Debate moderator puts tRump up, 299 to 240

NBC’s Kristen Welker didn’t do much to shut up Dr. Quack tRump in the third and final debate before election day on Nov. 3. Did she have a mic kill button? Did she ever use it? I thought she let tRump ramble on and always gave him the last word on every exchange.

While I don’t think you win debates by saying the most words, there are those who do. And they saw tRump winning the debate. He might have told one lie after another, but there wasn’t anyone there to say they were lies. Except Biden, and he didn’t do that enough.

So Stable Genius rattles off a bunch of numbers, repeats his favorite insults and makes sure he overrides the moderator to put the finishing touches on the end of his rant. Or so I say. The most-words-win person would say he overpowered his opponent and the moderator with words that flowed from his mouth and never gave them a chance.

I moved all the “maybe” votes to tRump, gave Missouri over to the red pile and put South Carolina in that stack as well. I may have moved S.C. earlier. Next I’ll move to Canada.

Biden’s SCOTUS picks: Anita Hill, Merrick Garland

Handicapping the 2020 presidential election based on states and their electoral voters could be like betting on a horse race where the starting gates open and there’s no one there. Or, at least not the runners you had expected. With that kind of a race, the stewards would probably take things into their hands and decide the race themselves. For the presidential race, that could end up looking like this:

That would piss off some of the bettors in the stands – wait, there’s no one in the stands thanks to coronavirus. But to those of us peeking through the fences, it looks as though those wearing the black silks would give the race to a dark horse, like they did in 2000.

Or, Biden might win by a landslide, tRump could slink out the back door of the White House and the winner might think about changing some numbers – like nine on the Supreme Court and 50 states in the United States.

I have become used to nine on the court and the nice even number of 50 states and would hate to see them changed. But it could go a long ways to upsetting the “minority-rules” tactics of Moscow Mitch von Hindenburg McConnell. Right now the Grand Old Peckers represent 153 million of the United States population in the Senate while the “minority” represents 168 million. With Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension to the Supreme Court next week, three of the justices will have been nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by three million votes. W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 but did not nominate his justices (Roberts and Alito) until after John Kerry was Swiftboated in 2004 and Bush won by more than three million votes.

So should Biden pack the court? Put two more chairs on the left side of the bench? Nope, and I don’t see any reason of him to say whether he will or won’t before the election. Run his own campaign and not let the opposition call the shots.

My plan would be for Biden to name his potential Supreme Court replacements before Nov. 3. First on the list: Anita Hill. Biden owes her one. Clarence Thomas and Bret Kavanaugh would flee, and Biden could send in his next sub: Merrick Garland.

When 82-year-old Stephen Breyer retires, Biden would have to supply his own list of replacements, because I have exhausted mine.

So then the handicapping for Kamala Harris in 2024 would look like this:

About 50 states. I like 50. But if you can make Hawaii, a set of islands 2,500 miles from the West Coast, a state, why not Puerto Rico, only 1,800 miles from Florida? And the 700,000 people living in Washington, D.C., ought to get the same representation of the almost 600,000 living in Wyoming. Puerto Rico and D.C. going Democratic? That would be a problem for Mitchie and his gang. So sad.

“Mr. President” game might be better than my handicapping

You never know what might show up when you put something on your blog. For instance, I got a nice note from Mark, a rugby-playing teammate about a game he used to play called “Mr. President.” He’s younger than I (we are both past our prime playing days). But his teens were in the 1970s, and he became quite familiar with games of that era as you can see from what he wrote:

“Made me think of a game I used to play in my teens in the 70’s.

It’s called “Mr. President.” It’s a 3M Bookshelf game.

Using cards to campaign around the states, the two candidates blind balloted them into state slot boxes. Once the campaign ended, the boxes were opened, ballots counted and winner declared.

I no longer own a copy of the game, but I sure learned a bit about the chore a presidential campaign entailed.”

That might be a better way of figuring out who is going to win the 2020 presidential race than my guessing, I mean, handicapping, that I am doing in this blog. Although the game seems somewhat complicated.

The only 3M games that I know is “Facts in Five,” but Mark is a more enthusiastic gamer than I am.

“I was a big-time gamer in me youth. Me & my two brothers and about five neighbor kids would play games over and over, and if they ever got boring because we figured them out, we’d play them oppositely: we’d play them to LOSE. The biggest loser was the winner. 

Playing a game opposite, to lose, does not always work, but it is a fun exercise and keeps your brain on its toes.

There is a published game called “AntiMonopoly,” though I have not played it.

Monopoly was a favorite. We’d link two boards at one of the corners, usually Free Parking, and play a double game in a figure 8. One neighbor had a machine shop and we would create our game pieces on their metal lathe and hand-paint faces on them. Hardcore.

Two neighbors and I got into Avalon-Hill war games. There’s a whole family of them — huge thick cardboard game boards with cardboard armies and armored square pieces (and navy and aircraft pieces, too). These match-ups took 16 or more hours to play the full game. Tricky rules. You make battles with adjacent stacked up units and use a dice or two to figure out the attrition.

I own a few of these still. I assume I’ll never play them again as they take so long to play, and I only have one or two pals who would ever invest the time.

Anyhow, those 3M bookshelf games were different and fun. “Stocks and Bonds” got heavy play. Also “Acquire,” which was about hotel chains. “Quinto” and “Facts in Five” were played, too.

Here’s the full lineup and the history of the 3M line:

You would enjoy Mr. President. Maybe I’ll search it out and pick it up for “someday” playing.

Truth is, Mr. P and “Stocks and Bonds” would both lend themselves to an online version pretty easily, I think.

There is a vibrant sub-culture in Seattle and most cities of board-game playing that picked up in the last decade or so. Germany is the source of hundreds of new board games, a magnet for designers.

New top games like Settlers of Cattan and Ticket to Ride are doing well, and I have gone through the fad of “Ticket to Ride” with at least a dozen friends and family. TTR lends itself to an online version, which you can purchase for very cheap via the platform Steam. I recommend TTR –there are over a dozen versions with slight rules twists and geography settings beyond the basic USA game.

War games thrived in the 70’s & 80’s, Avalon-Hill even had a club where they would mail you monthly a new game: on a paper board of a historic battlefield with the true-to-life assemblage of army and armored division cardboard units.”

Mark says it’s OK to give out his email, although “the most I can offer is to talk about games, not really looking for play “dates” as I know where to go to find players.”

Thanks, Mark, for a look inside the gaming world. Now back to deciding if South Carolina really belongs in Biden’s camp.

What if tRump won California? Steady Joe can’t win

October 17, 2020 update: Responding to comments on California going to tRump:

“Not gonna happen!! Biden all the way!”

Moving California back to Steady Joe.

Also this comment:

“Please get your mind right on Arizona. Demographics push it big and blue. I take a $2 punt on it…”

Moving Arizona to Biden, which would give him 279 electoral votes, enough to win even if tRump got all my “maybe” votes:

What if tRump won California? I got an email from someone in that state giving his reasons for why he is voting for tRump. He’s convinced and can’t be dissuaded. Are there enough like him to give California’s 55 electoral votes to the Republicans? This despite it being Kamala Harris’ home state?

Best thing in handicapping is to take all pieces of information into consideration. To not do so would be like thinking you know all about Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania without visiting them. That could turn out badly.

I can never understand why pundits say “he can’t win without” California, Florida, Texas or some other individual state as if all other states are going to line up as expected. That seems as crazy to me as what I am doing here.

However, Steady Joe can’t win without California. If all states did as I have predicted – Ha! – tRump would be over the top with 290 electoral votes, 20 past the 270 needed to win. Even if Biden got all the states I have left under “Maybe,” he would lose 290 to 249.

Can this be right? Biden within 2 electoral votes of winning

The headline here might look as if I have decided to bet on “Steady Wins the Race” Biden, but that is not true. This is just where I am now in my handicapping.

Sticking with my horse-racing analogy (I lost $6 at Emerald Downs today!), the field has just entered the paddock. The announcer has listed the entries’ weights, and there are some jockeys who could have dropped a few more pounds in the sweat box. There’s a ways to go before the starting gates open and the wire is crossed.

We’re gathering information now, leading to our final bet. Listening to the touts, weighing pieces of information, making pencil notes on our Daily Racing Form. These notes may not determine whom you think will win, but they need to be considered.

I’m watching some sticky points as the race approaches. We got some work-out figures that move around how these horses will line up, who’s backing them and whether they will still be there at the finish on Nov. 3.

In relationship to the presidential race, these are preliminary events, but they do influence a betting man’s mind. At least they do mine. Now listed in the past performances (PP) are these primary races:

Missouri? Moving my undecided Missouri electoral votes into the Biden barn. Cori Bush walked straight from the Black Lives Matter protests into the House of Representatives, taking down a 10-term congressman who took over the seat from his father. So long, Clay family, after 50 years. This is only one district in St. Louis and might not say much about the rest of the state and the “independent” farmers banking on government subsidies. But enough of those farmers voted for an expansion of Medicaid to win statewide approval. If you want to see an urban-rural divide look here.

Arizona: Phoenix voters put an 88-year-old, has-been sheriff within 500 votes of someone who does not have Joe Arpaio’s problems (“$147 million in taxpayer-funded legal costs, a failure to investigate more than 400 sex-crime complaints made to the sheriff’s office and launching criminal investigations against judges, politicians and others who were at odds with him,” according to the Associated Press). Those voters probably hadn’t heard of the Democratic Party, whose candidate, Paul Penzone, will hand whoever wins the GOP primary a large defeat in the general election. But those same voters may swing the 11 electoral votes over to Quadruple Bogey tRump.

Michigan, known as That State up North to those of us from Ohio, is edging over to the Steady Joe camp based on Rashida Tlaib winning big time over the president of the Detroit City Council. Big city, big win, maybe a move away from all the wrong-headed things they do up there. We’ll see.

Kansas: Despite the defeat of Kris “No vote or immigrant above suspicion” Kobach there, I’m leaving those six electoral votes in the dung pile outside the barn.

You might say this looks like Biden the Tortoise may win the race, but as a friend from Montana says, “Still too close to be scary.”

P.S. Right now I’m in the same camp as Allan Lichtman, who says that the hardest part of handicapping presidential elections is “keeping your politics out of predictions.” Probably did not do that very well.