They Can’t Even Get This Right

If you’re wondering how the GOP continues to survive despite the drama surrounding President Trump, the answer is pretty simple: Democrats.

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif) said the House will move to impeach President Trump as soon as this week if Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s cabinet don’t act to strip him of his powers over the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Mrs. Pelosi, in a letter to House colleagues, said Democrats on Monday will first introduce a resolution calling for the vice president to use the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove Mr. Trump from office. The resolution would come to a vote by Tuesday. If it is approved and Mr. Pence doesn’t act to remove Mr. Trump from office within 24 hours, the House will proceed to impeachment, Mrs. Pelosi said.

I have already said the 25th Amendment is not appropriate. Moreover, a Congressional resolution demanding the Vice President and the cabinet invoke it seems highly inappropriate. Congress has a mechanism for removing the president – it’s called impeachment. Maybe they can get around to that.

“We will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

He’s such an imminent threat they’re going to waste another 24 hours on a pointless resolution. Meanwhile, the third highest ranking member of the Democratic House caucus is hinting they might not even bother sending articles of impeachment to the Senate until Biden’s first 100 days are up.

House Democrats are currently circulating one article of impeachment against the president for “incitement to insurrection,” and could vote on the article before Trump leaves office. However, Clyburn indicated that the House may wait to send the article to the Senate for a trial and vote.

“We’ll take the vote that we should take in the House, and [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.)] will make the determination as to when is the best time to get that vote and get the managers appointed and move that legislation over to the Senate,” Clyburn told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

Clyburn added, “It just so happens that if it didn’t go over there for 100 days, it could — let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we’ll send the articles sometime after that.”

I hope I am never in a life threatening situation surrounded by Congressional Democrats. By the time they got around to deciding to administer aid I would be six feet underground.

The Democrats could have voted on articles of impeachment last week, and I don’t think too many people would have batted an eye. As it is, by the time they do vote it will have been at least a week since the invasion of the Capitol, and Trump will have only a few days left in office. Even if the Senate were inclined to move right away on the articles of impeachment, there is no way a vote for conviction and removal will take place much more than two days before the end of his term.

No, impeachment doesn’t have to take place while President Trump is in office, and I said as much last week. But Congressional Democrats’ actions belie their assertions of urgency.

Only the modern Democratic party could screw up something this much when public opinion is more on their side than it is likely to be again.


25th Amendment No, Impeachment Yes

I am in about 90 percent agreement with Andy McCarthy here. The 25th Amendment is meant to apply to a president who is incapacitated. Donald Trump may not be completely stable, but invoking the 25th Amendment against him would set a dangerous precedent. A president unwilling to discharge his duties properly – and Trump’s dereliction of duty in refusing to grant additional support to the DC police was disgraceful – is not the same thing as a president who can’t discharge his duties.

Impeachment and conviction is the only proper remedy in this case. I am sympathetic to McCarthy’s pragmatic considerations that removal would only inflame the situation. At the same time, should we permit the mob to hinder us from taking appropriate action? Moreover, failure to act now would itself be a terrible precedent. The president of the United States just about called for a coup. If this isn’t the time to impeach and remove a president, when is the right time?

I thought impeachment was not the right call after the Ukraine imbroglio (and may have weakened the chances of impeachment and removal now), but here there should be no doubt of its appropriateness in this circumstance. That Donald Trump will be out of office in twelve days should not factor into Congress’ considerations. Congress needs to reclaim its authority, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Practically speaking, it won’t happen overnight. The House could probably deliver articles of impeachment within 24 hours, but even if every Senator wanted to vote to convict – and that certainly won’t be the case – there are certain procedural protocols that would prevent the Senate from simply voting to convict. If the House got the ball rolling right now, President Trump would probably not be removed (assuming a conviction, which is admittedly a 50/50 proposition at best) for another 5-7 days.

Keep in mind that impeachment is not limited to current office holders. President Trump could still be impeached and convicted after January 20, and there is merit to a post-presidency conviction.

Whether any of this will come to pass is an an open question. Impeachment is a near certainty, but as I said, removal may not be likely. Regardless, it is what should happen.

Do They Give Senators Pocket Guides to the Constitution?

My question is prompted by Senator Josh Hawley, who just had a book contract cancelled by Simon and Schuster for his part in the Wednesday’s disaster. The book publisher said it could not “support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.” In response, Hawley went to Twitter:

On Twitter, Sen. Hawley called Simon & Schuster’s decision “Orwellian” and “a direct assault on the First Amendment,” saying his work representing his constituents was redefined by the publisher as sedition.

Simon & Schuster may be wrong to cancel Hawley’s book deal – as a matter of fact, that’s where I lean right now – but I was not aware that a book publisher refusing to publish someone was a violation of the first amendment of the Constitution. Unless Simon & Schuster has become a part of Congress without any of us knowing it, then I don’t think this touches the first amendment at all.

This is the same Senator, mind you, who is leading an assault on the first amendment in his pointless jihad against “big tech.”

Senator Hawley has been helpful in at least one regard – he’s helping reduce the field of candidates I will have to consider supporting in 2024. His fellow Senator from the great state of Texas has also been useful this way.

Delicious Irony

It’s hard to take away anything positive from the attempted sedition that took place on Wednesday, but hopefully there will be consequences for those who stormed the Capitol building. Some have already been fired, and many will face possible prosecution as police sort through the video evidence and track down the mutineers. The great irony, though, is that had the protesters been wearing masks, it would be difficult if not impossible to track them down.

Republican Governors

Interesting analysis from Dan McLaughlin that shows a couple of things. First, Republicans have had a lot more recent success winning elections in blue states than Democrats have had in red. I can attest to the joys of having a Republican governor in a deep blue state (even if said governor has jumped the gun and already started running campaign ads for the 2024 election). It also demonstrates that Donald Trump has not had the sort of disastrous electoral effect on the GOP some feared.

The latter point is worth considering. Obviously, I am no fan of Trump, but he has not wrecked the Republican party electorally as previous presidents have done to their parties. Now, there are a couple of caveats to this. He only had one term, so that may have mitigated some of the potential damage. Also, it’s possible his presidency precipitated a decline in the suburbs that will reverberate in years to come.

Regardless, it’s worth looking at how presidents’ parties have done at the beginning at the end of their terms. I’ll just take a look at the most four recent presidencies.

Bill Clinton took office with a 258-176 Democratic advantage in the House and a 57-43 edge in the Senate. Moreover, Democrats had held a majority in the House since the middle of Eisenhower’s first term. Bill Clinton left office with Republicans in control of both chambers: 223-211 in the House, and 50-50 in the Senate (with Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote until “Jumping” Jim Jeffords switched parties during the summer of 2001.) That is a net loss of 47 House seats and 7 Senate seats over eight years. The Democrats actually picked up seven seats in the House compared to the post-1994 Congress. Considering the long history of Democratic Congressional majorities, this relatively narrow party split (which almost exactly mirrors the one the 117th Congress will have) doesn’t really tell the full story. Democrats also lost governorships in states like New York and New Jersey, and Republicans made steady gains in local races in the southeast, where Democrats lost majorities they had held since the Civil War, or at least the process began which culminated over the next decade. And Democrats lost the White House, albeit in as close an election as we have ever seen.

George Bush entered office with the above-noted narrow majorities and left office with Republicans seemingly on the brink of extinction. The 111th Congress (2009-2011) saw Democrats with a 257-178 House majority and a 59-41 Senate majority (technically 2 Independents, but both caucused with Democrats), for net loss of 45 House seats and 9 Senate seats for the GOP. Again, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Bush’s presidency was the mirror image of Clinton, as Republicans gained seats in the 2002 and 2004 elections before being wiped out in 2006 and 2008. Republicans held their own in the states, although they were overall in a weaker position.

As for Obama, he entered office with the above-mentioned majorities. After the 2016 election, Republicans held a 247-188 House majority and a Senate majority of 51-47 (or 49 with the Independents). That’s a net loss of 69 House seats and 11 Senate seats (factoring in the Democrats having 60 seats after Arlen Specter’s party switch). Democrats were also decimated on the state level over the course of Obama’s presidency, losing over a thousand state legislative seats and multiple governorships. Obama’s presidency was just a complete electoral disaster for the Democrats – except for Obama himself.

So now the House is looking like it will be a 223-212 Democrat majority, and we don’t know yet about the Senate. That’s a net loss of 35 House seats and anywhere between one Senate seat lost to a net gain of one seat. And Republicans lost several governorships in 2018, but gained a couple back in 2020. All in all, not terrible.

Again, Trump only had four years, so who knows what the party compositions would have looked like with another four years of Trump in the White House. It’s quite possible, and maybe likely, that Republican losses in the suburbs would have left the party in dire straits four years hence. On the other hand, maybe gains in other demographics would have offset those losses. There’s no way of knowing for sure. What is certain is, if nothing else, the Trump presidency did not decimate the Republicans electorally as much as previous presidencies – even two-term presidencies – did for previous parties. And if I had extended my analysis back another thirty years, it would have shown more of the same.

Summarizing Voter Fraud Claims

With the help of friend and former co-blogger Darwin Catholic, we have have put together a summary of the voter fraud claims put forth, and the sources debunking these claims. I have tried to be succinct as possible below or else the document would have been about 20 pages. For ion-depth analysis, please refer to the sourced link.

You will see The Dispatch factcheck referenced many times. They are indispensable resource, and I believe these factchecks are available to non-subscribers. I should also note AG Hamilton, who has also put together a summary of allegations, and that is linked to at the end.

If you see anything we missed, or have other resources you would like to share, please feel free to add those in the comments. This will be a “living” document and so will be updated as needed.

Election Fraud Allegations

Claim: In Pennsylvania, more mailed ballots were returned than requested. 

Doug Mastriano, republican state Senator: “Pennsylvania reports having mailed out 1,823,148 ballots, of which 1,462,302 were returned. Yet total mail-in votes number 2,589,242? From where did the extra 2,589,242-1,462, 302=1,126,940 votes come?”

Rebuttal: The senator was relying on information from the primary. The actual number of returned ballots was 2,629,672, out of a total of 3,087,524 mail-in ballot requests.


Claim: Joe Biden outperformed Hillary Clinton in only a handful of cities, all located in major swing states.

Rebuttal: Joe Biden overperformed Hillary Clinton in many major metropolitan areas, and underperformed her in Philadelphia. Joe Biden’s margin largely came from the suburbs.


Claim: Wisconsin had more ballots cast than registered voters.

Rebuttal: The registration numbers had come from the 2018 midterm elections. The number of registered voters in the state = 3,684,726 (with 3,239,920 votes cast). Wisconsin also permits election-day registration.


Claim: More people voted in Detroit than live there.

Rebuttal: About half of Detroit’s registered voters cast a ballot in the presidential election.


Official votes summary:!electionsum_11032020.pdf 

Official voting statistics:  

Claim: More people voted in several Michigan precincts than live in those precincts.

Rebuttal: The precincts were in the state of Minnesota (and the turnout figures are inaccurate there, as well). 


Wayne Country MI registered voters and votes cast by precinct:  

Claim: 138,339 votes appeared overnight in Michigan, all for Biden.

Rebuttal: This was a misunderstanding due to a clerical error.


Claim: Georgia rejected a starkly lower proportion of ballots due to signature issues than in previous election.

Rebuttal: Rejection rates were in line with previous general elections. Higher percentage cited by Donald Trump was of rejected ballots due to deadline issues, not signatures.


Claim: Viral videos show Pennsylvania poll workers filling out empty ballots.

Rebuttal: Videos show workers transcribing damaged ballots which could not be scanned, as per usual procedure. 


Claim: Video shows poll workers burning Trump ballots.

Rebuttal: The video was of workers burning sample ballots.


Claim: Maricopa County officials handed out sharpies to voters, knowing that those ballots could not be properly scanned.

Rebuttal: Sharpies can be read by the machines. Unreadable ballots would also not be discarded and would be duplicated by poll workers, one from each party (see Pennsylvania claim above).


Claim: Voting was mysteriously halted on election night with Trump ahead, and as soon as it resumed Biden pulled ahead.

Rebuttal: Voting stopped to allow poll workers to rest. Also, stopping occurred at different times in different places. 


Claim: There were huge ballot dumps overnight between November 3 and 4 that favored Joe Biden.

Rebuttal: Unlike Florida, which counts absentee ballots as they come in, many states waited to count those votes, and these were tabulated (as predicted) late in the night and early morning. Moreover, these votes did not break significantly more for Biden than what is typical for these locations.


Claim: USPS backdated 100,000 ballots so they could be counted illegally.

Rebuttal: Even if the allegation about USPS is true (and there is no evidence it is), these ballots would not have been counted anyway since no ballot received after 8 PM on election nights were counted.


Claims about Dominion

Claim: President Trump received so many votes it broke Dominion’s vote-rigging algorithm, just as had happened in Venezuela. 

Rebuttal: Elections are far more decentralized in the United States for a comparable vote rigging to take place. 


Claim: Dominion software was used exclusively being used in states President Trump is challenging.

Rebuttal: Dominion is not used in all counties in the contested states, and is used in 28 states and Puerto Rico. 


Claim: Edison Research found that Dominion deleted millions of Trump votes.

Rebuttal: Edison Research categorically denies making such a claim.


Other miscellaneous claims about Dominion rebutted:

“Fishy” election trends

Claim: House and other election results don’t jibe with President Trump’s performance.

Rebuttal: Ticket-splitting is a common phenomenon, and the amount of ticket-splitting in 2020 was actually lower than in previous elections. 


Claim: Despite a palpable lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden, he overcame Donald Trump’s garnering over 10 million more votes than he did in 2016.

Rebuttal: Donald Trump is unpopular and drove people to vote against him. Biden also fared better in winning over 2016 third party voters. 


Claim: A security video shows Fulton County, GA election workers pulling suitcases of fake ballots out from under a table as soon as observers left.

Rebuttal: Those who watched the entirety of the videos report nothing improper took place. 


Other legal analysis from Andy McCarthy

Other Resources:

AG Hamilton: Analyzing Voter Fraud Allegations.

USA Today analysis of various affidavits from poll watchers:

Why 8 claims from Rudy Giuliani’s Michigan witnesses don’t add up:

13 Fake Fraud Claims Persist in Michigan:

Darwin Catholic Lifts the Election Fog

Darwin Catholic has been an incredible resource in debunking a lot of the election conspiracy bs that is going around, and his latest is an incredibly thorough debunking of a work of speculative fiction from the Spectator. It’s worth your time to go through and read it all because he provides copious amounts of data and evidence to demonstrate that the continued stolen election narrative lacks any merit.

I have a little bit of data to buttress Darwin’s post. I went through the Congressional election results in four of the swing states Trump lost: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia, as well as a couple he won – Florida and North Carolina. I also looked at a couple of “Trumpier states” – Missouri and Indiana – to provide some additional context. I wanted to see if Trump’s numbers were dramatically different than Congressional Republican numbers or if Biden was dramatically ahead of Democratic Congressional candidates. I also was looking to see if there were huge disparities between presidential and congressional total vote tallies where the presidential votes were significantly higher. There’s always going to be some roll-off where people cast presidential ballots and nothing else, but if the roll-off was unusually high then it would provide some evidence that there was some ballot-stuffing in favor of Joe Biden.

First, here’s the states Trump lost. The number on the left is Trump’s vote compared to the GOP House candidates, the second is Biden compared to the Democrats, and the third is the amount of two-party presidential ballots compared to the total ballots case in Congressional races, or roll-off..

Pennsylvania- Trump: -100,604. Biden: +109,539. Roll-off: 8,895
Georgia- Trump: -15,889, Biden: +68,748. Roll-off: 52,859
Michigan- Trump: -105,267, Biden: +252,751. Roll-off: 147,484
Arizona- Trump: +33,627. Biden: +32,368. Roll-off: 65,995

Now for the Trump states”

North Carolina- Trump: +127,437, Biden: +23,757. Roll-off: 151,194
Florida- Trump: +199,567, Biden: +354,758. Roll-off: 554,325
Indiana- Trump: -8,895, Biden: +47,595. Roll-off: 38,700
Missouri Trump: -5,607, Biden: +80,667. Roll-off: 75,060

A couple of notes. While it seems North Carolina slightly bucks the trend with Trump outperforming the GOP, a Democrat ran unopposed in the12th district and received all 341,457 votes. That likely skews the results. In Florida’s 25th, meanwhile, the Republican ran unopposed but zero votes were tallied (at least by CNN’s vote tracker) which means Trump +199,567 over Florida Republicans is likely actually a deficit, and the overall overvote is also significantly less and more in line with the other states.

If something were truly fishy, then there should not have been this level of consistency. Granted, I did not look at every state, but the results in these states tell the same story. Additionally, I lloked at the state percentages from both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and they also show a consistent pattern. Trump slightly surpassed his vote percentage from four years ago in 38 states, while Biden surpassed Clinton in all but two states, and often by 3-4 points.

The numbers do not support claims of massive vote fraud.

Paul Krugman: Gaslighter Extraordinaire

Dan McLaughlin calls Krugman out for, well, being Paul Krugman. Krugman cares about “legitimacy” only when it’s the other side doing the questioning. He had no problem stoking the flames against Bush and Trump, but suddenly it’s unprecedented that an election’s legitimacy is being called into question.

At this point I don’t think the term “hack” sufficiently describes Krugman. We need to develop a new term that captures the extra level hackery he displays on a regular basis.

I have lost all patience with people pretending Trump was cheated out of an election. But there’s a ton of people on the left who have absolutely no standing to be complaining.

Thanksgiving 2020

Even in the midst of so much uncertainty and sadness, it’s good to express thanks for the blessings in one’s life.

I am first and foremost thankful to God for his many blessings.

I am thankful for my family – my wife and four daughters. We are all healthy and making the best of this situation. We are fortunate that our jobs are secure, even if we have had to rearrange our schedules to accommodate distance learning. And we are blessed to soon be living in a beautiful, brand new home.

I am grateful to our older children’s school for opening and for not abandoning our children on the sideline.

I am thankful to have the blessings of Holy Mass, in person every week. In one of those silver linings of this dreadful pandemic, my parish now has a weekly TLM, and that has been a wonderful addition.

I am glad that, despite the intense sadness of losing my brother this year, we all got to visit with him and be with him as he died, and were able to have a full Funeral Mass attended by all his loved ones.

I am hopeful that, with barely more than a month left in 2020, this miserable year will soon be behind us and we can look forward to better things in 2021.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Demographics Change – News at 11 (Updated)

Frankly, I would like to leave the election of 2020 and the conspiracy theories surrounding it behind, but this article is a perfect distillation of the type of illogical, poorly researched nonsense that continues to dominate portions of the right. J.B. Shurk assembles a pile of amazing nuggets (some of which aren’t exactly true) to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election victory (without saying as much – we have to divine the author’s oh-so-subtle intent), but the author’s incredulous tone does not match the assembled evidence. In other words, it’s par for the course for the Stolen Election brigade.

Let’s take these “arguments” one by one. First, there’s Joe Biden’s record vote total.

Holy moly! A lot of Americans turned out for a Washington politician who’s been in office for nearly 50 years. Consider this: no incumbent president in nearly a century and a half has gained votes in a re-election campaign and still lost.

President Trump gained more than ten million votes since his 2016 victory, but Biden’s appeal was so substantial that it overcame President Trump’s record support among minority voters. Biden also shattered Barack Obama’s own popular vote totals, really calling into question whether it was not perhaps Biden who pulled Obama across the finish lines in 2008 and 2012.

Gee, imagine that – more people voted in an election when absentee and mail-in options were more readily accessible than ever. And indeed Donald Trump’s popularity among his base translated into wide adulation and drove millions of people to the polls to vote for him. But his deep unpopularity drove millions more to the polls to vote against him. Donald Trump is a polarizing figure, and is president during a time of intense partisan bickering. I get that Joe Biden enthused precisely zero people. This enthusiasm gap is why I gave Donald Trump a lot better chance to win than just about anyone else who wasn’t a die-hard Trump supporter. But we also have to acknowledge how deep was the hatred – and that’s the right word – felt towards the Donald, and that matters.

Absent from this analysis is any consideration of what the lack of third-party voting did to help Biden’s totals, at least compared to Hillary Clinton. In 2016, the two major party candidates received a hair over 94% of the vote. In 2020, that increased to 98.1%, and Joe Biden was the primary beneficiary. Joe Biden’s vote share declined (compared to Clinton) in exactly two states – Mississippi (39.9% from 40.1%) and New York (56.8% from 59%, and they’re still – very slowly – counting). The average increase for Biden was 3.8% in each state. As for Trump, he did better in 38 states (including DC) but did worse in 13. His average vote share increased 1.05%. In other words, people who voted third party in 2016 but who didn’t in 2020 largely preferred Biden. Is this an unexpected outcome considering what we know of American politics?

As for Trump’s “record breaking” performance among minorities, while it is true he performed better than any Republican since Nixon in 1960, he still was soundly beaten, especially among African-American voters. And whatever gains he made here were more than made up for in the loss of suburban voters. More on that in a moment.

The second “shocking” point raised is that Biden won despite losing multiple “bellweather” counties.

Biden is set to become the first president in 60 years to lose the states of Ohio and Florida on his way to election. For a century, these states have consistently predicted the national outcome, and they have been considered roughly representative of the American melting pot as a whole. Despite national polling giving Biden a lead in both states, he lost Ohio by eight points and Florida by more than three.

For Biden to lose these key bellwethers by notable margins and still win the national election is newsworthy. Not since the Mafia allegedly aided John F. Kennedy in winning Illinois over Richard Nixon in 1960 has an American president pulled off this neat trick.

Even more unbelievably, Biden is on his way to winning the White House after having lost almost every historic bellwether county across the country. The Wall Street Journal and The Epoch Times independently analyzed the results of 19 counties around the United States that have nearly perfect presidential voting records over the last 40 years. President Trump won every single bellwether county, except Clallam County in Washington.

From 1904 to 2004, the state of Missouri voted for the eventual winner of the presidential election in every election except one (1956). Since 2008, it has voted for the eventual winning candidate once in four elections. Things change.

Florida is not really a swing state, despite how close it is every presidential election, and despite Obama winning here twice. There are no statewide elected Democrats, and Republicans have dominated every level of government here for two decades. Ohio is also becoming less “swingy,” and provided Trump eight-point margins in both 2016 and 2018.

There’s little information provided about those 19 counties, but one suspects these are not metropolitan and suburban counties. In other words, Donald Trump won a bunch of rural counties. News at 11.

Next up, we have an outright falsehood: Biden fared worse than Hillary in all but four cities in four swing states.

Baris noted a statistical oddity from 2020’s election returns: “Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in every major metro area around the country, save for Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia.”

Barnes added that in those “big cities in swing states run by Democrats…the vote even exceeded the number of registered voters.” In the states that mattered most, so many mail-in ballots poured in for Biden from the cities that he put up record-breaking numbers and overturned state totals that looked like comfortable leads for President Trump.

Except, as Dan McLaughlin demonstrated, this isn’t true.

The problem, if you look at the cities themselves, is that the facts do not fit the story. I took a look across the 36 largest U.S. cities outside of California and New York where Biden beat Trump by at least 10,000 votes, as measured by county-wide vote totals (admittedly, some cities cross county lines or have suburban voters within county lines, and Maricopa County, Ariz., has two large cities in a single county). I excluded California and New York only because they are still counting votes so slowly that it is not yet possible to fairly compare their vote totals to 2016. I also excluded four cities where Trump either won or lost by a tiny margin: Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. That leaves us with a comparison across the major American Democrat-voting cities. Is it true that Joe Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in 32 out of 36, and overperformed in Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta, and Philadelphia? No, it is not. It is emphatically false:

Dan then has the chart showing how false the claim is. Then he adds:

Biden improved his margin of victory compared to Hillary in 31 out of 36 urban counties — and Philadelphia was one of the five in which he didn’t. In 29 of the cities, the Democratic margin of victory grew on a percentage basis. Of the twelve cities in which Biden overperformed Hillary by enough that his margin of victory grew by 10 percent or more (as a percentage of the 2016 electorate), only one (Atlanta) was in a swing state, and one other (Omaha) in a swing district. Biden’s improvements in Milwaukee and Detroit were distinctly subpar, and in Detroit, Trump improved his own share of the vote enough to be the first Republican to break 30 percent of the vote in Wayne County, Mich., in 32 years.

Yes, Biden had some really striking “metro area” improvements over Hillary in key states, but other than Atlanta, many of those came either in the surrounding suburbs (the election was really won in the suburbs, most of all around Philadelphia) or in counties such as Maricopa County, Ariz., (which contains both Phoenix and Mesa and was won by Trump four years ago) and Douglas County, Neb.,(which contains Omaha and swung one electoral vote). But those are not counties run by infamously corrupt Democratic local parties, and “voter fraud in the suburbs” is neither as sexy nor as plausible as fraud by the kinds of urban machines that gave us 100,000 fraudulent votes in Chicago in the 1982 Illinois governor’s race. Biden turned out tons of additional votes in Austin, Denver, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Portland, and Nashville, too, but none of those mattered to the outcome.

The point about the suburban vote needs to be re-emphasized. It is by now well-established that Donald Trump help lead a mass exodus of suburban voters – particularly women – from the GOP, as evidenced by the 2018 mid-term elections. This carried over to the 2020 election, where Trump underperformed. This is precisely where he lost the election.

Just take Frederick county in Maryland. Sure Maryland is a deep blue state, but in many of the counties outside of Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Republicans are either competitive or even dominant. In 2016 Trump carried Frederick by over 3,000 votes. In 2020, he lost by nearly 13,000 votes. And that pattern repeated itself throughout the country.

The fourth shocking point is that Biden won despite Democrats “losing everywhere.”

Randy DeSoto noted in The Western Journal that “Donald Trump was pretty much the only incumbent president in U.S. history to lose his re-election while his own party gained seats in the House of Representatives.” Now that’s a Biden miracle!

In 2020, The Cook Political Report and The New York Times rated 27 House seats as toss-ups going into Election Day. Right now, Republicans appear to have won all 27. Democrats failed to flip a single state house chamber, while Republicans flipped both the House and Senate in New Hampshire and expanded their dominance of state legislatures across the country.

The Cook Political Report took a giant credibility hit this election cycle, as did the polling industry in general. But these disparate results aren’t quite as “revealing” as the author thinks they are. Many of the Republican gains came in states where they were devastated in 2018, particularly New York and California. They also won back a couple of seats they had previously long-held. Despite the gains, the Republicans still lost – Democrats will have a slight majority. And even if Democrats lose both run-off elections in Georgia in January , they will have gained at least one Senate seat.

These Congressional election results are perfectly in-line with what one would expect in a year with close presidential elections. And, if anything, these are far from anomalous historically speaking. Dwight Eisenhower (1956), Richard Nixon (1972), Ronald Reagan (1980 and 1984), George Bush (1988), and Bill Clinton (1996) all won smashing election victories while the other party maintained control of the House.

Ticket splitting a normal phenomenon. What’s different about Trump is he has underperformed Congressional Republicans – this was true in 2016 and was true again in 2020. Newsflash: Donald Trump was/is not popular. Republicans are less unpopular.

Finally, there’s Trump’s primary performance:

First, no incumbent who has received 75 percent of the total primary vote has lost re-election. Second, President Trump received 94 percent of the primary vote, which is the fourth highest of all time (higher than Dwight Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, or Obama). In fact, Trump is only one of five incumbents since 1912 to receive more than 90 percent of the primary vote.

Third, Trump set a record for most primary votes received by an incumbent when more than 18 million people turned out for him in 2020 (the previous record, held by Bill Clinton, was half that number). For Biden to prevail in the general election, despite Trump’s historic support in the primaries, turns a century’s worth of prior election data on its head.

This is one of those historically true, but ultimately meaningless nuggets. Now I have noted before that it historically true that incumbents who are challenged in primaries have lost (Ford, Carter, HW Bush), while incumbents who are not have always won. Trump does upset this tradition.

Presidents who face serious primary challenges are those who are overseeing turbulent times and who are not popular with large chunks of his party’s base. Those two factors spell disaster for most presidents. Therefore, their primary challenges are a sign of what’s to come. Trump maintained his popularity with his base, and therefore had no problems in the primary.

But that also gets to the heart of what is so different about Trump, and also exposes why all these supposedly odd historical nuggets don’t add up to much. Donald Trump is deeply polarizing. His base loves him, and most others loathe him. He never dipped below 40% approval, but rarely got up above 45%. He had a steady base of support that never left him, but he also never built upon that base. Or to the extent he built upon that base, as he did with minorities, he lost it in other crucial demographics.

Donald Trump is a political anomaly. He managed a hostile takeover of the Republican party, built a slightly different political coalition than we’re used to seeing, and became the object of deeply passionate feelings – in both opposition and support – that we have never seen before. That his victory in 2016 and defeat in 2020 are both unique events doesn’t prove anything that we didn’t know already. Those trying to dig deeper and pretend there’s something suspicious at work are just deluding themselves and others.

Update: The Wall Street Journal has an article that addresses one of the issues raised above, ticket splitting.

Surveys have found that splitting votes between parties has been on the decline in recent years as the electorate grows more polarized. The 2020 election showed there are still enough people who vote that way to matter in places like eastern Nebraska and Maine, where Mr. Biden and Republican Sen. Susan Collins both won statewide.

. . .

A Wall Street Journal analysis of county-level election results found that, as in the Omaha area and in Maine, Mr. Biden tended to outperform Democratic Senate candidates in cities, suburbs and exurbs.

Bill McInturff, a GOP pollster at Public Opinion Strategies, said his firm found in a survey that 11% of voters nationally split their ticket—a thin slice but one that matters when contested races are decided by a few percentage points. “That number is really pretty deceptively small, but still, I think, really important in understanding where the Republican gains came from.”

Remember: Ronald Reagan won 60% of the popular vote in 1984. The Democrats lost 16 seats, but still had a 253-182 majority, while Democratic House candidates earned over 4 million more votes than their Republican counterparts.

This is not new. What’s new, if anything, is how relatively minimal it is.