It’s a sad commentary on the new season of Doctor Who that we actually forgot about the New Year’s Special until today. We still purchased it from iTunes, but our usual pattern is to look forward to the Christmas Special, pay for it in advance and watch it as soon as humanly possible.
Here are my thoughts on the special.
“Resolution” is perhaps the single least creative title for a New Year’s episode possible.
The science fictional elements (in the context of season 11) started off surprisingly well. To avoid spoilers: the special took a classic Doctor Who adversary and added in elements from one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time. It goes downhill from there and some of the elements of the final confrontation are downright cheesy.
Like the rest of season 11 the character moments lacked all subtlety and were frequently over written and difficulty to watch.
Jodie Whitaker may have finally settled on a personality for her Doctor, although if she has, it’s a pretty generic one. At least she was finally recognizable as the Doctor, which evidently, is no small feat. None the less there were some false moments. The Doctor should be a source of strength for her companions and that precludes telling people that she is “panicked.” Every other Doctor was able to convey the gravity of a situation without undermining morale. The 13th Doctor should be able to as well, but this incarnation seems weaker. Further, this Doctor still seems less competent than previous incarnations. These differences take on greater significance in the context of the First Female Doctor, who needs to be as confident and as competent as her predecessors. Anything else undermines the entire premise of the gender-swap and is simply bad writing.
Overall, I’d give the New Year’s Special a “C.” Somewhat better than any individual episode of the last season, but not great.
Most of the issues with season 11 were in the writing and I can think of three simple things that could be improved for season twelve.
1) There’s no reason to think that Chibnall isn’t a competent show runner. He should concentrate on that role and appoint a new head writer, preferably someone with a number of good strong Doctor Who episodes under his or her belt.
2) Bring back some seasoned Doctor Who writers. Clearly the experiment of having a staff of all green writers working under Chibnall led to a weak season.
And 3) drop the policy of creating all new adversaries for next season. There’s a reason the classic villain are the classic villains; they’re known and they work. The audience is familiar with them and so, more time and energy can be devoted to other elements of the plot. That’s part of the reason that the New Year’s Special was a bit stronger than the episodes within the season proper; it used an established adversary. It’s possible that if the show could maintain this level of quality, it could limp along well enough that there could be a season 13 to follow 12 after which Whittaker and Chibnall plan to make their departures.
I just learned that comet 46p/Wirtanen will make its closest approach to Earth this evening.
It should be pretty easy to spot; close to the Pleiades, a tiny bit to the south and a bit lower in the sky.
It’s supposed to be magnitude 4 which is kind of bright. It’ll be diffuse, but even if it’s hard to pick out with the naked eye, it should be visible in a half way decent pair of binoculars.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia about 46p/Wirtanen. Most comets have orbits that extend into the Oort Cloud, far past the orbit of Neptune. This comet’s orbit only extends about out to Jupiter. It will return to our cosmic neighborhood in about five and a half years as opposed to the decades it usually takes with other comets.
With luck, viewing will be better in other areas. I just stepped outside and here the sky is uniformly covered with clouds. I’ll look again later.
In the same section of the night sky, the Geminid Meteor Shower could still be visible. The shower peaked Friday morning. I’ve only had good luck viewing a meteor shower once, but when you’re lucky, you can see things that are pretty spectacular as evidenced by this dash cam video.
“Who created the Wasp?” might be less of a settled question than is usually believed.
I’ve been working my way through the Ant-Man/Giant Man era in Tales to Astonish (TtA) and I made it up to the first appearance of the Wasp a month ago or so. I was enjoying the story and the art and looking at the picture to the left, it’s obvious that Don Heck is the penciller. The art looked particularly good, and I wondered who did the inking. Could Heck be inking himself? I turned to the credits and to my surprise, I discovered Jack Kirby is credited as the artist while heck is only credited as the inker. That seemed to contradict everything I see in the book.
The Wasp is generally considered a Lee/Kirby creation or a Lee/Hart/Kirby creation. I probably first read this story when I scored a copy of The Superhero Women (TSW) back in the early 80’s. Here’s what Stan Lee had to say about the art in this story in TSW. “As for the artwork – who else but Jack Kirby? And it was a real treat to have Dashin’ Donnie Heck available to do the inking.” But he says something else that’s interesting. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to write the story that introduced Janet Van Dyne. Luckily, however, after writing the basic plot, I was able to give it to an old friend of mine, Ernest Huntley Hart.” A bit later we see “Why he signed his name as H. E. Huntley is something the world may never know…” 
What do we get from this? Lee was busy, busy enough to pass off the scripting duties for this issue to Ernie Hart. Tales to Astonish #44 was published for June 1963. To quantify how busy Lee was at that time, we can check his credits at ComicBookDB.com. He worked on at least 11 comics in May of 1963 as well as 8 comics in June and 11 in July. Kirby was no less busy; he worked on 10 comics in May, 7 in June and 10 in July.
Let’s look at a few panels from Tales to Astonish #44, from page 12…
and from page 17.
There’s not a lot here that seems reminiscent of Kirby. You can compare these to any of Heck’s pencils from this time period, this looks like his work. The faces and figures look like Heck’s; one of the characters on page 12 could be a doppelganger of Happy Hogan. The hands look like Heck’s work; he tended to draw longer, more slender fingers on the male characters. The shading also looks like his work; here that tends much more toward hatching (clusters of close parallel lines) than is typical of Kirby’s work.
Compare these to some other panels credited to Kirby published the same month, first from Rawhide Kid #34…
and these from Journey into Mystery #93.
The art in these issues scream Kirby. The faces look like Kirby’s and the figures look like Kirby’s. The shading looks like Kirby; Kirby tended toward more and larger areas of solid black than Heck did. The hands look like Kirby’s as he tended to draw blockier, squared-off fingers on the men.
So, giving Kirby full credit for the artwork seems dubious. The credits in the issue certainly make it seem there is some element of truth to it, but the other evidence should at least make us think there’s something worth investigating here.
Who created Iron Man?
Let’s rewind three months to a comic published in March of 1963. Tales of Suspense (ToS) #39 introduced the Invincible Iron Man to the world.
The creative process for “Iron Man is Born!” seems very similar to the process for “The Creature from Kosmos!” Judging from the credits, Lee was responsible for the basic plot, but he handed off scripting duties to his brother, Larry Lieber. We know Kirby did the early design work for Iron Man and penciled the cover while Heck was responsible for the interior art.
But, actually it’s not that simple. Kirby claimed to have done full breakdowns for the story and this was reported for years. Mark Evanier did a careful study of Kirby’s involvement with this story and with Daredevil #1 and concluded that Kirby…
“definitely did not do full breakdowns as has been erroneously reported about … the first ‘Iron Man’. [In the early 1970s], Jack claimed to have laid out those stories, and I repeated his claim in print — though not before checking with Heck who said, in effect, ‘Oh, yeah. I remember that. Jack did the layouts’. We all later realized he was mistaken. … Both also believed that Jack had contributed to the plots of those debut appearances — recollections that do not match those of Stan Lee. (Larry Lieber did the script for the first Iron Man story from a plot that Stan gave him.) Also, in both cases, Jack had already drawn the covers of those issues and done some amount of design work. He came up with the initial look of Iron Man’s armor….” 
Is the situation here analogous to TtA #44? Is it the very same situation with the claim of doing the layouts preceding the writing of the credits box? Much depends on what is meant by “art” and “inking.” It’s likely that later credits would delineate the tasks here as “layouts” and “embellishing” which recognizes a much greater contribution on the part of the inker, but comic book credits were still in their infancy.
During the Golden Age, comics tended to credit a single creator if they credited anyone at all. This practice had not changed much by the time Fantastic Four (FF) #1 was published a mere 17 months earlier, as you can see here it credited only Lee and Kirby. It was Stan Lee who introduced the “credits box” to the industry, mimicking credits in motion pictures in an attempt to give comics a greater sense of importance. Eventually the credits would recognize editors, writers, pencillers, inkers, letterers and colorists and some more nuanced roles such as co-plotters, layout artists and embellishers. At the time I suspect that the lines between these various roles was still being codified. Is it possible that the only difference in the credits between TtA #44 and ToS #39 is merely different, but not yet codified meanings of “art” and “inker?”
Don Heck as an Inker
Some inkers are known for being heavy handed, where their personal style overwhelms the style of the penciller. Could that be the case here? It’s not likely. Let’s look at a couple of examples. Heck inked Amazing Spider-Man #63 over the pencils of John Romita. Here’s a few panels.
Romita’s style is undiminished while there are very few indicators of Heck’s influence. We see something similar in ToS #80 where, more on point, we see Heck’s inks over Kirby’s pencils.
This is quite clearly Kirby’s work. The hallmarks are there: the composition, the poses, the black areas in the shading and the look of the hands. If anything, Heck is responsible for giving the art nice, clean lines that enhance Kirby’s pencils rather than supersede them. Although this is a small sample, it seems that, if Heck had been given detailed pencils from Kirby, we would have a finished product that reflected Kirby’s style. 
If we want to see a contemporary rendering of Ant-Man and the Wasp by Kirby, we need look no further than Janet’s second appearance in Fantastic Four #16, published the following month, July 1963.
Janet only appears in this single panel. Let’s compare it to this image from TtA #44.
The broad scheme of Janet’s outfit is the same in both books. However, in TtA #44 the outfit is more formfitting than the version in FF #16 and it drapes a bit better. Both of these imply Heck’s influence. The other distinct difference is in the outfit’s shoulders; in the TtA version the shoulders are smaller and up swept, making them more evocative of wings. If both versions were pencilled in detail by Kirby, it seems as though there would be more similarity in the details.
In FF #16, we see Hank employ his catapult to travel across the city. Compare the FF version,
to this image from TtA #44.
The final image in the FF version is far more dynamic, one of Kirby’s calling cards. This second sequence seems much more similar to this sequence from TtA #43, (pencilled by Heck) than it does to the FF version.
This isn’t, by itself definitive, there are less dynamic catapult sequences that were penciled by Kirby. Here’s another image from FF # 16.
Again, Kirby’s signature dynamism is on full display. It’s tricky to find a similar scene in an Ant-Man story, but here is one of the highlights of TtA #44.
The action is depicted competently, but it’s a much more conventional depiction than the fight sequence in FF #16. In the latter piece, most of the action is parallel to the panel, occurring safely behind it. In the first, the reader is either drawn directly into the panel or the action is projecting directly out of the panel, moving directly toward the reader. The action is even more muted in this sequence from TtA #45 by Heck.
The scene from TtA #44 looks qualitatively different both from the panels from FF #16 and from Heck’s artwork in TtA #45. It’s possible that TtA #44 is a hybrid, using Heck’s more traditional poses with a bit of Kirby’s flair for action.
Original Art Pages
One helpful consequence of the Ant-Man and the Wasp movie having been released so recently is that many pages of the original artwork for TtA #44 have been for sale online. This makes it easy to find and inspect the artwork to see if anything can be learned from it. Unfortunately, at least as far as can be seen on-line, most of the pencil work is covered by the ink lines or is not visible for other reasons. But there are notable exceptions.
In the left-hand panel here, you can see pencil marks probbly meant to depict Janet’s shoulders as she faces the projected image more directly than in the final image. In the right-hand panel, there is an oval in the approximate position of Janet’s head which might indicate an original sketch where Janet’s head was smaller than Heck drew it in the final version.
There is an image of page 16 on-line where a lot of the pencil work is visible. Let’s look at two panels from this page. The pencils in this image look rough. You can also see penciled-in placements for the dialogue balloons. That could be Kirby’s handwriting in the balloons, but there’s not enough visible to be certain. What this implies about the plotting process is unknown.
The rough nature of the layouts is particularly evident in this image, where it looks like Heck made a number of changes as he inked the final version, specifically, Hank’s arm is at his side rather than on Janet’s shoulder, his foot is moved and Janet’s wings are positioned differently. There’s no reason to necessarily assume that the pencils here aren’t Kirby, but the work is sparse enough that, judging from this alone, they could just as easily be by Heck or any number of other artists. Other Kirby pencils that can be found online are carefully detailed and definitely display the artist’s distinctive style.
I’m far from the first person to suggest this but it is clear that Kirby (or whoever did the pencils) did only a minimal layout for TtA #44. Kirby was certainly involved in the design work and the cover art. Kirby is credited for the “art” but there are other indications that he is indeed responsible for the layouts. The technology in the story resembles what we call “Kirby machines” and the design of the creature appears to be more reminiscent of Kirby’s work than much of the other artwork in the story. Although not as dynamic as the art in other Kirby publications, the layouts and the action sequences appear different from Heck’s typical work.
But these layouts are sparse enough that to credit Heck only as the inker is an understatement. His style dominates the art in this story and he must have been responsible for many of the fine details of the issue. In ToS #39, Kirby designed the Iron Man armor and Heck developed the look of Tony Stark and the supporting cast. It remains an open question in my mind whether the creation of the Wasp isn’t directly analogous.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, Don Heck is an integral part of the creation of the Wasp and I think he should share credit with Kirby, Lee and Hart.
 I had initially wondered if this name swap was due to some sloppiness in the credits, but it appears that Hart scripted seven stories for Marvel in 1963, two Human Torch stories from Strange Tales (ST) 110 and 111 and the Ant-Man and the Wasp stories in TtA 44 to 48. All of these are credited to H. E. Huntley except the story in ST #111 which is credited to H. Huntley. It’s still possible that the the credit for TtA #44 was an error that was then repeated, but that seems far less likely than if it were a single occurrence.
 Speaking of Credit where it’s due, this post was inspired by a discussion with Jared Aiosa of the Heroes Your Mom Threw Out Comic Shop in Elmira, NY. The Don Heck angle was self-evident, but Jared pointed me toward a lot of the other things I investigate here.
It’s been awhile since I changed the flag outside and I decided to swap for today, in honor of the holiday. Specifically, we’re now flying a 35-Star American Flag with the stars in what is known as a great star configuration.
The 35-Star Flag became the official flag of the United States on 4 July 1863 when a star was added for West Virginia. It remained the official flag until 1865 when the 36th Star was added to represent Nevada.
The relevance to Thanksgiving Day? Although the holiday was celebrated a various times prior to 1863, the modern celebration dates back to 1863 when Abraham Lincoln called for a National day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. This was the national flag on that day.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of historical evidence for a 35-Star flag with a great star configuration, most show the stars in a rectangular array. Congress doesn’t typically specify the configuration of the stars, but there were 20, 26, 33, 34 and 36-Star Great Star variants. Great stars were popular and commonly flown on private ships in the early part of the 19th Century.
The closest historical flag that I can find to the version I’m flying was one of many mourning flags for Abraham Lincoln. This one had an additional star in the center of the great star and a black border. According to loeser.com,
“It should be understood that these special flags are only examples because the engines were switched as the train was passed from railroad to railroad. There were at least five or more different engines used to pull the train on its journey, plus more pilot locomotives that ran the tracks ahead of the actual train to make sure the tracks were clear. Each railroad used their best and most powerful engines to move the funeral train slowly from station to station and they each decorated their engines differently with locally made flags…”
Other sources indicate that this flag was used for later periods of national mourning, including for President Kennedy in 1963.
This is the system currently used in Maine and Nebraska. In Maine and Nebraska the statewide winner gets the two electoral votes (EVs) that correspond to the senators and then the remaining votes are determined by the winner of each congressional district.
The Electoral College already has a “small state bias” that skews for the time being in favor of the Republicans, since the smaller states tend to be more Republican than the country as a whole. I haven’t checked the numbers, but California has the same population as something like the smallest 20 states combined. That’s two EVs for the statewide win in California compared to forty for the statewide wins in these other states. It’s this bias that is responsible for the two “electoral inversions” we had in 2000 and 2016. That is to say, the two elections where the winner of the Electoral College did not match the winner of the popular vote.
Choosing the remaining EVs by congressional district would further skew things in the Republican direction. This is due to the extreme partisan gerrymander that took place after the 2010 election. To put this into perspective, the Democrats won the “national congressional vote” (NCV) in 2018 by something around 7 percentage points. This will give them a majority of between 14 and 19 seats when the remaining races are determined. By contrast, the Republicans won the 2014 NCV by 5.4 percent in 2014 and that gave them a majority of 30 seats. Worse, in 2012 the Democrats won the NCV by 1.2% but the Republicans maintained a majority in the House of 16 seats.
So, at least
until the the congressional districts are redrawn in the wake of the
2020 Census, the current small state bias that favors republicans would
be exacerbated. I don’t know if it would be impossible for a Democrat to
win the presidency under such a system, but it would certainly be more
difficult and there would be many instances where this system would
elect the Republican even if the American people preferred the Democrat.
it’s easy to imagine a worse system. During the run-up to the 2012
election, I recall Nebraska debating a return to a winner-take-all
system so that President Obama could not win an EV from Nebraska like he
did in 2008. At at about the same time the republican-controlled
Pennsylvania legislature debated switching to allocating EVs by
congressional district to help Governor Romney. Imagine such a system
implemented nationwide, with all the red states using winner-take-all
and all the blue states allocating by congressional district or
vice-versa. Such a system would virtually guarantee one-party control of
So, I’m going to try to live-blog the results tonight; feel free to pause me or something if it gets to be too much.
We just got back from voting, and our polling place was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. Joanne got ballot #342 for our precinct. Since there’s four precincts at our polling place they’ve probably seen more than 1200 voters today. Enthusiasm seems high, to the point that they ran out of “I voted” stickers. That’s a good sign. I’m a little disappointed not to get a sticker, but I think I like the fact that they ran out better.
One of the things that I’ve been pondering is the political atmosphere and it struck me today that my congressman has been behaving like his position is hanging by a thread. He’s being too venomous toward his opponent for my liking. It’s odd. 538 gives him a 4 in 5 chance of retaining his seat, but that isn’t what his demeanor says. It’s possible that he’s just kind of a jackass, but maybe there something more there.
Speaking of 538, Nate Silver tells us that the data looks good for the democrats across a wide variety of districts; it’s possible that the there’s more good news for them in districts that they aren’t polling.
So, here’s my best guess for this evening.
Democrats moderately out perform expectations.
Democrats take back the house and beat the average by a small amount. It looks like the median projection is D+38 seats, I’m going to guess D+40 or 41.
Republican’s gain one in the Senate. I don’t think Heitkamp is going to pull it out in North Dakota. The “outperforming” gets people like O’Rourke uncomfortably close to victory, but not quite there. That said a swing of three seats in either direction wouldn’t surprise me. In the last few days, the Republicans’ odds in the Senate have dropped from 6 in 7 to 4 in 5. If that’s a lagging indicator, the D’s might do better than I think.
This feels like a year, like 1980 or 2006 when all the last minute swing goes in one direction. It will be interesting see how this one plays out.
Numbers in Florida are looking closer to 2012 than 2016 with Gilliam and Nelson leading. But there lots of vote to to come in still.
Florida 27 is the Second Democratic pick up of the night. That might be my old CD.
With 90% of the vote in, it looks like the Republicans are just barely in the lead for FL Governor and Senator. Where is the vote still out? That’s going to make all the difference. The Democrats’ early lead came from quick returns in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. 30% of precincts still to come in Broward, 25% in Miami-Dade. Palm Beach is almost all in.
They called the Indiana Senate race for Braun, the Republican. That’s a Republican pick-up. Blackburn, the Republican wins in Tennessee. Tennessee was one of the few potential pick-ups for Democrats. I think the Senate is out of reach for the Democrats at this point.
There’s fewer than 100 votes separating O’Rourke and Cruz.
Now O’Rourke is ahead in Texas by about 0.4%.
Jared Polis is the first openly gay man to be elected Governor of a state, namely Colorado.
The New York Times estimates the probability that the Democrats will win the House is 95%. MSNBC estimates the probability that the Democrats win is 80%.
Meanwhile 538 has the Democrats’ chances at 7 in 10. Still looking strong.
The Democrats just picked up a House seat in Kansas. The Democrats are doing surprisingly well in Kansas. The Democrat, Laura Kelly, wins the Governorship.
Meanwhile Cruz has retaken the lead in Texas.
The good news for Democrats is starting to roll in.
Meanwhile, the races in Florida are looking red.
Mitt Romney is going to the Senate from Utah.
Staten Island is a conservative area in NYC. The Democrats pick up a seat there.
Heitkamp loses in ND. Net gain for the Republicans.
The just called the Senate race in Texas for Cruz. That guarantees the Senate will stay in Republican hands. The Senate could look really bad for Democrats.
This is still the best night for Democrats in Texas in 30 years. And Beto’s run will have coat tails.
Been busy, but this is interesting. The Maine 2nd may be the first Congressional District to be decided by instant run-off. More of that, Please.
Gillum is conceding the Governor’s race in Florida. Expect to hear endless discussions about the Bradley effect.
Here’s a bit of perspective. The Democrats have won more than twice as many Senate seats as the Republicans tonight. You wouldn’t know it to listen to the coverage.
The democrats have a net gain of 23 seats, giving them a majority in the House of representatives.
It looks like my Republican congressman has been reelected, although I have seen no election results.
It’s time to head off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll look into the thing that I really want to know about; state legislatures. Signing off.
I have some intense opinions about politics and generally, I’m happy to engage. But I don’t want to make this a blog about politics. If someone stumbles on this blog wanting to read about comics or mathematics or whatever they may not be interested in my opinions about candidate X or birthright citizenship or the current occupant of the Oval Office. And that should be fine. Some politics may sneak in from time to time but I’d like this to be a place that’s free from the most divisive arguments we’ve seen in my lifetime.
On the other hand, I’ve been fascinated with elections since I was 12. I’ve done some work in voting theory and I’ve tried my hand at prognostication. It’s been my intention to eventually write about elections on this site. But the problem, then, was what to write about? We know the broad strokes of the 2018 election. The democrats are doing remarkably well in the Generic Congressional Ballot and appear to be poised to retake the House. That’s pretty remarkable given how heavily gerrymandered a lot of states are. Some of that has to do with the intensity of emotion engendered by President Trump. It also helps that some of the most egregious gerrymandering we saw after the 2010 election has been overturned in the courts.
In the Senate, it’s a very different story. This is the class of senators that was elected in 2006, a Democratic wave that gave them the majority for the first time in four years. In 2012, despite defending more than 2/3 of the seats up for election, the Democrats actually increased their majority by two. So the Democrats are faced with what fivethirtyeight.com calls “the most unfavorable Senate map… that any party has ever faced in any election.” Of the 35 senate elections being held this year, only 9 are held by Republicans and only one of those is in a state that’s bluish, namely Nevada. Meanwhile a lot of the seats being defended by democrats are in deep red states like North Dakota and Missouri. Despite being ahead on the Generic Congressional Ballot, it’s entirely possible that the Democrats will lose seats in the Senate.
Aside from the National stage, the most important elections that are happening this year are, in my opinion, the races for State Legislature. We don’t see much national coverage on these elections, but they’re crucially important. This is our first opportunity to elect some of the people who will be drawing the political maps in the wake of the 2020 Census. The candidates we elect now could determine control of the House of Representatives and of State Legislatures for a decade or more.
But all of this is known and it hasn’t shifted much. I could have written the last three paragraphs a month ago. Or two. But the thing that motivates this post is that I stumbled across this.
A lot of folks pay attention to polls. The polls influence their tendency to vote.
Democrats in Texas or Republicans in New York might decry their need to go to the polls because the opposition is going to “win anyway.” But here’s the thing: according to this article (originally published in 2014) the average House poll has, since 1998, been off the final result by 6.2 percentage points. Polls in senate races and gubernatorial elections have fared somewhat better, missing the final result by 5.1% and 5.2% respectively. And polling is getting harder. Response rates are declining making polls more expensive. The decline in the prevalence of landlines along with laws about contacting people on cell phones are making it harder to get a representative sample. You might think your Senate candidate is behind by three points, but the race could be a dead heat.
I see this graphic on Twitter a lot in Nate Silver’s feed. The implication being made that Silver “predicted” that Clinton would win the White House and so, 538 “got it wrong.” That’s not what this says at all. This is a probability. What this says is that, if you could repeat the election a bunch of times, Clinton would only win about 71.4% of the time. In 28.6% of the “elections” Trump would be elected. A Trump election isn’t surprising.
Imagine tossing a coin twice. Would you be surprised if you got two tails? You shouldn’t be. The probability of that outcome is 25%. Sure, it’s more likely that one of the other three outcome will happen, but it isn’t surprising at all.
The Trump victory, according to this analysis, is slightly less surprising than throwing two tails. The difference is that most people are not emotionally invested in the coins toss.
So, what’s the point? Vote anyway.
Do you want the Democrats to win the senate? Current estimates say there’s only a 1 in 6 chance of that happening. Vote anyway.
Do you want the Republicans to retain control of the house? Fivethirtyeight says they’ll “need a systematic polling error” for that to happen. We’ve seen those before. Vote anyway.
Do you want Heitcamp to get reelected in North Dakota, but you’re afraid she’s fallen too far behind? Vote anyway.
Do you want DeSantis to win the Governorship in Florida but you think Gillum has pulled too far ahead? Vote anyway.
Not interested in the winner of the marquee race in your state? The down ballot races and the initiatives are at least as important. Vote anyway.
Can’t bring yourself to vote for either of the major party candidates? You don’t have to use your vote to help determine the winner. For example, here in New York the results of the Governor’s election determine which parties get dedicated ballot access. You could vote to help the Working Families Party or the Conservative Party or the Green Party or the “The Rent is Too Damn High” Party get on the ballot. Vote anyway.
Elections are important. We’d be a profoundly different country if everyone who could vote did vote. But to quote Arron Sorkin or Benjamin Franklin or any number of people, “Decisions are made by those who show up.” This one is really important. No matter what you think is likely to happen, vote anyway.