Forecasting the 2020 US Presidential Election
TechCast now moves to the next most popular topic rated by our readers – Will Trump or Biden win the coming election? Yes, this is controversial and fraught with heated emotion. But so too were our recent studies of the MegaCrisis, Global Consciousness, The Coming Internet and Redesigning Capitalism.
We choose to forecast this event in the same objective manner because it is among the most significant events of our time. It is an existential moment. The outcome will determine America’s experiment in Democracy, our lives, the future of our children, and even the world as a whole.
Using our method of collective intelligence, this blog outlines below the Pros and Cons for both candidates, and it asks you to comment on needed changes in this background information. Our next blog will publish an updated background analysis and invite readers to estimate the probability of a Trump or Biden win. We could possibly carry this further by updating our forecast in a few weeks to see trends leading to the election. If we receive a flood of objections to this study, all bets are off. TechCast aims to serve its readers.
Background Information on the 2020 Election
Pros and Cons On Donald Trump
Pro: Large and solid political base. Somewhere between 30-40% of Americans support Trump, and some 90% of Republicans are devout believers.
Pro: Electoral college advantage. The disproportionate weight of scarcely populated states strongly favors Trump. Nate Silver, a successful political forecaster, thinks it will take Biden at least a 5% lead in the popular vote to overcome this advantage.
Pro: Rated best on economy. Despite statistics showing no difference between Obama’s 8 years of economic growth and Trump’s 4 years, many continue to believe Trump is better at stimulating economic growth.
Pro: Could exploit chaos in the election. Trump is a master at taking advantage of the chaos he foments, and more is likely to come.
Pro: Voter suppression, foreign disinformation, etc. may help. Cutting back capabilities of the Postal Service, discouraging mail in ballots, restricted voter rules, disinformation from Russia, etc. could all give Trump an edge.
Con: Disliked by large segments of society. Rather obvious.
Con: Poor performance. Data on economic growth, presidential ratings, the Federal deficit and other indicators show that Trump’s performance is poor. (See our TechCast Study) Roughly 75% of the public thinks the Nation is “On the wrong track,” a telling sign of presidential failure.
Con: Vulnerable on pandemic and resulting economic collapse. By almost all indicators, the US response to the coronavirus has been the worst in the world, even eclipsing Brazil.
Pros and Cons on Joseph Biden
Pro: Favored by Alan Lichtman forecast. Prof. Lichtman at American University has developed a system that accurately predicts presidential elections for the past century. His system gives the election to Biden, but only narrowly.
Pro: Rated best on all other issues. Apart from the economy, Biden is thought to be better at managing other political issues.
Pro: Solid reputation and experience. Biden has made mistakes, but he has an impeccable reputation and a lifetime of experience at government.
Pro: Black voters determined to remove Trump. Black athletes, celebrities and ordinary citizens are infuriated by racial injustice and other Trump flaws, and they show fierce determination to mobilize their large constituency against his reelection.
Pro: Shift to progressive values underway The pandemic, economic collapse, racial injustice, climate change and other crises have spurred a worldwide shift in global consciousness that favors progressive change.
Con: Looks old. Biden may be fit for his age, but he appears old at times and often slurs when speaking.
Invitation to Comment on Background Data
NEW BACKGROUND INFORMATION Please look over the background analysis above and send any needed changes to Halal@GWU.edu. You may want to add a Pro or Con item, suggest revisions to existing items, question items, or anything else needed to make this analysis more accurate.
No rants please. Try to focus on helping us frame this forecast with all relevant information that could shape the election.
We are grateful for your participation. Results will be presented in our next blog for Round Two.
Defining the TechCast Mission
The TechCast Team and I feel a need to explore possible changes in the TechCast mission. We are particularly concerned about the possible conflict between TechCast and its founder – Bill Halal. For instance, what are the new TechCast goals exactly? Is it appropriate to continue calling the newsletter “Bill’s Blog”?
TechCast led the field for 20 years by providing authoritative forecasts spanning the entire environment for decision makers. We published reports covering all aspects of roughly 50 emerging technologies, 30 social trends, 25 wild cards and endless other studies. This huge task required a dozen editors, other staff, marketing, legal fees and all the other costs of running a small corporation. Although It was a struggle, TechCast earned almost $ 1 million over this time, largely used to cover costs and invested in the company.
But the enormous demands, insufficient capital and intensifying competition made it hard to survive, so we transitioned into this 2nd generation system. TechCast still provides forecasts, but we have yielded the need to cover everything and instead focus on breakthroughs – like our recent string of studies noted above. By doing less, I think we have been able to do more.
Now TechCast is now a lean operation incorporated into my professional site (www.BillHalal.com) able to study strategic issues that count. Our primary goal is to make TechCast an “invisible college” for all those interested in strategic foresight. We aim to study the most significant issues on the horizon, distribute our knowledge widely, encourage collaboration on interesting ideas, assist our members in their own work, and anything else that advances strategic foresight for a changing world. The TechCast Project is returning to its academic roots.
Our modest needs are covered by consulting, speaking and other projects. The TechCast vision is to develop capabilities as a business incubator in strategic foresight. In the last few months, we partnered with Angus Hooke on a book that uses the work of several TechCast experts. We helped Claire Nelson and Hassan Rashidi launch their Engineering and Society project, collaborated with Jess Garretson, CEO of The Cognis Group, and are now planning an Executive Webinar led by Amy Fletcher and others. TechCast welcomes your creative ideas, suggested projects, articles and any other ways we can work together.
The newsletter is our primary news vehicle, and it has been branded as “Bill’s Blog” to draw on the founder’s reputation, provide interest and to keep it personal. We now wonder if a more business-like name that is more inclusive would be best – TechCast News, etc. ?
Invitation to Comment on TechCast Mission
Kindly look over the above analysis and send your suggestions to Halal@GWU.edu.
Mission Do you like this TechCast mission? See a problem? Suggest something else? Have a proposal to consider?
Newsletter Name Should our newsletter continue to be called “Bill’s Blog”? Do you prefer “TechCast News”? Can you suggest other names?
Comments will be published in the next newsletter along with our analysis.
William E. Halal, PhD
The TechCast Project
George Washington University