Election 2020


Fortran must die
All the polls said that Trump would lose last time. The problem with polls is that people lie to themselves and the pollsters. Or the pollster never reaches them in the first place. And there is no effective way to predict turn out. This is particularly true in the COVID era which will change behavior significantly.

Trump as a majority in the only place it counts given that the election will end up in court most likely the Supreme Court. BTW I am a bible thumper (or certainly would like to be). :)
Doesn't really seem like a probability thread anymore.
Your call, of course, but check out this odd probability action...

Biden has almost an 80% chance of winning the first Presidential Debate...

...with the 'winner' being determined by a 'CNN Snap Poll'. Talk about layered uncertainty ... which at this point shouldn't surprise anyone, I s'pose.

And does probability really apply when the fix-is-in..? (If it seems like déjà vu all over again ... you’ve seen this act before, in pro wrestling (9/27), what with its well-scripted and -choreographed kayfabe.)

In effort to soften up Trump before the debate, The New York Times churns out 10,000 words of analysis and commentary on The Donald’s tax returns (9/28; with no Russian connection uncovered, alas). But complex tax analysis is not for internet-expert amateurs, who tend to convey "basically a bunch of meaningless buzz words strung together to prey on the feelings of the gullible" (9/28).

Regardless of the upcoming debate action, Joe Biden has done an excellent job in expectation-lowering (9/28) and evading late-night parody (9/27).

Shaken, not stirred ... FiveThirtyEight: Will The First Presidential Debate Shake Up The Race? ... TBD (9/29).
UPDATE (9/29): And, in a metaphorical parallel with pro wrestling and martial arts ... before Joe climbs in the ring -- to go mano-a-mano with the incumbent -- will there be any *juice* in the pre-debate concoction for performance-enhancement, and if so: Which drugs should Biden take? (a helpful guide)​
LATER... With the President seemingly on a healthy dose of Adderall+ in last night's debate, Biden did indeed garner more thumbs-up in the CNN snap poll (9/30), as projected:

(CNN) Six in 10 debate watchers said former Vice President Joe Biden did the best job in Tuesday's debate, and just 28% say President Donald Trump did, according a CNN Poll of debate watchers conducted by SSRS.​

So, in the ratio of “best job” in the debate, Biden had about twice as many approvals (60%/28%, or 2.1X).

Interestingly, Spanish-speaking Americans thought that Trump won the debate by a factor of almost 2X (66%/34%, or 1.9X, Telemundo poll; 9/30), inverting the CNN result.

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In the Presidential debacle debate, one might say that Trump was too aggressive and combative by a factor of, say, 5X or so ... potentially turning off suburban moms, while impressing Latinos. Despite that it might be good to have an outspoken MMA star in your corner, it's not generally advisable to apply his tactics when civil discourse is the norm, though some non-voters suggest otherwise (9/30).

In an impressive display of much-needed bipartisanship, the distinguished cage warrior was reportedly invited as a special guest by BOTH the Trump and Biden campaigns (AP).
Meanwhile, in a less-combative sport than MMA, this is certainly one treacherous political cycle, career-wise (10/1). News you can use: Don’t get the shading on your emoji wrong...

Follow-the-Money Dept: What does the DC Establishment stand to gain with Trump out and Biden in? ... There are Trillions at Stake.” (10/3)

The 'Lobbying industry' -- the real 'lawmakers' in DC -- has grown 50X in 30 years.
DNC psy-ops sales pitch: A vote for Biden/Harris is a "return to normalcy" (10/8, excerpt below) … nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Another technique being used is to make voting against Trump the default option if you wish to escape the insanity of 2020. Many states, for example, have promised to end the Covid restrictions after the election. The media is injecting the term “return to normalcy” when discussing a Biden victory. In other words, having created a highly unpleasant environment for the public, they are now talking about the one door through which people can escape the madness of the current year.​
Priming the mostly-peaceful pump? … Biden says 'chicanery' at polls is the only way he could lose US election (10/10). One could wonder whether that's a dog-whistle message of 'get ready to ... rumble', if the Election outcome doesn't trend his way, improbably.
UPDATE (10/18): Planning a little getaway around, say, November 3rd? Might not be a bad idea.​
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With his debate success (see above), Joe Biden now leads in RCP Average probability: Biden at 60.1% and Trump at 40.1% (which oddly sum to more than 100%, 10/1; as noted earlier, the RCP Average uses linear odds-to-probs conversion, which understates the probability of the favorite, as the odds diverge from ‘even’).

With nonlinear odds-to-probs conversion, the Democrats’ lead in probability is considerably more substantial: D: 74.9%, R: 25.0% (based on Betfair decimal odds: D: 1.5, R: 2.5, I: 201). This is an almost a +50% advantage for Biden, vs the linear RCP edge of +16%, if one uses this (unadvised) linear metric. For the more-meaningful nonlinear ratio metric, see below the chart.

NOTE: From a ratio standpoint, these odds imply that Biden is now 3X more likely to win the election than Trump. Just a day before, pre-debate, Biden was only about 1.6X more likely (Betfair, R/D odds-ratio of 1.2/0.73).
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TS Contributor
Italics + Colour + Bold.

I asume that only with ALL CAPS and underlines we stupid readers will understand, so

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President Trump and the First Lady are diagnosed with COVID-19, which confounds the oddsmakers … only one betting house, Smarkets, has a line on Election 2020 at press time.


Like Real Clear Politics, Smarkets helpfully calculates -- linearly -- the implied probabilities from their odds, which understates the likelihood of the favorite.

UPDATE (10/2): Just a few hours later, the Smarkets odds are now D:0.51, R:2.2, I:299 ... which implies over an 81% probability of the Democrats winning the Election. (Other betting houses still have suspended wagering on this event with all the uncertainty, what a bunch of weenies.)​
NOTE: From a ratio standpoint, these odds (R/D = 2.2/0.51) imply that Biden is now 4.3X more likely to win the election than Trump.
It certainly has been some year, hasn’t it? And we still have a long way to go...

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Kicking a man when he's down used to be a sign of lack-of-character, pre-2020 … of course, times have changed, and hate is now the relative metric, not character (10/3).

Just in case ... make sure that your 'dying wishes' are in order (10/3).

The Tale of Two Women (10/16) … perhaps we’ve reached a crossroads, and maybe a turn is preferable to just barreling straight ahead. Forward! Speaking of barreling-straight-ahead, business-as-usual … an unfortunate historical analogy, re: passively accepting oblivion (10/16).
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With President Trump out of the hospital and back in the saddle, let’s revisit the odds-implied probabilities ... Smarkets is now joined by Betfair and four other betting houses in providing odds on Election 2020.


RCP uses the linear odds-to-probs conversion in determining the average implied probability: 61.8% for Biden, and 37.0% for Trump. These linearly-derived percentages can be corrected into nonlinear probabilities with the simple formula, for two-outcome events (see post):


This algorithm translates RCP’s linear probabilities into the proper nonlinear odds-to-probs: about 74% for Biden, and 26% for Trump … or a 2.8X advantage in likelihood of election (this is calculated from the average of six inputs, not just Smarkets, as the above post).

UPDATE (10/8): While there is some disagreement on the relative performances of Harris and Pence in the VP Debate (10/8. more here), the Harris-Biden ticket continues to show strength in odds-implied probability: The RCP Average's (corrected) probabilities are now 77.1% for Biden and 22.9% for Trump ... a 3.4X advantage.

Then again, the Trump campaign has been here before, at the same juncture -- in 2016 -- but then even more so ... see below a chart on RCP’s probability of a Trump victory in both 2016 and 2020 (linearly derived, so overstate the underdog’s implied probability) plotted against the number of days until the Elections.

. 1602166316564.png
NOTE: Just before the 2016 Election, RCP's linear probability for Donald Trump was about 13%, which had converted to a nonlinear probability of only 2.2% ... which translated to more than a 44X advantage for Hillary Clinton in odds-implied probability.
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If, as was forecast as a definite possibility by the Democrats' star-studded, uber-credible Transition Integrity Project, Trump refuses to leave office, literally, after his expected Electoral defeat, The New York Times mulls whether to involve the United Nations in his removal: America May Need International Intervention (10/7; Flashback, Election 2000).

During cosplay of a post-Election 2020 simulation – paralleling the acclaimed Transition Integrity Project -- The New Yorker’s Jeffery Toobin enjoys on-camera personal stimulation, gets suspended (10/20), but he apparently is “too valuable a commodity” to keep him down for long:

Vice reported on Monday that the Zoom call, which was described as an "election simulation," featured Toobin's New Yorker colleagues Jane Mayer, Masha Gessen, Andrew Marantz, Jelani Cobb, Evan Osnos, Sue Halpern and Dexter Filkins playing various roles including President Trump, Joe Biden, "establishment Republicans," 'establishment Democrats," and "the military." Toobin was playing "the courts." [How fitting]

Why opinion polls are problematic: ‘Opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not a device for measuring it. Crack that, and it all makes sense.’ -- Peter Hitchens. Here’s a less-genteel take (10/16, NSFW) and a more-sociological take (10/19) on recent polling.

"When the truth cannot be reported, it is worse than being lied to about what is truly happening" (10/22).
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Concerned about a possible future backlash from disgruntled Americans if this conspiracy natural chain-of-events plays out, just as projected? Well, don’t worry … the Department of Homeland Security has that potential ‘extremist scenario’ already covered (9/4, more here and also here), and has identified a domestic group that poses a threat “more significant than the immediate danger from foreign terrorists.
[from earlier post]
Just a few weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security declared that ‘white supremacists’ are the biggest domestic terrorist threat. Well, through “the efforts of more than 200 state and federal law enforcement officials”, we finally can see what these nefarious types look like, as the FBI uncovers an armed militia plot to abduct Michigan Gov. Whitmer (10/9; more here, including reference to ‘FBI handlers’ in the plotting, similar to what's been done to snare Muslim wannabe domestic terrorists).

Their 'supremacy' appears to be covert ... but not for eager news outlets...
'White Supremacist' Narrative Unravels (10/11): Whitmer kidnap suspect attended BLM rally, another called Trump a 'tyrant'.
Something that should bring Americans together, in these trying times ... "it appears that the FBI busted an anarchist, anti-government militia which plotted violence against elected officials - yet hated both sides of the aisle."

If the ol' tin-foil hat fits...
conspiracy [noun]: An agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreement's goal. Most U.S. jurisdictions also require an overt act toward furthering the agreement (10/15).

But what if the given conspirators -- say, for instance, huge social-media companies -- deem the 'overt act' to be righteous and pure, preventing something ‘potentially harmful (10/15) ... what then?

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Meanwhile, in the ongoing nationwide struggle to dismantle 'white supremacy', diversity is sometimes lacking…

Not that this has any bearing whatsoever on Election 2020, but Rudy Giuliani has a history of bringing down ‘crime families (10/15; more here, 10/17).

'Nothing to see here, move along' Category (10/15):
The FBI ignored this irrelevant information in their possession for the better part of a year, so you and most of the American media can certainly overlook the distraction for a few more weeks. But, WAIT ... thanks to the ‘Streisand effect’, that blissful ignorance might not be possible (10/16) ... and it could get awfully messy (10/17, more mess smeared here), now that the Russians are involved ... since why not, having no other plausible reasoning.

UPDATE (10/16): Along with much much else in murky financial connections, “the senator from Amtrak” coincidentally had his son on the Board of Directors of … Amtrak.​
UPDATE (10/17): Do you buy the Joe-knows-nothing defense? ... C’mon, man.​
Dereliction of duty, hiding a one-man ‘national security crisis’..? The FBI really really should have sorted this out, back when this Election 2020 thread started, when squeaky-clean Bernie was the Democratic frontrunner. (Oh, well … *Hindsight is 20/20 in 2020*, and we’ve done everything perfectly to be exactly where we are today.)​
UPDATE (10/18): Why Facebook suppressed Hunter Biden revelations ... that FBI FB decision was made by an ex-advisor on Ukraine to VP Biden, of all places and people. Gee, what a small cozy world, at least at the top.​
UPDATE (10/19): OK, it looks like someone’s in violation of Federal Statute 52 U.S.C §30101(8)(A)(i), as their “active suppression of public speech … appears to constitute [unlawful] contributions under federal law”. That’s a nice exemption you social-media guys have there in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act … y'know, it’d be an indecency shame if something happened to it...​
Also ... The Biden administration will be comfortably ‘boring’, so why bother with censorship? (10/19)​
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America, do NOT wander off-script again, like back in 2016: ‘Truth’ Over Facts (10/19)

Script-improv ... 'Huntergate': 4D-chess by Trump surrogates? (10/19)

Is this on the script..?!? (10/18): Neil deGrasse Tyson warns asteroid could hit Earth day before election.

This certainly is scripted: ‘Listen to scientists’, as a punchline (10/19).

This is waaaay off-script: American Gothic Horror (10/19) ... and it could have plenty of sequels, spinoffs and soul-searching retrospectives. Much of this development work could hinge on the definition of the word ‘am.


Losing control of the script: A well-reasoned rant from an anti-antiracist on the Biden clan of 'Ordinary People' and today’s wacky state of the Union (10/17) ... “At this point, why anyone expects anything to make sense makes absolutely no sense to me.”

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European gamblers have ‘bet the farm’ on Biden (10/12; Euro-bias = faulty data?). Oddschecker’s composite linear odds-implied probabilities appear below, chronicling the improbable incredible rise of the Joe Juggernaut

…Oddschecker notes that “odds say Biden is now over twice as likely as Trump to win”, or an advantage of 2.08X (69.2%/33.3%).​

However, the nonlinear odds-to-probs conversion method has the implied probabilities as Biden 81.8% and Trump 18.2% (10/12), or a 4.5X advantage for Biden.

As has been noted, the conventional linear odds-to-probs conversion overstates the longshot’s chances, while understating the favorite’s, so Biden's implied-probability advantage is considerably more significant than what's reported by Oddschecker. In this case, there is a relative advantage understatement of 2.2X (4.49/2.08). Or, maybe that should be the inverse: 0.46X (2.08/4.49) with this abstract tangential metric.

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Scrutiny avoids the Biden 2020 campaignLuck o’ the Irish: Joe Biden is the luckiest, least scrutinized frontrunner (10/14).


For the Biden campaign, you may recall, it wasn’t always this way, in times ‘BC’ … Before Carolina, South.
[Flashback scrutiny (Jan 29): The Tragedy of Joe Biden.]

UPDATE (10/16): During their concurrent-while-independent 'town hall' questioning sessions, Biden demonstrated comforting leadership and empathy, with his endearing stream-of-consciousness rambling, including that he’d contain the pandemic by being ‘rational.’ Meanwhile, Trump squabbled over his lack of proper PPE protocols, a critical aspect of any decent White House administration.

As per the script, America yearns for a 'return to normalcy' … assuming that we can overlook a few minor boring details, like the FBI had. (With all sundry boring details, at this point, we need to keep in mind ... what difference does it make? The script says we're in the middle of a referendum here, and so need to stay focused for the next few weeks, perhaps a bit longer.)
Hey, this sounds like extortion, which might be legal if a government official does it…
Michigan Governess Whitmer: If You’re Tired of Masks And Wish You Could Go Back to Church, Vote for Biden (10/19), which seems like the plan all along. Commentary:

Everything is designed to affect the election, and if Biden wins, he’ll need a strong economy to win again (or Harris will); thus, everything will return to normal and America will treat COVID just like Biden and Obama treated the Swine Flu…like it never existed.​
[Context: An estimated 60 million Americans were infected with the Swine flu back in 2008-09, which was -- fortunately -- less fatal than COVID.]

Hey, this sounds like collusion, which might be legal if a government official does it…
Finally, the private and public sectors collaborating towards a common goal: Media and Intel Community Working Together To Manipulate The American People (10/19)
What a responsible candidate, not like some (superspreader) people! BIDEN-HARRIS 2020 rallies are ideal for COVID protocols (10/19, more here, and here).

Sy Kopathe for President 2020 (10/20) ... although this scenario also needs to be considered (10/22).

Dualing scripts: A simple choice -- a referendum, in fact -- of Good vs Evil, with long-term consequences (10/21).

C’mon, man ... Damning details on the passive-but-lucrative role of ‘the Big Guy’ in shady overseas deals, delivered by a contrite ex-jailbird (10/22, much more here).

Tip: “Don’t waste your time on stories that are not really stories … just pure distractions” (10/22).

Nothing-to-see-here Category (10/22) ... [NATIONAL BLACKOUT on a NOTHINGBURGER]


Grubby boring financial details, that no one respectable should consider, let alone report (10/22).

With the dust settled, we find that odds-implied probabilities now stand at Biden 76.7% and Trump 23.3% (nonlinear correction of Real Clear Politics Average, 10/23; updates frequently), or a 3.3X advantage for Biden.
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Government is the great fiction,
through which everybody endeavors
to live at the expense of everybody else.​
-- Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

You say you want a revolution..?!?
Well, this Brit says we can't pull off that sh*t nowadays (10/17), thanks to our dependence on government and separation from tangible production (agriculture, industrial; see chart below). The critical skillset of self-sufficiency is not who-we-are.

Despite most Americans no longer having the skills and capability to farm nor manufacture goods, our nascent industry of 'PREEMPTIVE DEBUNKING' is very healthy and growing (10/20, video; perhaps that's our 'revolution').

Experienced debunkers can apply for great jobs, assisting High Tech Oligarchs threaten democracy (10/20): “The rise of the internet oligarchs might indeed do more serious damage to the freedoms that still survive in the United States than will victory by either Biden or Trump.” This may already be evident in the selective restrictions on poking fun of glorious leaders ... to 'push back' against this troubling trend, perhaps we can start with something simple and innocuous

Then again, in tomorrow's America, we'll certainly have lots of demand for government informants (10/17), to keep things under control.

A leading Classics historian notes that democracy’s viability is predicated on a healthy middle class that commits time and resources to managing and improving the greater society (10/20, video at link). 'Citizens' – contributors who did not live off the state, nor tore down what’s been created before – were the only folks who could vote in ancient Athens ... which makes too much sense, so fuggetaboutit. If what's now happening in the US is indeed a ‘revolution’, the historian sees our journey going more along the lines of the French Revolution, which was fought for the abstractions “liberty, equality, and fraternity … sound at all familiar? Wonder how all that French stuff worked out, anyway...

WANTED: Civic-minded American ‘elites’ … as it’s not going well with our present set of ruling elites, bringing talk of messy insurrection and even revolution (10/21), yikes. Excerpts:
  • Every ruling elite relies on legitimacy.
  • The crisis we see today is a crisis of legitimacy, where a growing portion of the public questions the legitimacy of the system.
  • This revolt of the elites is more like an insurrection within the elite. They no longer accept the legitimacy of the system that allows them to be an elite.
  • There is a core of Americans who do want to fix the machine, but they are now treated as an enemy by the elites.
UPDATE (10/22): Joseph de Maistre said, “Every country has the government it deserves.” Ours seems like it's all cosplay.​
Then again, just relax .... there's no escape from this dependency on staging and staying on-message (10/21).​
While voting, consider that your life needs purpose (10/23), in this Land of Opportunity Ceaseless Conflict.
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WANTED: Nonpartisan Election 2020 Metric

How about ‘time’? Time doesn't generally stir partisan-bias, applies equally for everyone, including both sides of the political aisle, and can't be manipulated.

Let’s look at when Election 2020 will be ‘called’, presumably within the margin-of-lawyer. From PredictIt:

So, here's the bottom line on time-interval probabilities of the Election being called on:
  • Election Day = 36%
  • Election Day, or day after = 70%
  • After Dec 14 = 11%
How's this for the new nonpartisan Election 2020 metametric: the ratio of the probability of a timely call (Election Day or day after) and that of a very delayed call (after December 1st)?​
That resultant 'call-timeliness ratio' would be 4.9X (10/22, 69.9%/14.2%).​
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