Election 2020: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Polls

The presidential race remains undecided, while President Donald Trump takes his case to court and Joe Biden and media outlets seek to skip right over vote certification to Inauguration Day. Control of the U.S. Senate is undecided as the two races in Georgia are headed to a January runoffs.

The results of these three races will determine a vast amount of our future, from protecting the Hyde Amendment to packing the U.S. Supreme Court. However, even with this uncertainty, prolife people can draw some important lessons following Election Week(s).

With some races still being finalized, the RLM-PAC won in 233 of the 294 races featuring an endorsement, a 79% win rate.

Spoiler: opinion polling is in the ugly column again this year, and you need to read through to that section. Polling deserves its own “uglier” column.

The Good

In conventional wisdom, high turnout elections always favor Democrats. This is an issue for prolifers as the parties continue to polarize as opposites on abortion. However, this election has the largest turnout since the 19th century, and the results show a closely, bitterly divided nation.

Despite polling showing U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expanding her congressional majority, Democrats came close to losing control of the U.S. House. If current election results hold, Speaker Pelosi must unify practically her entire majority to pass meaningful legislation in 2021 and 2022.

It’s the same story in Michigan. Poised to take over the majority for a first time in a decade, instead the Michigan House saw Democrats and Republicans each flipping a couple seats, leaving the final 58 to 52 Republican majority unchanged. One flipped seat was prolife turncoat Rep. Brian Elder in Bay City, which we detailed in this post.

A New York Times article headline sums up the situation: “Democrats’ ‘Blue Wave’ Crashed in Statehouses Across the Country.” This is particularly big since 2020 is a redistricting year that will affect the next decade of elections as legislative maps are redrawn.

The Bad

Though he has not conceded yet, John James did not walk away on Election Day as the clear winner for U.S. Senate. Following up on a strong 2018 campaign against Senator Debbie Stanebow, John James is close to knocking off pro-abortion Senator Gary Peters. James was able to raise eye-popping levels of campaign funding to compete with Sen. Peter’s $40-plus million dollar war chest. A clear win would have assured that Joe Biden will not have a U.S. Senate majority.

The Ugly

Both Planned Parenthood-endorsed Michigan Supreme Court candidates won, giving Democrats a 4 to 3 majority. This will severely limit the ability of prolifers to move a legislative agenda for at least two years. We wrote about it in this post, focusing on how the Libertarian candidate cost the prolife candidates the race. Votes have consequences!

Public opinion polling should be dead in terms of how we think about issues and elections. Traditional opinion polling was consistently and extremely biased, even worse than in 2016. At least in 2016 there was a few weeks of talk about better understanding American voters. This time, Nate Silver, the media’s top pollster guru responded to criticism of the broader polling industry by taking it personally, saying “F%&# you, we did a good job.” Really.

This is the ugly reality for prolife people: the media does not represent half the country, does not understand that half, and shows no desire to try to understand them.

Already, we’ve seen one reporter makes excuses that technically some of the polling results were in the margin of error. That excuse is garbage. When polls routinely skew 5 or more points in favor of one side every time, that’s not the random sampling error inherent to polling groups of 2,000 people to represent the views of 200 million people—it’s pure, undeniable bias. That bias was used to lead millions of Americans to believe Joe Biden wins in a landslide, Democrats control Congress and most states, and most Americans hate President Trump.

This new understanding that polling is dead must go beyond ridiculous election results like Senator Susan Collins outperforming the final polls by 14 points. Every so often in Michigan, we are subjected to a fresh round of media denouncements, centered on a new poll on abortion. Usually the poll comes from a Michigan pollster who hates our organization’s guts. Usually these polls are never reflected in reality when Michigan voters turn out to decide the issue. In 1998, polls said assisted suicide in Michigan was a fait accompli, but 71% of Michigan voters rejected it at the ballot box. We’ve spent three decades telling prolifers to ignore the polls, and it’s time everyone else joins us.

If polling is getting election races horribly wrong in an era of woke censorship, political correctness and lists of enemies, why should we automatically assume polling of people on extremely controversial issues is more accurate? This political correctness bias is just compounding errors on top of the terrible ways abortion and other issues are framed in poll questions or explained in media and popular culture. Polls on Roe v. Wade are a prime example.

Polling bias is being used to shape elections and mold opinions, not explain or reflect them. That’s what modern day voter suppression looks like, and they aren’t going to change if history is any guide.

That leads us into our final ugly point, about the public discourse. A nation divided in the age of social media is an ugly situation. There is no use glossing over how much anger exists out there, from how we evaluate accusations of election fraud, to how the polling bombed, and the words and actions of candidates. This is reality that prolife people must continue to learn to operate in.

The Power of Prolife Politics

Let’s end with a recap of the impact our volunteers and donors had in the general election, without which many races would not have been won, or would not have been close. Thank you to those who played a part in reaching millions of people with prolife messages:

  • 451,000 endorsement cards mailed.
  • 407,000 views of election posts on social media.
  • 266,000 copies of the Right to Life of Michigan News with endorsement guides.
  • 144,000 phone messages.
  • 116,000 live get out the vote calls.
  • 89,000 postcards mailed for priority Michigan House races.
  • 47,000 views of RTL.org’s endorsement page.
  • 45,000 doors were knocked on.
  • 32,000 people e-mailed about priority races.
  • 30,000 personal letters sent for a priority Michigan House race.
  • 27,000 endorsement cards distributed face-to-face at the polls.
  • 22,000 people used our personalized prolife ballot generator on RTL.org in the final month.
  • 20,000 Trump yard signs distributed.
  • On top of all this was millions of people seeing our election advertising on TV, online, Facebook, and listening in through the radio.
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