Claudia leads, 2-0, in picking Biden’s Cabinet; John won’t concede

Claudia has now picked two of Biden’s Cabinet correctly; John has chosen none. Claudia admits she was in two of Mr. Folk’s classes at LCHS and he was her favorite teacher. And she obviously paid attention.

John says the only way he can lose this race is if it is rigged. John had considered hiring Rudi Gooeylanni to take this to the highest court in the land. However, Sidney “Landslide” Powell might be looking for a job and might lead John’s effort to get a recount.

In 1-on-1 race for picking Biden Cabinet posts, Claudia is leading

Guessing Biden’s Cabinet appointments
Sec. of StateChris Coons0Susan Rice0
Homeland Alejandro Mayorkas1Alexander Vindman0
Claudia has successfully picked Mayorkas as Biden’s Secretary of Homeland Security, giving her one point in our one-on-one contest to pick Biden’s Cabinet.

Our contest to name Biden’s new Cabinet came down to Claudia and I. There were criticisms of my guesses, but Claudia was the only one who submitted a full list of the Cabinet posts that are in the line of succession.

Claudia was so confident of winning that she included the non-political charity that she wants me to donate $100 dollars to: Enduring Hearts.

Frankly, I thought I would win this contest. Claudia graduated from Liberty Center High School (Go Tigers!) before me and probably never had Mr. Folk or Mr. Doughten as her history or Problems of Democracy teacher. That, I figured, gave me an advantage.

Not to be. In the early running, Claudia is up 1-0 over me.

So who were your history and POD teacheers, Claudia?

A new list of Cabinet posts has arrived

Two more contenders have weighed in on choosing President-elect Biden’s Cabinet post. Judy’s comments on the last post had a very good idea here:

“I would hope that the Secretary of the Interior would come from 1 of the Native American tribes.”

She rules out Mitt Romney because he has said he would not serve in Biden’s administration. Probably not, but it seemed a chance worth taking. Judy’s other comments:

Jay Inslee is probably too singular and doesn’t think broadly enough for the Energy post.

Alexander Vindman would not be strong enough to lead Homeland Security. He would be good for the 2nd in command there.

Claudia gave us her Cabinet choices. I tried to avoid taking any Democratic Senators as Cabinet members because I don’t think Biden wants to take any chances on losing votes in the upper chamber. That would eliminate Coons and Duckworth.

But I like some of Claudia’s choices, especially Sally Yates as Attorney General and Heidi Heitkamp at Agriculture.

(Also, I’d take Scott Kelly, not Mark. We heard Scott talk before the pandemic. Impressive, and Mark can stay in the Senate.)

I have a dream of more diversity but had to look at the contenders, qualifications, and duties to come up with some selections.
Secretary of State – Chris Coons
Attorney General – Sally Yates
Defense- Tammy Duckworth
Treasury- Janet Yellen
Homeland Security- Alejandro Mayorkas
HHS- Vivek Murthy
Labor -William Spriggs
Education -Lily Garcia
Transportation -Eric Garcetti
HUD – Julian Castro
Agriculture -Heidi Heitkamp
Energy -Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
Interior -Deb Haaland

Commerce – Terry McAuliffe
Veterans Affairs- Pete Buttigieg

If I get one of these right, it will be a miracle

 Claudia has left me no choice. I figured I’d do terrible at guessing Biden’s Cabinet, but then Claudia and her husband, Jim, said they would donate $100 to the non-political charity of choice for the winner of the Cabinet picks. So we are off.

The winner will be whoever picks the most number of Cabinet posts correctly. We are only doing those that are in the line of succession if the president can’t serve. There are 15 of them. Give me your list soon as Biden is busy making his picks.

If I get one right, it will be a miracle. Here are my picks:

Secretary of State, Department of State: Susan Rice. Cry more, Jim Jordan.

    Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury: Lael Brainard. OK, I saw this in the New York Times.

    Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense: John Kelly. Showed some sense in the Trump admin.

    Attorney General, Department of Justice: Vann Jones. Served in Obama admin, CNN commentator.

    Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. He’ll be happy to get out of the Treasure State now being run by a Flintstones Christian.

    Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture: Jon Doggett, CEO of National Corn Growers. Help the corn growers!

    Secretary of Commerce, Department of Commerce: Andrew Yang, one smart candidate for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020.

    Secretary of Labor, Department of Labor: Courtney Jenkins is an active and outspoken leader for the American Postal Workers Union Local 181 in Baltimore. And lord knows the Post Office could use some help.

    Secretary of Health & Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services: Mitt Romney. Hey, he put together the Massachusetts ACA.

    Secretary of Housing & Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development: Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta

    Secretary of Transportation, Department of Transportation: Julian Castro, served in Obama’s Cabinet

    Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

    Secretary of Education, Department of Education: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs: Scott Kelly, veteran and astronaut

    Secretary of Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security: Alexander Vindman. You may recognize him from Trump’s impeachment.

Two other winners name their charities

Two other winners in the 20020 electoral handicapping contests have named their charities to receive $100. Paul, an ex Marine who served two tours in Iraq, has named DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust ( He has also decided to donate to Seattle Compassion Services, the charity I donated to. If anyone wants to do the same, the website is

Don’s charity is Giving Kitchen, which supports unemployed food-service workers (mostly due to COVID) in Atlanta: That’s near and dear to my heart as our son lost his restaurant job at the start of the pandemic.

So thank you, Paul and Don.

3 winners in 2020 election contest, and a new challenge

First of all, I overlooked one of the entries to this contest, and it looks like it’s a winner. Mark sent it this entry, which I missed:


Changes to your handicapped picks:

Move from Trump to Biden: Florida, Georgia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

Move from Biden to Trump: -0- (none)

Mark said my 2020 presidential handicapping would have five wrong, and he is right. Mark was also the one who suggested how we would deal with the two states that split their electoral votes: Giving it to the candidate who got the highest number of votes in that state. Good thing he did, because I got one of them wrong. Maine should have been in the Biden column as he got three of the four votes available. I had Nebraska right as Trump got four of the five votes available.

Here’s what I got wrong:

I had these states for Trump. They went to Biden: Georgia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

I had this state for Biden, should have gone to Trump: North Carolina

Besides Mark, we had two other winners, who said I had five wrong:

Don K. 5 wrong:

Biden gets Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Not Florida.

Paul: 5 wrong.

Biden gets Wisconsin, Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia.

Not Florida

So, I have three charities that will receive $100 from me, plus I am going to donate $100 to Seattle Compassion Services since I also had five wrong. Mark, the “Mr. President” champion, was so sure that he would win that he listed his charity with his entry:

My charity is Operation Nightwatch

Fed nonprofit #:

donation page:

Don and Paul, what charities do you want to receive $100 from Outobut Polling?

Thank you to the others who participated in this handicapping adventure. Here is a participant medal you can cut out and hang next to your computer.

Also, we are not waiting for Trump tantrums, court cases, recounts, endless rounds of golf before he moves out of the White House. Even the nine jockeys in their black silk robes could not throw out this election. At least, I hope not.

And we have a suggestion for a new assignment from Claudia:

“I have a new assignment for you! I would love to see your cabinet picks. I want to see a diverse cabinet, and I would love to see a female majority. I have a lot of ideas and a lot of picks, but am always open for input and organization 😉

That is a big task. However, I am willing to give it a try. Let’s limit it to those who are in the line of succession and not the ones that have been added by presidents on top of those in the line of succession. The would mean that after the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate, these are in the line of succession:

  • Secretary of State, Department of State
  • Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense
  • Attorney General, Department of Justice
  • Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior
  • Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce, Department of Commerce
  • Secretary of Labor, Department of Labor
  • Secretary of Health & Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Housing & Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Secretary of Transportation, Department of Transportation
  • Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy
  • Secretary of Education, Department of Education
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Secretary of Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security

Fifteen Cabinet spots. Prizes to be named later.

My new company, Outobut Polling, mostly got it right

Not calling a winner yet in my charity presidential handicapping exercise, but my new polling company should take over the business of all the polls that got it wrong. So far, my Outobut Polling looks like it got it wrong on the states that split their electoral votes (should have listened to Mark) and I may have Wisconsin and North Carolina in the wrong columns.

Waiting for recounts, court challenges, raids on Post Offices that held up ballots, civil war and other inconveniences before I name a winner and donate $100 to a non-political charity of their choice. Look for updates.

Entries in my presidential handicapping charity event

Don K. 5 wrong: OK, here’s my prediction. A LANDSLIDE Victory by Sleepy Joe.

Biden carries the States of: (1) Florida (this alone should be enough to cement Biden’s victory); (2) Maine (how did you get Maine wrong?); (3) Wisconsin; (4) Pennsylvania; and (5) Georgia (that’s right, even Georgia). (I must admit that I am a little concerned about North Carolina, however.)

Paul: 5 wrong.

These are the states: Wisconsin, Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Georgia are all going to Biden.

David: 4 wrong:

In addition to your blue states, I’m predicting PA, Wi, MI and Florida!

Mary Jo: 3 wrong:

John, I am being optimistic maybe not realistic. I think Pennsylvania Florida, and the grand state of OHIO will go for Biden. I want a landslide for Biden.

Calvin: 2 wrong:

Penn and Wisc. to Biden !

Charley: 1 wrong

Maine to Biden. Shenanigans in counting ballots make me stop there.

Polls start closing in two hours. I’ll be watching.

Despite what my Ohio friends say, Trump gets the Buckeye state

Ohio friends and family can’t understand why I am keeping the Buckeye State in the electoral vote stack for Donald Trump in my handicapping of today’s presidential vote. And it may be that I am stuck in the past.

Born there, spent my first 20 years there and I can’t get over living in a congressional district that was Republican for more than 70 years, many of the representatives from the same family. So that has influenced where I think Ohio should go politically.

But I have listened to those living in Ohio and have read this book, trying to understand Ohio, and as the title says, the rest of America:

“Barnstorming Ohio: To Understand America.”

Written by David Giffels, a former columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal, the book came out this year, which might give it a short shelf life if it is only used to figure out the Trump-Biden election. But maybe people will read it to figure out what happens in the days, weeks and months ahead as we determine who won and how the nation will deal with that decision.

Giffels makes the point that you can’t ignore Ohio when trying to handicap who will win today’s election, as I have been doing the past few weeks. “Since 1896, Ohio’s voters have sided with the winner in twenty-nine of thirty-one presidential elections,” he writes. “No state has a higher percentage of accuracy. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. We are the only state to have a perfect record choosing the victor since 1964.”

My handicapping has Biden winning by one electoral vote (see chart below), which means I’m betting against Ohio. However, Giffels never comes down firmly for either the Democrats or the Republicans. He never says this candidate (Trump or Biden) will win. I think Giffels moves a bit toward Trump, but my final bet is on Biden to win it all despite where Ohio ends up.

As far as the second part of the book’s title — To Understand America – the book goes a long way in figuring out what we are all about in 2020. Closing auto factories in Lordstown, Ohio, even though Trump in 2017 said manufacturing jobs were “all coming back”? Reminds me of the jobs lost as Boeing shuts down operations in Washington State. Manufacturing jobs in many parts of the country aren’t coming back. That might mean a landslide against Trump. But UAW Local 1112 president David Green in Lordstown doesn’t quite see it that way. Trump will get some votes, but not “as many votes in this valley as he did then (2016), for sure.”

Soybean farmers hurt by Trump’s tariffs? Those tariffs also applied to apples, cherries and hay in Washington and to commodities grown in many states. Would a stubborn farmer abandon Trump? “I believe people in his cabinet understand the (farmers’) situation,” Giffels quotes a sixth-generation family farmer.

Malls and downtowns abandoned? That’s not just an Ohio problem, and the resurrection of downtowns — when it happens — means building what we expect America to look like, and that’s not Walmart. But will the breweries, bookstores, quaint antique shops and coffee bars replace the lost manufacturing jobs? And will Amazon come along quickly enough to buy your local empty mall and turn it into a “fulfillment center”? If enough people who fled years ago come back to run those boutique shops and Amazon warehouses, will that be enough to swing things Democratic? Or will Trump’s “law and order” litany to save downtowns keep things in his column?

Looking at all these issues, Giffels seems to find Ohio voters who chose Trump in 2016 and don’t seem likely to change their vote today. Maybe that’s because of Jim Traficant, who inured Ohio to a demagogue. The name was familiar to me as just another congressman who went to jail, but his antics might have been the ones that eased Ohio into Trump’s camp in 2016, and maybe 2020. Giffels quotes USA Today in 2016: “If Trump wins Ohio, he should thank Jim Traficant, who wrote the roadmap.” When on trial for racketeering, he offered an outlandish defense of “deny, deny, deny” what he had already confessed to that no one could believe except for the 12 men on the jury, who found him not guilty. From sheriff to congressman, “his greatest political talent was his ability to convince a marginalized constituency that he understood and cared about them in ways his opponent did not.” Later convicted on charges of racketeering, fraud, bribery and other corruption charges, he spent seven years in prison and died in 2014 when a tractor on his farm rolled over him.

All parts of America have marginalized people, but they don’t have Jim Traficant. Or they didn’t. A “Traficant” can come from anywhere, like New York City, to win an election and maybe a re-election.

Giffels never quite gets to that conclusion, no Trump wins, no Biden takes Ohio and the nation. What he does conclude is that Americans have reached a “crisis of empathy.”

“. . . whenever I talked to a Trump supporter, that person’s own certainty convinced me at least for the duration of the dialogue that he (Trump) would win a second term, and whenever I talked to an anti-Trump Ohioan, they expressed concern that I was right, even as they couldn’t conceive this happening again. To know people who voted for Donald Trump and not be able to comprehend how anyone could do such a thing is to confront the fact of our divide: a nation of people who cannot understand one another and who are losing reasons and opportunities to do so.”

A depressing place to end, but Giffels doesn’t. Instead, he turns to the buzzards at Hinckley, something I had forgotten in my 50 years outside of Ohio. Maybe they still do this, but in the 1960s, radio stations would announce when the buzzards where coming back to Hinckley, Ohio, sort of like the swallows of Capistrano. I never heard a reason for why the birds came to Hinckley and why on a certain date. Not until I read Giffels’ book. It seems that on Christmas Eve 1818, more than 500 men held a game drive, pushing all wildlife into a shrinking circle, killing 21 bears, 17 wolves, 300 deer and uncounted squirrels, turkeys, foxes, raccoons, etc. The men built fires, barbequed, bundled up some meat and went home, leaving the rest to rot. In the spring, the buzzards came, and they’ve been coming back ever since, looking for something they still believe is there.

What will we come looking for as we return in our four-year cycle? Strife that the other side won? Or will we get a start on ending our crisis of empathy? I’m not taking bets on that.

“You can’t go into Youngstown, Ohio, and tell everybody they’re going to be retrained and go work for Google or Apple. “

Michael Avenatti

Dealing with election troubles from Maine, Nebraska and Mark

Benefit a charity of your choice by handing in by midnight today your list of how screwed up my presidential election handicapping is. Check my final electoral vote, list the number of my mistakes and what states I got wrong. Send your entry in a comment to this post.

Once all the electoral votes are counted – who knows when? – I will donate $100 to a non-political charity of your choice to the person who identifies or comes closest to the number of states I got wrong.

If I am perfect,  and you were all wrong, I will send $100 to Seattle Compassion Services, a group formed by Seattle Seawolves rugby player Eric Duechle to help people who are homeless in Seattle find a place to live.

So your entry could look like this:

“4 incorrect: Ohio, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. What were you thinking?”


“4 incorrect: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada. Proud Boys coming for you.”

I won’t post the entries until Tuesday morning because I don’t want to give away any secret knowledge some of you may have. But I will share some of the comments I have received so far in emails and on different posts on Facebook.

Let’s start with Mark, who always was a troublemaker on and off the rugby pitch and learned his politics through “Mr. President”:

Hey John-

to give you something to do today,

you’ll wanna think about a hitch in your pick chart.

Maine & Nebraska – will very possibly be split electoral votes.

Maine has 4 in total, Nebraska has 5 in total.

Maine has 2 distinct electoral voting districts plus another 2 electoral votes based on total popular vote. Me2 is a tossup, but the other 3 electoral votes are likely Biden’s.

Nebraska has 3 distinct districts, each gets one electoral vote plus another 2 votes based on total popular vote. Ne2 will likely go to Biden, the other 4 to trump.

I think it fair for you to give the win to whoever picks and gets a majority of those two states’ electoral votes. (Ed. Note: Which is what we will do.)

Maybe not important to clarify that ahead of time.

(more comments below)

And from Chris:

John Boy – I appreciate the effort and thought that went into your analysis and tally. (Ed. Note: Effort and thought?) I am tempted to say it looks and then have horrifying flashbacks to the last election when I, like most everyone, was convinced that Hillary was a shoe in only to be gobsmacked by the outcome. With that in mind . . . I say Florida needs to come off your board as they seem deeply committed to screwing up every election and have some deeply incompetent republicans running the state and Texas goes into the maybe category. The voter suppression campaign that the republicans are running there is breathtaking in its scope and obvious intent. With an all republican state supreme court it will all be found to be legal . . . and thus my assessment. There will be a huge blue wave in Texas but it will likely crash on the rocks of the voter suppression. The republicans today filed suit to toss out over 120k ballots

(Updated here:

that were cast in drive in voting as they think the counties went beyond the law to permit it. You see if you think the virus is a hoax then there is no need for drive through voting . . . you can just risk your life and do it in person!!!!

And Lee is still trying to convince me that Ohio can go to Biden:

As your classmate of 1966, (Ed. Note: Go, Tigers!), and lifelong adult resident of Franklin County, Ohio, COVID-19 will be what is at stake for the urban and suburban areas, even in the wealthy suburbs. In 2016, I saw tons of Trump signs in the wealthy suburbs. This year, yard signs for Trump are few and far between throughout Central Ohio. Yard signs alone are not strong enough evidence to predict a race. Hoping that the believers in science and the incredible losses so many Ohioans have and will endure, the better angels will prevail.

But Pam writes:

All I see in NW Ohio is Trump signs and flags EVERYWHERE!!!


Speaking of signs. . .  here’s one in my neighborhood: