The Current Situation with the Republican Party

The Republican Party appears to have about maxed out its support in most of its core demographics. There are two groups it has had more support from in the past that it lost in 2020, which is white male college educated voters and white female college educated voters. Still, with Trump taking 74 million votes this last election, they did not leave a whole lot spare lying on the table in their core demographics. In contrast, the Democrat took 81 million votes.

We are discussing Republican Party now because they are the party challenged by the changing demographics situation. Now, I did consider entitling this post “whistling past the grave yard,” but felt that may have been a little too pejorative. But, my sense of the situation for over the last 20 years is that the Republican leadership has been very aware of the demographic clock and changing attitudes towards religion working against them, and has been trying to take action to try adjust to these changes. Many of these efforts have not been supported by many in the party.

There was certainly a “black outreach” effort early in the Bush Jr. presidency, very visibly represented by Colin Powell as Secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice as National Security Advisor. That effort does not seem to have resulted in much change. In 2000 it is estimated that the Republican Party won 9% of the “black vote.” In 2020 it was 12% of the “black vote.” This appears to have been an effort that made at best only limited progress. Certainly people can have a loaded political debate as to why. The prominent Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and left the Republican Party in January 2021.

The other major attempt at outreach was by Bush, Jr. with the “Hispanic” vote. In this case, he was well aware of the subject, having been governor of Texas, which in 2000 was 32% “Hispanic.” He encouraged the Senate to put forward the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (co-sponsors included Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham). This effort was scuppered by resistance led by Republican Tom Tancredo of Colorado. The bill ended up never being voted into law. Since then no comprehensive immigration reform has been attempted by either party. There is simply not enough agreement on these issues in the last 15 years for anyone to put something together that could actually get majority support.

And then, with the election of Donald Trump and his immigration policy, Republican support among Latinos appears to be have been permanently stagnated. In 2000 Bush Jr. received 35% of the Latino vote. In 2020, Trump received 32% of the Latino vote. Not a strong argument for progress.

Needless to say, the same story exists with many other populations, but these issues have been around for over two decades and the Republican Party has not been able to effectively address them in over two decades. The end result is that they appear to sliding into a permanent political minority role on the national stage.

In 1988 when they won the election, they did so with 53.4% to 45.6% of the popular vote. They did have the advantage of an incumbent (Vice President H. W. Bush) and a growing economy. Since then, the Republican margins have been much less (winner is in bold). In 1992 it was 43.0 (Clinton) to 37.4% (Bush) to 18.9% (Perot). In 1996 it was 49.2% (Clinton) to 40.7% (Dole) to 8.4% (Perot). In 2000 it was 47.9% (Bush) to 48.4% (Gore) to 2.7% (Nader). In 2004 it was 50.7% (Bush) to 48.3% (Kerry). In 2008 it was 52.9% (Obama) to 45.7% (McCain). In 2012 it was 51.1% (Obama) to 47.2% (Romney). In 2016 it was 46.1% (Trump) to 48.2% (Clinton). In 2020 it was 51.3% (Biden) to 46.9% (Trump). In the last eight presidential elections, the Democrats have had more votes in seven of them, and the Republicans only got more than 50% of the vote in one election (and only with the advantage of incumbency and a growing economy).

As I said, they appear to have been whistling past the grave yard.

The Demographics of the Last Election

The last three “political” posts referred to the sense that this latest election may be the start of a new period of single party dominance. We the looked at the changing demographics in the United States and then the change of religion. These three posts are here:

Is the United States on the Verge of Becoming a Single Party Democracy? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

U. S. Demographics: Then and Now | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Religion in the U.S. over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

So, why does this matter? Well, let us look at who voted for whom in this last presidential election. This is from the CNN exit polls, which while not “perfect,” they are good enough for this discussion:

Race:………………Percent…….Biden…….Trump

White:……………..67%…………41%………..58%

Black:……………..13%…………87%………..12%

Latino:……………13%…………65%…………32%

Asian:…………….04%…………61%…………34%

Other:…………….04%…………55%…………41%

 

To read the first line:, “white” made up 67% of the 15,590 people polled. 41% of them voted for Biden, 58% of them voted for Trump. 

Religion……….Percent……Biden……Trump

Protestant:……43%………..39%………60%

Catholic:………25%………..52%………47%

Jewish…………02%

Other…………..08%………..69%………29%

None…………..22%………..65%……….31%

 

Of course, this is an exit poll, so the actual figures may be a couple of percent off, although it is a pretty big poll and exit polls tend to be more accurate than most other polling. The exit poll results are here: https://www.cnn.com/election/2020/exit-polls/president/national-results

Now, there are whole lot of other factors influencing the voter behavior in addition to race and religion but this is enough to look at to establish my point. Now, lets us say we have an electorate that is:

White: 76-19 = 57%

Black: 13%

Asian: 6

Hispanic: 19

Other: 4


Then a Democratic candidate with the same pull as Biden would take 53 percent of the vote (.57 x .41 + .13 x .87 + .06 x .61 + .19 x . 65 + .04 x ..55 = .5289) while a Republican candidate with the same pull as Trump would take 44 percent of the vote (.57 x .58 + .13 x .12 + .06 x .34 + .19 x .32 + 04 x . 41 = .4438). This means that popular vote would split around 53% to 44%, which is a solid and secure lead for the Democratic candidate. In 2020 the popular vote split 51.3% to 46.9%. Turn out in 2020 was 66.7% of registered votes, which is the highest turn out in any U.S. presidential election since 1900 (McKinley vs Bryan). Turnout was below 50% in 1920 (Harding vs Cox), 1924 (Coolidge vs Davis vs La Follette) and in 1996 (Clinton vs Dole vs Perot). Turnout is big issue in the final vote totals, especially as not all age groups and other groups have the same rates of turnout.

So, looking just at demographics is does appear that on the national level the Democrats will continue to hold an advantage of several percentage points over the Republicans unless:

  1. The Republicans expand their reach into the “minorities” votes (Blacks, Asians, or Hispanics). Right now, they are behind in all three, and there does not seem to be strong reason for this to change in the near future.
  2. The Republicans maximize the “white” vote to around 65%.
  3. The demographics of the U.S. changes significantly away from the growing representation of “minorities.” There is no reason to believe that this will happen. 

In fact, most likely that demographics of the U.S. will continue to slowly move to even a larger percent of people identified as minorities. So, if the situation is bad now for the Republicans, it will only get worse over time unless there is a major change. This is part of the reason why I tend to believe that we are looking at an extended period of a single dominant political party. And this is not discussing religion.

But, religion is an issue. We have gone from 1970 to there being only 8% of the population telling Gallup that they are not Christian to 31% in 2017 that do not identify themselves as Christian. Now, it would take a huge cultural shift to change that back. Most likely that 31% will remain the same or get larger over time. If it gets larger over time, then this also works against the Republicans. Going back the exit polls, in this last election 60% of Protestants voted for Trump while 65% to 69% of “other” and “none” voted for Biden. So unless there is suddenly a nationwide religious “revival,” this is not going to get any more favorable to the Republicans in the long run.

So, two long-term trends working against them sort of ensures that more often than not, the Democrats with control the House, Senate and Presidency for many decades to come. And these are not the only long term trends working against them (for example, among voters at 18-24: 65% voted for Biden, only 31% for Trump).

There are a lot of little things that play with the conclusions and overturn them occasionally. This includes who is running for each party, what policies they adopt, which scandals/controversies occur, and probably most important, whether the economy is heading up or down during an election year. But the long term pattern is looking pretty certain. 

Religion in the U.S. over Time

In addition to demographic changes, there also a shift in religious beliefs or lack thereof. The chart below shows the growth in various churched from 1780 to 1860. One will note it is primarily protestants, with Methodists and Baptists dominating. There is a very small line for Catholics. The Catholic areas tended to be where there were Hispanic populations (Texas and California) or where there were Americans of French descent (Louisiana). The state of Maryland was also established as a Catholic colony. During the time of the English Civil War, Catholic Maryland was invaded twice by Virginia, generating one “major” battle (The Battle of Severn in 1655 near what is now Annapolis, Maryland). The Battle of Severn resulted in 2 killed from the 175 Virginian attackers and 49 casualties (17 killed, 32 wounded, with 4 people executed after the battle) among the 130 defenders (38% casualties).

So this takes us up to the U.S. Civil War. The Irish Potato famine started in 1845, generating a large migration of Irish Catholics to the United States. The Irish population declined from around 8.18 million in 1841 to 5.8 million in 1861 and continued to decline to 4.21 million in 1931. The U.S. Irish population boomed. This was followed by many other immigrations from other parts of Europe. By 1950 the split of religions was:

Protestant: 69%

Catholics: 25%

Jewish: 4%

Other religions: 3%

Undesignated: 2% 

 

As of 2017, the same source (Gallup) reports:

Protestant: 38%

Catholics: 21%

Non-denominational Christian: 9%

Mormon: 2%

Jewish: 2%

Other religions: 5% (Muslims make up around 1%)

None: 20%

Undesignated: 4% 

 

Some political parties tend to make religious appeals based on Judeo-Christian heritage, but…it appears that around 30% of the U.S. population no longer identifies itself as Christian. This is a significant change. Most of that change started in the 1970s and greatly expanded in the 1990s and is continuing to expand.

Year……Percent not Christian *

1970……8%

1975…..13%

1980…..11%

1985…..14%

1990…..18%

1995…..18%

2000…..17%

2005…..19%

2010…..24%

2015…..29%

2017…..31%

 

* i.e. Designated Jewish, Other Religions,. None and Undesignated.

 

The United States has had two Catholic presidents (Kennedy and Biden), three presidents of significant Irish descent (including Reagan who was half-Irish and half-English/Scottish), two of significant German descent (Eisenhower and Trump **), one of Dutch descent (Van Buren, the only president to speak English as a second language ***), one who was mixed race (Obama), none of Italian descent, none Hispanic, none Jewish and none Mormon. 38 of our 45 Presidents were primarily English/Scottish descent and officially protestants.

** Trump is German on his father’s side and Scottish on his mother’s side.

*** Theodore Roosevelt was 1/4 Dutch.

U. S. Demographics: Then and Now

Much of what is driving the political landscape is demographics. In the United States in 1860, just before the U.S. Civil War, consisted mostly of either “white” protestants; “blacks,” most of whom were slaves; and very few “Indians,” most of whom lived on reservations. Obviously slaves could not vote but were all freed in 1865. Women could not vote until 1920. The citizens also could not directly vote for Senators until 1913. Before then, they were chosen by the various state legislatures.

The actual statistics from 1860 were:

Total Population: 31,443,321

“White”: 26,922,537 (86%)

“Black”: 4,441,830 (14%)

“Indian”: 44,021 (0.14%)

“Asian”: 34,933 (0.11%)

“Hispanic”: 155,000 (0.5%)

 

Indian is American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut. Asian is Asian and Pacific Islander. Hispanic can be of any race and overlaps with the other categories. The “Hispanic” figure is a very much later estimate and is not based upon census data at that time. I gather the other categories are based upon self-identification (or visual identification by census takers). 

Now step forward to 1930, towards the end of the period of Republican domination:

Total Population: 122,775,046

“White”: 110,286,740 (90%)

“Black”: 11,891,143 (10%)

“Indian”: 332,397 (0.27%)

“Asian”: 264,766 (0.22%)

“Hispanic”: 2,021,820 (1.6%) – figure from 1940

 

The “Hispanic” figure is a later post-census estimate.

Also the nature of the “white” population had changed, and that is a long discussion that I will avoid. It was no longer mostly Anglo, but included considerable number of people from or descended from Germany, Ireland, Italy, various Eastern European countries, etc. This immigration also brought in a considerable number of Catholics and Jews. Some of these groups also faced some discrimination.

And then we get to 1980, towards the end of the period of Democratic domination:

Total Population: 226,545,805

“White”: 188,371,622 (83%)

“Black”: 26,495,025 (12%)

“Indian”: 1,420,400 (0.6%)

“Asian”: 3,500,439 (1.5%)

“Hispanic”: 14,608,673 (6%)

“Other”: 6,758,319 (3%)

 

And to move up until today (2020, projected) – the end of what may be the period of contested control:

Total Population: 333,896,000

“White”: 255,346,000 (76%)

“Black”: 44,810,000 (13%)

“Indian”: 4,328,000 (1.3%)

“Asian”: 19,708,000 (6%)

“Hispanic”: 63,784,000 (19%)

“Two or more races”: 9,703,000 (3%)

 

So, Latino’s, other minorities and mixed race people now are up to 42% of the population. In 1980 it was 23%. This is a significant change, especially if one political party does better with some of these groups than others. 

It is clear that this shift is having a big effect on U.S. politics. Of course, that is saying the obvious, but this is a major driver in why I think one party is about to re-establish dominance. 

Updated Azerbaijani Casualties

Previously reported that Azerbaijan reported 2,783 troops killed during the six week 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.

See: Casualty Counts from the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Revised figures are 2,841 servicemen killed and 64 still reported as missing for a total of 2,905.

The data is buried somewhere here: https://mod.gov.az/en/news/list-of-servicemen-who-died-as-shehids-in-the-patriotic-war-34433.html

I cribbed it from @RALee85 on twitter.

Coronavirus in the DC area – weekly update 41

Colorized picture from California, 1918. Source: reddit

Amid all the other drama in D.C, we are also setting new national records this last week for the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus. The same with the D.C. area.

This is weekly update number 41 on the coronavirus in the DC area. Decided to maintain my very current and relevant picture.

This week the D.C area (pop. 5.4 million) increased by 17,973 new cases. Last week it was 16,305 new cases. Ten weeks ago there were only 4,256 new cases. We are still at least six months way from having a vaccine available for everyone.

Almost all of Europe is still struggling with controlling the spread of the disease. Italy (pop. 60.3 million), the original epicenter of the European outbreak, is still struggling with 14K new cases reported for yesterday.  It remains high in the UK (46K yesterday), France (20K), Spain (25K), Germany (27K) and Russia (23K). The U.S., which has never gotten the virus under control, had 225K new cases yesterday. This is in contrast to places like China (175 cases), Japan (4,575), South Korea (561), Taiwan (4), Vietnam (5), Singapore (17), Australia (16) and New Zealand (6). 

The number of reported cases in the DC area was hovering around 8,000 to 9,500 a week for several months, then declined to a low of 2,406 cases twenty-eight weeks ago. It has since increased. All the data is from the Johns Hopkin’s website as of around 11 AM (forgot to check the time): Johns Hopkins CSSE

……………………..….Population…last week…this week…Deaths
Washington D.C…….…..702,445…….30,482……32,600……831
Arlington, VA……………..237,521..……9,420……10,277……187
Alexandria VA……………160,530………7,676……..8,307……..91
Fairfax County, VA…….1,150,795.…..46,776…….50,705……720
Falls Church, VA…………..14,772.….…..194……….210………..6
Fairfax City, VA……..…..…24,574..….…..311………..342………10
Loudoun County, VA….…406,850….…14,973…..15,711…….165
Prince Williams C., VA…..468,011…….27,297……28,987……268
Manassas…………………..41,641..…….3,025…….3,184……..29
Manassas Park………….…17,307….…….972…….1,004……….8
Stafford Country, VA……..149,960….….5,684……..6,192……..30
Fredericksburg, VA…………29,144…….1,106….…1,180……..12
Montgomery C., MD…….1,052,567……48,864…..52,368…1,203
Prince Georges C., MD.…..909,308……57,286…..60,972…1,151
Total……….…….….……..5,365,425…254,066….272,039…4,711

This is a 7% increase since last week. The Mortality Rate for the area is 1.73%. This last week, there were 159 new fatalities reported out of 17,973 new cases. This is a mortality rate of 0.88%. The population known to have been infected is 5.07% or one confirmed case for every 20 people. The actual rate of infection has been higher, perhaps as much as 4 times higher.

Virginia has a number of large universities (23,000 – 36,000 students) located in more rural areas, often tied to a small town. This includes James Madison (JMU) at Harrisonburg, University of Virginia (UVA) at Charlottesville and Virginia Tech (VT) at Blacksburg. Most of them were emptied out due to Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas holidays. Many of the students are now home until mid-to-late January.

Harrisonburg, VA (pop. 54K) is reporting 4,888 cases (4,593 last week) and 48 deaths, while Rockingham County (pop. 81K), where the town resides, is reporting 4,737 cases (4,313 last week) and 54 deaths. This is where James Madison University is located.

Charlottesville, VA (pop. 47K) has 2,482 confirmed cases (2,303 last week) and 35 deaths, while Albemarle County, VA (pop. 109K), where the town resides, has 3,366 confirmed cases (3,009 last week) and 34 deaths. This is where UVA is located. UVA had a covid tracker which is worth looking at: https://returntogrounds.virginia.edu/covid-tracker. This is definitely worth looking at, as you can see how they were able to bring the virus under control with a student body of 25,000.  

Lynchburg (pop. 82K), the home of Liberty University, has 5,040 cases and 60 deaths.

Further south, Montgomery County, VA (pop. 99K) has 5,691 cases this week (5,398 last week) and 48 deaths. This is where Virginia Tech is located.

Keep in mind all these increases in this towns is occurring while the universities are not in session. It is currently growing faster than it was when they were.

Virginia (pop. 8.5 million) had 4,561 cases yesterday. Last week it was 4,377. For a long time, it pretty much ran 1,000 cases a day, neither going up or going down.

Dare County, North Carolina (pop. 37K), a beach area in the outer banks, has 1,346 cases (1,167 last week) and 5 deaths. With summer over, not sure why this continues to grow. It is growing a lot faster than during the summer.

Is the United States on the Verge of Becoming a Single Party Democracy?



The above chart shows who controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Presidency from 1855 to 2021. As can be seen, there are two periods where one party dominated. From 1859 to 1933 the Republican Party dominated. The Republican Party was formed in 1854 and first took the Presidency in 1861 under Abraham Lincoln. During that period, the House of Representatives was under Republican control for 52 out of the 74 years. The Senate was under Republican control for 62 out of 74 years. The Presidency was under Republican control for 52 out of 74 years. Republican control ended with the Great Depression. The Republicans had control of all three (House, Senate, and Presidency) for 40 of those 74 years. The Democrats had control of all three of these for six of those years.

Then the Democrats took control for the better part of 48 years (1933-1981). They controlled the House of Representatives for 44 out of 48 years, the Senate also for 44 out of 48 years and the Presidency for only 32 out of 48 years. There was only one brief period of two years where the Republicans had control of all three and for 30 of the 48 years, the Democrats had control of all three.

We have then had a period of contested control from 1981 to 2021. This 40 year period started with Reagan’s election, although the Democrats retained control of the House. The Republicans controlled all three for only six years during that time while the Democrats controlled all three for only four years of that time. The rest of that time, for 30 out of these last 40 years, control of the government was contested, with House being under Democratic control for 20 of the last 40 years, the Senate being under Democratic control for 18 of the last 40 years, and the Presidency being under Democratic control for 16 of the last 40 years. This is part of the reason why partisanship has been such an issue. 

So, the question is: are we now entering another period of extended control of the national government by a single party? In 1861 the Republicans took control of the Senate and Presidency, having already taken the House in 1859. The next shift happened in 1933 when the Democrats took the House, Senate and Presidency, ending Republican control of all three for 14 years. The shift in 1980 (when Reagan was elected) only took the Senate and Presidency, with the Democrats holding the House for another 14 years and reclaiming the Senate after six years. Now we see Democrats taking House, Senate and Presidency again. Is this the signal for the change, and does changing U.S. demographics ensure that this change sticks (subject of my next posts)?

I will address this further in follow-up “a-political” postings (as I really hate to get into political debates on this blog…they are best done over a beer).

 

P.S. I did start preparing the first draft of this post before the events of 5 and 6 January (the Georgia senate elections and the certification of the electoral college votes).

Coronavirus in the DC area – weekly update 40

Colorized picture from California, 1918. Source: reddit

Sorry for the late posting today, but was a little distracted by events in DC. They were not always socially distancing.

Weekly update number 40 on the coronavirus in the DC area. Decided to maintain my very current and relevant picture.

This week the D.C area (pop. 5.4 million) increased by 16,305 new cases. Last week it was 16,418 new cases, the week before 12,087 cases, as the week before that there were 15,323 new cases. Nine weeks ago there were only 4,256 new cases. We are still at least six months way from having a vaccine available for everyone.

Almost all of Europe is still struggling with controlling the spread of the disease. Italy (pop. 60.3 million), the original epicenter of the European outbreak, is still struggling with 15K new cases reported for yesterday.  It remains high in the UK (61K yesterday), France (21K), Spain (24K), Germany (18K) and Russia (24K). The U.S., which has never gotten the virus under control, had 230K new cases yesterday. This is in contrast to places like China (64 cases), Japan (4,946), South Korea (839), Taiwan (2), Vietnam (7), Singapore (28), Australia (19) and New Zealand (4 on 1/04). 

The number of reported cases in the DC area was hovering around 8,000 to 9,500 a week for several months, then declined to a low of 2,406 cases twenty-seven weeks ago. It has since increased. All the data is from the Johns Hopkin’s website as of 9:22 PM: Johns Hopkins CSSE

……………………..….Population…last week…this week…Deaths
Washington D.C…….…..702,445…….28,758…..30,482……806
Arlington, VA……………..237,521..……8,786…….9,420……184
Alexandria VA……………160,530…..…7,231……..7,676……..89
Fairfax County, VA…….1,150,795.…..43,434…..46,776…….691
Falls Church, VA…………..14,772.….…..174……….194……….6
Fairfax City, VA……..…..…24,574..….…..304………311………10
Loudoun County, VA….…406,850….…13,996….14,973….…161
Prince Williams C., VA…..468,011…….25,247….27,297….…263
Manassas…………………..41,641..…….2,867…..3,025…..….29
Manassas Park………….…17,307….……926….….972……..…8
Stafford Country, VA……..149,960….….5,099……5,684…..….26
Fredericksburg, VA…………29,144……..1,021……1,106……….11
Montgomery C., MD…….1,052,567…..45,791…..48,864…..1,157
Prince Georges C., MD.…..909,308…..54,127….57,286…..1,111
Total……….…….….……..5,365,425…237,761..254,066…..4,552

This is a 7% increase since last week. The Mortality Rate for the area is 1.79%. This last week, there were 125 new fatalities reported out of 16,305 new cases. This is a mortality rate of 0.77%. The population known to have been infected is 4.74% or one confirmed case for every 21 people. The actual rate of infection has been higher, perhaps as much as 4 times higher.

Virginia has a number of large universities (23,000 – 36,000 students) located in more rural areas, often tied to a small town. This includes James Madison (JMU) at Harrisonburg, University of Virginia (UVA) at Charlottesville and Virginia Tech (VT) at Blacksburg. Most of them were emptied out due to Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas holidays. Many of the students are now home until mid-to-late January.

Harrisonburg, VA is reporting 4,593 cases (4,343 last week) and 46 deaths, while Rockingham County, where the town resides, is reporting 4,313 cases (3,842 last week) and 48 deaths. This is where James Madison University is located.

Charlottesville, VA has 2,303 confirmed cases (2,182 last week) and 34 deaths, while Albemarle County, VA, where the town resides, has 3,009 confirmed cases (2,756 last week) and 33 deaths. This is where UVA is located. UVA had a covid tracker which is worth looking at: https://returntogrounds.virginia.edu/covid-tracker. This is definitely worth looking at, as you can see how they were able to bring the virus under control with a student body of 25,000.  

Further south, Montgomery County, VA has 5,398 cases this week (5,138 last week) and 43 deaths. This is where Virginia Tech is located.

Keep in mind all these increases in this towns is occurring while the universities are not in session. It is currently growing faster than it was when they were.

Virginia (pop. 8.5 million) had 4,377 cases yesterday. Last week it was 4,122. For a long time, it pretty much ran 1,000 cases a day, neither going up or going down.

Dare County, North Carolina, a beach area in the outer banks, has 1,167 cases (996 last week) and 5 deaths. With summer over, not sure why this continues to grow. It is growing a lot faster than during the summer.

 

Disputed Elections – week 21

Well, it kind of looks like this is over for now. There has been Christmas, New Years and no new significant large protests. I gather there are still flash mobs and small protests, but nothing like the tens of thousands in the street that there was. Two days ago the archbishop of Minsk resigned his post. He has been critical of Lukashenko and has been blocked from re-entering Belarus. Meanwhile Lukashenko is busy planning for a referendum on his constitutional changes. No date as to when that would be.

So, it appears that Lukashenko remains in power for now. The opposition is still out there and there are still small protests (including in St. Petersburg, Russia). Suspect this will simmer for a while. Who knows if there will be a spark that re-ignites the protests in mass or if Lukashenko has safely preserved his rule until the next election (which I gather is in 5 years) or his new constitution is adopted. This is his sixth term as president. He is 64. The main opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya remains in Lithuania with her children. Her husband, a political activist, is currently in jail in Belarus. She is 38. Lukashenko says he will resign as president once the new constitution is put into place. Right now, it is not known what that constitution says and when it will be in place.

This is probably the last I will blog about this until something significant happens. It does appear that for now, Lukashenko has managed to put down a protest that had at one point maybe 200,000 people in the street. Early on, he was fairly heavy handed. This seems to fuel the opposition. He then backed down and waited, arresting/detaining several hundred protestors each week. This seemed to work. One wonders if there is a lesson there, which would be, if one tries too hard to crack down on protestors, one just fuels them. In the end, the protest resulted in the death of 4 protestors according to most counts. In contrast, the successful Euromaiden protests that overthrew the government of Ukraine in 2014 was done at a cost of at least 104 people, and some provide much higher figures (up to 780). According to one rumor I heard, during the Euromaiden protests President Putin of Russia kept insisting that Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, crack down harder on the protestors. At the time, Yanukovych had deployed snipers to shoot at protestors but he apparently told Putin that it was politically impossible to do anything further.

When I first starting blogging about this on 13 August 2020 I laid out six possible scenarios:

1. Lukashenko manages to remain in power.
2. Lukashenko is replaced by someone in his entourage.
3. Lukashenko is overthrown and replaced by a democratic government.
4. Lukashenko is overthrown and replaced by a government that becomes an oligarchy or another dictatorship.

5. Russian intervenes.

6. Lukashenko forms a combined government with the opposition so as to head off Russian intervention.

 

Russian intervention could have several forms

1. To prop up Lukashenko, possibly in exchange for signing a treaty that surrenders some or much of their sovereignty.
2. To prop up a replacement for Lukashenko, also in exchange for signing a treaty that surrenders some or much of their sovereignty.
3. Russia annexes Belarus.

 

See: Events in Belarus | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

For now, it appears that scenario one is the case. Suspect that will still be the case in twelve months from now. Who knows where we will be at in five years. Dictatorships have a tendency to survive for only one generation and Lukashenko is no longer young. 

 

 

 

P.S. The picture of the detained protestor is from previous months, I just happen to like it (“Beauty and the Beast”). She was identified over twitter (@A_Sannikov) as Natalia Petukhova. The arresting officer has not been identified. Picture came from @svirsky1 via @XSovietNews. I still do no know if she had been released, although many protesters have been detained, charged, convicted and later released.

 

 

 

 

The lockdowns from Coronavirus are over in 6 months?

We now have two working vaccines in America and are starting to distribute. The goal was to inoculate 20 million by the end of 2020 and then 30 million more per month for subsequent months. We fell short of the first goal (only inoculated around 2 million), but hopefully we are on track to inoculate a million people a day for here on out. We shall see.

Assuming you can inoculate a million people a day (it is a lot), then by the end of June we should have around 180 million people inoculated. There are currently over 20 million who have been tested with the virus, so they theoretically don’t need inoculation. The number who have had the virus but not been tested is probably around 20 to 60 million. The United States is currently accumulating more than 200,000 new reported infections a day, so if it continues at that rate (and I am not sure it will decline soon) by the end of June we may have another 36 million cases (and possibly another 180,000 to 360,000 deaths). The United States has a population of 331 million.

So, in an ideal scenario we would have by the end of June 180 million people inoculated, 20 million already infected, another 36 million infected over the six months, at least 20 million infected but not tested, an additional 36 million new cases of people infected by not tested, less all those people who have been infected but get the vaccine anyway (lets say 1/2 or – 56 million). So 180 + 20 + 36 + 20 + 36 – 56 = 236 million people protected/inoculated. This is 71% of the U.S. population vaccinated or previously infected. This is close to the infamous “herd immunity” which I gather should be 80% or greater.

There may be a group of people who resist or reject the vaccine. This is not a big issue for this calculation, as it simply means other people will get vaccinated instead.

Now, there are a lot of factors that will influence these figures. First and most important is can the United States vaccinate a million people a day? Right now, they have not. If they cannot then the point of recovery may slide out until the fall or even to the end of the year.

 

P.S. In the last three days we have administered 500,000 vaccines a day. See: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/04/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html