The US election is tomorrow. There’s a strong possibility that Donald Trump will be re elected. On a day when 994 American citizens died, he promised supporters at a rally that, if they caught the virus, they would get better. A crowd at a rally in Florida, chanted “Fire Fauci”. Dr Anthony Fauci is one of the world’s leading infectious diseases experts and, as a member of NIAID, consistently offers hard hitting advice which challenges Trump’s lies. At the Florida rally, Trump thanked the crowd for the advice and asked them to wait until after the election. On a Texas highway yesterday, a convoy of vehicles containing Trump supporters surrounded a bus carrying some of Joe Biden’s campaign staff. Trump rallies consistently ridicule the wearing of masks and these may have contributed an extra 700 deaths according to research at Stanford University. He has lied about mask wearing in California, falsely stating at a rally in Arizona that the State law requires people eating at restaurants to pass their food through special masks. I’m not making this up.
Here are my calculations for the election. Biden or Trump need 270 votes to win. At the moment, the following States are solid for Biden. California (55 votes, 30% ahead in the polls), Connecticut (7, 18%), Delaware (3, 18%), Hawaii (4, 30%), Illinois (20, 17%), Maine (District 1 (?) and Statewide (?)) (3, 17%), Maryland (10, 28%), Massachusetts (11, 35%), New Jersey (14, 20%), New Mexico (5, 13%), New York (29, 28%), Oregon (7, 12%), Rhode Island (4, 15%), Vermont (3, 24%), Virginia (13, 12%), Washington (12, 21%), Washington DC (3, 86%). That’s 203 votes. So where do the other 67 votes come from?
These are the “leaning” states where Biden is currently ahead in the polls. Pennsylvania (20, 6%), Minnesota (10, 6%), Wisconsin (10, 7%), Michigan (16, 8%), New Hampshire (4, 9%), Colorado (9, 10%). That’s another 69 votes. That would be enough.
These are the “swing states” where Biden is currently ahead in the polls. Ohio (18, 1%), Georgia (16, 1%), Florida (29, 1%), Maine (District 2 (?)) (1, 2%), North Carolina (15, 2%), Arizona (11, 2%), Nevada (6, 4%), Nebraska (District 2 (?)) (1, 4%).
Obviously, if all these “swing states” went to Biden, it would be a landslide but none of these is necessary if all the “leaning” states play ball. On the other hand, if, for example, Pennsylvania went for Trump, 18 more votes would be needed. Before the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton was ahead in the polls including many of the swing States so we shouldn’t take anything for granted.
Ry Cooder released this album in August 2012 and he thought that the battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for President of the USA had come at “the most critical time in the history of the country”. I wonder what he makes of things now. In the end, Obama won 51% of the votes and 332 electoral votes.
Ry Cooder’s songs on this album are mainly upbeat protest songs in a folk-blues style. He recorded the songs quickly, attempting to finalise his vocal in the first or second take. “Mutt Romney Blues” is sung from the point of view of Seamus, Mitt Romney’s Irish setter who, in 1983, was driven 650 miles having been placed on the top of the family car with only a simple windshield to protect him. “Brother Is Gone” assumes that the influential Koch brothers have done a deal with the devil using Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues” as a template. “The Wall Street Part Of Town” offers support to the Occupy movement. “Guantanamo” is an upbeat happy sounding rock song until the lyrics about being incarcerated in Guantanamo hit home. “Cold Cold Feeling” is sung by an incumbent President ruminating on how it is virtually impossible to make a difference and relieve suffering in the country that he is in charge of. “Going To Tampa” is another jolly sounding song about racism at The Republican National Convention and the pernicious influence of The Tea Party. “Kool Aid” takes the idea of ‘Drinking The Kool Aid’ (a dangerous act carried out by someone who believes there is a potential high reward) and applies it to a guy from the lower middle class who supported tax cuts for the rich, fought in a war and returned to find he had no job or support from the state. “The 90 and The 9” has a similar theme and was inspired by the recruitment of high school students by military recruiters. “Take Your Hands Off It” is a strong defence of the Constitution.
Protest music has not been particularly fashionable for some time but Ry Cooder has never been that concerned about fashion. On this album, black humour and satire is combined with a direct commentary on the state of politics in the USA in 2012. Musically, the album is a treat for the folk blues purist and Ry Cooder plays all the instruments himself apart from the drums which are played by his son Joachim.
It’s said that democracy ensures a country gets the government it deserves. I’m not sure I agree with that. America deserves better.