I’ll be seventy years old in May. The first time I voted was in 1972; my ballot was enthusiastically cast for George McGovern as an act of opposition to Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. I since have considered only a few elections to be really important. One was in 1982 to prevent Ronald Reagan from controlling Congress. Another was in 1996, more to stop Newt Gingrich than reelect Bill Clinton. …

Impatient inquiring American minds want to know:

  • Who were part of the 74.2 million citizens that voted for Donald Trump, 11.2 million more than he received in 2016?
  • Who were part of the 81.2 million citizens that voted for Joe Biden, 15.3 million more than Clinton got four years ago?
  • Which voting groups were most important to securing Biden’s victory and Trump’s defeat?

While we’re months away from having the detailed data required to definitively answer these questions, this analysis attempts to satisfy our collective impatience by developing some preliminary conclusions using currently available information. First, I estimated 2020 presidential…

Assessing the Democratic Party’s Performance in the 2020 House Elections

By Edward Hamburg

Michael Tomasky was thinking for many of us when he wondered in a recent essay what the Democrats actually won in the November 2020 elections. He first states the obvious: the defeat of Donald Trump. But he goes on to talk of our collective disappointment with the Senate results, as well those in the House, which he believes “were even more shocking.” (1) Tomasky expressed this shock when the Democrats’ net loss was eight seats; he no doubt feels worse with the number now at eleven —…

Understanding the Composition and Constraints of Trump’s Support

By Edward Hamburg

What was frightening about the 2020 presidential election was the 74 million of our fellow citizens that voted for Donald Trump, eleven million more than in 2016. How was this possible? This anguished question merited the headline of a timely New York Times op-ed piece with the subhead decrying how Trump’s strategy of ignoring the raging ineptly-managed pandemic mostly worked for Republicans. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin spoke for many when he expressed the same disbelief in a post-election interview with CNN, saying:

I just can’t believe that (so many)…

It May Be Up To Florida

By Edward Hamburg

A substantial increase in mail-in voting will be one of the many ways the 2020 elections will differ from others in American history. Voting by mail has, of course, been part of the American electoral system from its inception (see, for example, Alex Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States). But never has the percentage of the total vote done through the mail (or placed in designated drop boxes) approached the 50% mark expected this year.

We know the pandemic is driving this change…

The path to heaven is self-muting

By Edward Hamburg

Like so many religious communities around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, mine on the Southside of Chicago has maintained the disciplines and retained the gifts of regular worship services and study sessions.

The formats are, of course, quite different. Video-conferencing platforms designed for business meetings imperfectly replicate customary gatherings of the faithful. …

Who has the edge in November?

By Edward Hamburg

We often see American elections through the metaphor of a horserace: candidates begin campaigns (earlier and earlier) by bolting out of starting gates, they race down tracks as their movements are breathlessly recounted by multiple announcers, odds-makers adjust to their changing positions in the final stretch, and crowds roar when finish lines are crossed and victors declared.

This metaphor, however, is not just inaccurate, it’s not fair to the candidates — or the horses. First the obvious: the goals are different. Horses run in races to earn purses for their owners…

By Edward Hamburg

When analysts feast on data as they project the outcomes of national elections in the United States, results from presidential-year contests are considered steak while those from midterms are dismissed as chopped liver. With no Presidential candidates heading party tickets, these “off-year” elections ordinarily get two-thirds the voter turnout and a fraction of the media attention of “on-year” contests. Few history books tell detailed and dramatic stories about midterm elections. …

By Edward Hamburg

Attempting to cope with life under yet another year of the Trump Administration, Democrats consistently search for answers to the question of what will happen in November. Polls are examined, pundits are consulted, primary results are scrutinized, and complex predictive models are developed in efforts to provide them with some insights — and even a little hope.

While sharing these same goals, this analysis examines no polls, consults no pundits, looks at no results from primaries, and develops no complex predictive models. It instead uses historical results primarily from the 2016 and 2018 elections for the United…

Edward Hamburg

Edward Hamburg serves on the boards of directors of high technology companies. He received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

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