“Tie Goes to the Runner” – 2020 Predictions

If you played kickball or baseball in the 1990’s, you quickly learned one of the schoolyard’s most basic principles: “Tie goes to the runner!”

The gist is this: if the ball and the runner reach the base at the same time, the runner is safe.

Tie goes to the runner, dude!" Or . . . maybe not - MLB | NBC Sports

A few days ago, the idea popped in my head to apply this rule to politics.

Political “Field”

First, some basics to set up the analogy:

The “runner” is the challenger. He’s trying to score.

Kelly Leak Topps (1976) Bad News Bears | The bad news bears, Movie card,  Bad news

The incumbent is on defense. The incumbent controls the field and generally has more money and people trying to help his/her campaign. These advantages pay off. The incumbent generally wins. It’s aggravating at times.

Derek Jeter's number retirement ceremony was peak Yankees

Sometimes, for various reasons, an incumbent will face a close race for re-election. Here, we can infer political momentum because the incumbent’s inherent advantage must have dwindled for a reason. Perhaps the incumbent did something wrong? Perhaps the incumbent is swept up into national partisan trends? Or, perhaps, the particular challenger happens to be a bad ass.

Recent Media tagged bad news bears - Skymeteor

A general rule emerges: If a race is close as election day approaches, you should bet on the challenger. The reason: the momentum that he/she used to close the gap will more than likely carry him/her to victory.

“Tie goes to the runner”

The 2020 Ticket

We’ll start at the top:

President: Biden has not only closed the gap on the incumbent, he’s favored in every poll. Biden’s going to win. So you’ll know I’m consistent, I wrote a post in July called “Trump is Going to Lose.” It’s the most unoriginal title I ever came up with, but my feelings haven’t changed. Unless something drastic happens in 2020, we’ll have a new President in 2021.

  • WINNER: RUNNER (BIDEN)

US Senate: This is a race where my theory gets put to the test. Cal Cunningham was leading in most polls against the unpopular incumbent, Tom Tillis. You had to like Cunningham’s chances. Then, Cal got caught sexting with a woman in a different state. Cal’s basically in hiding now, refusing to answer questions. He’s trying to run out the clock.

I still like his chances. Why? He’s in a close race with an incumbent that’s coming down to the wire. People obviously didn’t like Tillis to begin with, and Cunningham’s personal mishaps aren’t going to change that. “Tie goes to the runner.”

  • WINNER: RUNNER (CUNNINGHAM) by less than 2 points.

Governor: This race has never been close, so our theory doesn’t apply.

  • WINNER: COOPER

U.S. House (District 8): Incumbent Richard Hudson faces his most serious challenger yet in former NC Supreme Court Justice and Fayetteville native, Patricia Timmons-Goodson.

The partisan makeup of the 8th District favors a Republican. The middle, rural parts of the district are solidly “red.”

8th District.png

For a Democrat to win, they have to drive up Democratic vote on the “ends” of the District (Cumberland and Cabarrus).

If Trump keeps imploding, he could turn “lean Republican” races like this one into “toss-ups.” Tie goes to the runner in toss-ups.

The cracks are forming in the Trump foundation, but there’s a whole lot of MAGA in the middle of NC’s 8th District that will fight (and vote) to the end.

As a side note, this race is somewhat personal to me. My old man ran for this seat in 2002 when I was a senior in high school and lost in the Democratic Primary. In addition, I clerked for Justice Timmons-Goodson while I was in law school. She’d be an excellent Congresswoman and Fayetteville would benefit substantially from having a resident member of Congress. Hudson has never held a real job outside of politics and lives in Washington D.C. Let’s get Hudson some work in the private sector.

Please vote for Timmons-Goodson.

  • WINNER: TRUMP SAVES OR KILLS HUDSON

If Trump implodes and loses nationally by >8 points, then this race goes to the “runner,” Timmons-Goodson. If not, Hudson keeps his seat.

NC Senate District 19

Kirk deViere vs. Wesley Meredith, Part II.

This one is always fun to cover, and I’ve written about it extensively. This seat is the epitome of North Carolina’s purple politics and produces close and expensive races.

I never miss the chance to remind folks that I called this race within .03 of a percentage point in 2018, and I kept the receipts:

https://crosscreekdivide.com/2018/11/16/dont-get-caught-watchin-the-paint-dry/

Surprisingly, the race seems quieter this time around. I keep waiting for a bombshell that hasn’t materialized from Meredith, the king of attack ads. From what I can tell, its been mostly a mailbox battle. Maybe Meredith’s not getting as much money from the Republican Party this time around?

Regardless, the race is likely to be close again, but it’s hard to say if our baseball theory applies this time. Meredith’s only been out of this seat for one term and held it longer than deViere prior to losing in 2018. Who’s the runner? Who’s in the field?

I think this one ends up a lot like 2018, with deViere gaining a little more ground due to Democratic enthusiasm. I’ll call it to the 10th of a percentage point to see if I can re-create my crystal ball magic:

  • WINNER: Kirk deViere 51.3%, Wesley Meredith 48.7%

Wrap-Up

After I wrote this post, I googled the “tie goes to the runner” rule. I came across a post on a blog for umpires. There’s a blog for everyone nowadays.

It turns out that “tie goes to the runner” isn’t an actual rule.

There’s no such thing as a tie in baseball. You either beat the ball to the plate, or you don’t.

Umpires have to make the call.

You can make the call starting tomorrow with early voting.

Fee free to yell at me in the meantime.

Baseball leslie nielsen 32 GIF - Find on GIFER

Man to Man

For the first time ever, tonight, President Trump will go toe-to-toe with one man on a debate stage.

Imagine that…a President of the United States who has never debated another man, one-on-one. Maybe Trump, the ultimate macho-man, is a bit nervous? Will he “choke”?

Don King would shrug off my concerns and say that the current heavyweight champ has the upper hand in tonight’s bout.

Analysis: Why Donald Trump and Don King Make Sense Together

My money’s on the kid from Scranton.

What Did Joe Biden Look Like as a Young Man - Photos of Joe Biden in His 20s

All that Matters in 2020

I’m ready for a change, any change. I know you probably are too.

Life is essentially stagnant at the moment. I heard one pastor on a podcast say that we (Americans) were suffering from “spiritual undernourishment.” He’s right.

In addition, I think we’re suffering from a lack of what makes each one of us, “us,” because the things we use to define and shape our lives are either shut down or modified to such an extent that they’ve lost what made them good in the first place. This pandemic is awful. We’ve put our lives on hold, and we’ve been asked to wait longer. Who do we become when we stop moving forward?

Chaos (what else can you call this?) creates opportunity, good and bad. This was a great opportunity for us as a nation, but we’ve blown it. Because this is an election year, both parties have used the virus for political points. The angst of living in America in 2020 has driven us deeper into our partisan political tents, and we have our elected leaders to thank for exploiting the moment.

How a nation responds to a respiratory virus should not be a partisan issue. This was a real crisis, deserving of real, serious, solutions. If there was ever a hope that Americans had the ability to put partisanship aside, the virus proved it a naive fantasy.

Instead, both parties are all-in on a God-awful pandemic. Nothing else matters in 2020. It makes me sick to my stomach, and I write about politics for fun.

Moving ahead to November, there’s only two scenarios that can play out. The obvious one is that the virus keeps roaring and America stays shut down. If this happens, Trump is defeated and Democrats make gains across the country. Trump can’t escape this fate, and neither can the Republican Party. It’s easy to sit inside in your A/C on the 20th consecutive 90+ degree day and write off 2020 as the year that Trump lost by 20 points.

But an autumn chill has its way of injecting energy into the souls of men. What if the angst were to “lift” sometime before November 3. What if the virus numbers decline? What if Americans begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What if America can win?

Can it?

Or have we given up? Sometimes it feels that way.


In North Carolina, our numbers appear to have peaked, this week in fact. If they haven’t peaked, they’ve at least lost upward momentum.

The United States Curve appears to be leveling off as well:

If the virus numbers decline in any significant way before November, the loud screams to keep schools, businesses, and pretty much everything we enjoy shut-down will quiet.

The only ones advocating shutdowns will be Democratic leaders like Roy Cooper. It will be too late for them to turn back. There will be a debate about who got us to the other side of the mountain, but it won’t mean anything. We’re already in our partisan tents, remember?


Donald Trump has lost a lot of his mojo. It’s likely that even he believes that he’s going to lose.

You don’t whine and complain about the methods being used to carry out an election that you think you’re going to win. If you’ve got it in the bag, you can’t wait for election day.


To conclude, 2020 has put me in a odd predicament. In a way, my new hope is that Donald Trump doesn’t get blown out, because that will mean the Covid pandemic improved, our way of life was not permanently destroyed, and my children can have a real public education.

Opening Crawl - Star Wars: A New Hope - YouTube

I started this site because partisanship is ruining our ability to function at all levels of government. The virus has proven that well. I’m sick of it, though. I know you are too.

We’ve got to find a way out, and staying safe and warm in our partisan bubbles won’t get us anywhere.

Where do you want to go, America? You can’t stay inside forever.

Covid Shame and Politics

In terms of usefulness in American politics, fear and shame have a quick half-life. Anyone can get the public riled up over something scary, but eventually people get tired, numb, or just “over it.” The returns diminish over time.

This kind of explains the Trump presidency. “Many people,” as Trump would say, have grown tired of the drama. If they weren’t before, the year of Our Lord 2020 pushed them over the edge.

21) Smaller-than-expected crowd at Trump rally

Democrats have the best opportunity in a generation to take back power. The problem is they’ve lost their political aim, and they might squander it.

Here’s an example from North Carolina:

This was posted today. The North Carolina Democratic Party is attempting to shame Dan Forest and Republicans for having a fundraiser where people are gathered without masks.

It looks like a really nice evening. Most (sane) people would love to enjoy an evening like that. Judging from the looks of things, I bet some good BBQ was served.

But not in 2020! Today, we shame and berate our fellow citizens for wanting to enjoy life, for wanting to feel a shred of normalcy in this messed up time. It’s sad, in an “if I can’t be happy, no one else can” kind of way. It’s also stupid politics.


Today, the C.D.C. came out in favor of opening public schools. Here’s a notable quote from the press release:

“School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”

https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/new-cdc-guidelines-come-down-hard-in-favor-of-opening-schools/19201905/

People want to feel normal again. They want their kids to have a real education. Democrats, ignoring what people want, are running on disruption, the abnormal.

The clock is ticking on this strategy. Remember, fear and shame have a quick political half-life. Democrats seems to be missing the evidence that Covid might as well. The recent spike of cases in the South and West is flattening. If the numbers aren’t going up around November 3, then all of this could absolutely backfire.

More importantly, Democrats need to treat voters with respect. Americans know it’s bad right now. They can’t avoid it. They don’t need daily reminders from a political party.

An elitist attitude got Democrats in trouble in 2010. It could happen again in 2020 if they don’t start offering up real solutions to get kids in schools and country folks eating BBQ without a side of shame.