All You Need To Know #4
Hello, and welcome to episode four! Let’s do a quick recap. In episode one, I talked about how badly Trump is polling in the six states that matter. I also talked about how he was losing mainstream support and even the support of his own base. That was all a month ago.
So one week later, the polls looked even worse, and the Supreme Court kept handing him defeats. In that episode, we also talked about “double haters,” people who don’t like either candidate. Hillary lost these voters in 2016 but Biden has a huge lead amongst them in 2020, which bodes well.
Then last week, Trump’s polling got even worse. And the Supreme Court handed him even more defeats. We talked about voter supression and how Trump is inspiring his base not to use mail-in ballots at the precise time that Democrats are breaking turnout records. Accidental voter suppression in action!
Which brings us to this week. And can you believe the polling is continuing to get worse for Trump? Eventually he’ll find his floor, and will even get a little bounce. But not this week!
Let’s do a quick review of The Six States That Matter. Biden is up by 6.4% in Florida, 7% in Pennsylvania, 6.5% in Wisconsin, 3% in North Carolina, and 3.5% in Arizona. Michigan is a bit of a surprise. It’s been moved out of the battleground column entirely. So I guess that means we’ve moved to The Five States That Matter because Trump’s support is collapsing so spectacularly in the sixth that it’s not up for grabs anymore. If anything, Texas is the new sixth state, which is still hard to fathom. Texas! Competitive for a Democrat! It’s nuts.
The biggest news in the United States this week is how the country is experiencing a terrifying second wave of Covid cases. They’re breaking new records every day and hospitals are filling up. Any other president than Trump, Republican or Democratic, would be telling people to stay home, wear a mask, and they’d be promising federal aid. It would be a pretty straight-forward plan.
Well, not for Trump! He’s spent months painting this as a hoax, a conspiracy to make him look bad, or a blue state problem. So he’s boxed himself in on the only things that could help, and by extension, he’s messed up his own chances at re-election.
It’s gotten so bad, strategically, that now Republicans are openly defying the president and telling Americans to wear a mask. Two hours ago, Texas mandated masks for every citizen in the state. Let’s talk about why this is huge.
Up until the Trump presidency, this news would be reported simply. It would go like this: Texas is seeing increased cases, so they instituted a mask order because they think it will work based on all available evidence. Simple.
But one of the key stories of Trump’s presidency is how unwlling Republicans are to break with the president on anything. Literally any topic. We’ve been wondering for three years what it would take for Republicans to finally get a backbone and disagree with him en masse, and it turns out it requires the worst disaster in American history, with 125,000 dead and many more to come. Alright, noted!
Another big story this week is how Joe Biden is raising more money than Donald Trump. This doesn’t sound like a big story if you believe that Trump is unfit for office. But until two months ago, Republicans were absolutely destroying the Democrats with their fundraising. Trump might be unpopular broadly, but his base still loves him and sends him hundreds of millions of dollars a month. On the other hand, Biden doesn’t animate the same kind of energy, so his numbers have been low in comparison.
Until two months ago. The fact that Biden outraised Trump not just this month, but for two months in a row is a really big deal. Biden raised $141 million in a single month, whereas Obama raised just $110 million in three months at this stage of his 2012 campaign. Let me reiterate that: Biden made more in one month than Obama made in three months. Biden isn’t just outraising Trump, he’s raising three times more than our most popular and most famous American politician.
Does that mean people suddenly love Joe Biden? Yes and no. There is some strong enthusiasm for him amongst some core demographics. There’s also a lot of frustration with him from other demographics, notably the youth vote. But the bigger picture is that Trump did this to himself. If the protests had happened and Trump showed even a glimpse of racial awareness, it could have worked in his favour. If the pandemic had happened and he showed even a glimpse of leadership, it could have worked in his favour. Instead he did the exact wrong things on both issues, everyone noticed, and that’s why his support is collapsing in such an unprecedented way.
Now, campaigns do go through rough spots, and they can turn things around. Just because he’s down between 5–10 points now doesn’t mean Trump can’t make it up. It happens all the time. But there are real doubts, on the right and the left, that he can change course even a little bit. Most people think even if you told him “President Trump, all you have to do in order to be re-elected is admit you’re wrong and wear a mask and you’ll win election,” he’d be literally incapable of saying the words. It’s just not in him. History says he’s just incapable.
He’d probably say “I was wrong – well, I wouldn’t say wrong – I’d say misled. By the Democratic hoax. Biggest hoax of all time. That and Russia thing. I wasn’t wrong. That call was perfect, and they say very nice things about me…” and so forth. So that’s where we are. His advisors can spoon feed him the right answer and he probably still wouldn’t be able to do what he needs to do.
So the likelihood that he fundamentally changes his trajectory seems small. Smaller than any other politician in recent memory.
And that’s the good news. See you next week!