These political scientists have concluded that the coronavirus could impact the national political landscape, with the net result being harmful to conservatives. The logic:
– Older voters are more likely to die from coronavirus.
– Older voters are more likely to vote for Trump.
– The significant fatalities in Pennsylvania and Michigan, for example, could lose Trump enough voters to swing those states blue.
In my opinion, that is completely inaccurate.
Even if all their assumptions were true, the math doesn’t work. As it currently stands, the death toll in Pennsylvania is likely to be no more than 5,000. Even assuming 4,000 of those are elderly (based on the national trend that 80% of fatalities are aged 65 or more), that would consist of about 2,200 Republicans and 1,800 democrats – a swing of only 400 votes. And that estimate is on the high end because there will likely be fewer than 5,000 fatalities, and Trump is likely to get less than 55% of the elderly vote against Biden (the red team won the 2018 mid-terms by only two points in the 65+ demographic). So the real swing may be just a couple hundred votes, even granting their assumptions.
But their assumptions are not valid. The major problem with their hypothesis lies in a fact they have ignored – that the outbreak disproportionately affects urban minorities – and those voters are overwhelmingly blue, even among the elderly. In the 2018 mid-term elections, elderly black voters voted 88% blue!
Here’s how the math works out, based on the 2018 mid-terms, considering only the lump sum of black voters plus white voters, and temporarily ignoring latinos, asians and others. I’m going to call that black/white elderly group the population sample, so I don’t have to keep retyping the above explanation each time:
Among people aged 65 and older, the ratio of white voters to black is 11-1.
White voters over 65 vote 57-43 red.
Black voters over 65 vote 88-12 blue.
If corona kills both races proportionately to the number of voters, then 53% of the deaths in the population sample will be Republicans.
If elderly black voters are 16% of the deaths instead of the 8% they represent in the population sample, then the majority of the deaths will be Democrats.
It is absolutely no stretch to think that the percentage of elderly people to die from corona in that population sample will be more than 16% black, possibly far more.
The crazy high percentage of black people who vote Democratic is the very reason why Republicans strive so mightily to keep them from the polls, and why even a slightly higher percentage of black people in any group can turn the group’s majority from red to blue.