Top political analyst warns Steamboat audience to prepare for long election night

Amy Walter

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One of the country’s top political analysts told an online Steamboat Springs audience that results from the 2020 Presidential Election are likely to trickle in slowly, giving bad actors on social media enough time to sow chaos in the public’s mind.

“All of us need to educate the people in our lives that Election Night will look very different … but not for any nefarious reason,” said Amy Walter, national editor for the Cook Political Report.

Walter said while Colorado is accustomed to mail-in ballots, other states will be dealing with a larger mass of mail-in and absentee ballots they aren’t accustomed to handling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said this could cause a delay in the vote count, leaving a vacuum of up to several days.

“That’s when conspiracy theories will pop up” from foreign instigators like Russia, she said.

Walter is a political panelist for NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox political shows and a former political director at ABC. Her career has positioned her alongside campaign insiders from all political spectrums. The Cook Political Report is also the go-to nonpartisan newsletter for D.C. politicos.

Walter is this summer’s first speaker in the Seminars at Steamboat series, where top public policy experts are invited to speak on the country’s pressing issues. This year’s series is being held online with the virtual audience still able to submit questions.

In an era when crises can make or break a president, Walter said Trump was handed an unexpected crisis in the pandemic but hasn’t appeared to rise to the challenge.

“He’s really losing independent voters by significant margins by being indifferent to health issues,” she said. “And on the other issue … race relations. You don’t need to be a plugged-in political observer to appreciate the president is struggling. He hasn’t met this moment.”  

Walter said Trump is in a deep hole and taking the Republican Party down with him, as it appears Democrats are poised to pick up several Senate seats, including in Colorado.

Audience members asked Walter if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden should announce a dream-team type cabinet before he’s elected to reinforce that his administration would be full of trusted, experienced people who listen to data and science. Walter said that wouldn’t be a bad idea. She also warned that Biden shouldn’t be “too cute by half” when picking a running mate.

“Don’t complicate it. Biden doesn’t need a Hail Mary,” Walters said. “Can this person fill the post of president? Do no harm. The best thing Biden has going for him is Donald Trump. Don’t distract.”

Walter’s full presentation, “The 2020 Election in a time of Pandemic,” can be found at

The next Seminars speaker is Amna Nawaz, PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent, who will present, “Immigration in the Time of COVID: Consequences for Election 2020.” Her presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 20, on the Crowdcast virtual platform. Access is free, and registration can be completed by visiting Seminars at Steamboat on Crowdcast at

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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