Sunday, 18th October, 2020

[Day 216]

We thought that today was going to prove to be a normal, restful Sunday morning but it was not to be. Having collected our Sunday newspapers, I settled down to watch the Andrew Marr show only for there to be a powercut within a few minutes. Going around the house and consulting our circuit-breaker box it became evident that the fault was on the power circuits and only those our living room. Now we had the difficult job of trying to identify which of the consumers could possibly be at fault. My suspicions fell on a large Dimplex electric fire we have which occupies our hearth because it seems to chomp through bulbs at a fairly regular pace and we suspected that that was the source of the problem. However when my son inspected the bulbs in the rear of the fire (I know how to get in and out of it quickly having done it several times before). My son followed his instincts and pulled at the fire’s cable which went through a hole cut in the fireplace surround (by the installers when we had our fire fitted thirteen years ago) and then saw the source of the problem. The fire’s own cable would not extend to the wall socket so the cable was attached to an extension lead. The fire’s own plug had one of those types of fuses that used to be popular when the fuse is visible from outside the casing and can be replaced without unscrewing the whole. The fuse in the fire’s plug and evidently melted and fused itself into the fuse carrier rendering the whole of that useless. Still, having identified the source of the problem I hastened down to a hardware shop, purchased a new plug with a conventional, internal fuse as well =as some spares and then set about rearing the plug. This I hadn’t done for about 20 years but you don’t lose the skills and techniques of a lifetime but the diagnosis and the repair both proved to be effective but only after a certain degree of stress. Meg and I walked to the park and then had a conventional, Sunday lunch, upon our return.

Last night, I came across a fascinating article, probably because as search terms I had used terms like ‘Can Biden Lose?’ and ‘Voter Suppression‘. The article was entitled ‘A Campaign of Voter Subtraction‘ and I found it gave me considerable pause for thought (and some pessimism). I already knew that the Republicans would try a variety of electoral tricks to try and disenfranchise their opposition but I hadn’t realised how systematic this was. The article maintained that whereas the Democrats try and increase the size of the electoral roll by leading drives for voter registration, the Republicans try to actively subtract voters by making it difficult to vote. Although some of your own supporters will lose out in this process, the tactic attempts to ensure that even more of your opponents (generally lower-income and black) are denied the vote. For example, if your signature does not exactly match that they have on file then a postal ballot is liable to be declared invalid. Another tactic is that anyone convicted of a felony, even decades ago, is automatically disqualified. The House of Representatives (Democrat-controlled) is well aware of these abuses and had passed several bills to modernise the voting procedures, only to have this legislation voted down by the Republican senate. In this way, voter suppression has proceeded apace and may reach new heights in this 2020 election. The article concludes that it is quite possible that Hillary Clinton as well as leading in the popular votes had actually carried more states than Trump (i.e. she won) but the disqualified and largely Democratic votes in many cases was larger than the small majority by which Trump had carried several states. So the margins in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania totalled 107,000 across the three states. Of course, this proposition is conjectural but it is undoubtedly true that Trump won with razor-thin margins in these states. By the way, I am predicting that some ‘dirty tricks’ will emerge on about Thursday i.e. 12 days before the election as this is the date (not too close to the election, not too distant) in which any damage that might be inflicted is at its maximum (like the disclosure of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails 12 days before the 2016 election!)