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Altherion

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  1. It's not clear that he has this authority to unilaterally cancel student debt, but even if the courts let him do such a thing, it's almost guaranteed to do significant damage to the Democrats. Not only is it a handout to people who are already voting for Democrats without it, but it is a handout to people who are, for the most part, not actually that poor. Also, the cancelled debt would be government debt so no rich allies of the Democrats get a cut. There's nothing in that plan for Biden or most Democrats. The way Biden and the House want to do it is much more in line with how legislation works. Most importantly, all of the money will ultimately go to private lenders which will make them more likely to support the Democrats. As an added bonus, much less money is required and the spending will be restricted to people who actually need it (hence that "economically distressed" requirement). Biden can claim that he helped people with student loans in either case, but this way, the Democrats get much more out of this with much less spending and less backlash.
  2. As was already stated upthread, the stimulus will happen regardless. It will most likely be smaller, but this is more than offset by lower taxes and the lack of rocking the boat. The tied Senate might be the best fine-tuned outcome for them (larger stimulus, no rocking the boat and at most moderately higher corporate taxes), but it's not something they could reliably count on and even now it's probably slightly less likely than not.
  3. Why would the stock market fall? The scenario where Biden wins, but the Republicans keep the Senate is Wall Street's favorite by far. On the one hand, Biden is somewhat more trusted to deal with the pandemic quicker, but on the other, the Senate will block him from raising taxes and the various radical proposals of the left-wing Democrats are off the table. Furthermore, the Treasury Department under Biden is not likely to differ radically from the one under Obama and Wall Street did very well with the latter.
  4. I wouldn't bet money on it. Leaving aside the constitutionality of the issue, Manchin has already said that he will not vote to get rid of the filibuster which means that any such bill requires 60 votes and the Democrats do not have them.
  5. With their victory in Alaska, the Republicans now control exactly 50 Senate seats which means that the Democrats can still win control of the Senate if they win both runoff races in Georgia. If that happens, the Senate will be tied and the Democrats will control it by virtue of the Vice President's tie-breaking vote. In practice, what this means is that what they can do comes down to what the most conservative of the Democratic Senators is willing to do. This is almost certainly Joe Manchin of West Virginia and he recently gave an interview with his views on several ideas: Of course, he could be lying in order to sway the runoffs in Georgia, but in that case, his opposition strikes me as unnecessarily definitive -- politicians with his experience are usually better at weaseling. Thus, it looks like the filibuster and the Supreme Court get to exist in their current form for at least the next couple of years. The Georgia races still matter because of confirmation hearings and the annual reconciliation bill and various other benefits of controlling the Senate, but it looks like most of the radical proposals are off the table as there's no way to get 60 Senate votes for any of them.
  6. But thanks to modern technology, it's possible (not likely, but possible) that at some point in the next 100 years, leaders of human societies may no longer be human.
  7. The North Carolina Senate race has finally ended: The result is a bit unexpected because Cunningham had led for most of autumn and in their final forecast, FiveThirtyEight had Cunningham's chances of winning at 68%. It appears that a well-timed October surprise can still turn the tide, albeit in a Senate election rather than a presidential one.
  8. No, the Azeris won this one. The BBC has an article with a map near the bottom. Azerbaijan gets to keep roughly a third of the disputed territory that was previously held by Armenia. There were fairly large riots in the Armenian capital last night.
  9. The President's party usually loses House seats in mid-term elections and since the Democrats have already lost some this time around and don't have much of a margin, it's quite likely that she wouldn't be Speaker in any case so she's not giving up much.
  10. Why? He will only be 81. Pelosi is 80 now and you don't see her giving up any power.
  11. Now that the election is mostly wrapping up (yes, they're still counting and there will be lawsuits, but we all know how this is going to end), there is a quite a bit of curious meta data to consider. The most obvious of these is campaign spending compared to the outcome. Biden out-raised Trump by a little over a factor of 1.5 and it helped him win (though just barely). However, not all big spenders fared as well. Consider three Senate races: Sara Gideon (D) out-raised Susan Collins (R) with $68.6M to $26.5M in the Maine Senate race, but it did not help her: Collins won with just over 50% of the vote to Gideon's 43%. Amy McGrath (D) out-raised Mitch McConnell (R) with $88.1M to $55.5M in Kentucky. McConnell is the Republican Majority Leader so it's not surprising that so much money went against him, but this appears to have been utterly wasted as McConnell easily won 58% to 38%. Saving the best for last, Jaime Harrison (D) out-raised Lindsey Graham (R) with an astounding $107.6M to $72.7M in South Carolina. Over $100M is not quite presidential race money, but it's huge for a single Senate race. FiveThirtyEight gave Harrison a roughly 1 in 4 chance of winning the election, but in fact, Graham won by double digits, 56% to 43%. Looks like there are still some things money can't buy.
  12. I doubt it because narrow victory is still a victory. The good news here is that without a substantial margin in the Senate, there is no need to even discuss extreme actions such as court packing so Biden will be mostly be forced to focus on bipartisan issues such as the stimulus. I think it did -- without it, Trump would almost surely have won.
  13. Some difficult to ascertain, but probably substantial subset of the polls is definitely propaganda for one side or the other. There are a few for which this is quite obvious, but it stands to reason that there are also some which are more subtle about it. In addition, even the polls that are done in good faith always have a natural uncertainty of roughly 3-5% and sometimes more. That said, except for maybe Florida, the polls are currently not off by a large amount. In other words, Biden will still win, it's just not likely to be a landslide.
  14. Nobody knows, but at this point, the best answer is still "probably not." Realistically, we won't find out until Wednesday at the earliest and it's much more likely that we won't know until at least later in the week.
  15. I think 2022 is too soon, but yes, Macron definitely co-opted some of her agenda. The neo-liberals are at best marginally different from people like Le Pen and Trump -- and sometimes not at all when you consider the actions of the latter rather than their populist preaching.
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