All You Need To Know #12
Last week we talked about the bad news around how Donald Trump’s pick to run the US Postal Service might be slowing down the mail. I wrote that as bad as it is, at least it’s not happening under cover of darkness. And a few days later, Nancy Pelosi announced that she’d bring the House back into order, cutting into the summer recess. A few days after that, the White House signalled it was open to negotiating funding the Post Office.
Somewhere amongst the drama, I noticed a post called Stop Panicking About the Post Office. It’s not written by a random person, or a Trump supporter. It’s written by an attorney who seems to know what he’s talking about. He’s essentially saying that while the USPS does need more funding, it has enough funding to get through the election. And while these changes are poorly timed, they had been signed off a long time ago, in a non-partisan way. I also saw a quote that said even if every ballot went through at the same time, that’s still only 30% of the daily mail the USPS handles.
I can’t speak to the accuracy of any of these points, but even if they’re only 75% true, or 50% true, it seems like a big issue that’s not quite as sinister as it feels. But whether or not they’re true, this issue continues to be big news.
Except that a bunch of other big news happened back-to-back-to-back. First, the Senate issued a bipartisan report saying there was definitely provable collusion with Russia. I cannot overstate what a big deal this is to have Republicans openly admit that their party’s most popular and recognisable face teamed up with a foreign power to sway the election. On one hand, this was pretty well understood before. But this is a truly historic document, and my understanding is the 1000 page report goes quite a lot further than the Mueller report. That’s an absolutely devastating development, at least through the eyes of history. It’s not like it’s going to lead to Trump’s impeachment or anything.
Then his ex-campaign manager Steve Bannon was arrested on a billionaire’s mega-yacht. Apparently he ran a charity to build a wall on the southern border, taking donations from hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters, then used those funds to enrich himself. Now each of Trump’s three campaign managers have all been brought up on charges.
Next, Kamala Harris. The polling on the pick is showing that it was a very smart move. She polls well, and people like her. The left thinks she’s too centrist and the right thinks she’s too radical. But most people just think she seems smart, strong, and accomplished, and I think they’ve got it right.
Also Trump tried to appeal the decision that said he has to reveal his taxes, and was denied. Everyone knows he’s just stalling, and the judge said as much in their remarks.
And to top it all off, the Democratic National Convention happened this week. Just a few hours ago, I watched Joe Biden give his speech. In short, I thought he did a great job. He gets a bit mushy-mouthed here and there, but the speech was well-written, well-delivered, and set out some clear themes for his presidency and the choice Americans are making. He framed it as a choice between darkness and light.
For months, conspiracy theorists on the internet have pushed the idea that Biden is senile and hiding in his basement. It didn’t seem to matter that Joe was hosting a podcast, giving lots of interviews and speeches, and was on video for hundreds of hours without too many gaffes. The Russians, Bernie Sanders supporters on the left, and Trump supporters on the right all coalesced on the same idea: Biden is out of touch and will be destroyed on stage with Trump.
I must say, this conspiracy theory frustrates me. When I look up Joe Biden clips, I come away impressed. No, he’s not a soaring orator. Yes, he mangles words here and there. But other than those small details, his messages are inspiring and show the kind of leadership I expect from a leader of a country.
But after seeing Biden do so well tonight, I realise that it’s yet another example of his rope-a-dope campaign. “Go ahead,” his campaign seems to be saying. “Count me out. Call me old and senile. Set my expectations as low as possible.” Because then, with almost no effort, an average speech or debate suddenly looks like an extraordinary one. And something we seem to have forgotten in the last 8 years is that Biden is actually a pretty fantastic debater. It’ll be funny watching Trump realise that in real time, while on stage.
So how are the numbers looking? Nationally, Biden is up 7.6%, which puts him at the largest advantage of any Democratic nominee in the last 24 years. But what about the Six States That Matter? He’s up 4.2%, which shows a bit of tightening since his peak in July. But notice that even as Trump rises, Biden is rising as well.
I expect two things to happen next week. First, Biden is going to get his DNC bump (which will combine a bit with his Harris bump). Second, the Republicans are about to have their convention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually makes Biden’s numbers go up even more. That’s the way it’s been all election season for Biden’s team: “heads I win, tails you lose.”
And that’s the good news this week!