One can hope! Read on.
Jonathan V. Last (Executive Editor of The Bulwark) has some interesting views of where the election is headed. Quite a few excerpts follow.
Another weekend of runway is gone and Trump isn’t turning this race around.
He’s falling further behind.
In the first week of June I wrote that the cake was almost baked. Trump had 20 weekends until Election Day to stop his slide, find a floor, make up ground, and then get within 4 points of Joe Biden—which is a level he’s never been in this race.
And what happened for Trump this weekend?
- Breaking news that his good friend Vladimir Putin has been paying bounties for the killing of American soldiers
- Runaway virus infections in Florida, Texas, and Arizona—each of which is close to a must-win for him to have any chance at being reelected.
- And the president tweeted out a video of a supporter yelling “White power!”
So no. Not a great weekend for the Trump 2020 campaign.
And now 15 percent of the clock is gone.
How bad are things for Trump? Politico talked with a bunch of sympathetic Republicans inside and outside Trump’s orbit and the mood seemed … utterly macabre. The party is beginning to prepare for a landslide loss that could make Jimmy Carter feel good about himself.
But this line in the Politico piece really caught my eye:
Behind the scenes, Trump and his team are taking steps to correct course. In the week since his Tulsa rally, the president has grudgingly conceded that he’s behind, according to three people who are familiar with his thinking. Trump, who vented for days about the event, is starting to take a more hands-on role in the campaign and has expressed openness to adding more people to the team. He has also held meetings recently focusing on his efforts in individual battleground states.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who effectively oversees the campaign from the White House, is expected to play an even more active role. [emphasis added, obvi]
That’s … the plan? Trump is down double-digits. 125,000 Americans—and counting—are dead. The economy is in the crapper. And Trump 2020’s big plan is to send in … Jared?
It’s one thing for down-ballot Republicans to walk the plank for Trump when he’s Making America Great And Stuff. But the real loyalty is whether or not they take their lumps when Trump is so checked out that he turns the party’s entire electoral future over to Jared Forking Kushner.
Even so, I have every confidence that Republican candidates will pass this test. They’ll drink the Kool-Aid.
Because that’s what Republican voters want them to do.
There Is No “Better”
Trump’s response to the Russian bounty story is a good example of why his campaign’s problems are intractable.
The story broke on Friday.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the revelation was “Fake News” because he had never been briefed about any Russian bounty program.
Maybe this is true and maybe it is not.
But for the president to offer “No one told me about this big important thing” as a defense is an advertisement for weakness.
On Sunday, a reporter from a very unfair Fake News Channel—Fox News—reported that people close to Trump are beginning to think he might pull the plug on his campaign if his poll numbers don’t improve. The Fox reporter claimed that people close to Trump describe his mental state as “fragile.”
Again: Maybe true, maybe not.
… at this point the two most likely scenarios for the election are the following:
(1) By the early fall the race has returned to its natural center of gravity with Biden +6. Biden then maintains this lead and wins a comfortable Electoral College victory or pulls away in the final weeks and wins a large Electoral College victory.
(2) Trump is not able to regain his footing and Biden retains a large lead through the end of September—let’s say that “large” means anything greater than +7 nationally. If this is the case, then there will likely be a large break against Trump in the final weeks as voters bail on the sinking ship and Biden’s victory could be a landslide where he wins by more then +10 percent with something approaching 400 Electoral votes.
I would guess that those two possibilities probably make up 70 percent of the potential outcomes at this point and the chances of Trump finishing at –3 in the popular vote and lucking into another Electoral College victory are about the same as Biden pulling off a historic rout where he wins by +15.
Never forget: Bad gets worse.