Just a few things as the First Tuesday In November approaches:
This does not look like a repeat of 2016 or 2000. Not by a long shot.
The trends point very strongly towards a Biden presidency and towards the Democrats taking the Senate, if not by a giant margin. There is more uncertainty in the latter than the former, and I do worry about that -- the puzzle isn't complete without all the pieces -- but that seems to be the way to bet.
People are nervous because a lot of folks got it very wrong last time. That's understandable. Unmitigated paranoia, though, doesn't help anyone, least of all you.
The pandemic upended peoples' expectations of what to expect. The high degree of overperformance by early voters has just about offset that.
Don't listen to anyone trying to tell you that we need to have an answer by the end of the night.
If Biden wins, and he looks like he will, expect Trump to break a lot of things on the way out the door. He may issue a flurry of pardons for his partners in crime (which protects them not at all against future state-level charges, of which there may well be a whole bushel waiting to be harvested). But out he will go. He will never say "I lost", though. He won't formally concede, and he will make lots of snarly insinuations about cheating and such, all in the hopes his marginal core of supporters will use it to make trouble. But it will avail him, and them, of nothing come January 20th.
There will still be Trumpism without Trump, but it will lose a lot of its momentum. That will make it easier to double down on proactively stamping it out. Now that we have some idea of what it is like when Trumpism takes the commanding heights of power, we have a very concrete, not abstract, reason to resist it.
More people are disgusted with Trump and weary of him than are genuinely enthusiastic about him. Without a cult leader, a cult of personality tends to fall to pieces. But that does not mean the cult followers can't find another cult. Many do. We owe it to them and ourselves to give them something else to do with their lives than be sociopaths. Failing that, we owe it to everyone to stop them.
I don't think there's going to be anarchy. I do think there will be individual acts of stochastic violence, but they will not amount to social collapse by any stretch of the imagination. There are far more people who are not going to burn down everything around them there are people who will. That said, stay frosty.
We didn't get into this all at once and we won't get out of it all at once. This corner, once rounded, will be only the first of many more. What matters is that we first get up and walk in the right direction.
There must be a reckoning with how public life in this country is simply not designed to do anything about one of the two major political parties acting in consistently bad faith and never being called on the carpet for it in any real way. There must be an end to false equivalencies as "balance", of neutrality that is really just abdication of responsibility for the facts.
Stay safe and vote in every damn election that comes your way. They all matter. Local elections matter even more than national ones in some ways, because they give you the power to shape the state legislatures (including things like apportioning of electoral districts).
I reserve the right to eat all of the above words should they prove to be dead wrong.