After a miserable spring and early summer, President Trump is finally getting good news in the national 2020 polls.
Since mid-July, when the president appeared to wake up to the fact he was losing badly to an imbecilic racist hiding out in his Delaware basement, Trump has become a little more disciplined, a little less self-involved, and voters are rewarding him for it — at least a bit.
Five weeks ago, according to the RealClearPolitics poll of national polls, Biden enjoyed a ten point lead over Trump. Worse still, the 987-year-old former vice president was averaging 51 percent national support. In other words, he crossed the magic 50 percent marker.
Biden still leads Trump, and by a pretty safe six-point margin. But over just a couple weeks, Trump’s standing has improved from a 40 percent national average to 43 percent, while Biden’s support has slipped from 51 percent to 49 percent. That’s a five point shift in Trump’s direction.
Trends matter in politics, as does momentum…
What’s more, the 2020 election is not a national referendum. Trump lost the popular vote by a little over two points in 2016 and still won the presidency. And let’s not forget the 2016 average of national polls was almost dead-on accurate.
So thanks to some major movement his way, Trump is now within striking distance in a number of reliable polls.
Two weeks ago in the Hill/Harris poll, Trump was down seven — 45 to 38. In that firm’s latest poll, it is now a three point race — 43 to 40.
Rasmussen and Emerson show similar movement.
Two other recent polls — IBD/TIPP and Economist/YouGov — show Biden ahead by nine and seven, respectively, which is no change from two weeks ago, but that does at least confirm Trump has stopped the bleeding.
So what changed?
I think three things…
The first is that Trump is showing more discipline, acting more presidential, and making fewer mistakes. As I wrote back in June, “The only person who can beat Trump is Trump, and right now Trump is beating himself.”
At that time, and starting with those disastrous coronavirus briefings that devolved into petty and endless grudge matches with the political media, Trump was stepping on every rake out there. He still has a long way to go — things like actually preparing for interviews with hostile journalists and avoiding making questions about the recently-deceased all about himself — but he is at least avoiding some rakes now.
It’s fine for Trump to be Trump when America is enjoying the peace and prosperity his polices helped to usher in, but when the country is dealing with multiple crises — China Virus, economy, left-wing riots — voters want a president who doesn’t add to their stress and sense of chaos, who is calm and in charge. The further Trump moves in that direction, the better his chances in 2020.
The second factor, I believe, is that voters are starting to notice Joe Biden is indeed hiding from them, is avoiding any real scrutiny. With all the valid questions surrounding his declining cognitive abilities, what had been a good strategy when Trump was blowing himself up, is no longer working. Voters want their presidential candidates tested and to work hard to earn their votes. Biden is going to have to get out there. He’s going to have to stop hiding behind his wife and sycophantic cable news hosts.
As I said on Monday, alpha males win elections and alpha males don’t hide behind their wife’s and CNNLOL’s skirt. Biden is now in a lose-lose situation. If he continues to hide, he loses. If he comes out of hiding, he loses – as yet another disastrous interview this week proved. Biden was never all that sharp to begin with, but his feeble-mindedness is a major liability that will only become bigger as he’s forced to present himself unfiltered to voters.
Finally, this ongoing violence at the hands of left-wing terrorists in Antifa and Black Lives Matter is no joke and the corporate media can no longer cover it up. The fact Democrats openly encourage this violence by refusing to condemn or even acknowledge it, the fact that Joe Biden wants to be president and refuses to condemn more than two months of domestic political terrorism — well, this is having a much bigger effect on voters than the political media want to believe.
For this first time in our history we have the corporate media and a major American political party encouraging, excusing, and refusing to condemn political violence. This is scary, deeply unsettling, and a bigger violation of our norms that Trump’s stupid tweets.
Trump’s flaws, and he has many of them, are primarily in his presentation, which is too often self-regarding and downright incompetent. As far as his actions, though, as far his policies and approach to these crises, he’s making almost all the right moves — including unrestrained condemnation of the left’s political violence and (despite aggressive and dishonest attacks from Democrats and their media) he did something about it by deploying federal law enforcement.
Trump is also clear about where he wants to take the country in a second term. Biden’s vision is a deliberate muddle, he’s hoping people will project their hopes on him and that “I’m not Trump” is enough. Well, that might have been enough when times were good, but…
I believe the 2020 election is going to be a referendum — not so much on Trump, but on who can restore normalcy, who can return us to the peace and prosperity of 2019. Right now, Biden would probably win that referendum, and probably by a wide margin. But we have a long way to go, and for Biden, the trip out of his basement might be too long.