Episode 154: Election Daze

35 minutes

10/22/20--With the 2020 election just days away, Jenn, Steve, and Stephanie have a lot to discuss. And that starts with a much needed recap of this week's cringe-inducing episode of The Bachelorette.

In even more unsettling news, the Trump administration has been administering an onslaught of attacks upon Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and the media. "It just doesn't make any sense, does it?" Steve asks.

Jenn thinks that while it doesn’t make sense to undermine health authorities’ guidance during a pandemic, the rhetoric makes sense for this administration whose stance has been consistent since the pandemic began, and the newest statements are “sadly predictable.” The administration attempting to discredit health experts is especially worrying now, as we are already experiencing national surges in cases, and the upcoming fall and winter might bring the highest number of cases yet.

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A statewide ban on evictions and foreclosures came to an end this Saturday, the fallout of which Jennifer Smith has been keeping a close eye on. As housing courts open up, Jenn says what government officials have been trying to remind everyone of is that the end of the moratorium "does not mean people can immediately kick you out of the house."

Still, it's an open question whether housing courts will be able to handle eviction cases if in fact a swell of them begins to appear, and “whether measures gov will put in place will be enough to stem that tide," Jenn says.

“We just don’t know how bad it’s going to be right now.”

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Early voting is in full swing in states across the country including Massachusetts. And MassINC Polling Group Research Director Rich Parr has been following data on early voting as it comes in from around the state. His first impressions are that, first of all, a lot of people are voting early. As of Tuesday, over a million people have returned their ballots and thus officially voted early for this election.

“If you compare it to 2016, overall it’s almost 30% of all the ballots cast in the 2016 election have already been cast in 2020.” Much like Rich’s findings in early voting data for the primary election this year, early voting is strongly concentrated in “a lot of the wealthier suburbs, kind of in the metro west part of the Boston area.”
Rich names Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Sudbury, Natick and Wellesley, for example, or “well-off” towns with high levels of education as measured by the percentage of people who have a bachelor’s degree in the town.

With weeks to go before Election Day, Jenn points out, “People who are voting multiple weeks before election day are kind of voting on a slightly different race, theoretically.” Rich notes that while late-breaking news stories shifted polling percentages around quite a bit in the weeks leading up to Election Day in 2016, 2020 has been a different story. Biden’s maintained a rough average of an 8 to 10-point national lead over Trump for a while. “The character of this race has been much more stable than what we saw in 2016," he says.

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