As we put the Election Day 2019 in the rearview mirror and look forward to 2020, here are 20 election thoughts for your consideration.
1) In the movie “Welcome to Mooseport,” President Monroe “Eagle” Cole moves to his vacation home in Maine and ends up running for mayor of the fictional Mooseport against plumber and hardware store owner Handy Harrison. As the story develops, the two rivals begrudgingly become friends and both end up urging the townspeople to vote for the other. That is not what happened in the highly contentious Portland mayor’s race.
2) For all the years I’ve watched elections closely, I’ve never seen a headline like this one before: “Election Day turnout light in central Maine, though some motivated by CMP petition.” I’ve seen plenty of elections with light turnouts, and I’ve seen voters motivated to turnout to VOTE for a ballot question, but I’ve never seen a petition effort drive turnout.
3) Democrats received some great news with the release of a Washington Post poll on Tuesday that shows all the party’s top candidates beating President Donald Trump in a national poll. In head-to-head match ups, Trump is stuck at around 40 percent while former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg all winning handily.
4) National polls a year out from a presidential election are virtually meaningless. We don’t elect presidents with a national vote (booo!), and the whole world is likely to change in the next year. Or nothing at all will change. Or somewhere in between. Who knows? Certainly not me.
5) President Trump received some goodish-news from the “fake news” New York Times. The Gray Lady released its own swing state poll numbers on Monday, and whoa Nelly, millions of Democrats began to weep and gnash their teeth. The poll found Trump to be holding his own in six swing states. Biden led Trump in five of the six, but the margins were tiny. Sanders had a small lead in just one state. And Warren trailed in all six.
6) The poll is like a “Scared Straight” for fans of Biden, who can’t help put point and say “I told you so.”
7) For supporters for the rest of the field, please step away from the cliff. Any poll a year out from an election is virtually meaningless. (See 4 above). Democrats don’t even have a candidate yet. It’s too early to project what will happen a year from now, but if you need help booking plane tickets to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona or North Carolina to pull some get out the vote shifts next fall, I know some folks who can help you out.
8) Elizabeth Warren released the math behind her plan to fund Medicare for All. The plan is like a Rorschach test. Everybody looks at the same thing and sees something different, depending upon what you thought about the universal, single-payer system before hand.
9) The plan says it will cost $52 trillion over the next decade to give everyone Medicare. Wow.
10) The plan also says it will cost $52 trillion over the next decade if we don’t change our health care system at all.
11) Saturday Night Live tackled the plan in the cold open, with Kate McKinnon as Warren.
12) It’s worth watching. Really funny.
13) Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi completely whiffed on the skit, saying “Trouble for Warren when ‘SNL’ mocks her health care plan.” Au contraire, ma soeur.
14) SNL doesn’t make fun of your plans if a) you don’t have any and b) if they don’t matter.
15) Sanders had a great interview with “Desus & Mero” on Showtime. During the interview, which had plenty of substance, Sanders was asked to guess the price of some high-end sneakers.
16) Bernie is laid back and funny. And shocked that sneakers could cost $11,000. His expression is priceless, but still cheaper than the shoes.
17) President Trump’s impeachment troubles keep getting worse and worse.
18) Evidence that he tried to use military aid to Ukraine to force the country to interfere with the 2020 election is overwhelming. The president says “read the transcript.” We have. You did it!
19) Rep. Jared Golden has been cautious with the way he has dealt with impeachment so far. He’s been smart, even if a few of his friends and allies are disappointed. With evidence mounting and the president digging his own hole faster and faster, Golden’s position only gets tougher.
20) But not nearly as tough as Sen. Susan Collins, who will likely be forced to vote either to remove the president from office (angering the Republican base) or to acquit him (which will anger moderates and Democrats she needs in the general election).
21) Bonus thought: Collins can always run for mayor of Mooseport.