5, and the CD9 portion is generally more liberal than the CD5. And while having strong support among the Taiwanese community is a strong plus, it’ll probably be more than cancelled out by the unfortunate racial stigma Asian-Americans are facing during the COVID19 crisis. I would not put it past Giles to racebait about Huang, and I think the GOP primary base here may lap that up.
In the general Stanton could have been slightly spooked by a well-funded Huang campaign, but I just don’t see Huang making it. And even so, the district is simply galloping to the left at too fast of a pace for the GOP to keep up – the one or two candidates who could plausibly do it (Tempe Councilwoman Robin Arredondo-Savage, State Sen. Kate Brophy McGee) are off doing their own thing. Arredondo-Savage could pose a threat in 2022 if she decides to run in a redrawn district, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
hunter15991 Rating: Solid Stanton, Tossup GOP (Huang/Giles). Solid Stanton general.
US Senate
Thanks for staying with me through this post. Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for.
Martha McSally ($7.66M COH) is the incumbent Senator, having been appointed by Governor Doug Ducey (R) after Sen. Jon Kyl left the seat in the winter of 2018 (who himself had been appointed when Sen. John McCain passed in September 2018). McSally, as you all know, lost the 2018 Senate election to Kyrsten Sinema, and it raised some eyebrows when Ducey appointed her to this spot. The rumor – which has some validity to it – was that Ducey purposefully selected a weak McSally to fill the seat so that she’d lose in 2020, so that he himself could run for it unimpeded in 2022. Ducey was on track to appoint himself when Kyl was going to leave, but due to a come-from-behind win by State Sen. Katie Hobbs (D) in the Secretary of State race (who’d become Governor if Ducey vacated the seat) his plans were dashed.
McSally is despised by the Kelli Ward bloc of the party, and there was a big hubbub when businessman Daniel McCarthy ($34.9K COH, self-funding $149.6K) filed to run against her last fall. While he has the made the ballot – no small feat – he has yet to really turn on the self-funding spigot. Maybe this will change in the coming months, but for the time being it doesn’t really look like he’s ready to go full bore against McSally. She’s currently on track to easily win the primary, although it’ll be interesting to see – if McCarthy never does go all-in – just how many votes his skeleton candidacy will still win. I’d bet at least 1/3rd of the GOP primary base, to be honest.
McSally’s fundraising has been very impressive, leading all competitive GOP Senators nationally and raising the 6th most among all Senate candidates this year. It is therefore a delicious twist of fate that her sole Democratic opponent – astronaut and gun control advocate Mark Kelly ($13.61M COH) has raised the most among any Senate candidate – challenger or incumbent – this cycle. Yes, that’s more money raised and COH than Mitch McConnell or John Cornyn, who have had since 2015 to fundraise. It’s more COH than McSally and Sen. Thom Tillis (R, NC) COMBINED.
It’s a lot.
Kelly also holds strong support among Democratic base by virtue of his past work with Giffords PAC and his marriage to former Rep. Gabby Giffords (who was shot in the head during a 2011 assassination attempt) – beloved by even some Republicans.
McSally has been polling 7-8 points behind Kelly on the RCP average and has been trending ever so slightly downwards since the start of the campaign. The GOP could very well retain this seat in the fall, but polling, fundraising, the national climate, and a non-empty GOP primary are all big thorns in McSally’s side, as well as a fractured base of support (exacerbated by the fact that Kelli Ward is now AZ-GOP chair).
Personally I think Ducey knew exactly what he was doing when he appointed McSally. She’s no longer a rising-star fighter pilot – one of her engines is on fire, she’s taking flak from friendly forces on the ground, and she’s coming in for one hell of a crash landing.
AZ Dems attitude about this race is a simple one. To quote a favorite line of Gabby and Mark’s:
“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”
hunter15991 Rating: Likely McSally, Kelly uncontested. Leans Kelly general.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this read! I’m going to try to knock out Maricopa County candidates today (and possibly other large counties like Pima) and get to the legislative ones this weekend. Any update due to signature challenges or fundraising reports dropping should come closer to the end of the month.
I’ll be splitting up my “endorsements” (both Dem. and “best-case R”) on each page and then again all at once at the end of this series. They’ll be listed in the comments, for posterity.
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