Network pundits, political consultants, and French army generals share a preoccupation: They are often wound up in fighting the last war.
“Thee has been a preoccupation with 2016,” former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said Monday morning on MSNBC.
All over the airwaves, the weekend’s television coverage of Election 2020 seemed obsessed with finding “paths” whereby Donald Trump can repeat his 2016 upset Electoral College win. Tossup states blinked red on the big board.
Media executives know higher ratings are more likely if millions of us are hanging on the edge of our seats, unable to move, so they have every reason to try to portray this election as extremely competitive and down to the wire.
Brett Baier of Fox said the race is “tightening fast,” even as an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Joe Biden with a 52–42 percent lead nationally, ahead by 51–46% in battleground states, with a new Monmouth Poll putting Biden up 51–44% in pivotal Pennsylvania.
Democrats are “worried,” we were told. Without Pennsylvania, “Biden becomes an underdog,” said Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.
Trump is supposedly making Latino vote inroads in Florida.
Miami/Dade County isn’t turning out for the Democrats.
And, courtesy of Washington bred Trump strategist Jason Miller, the incumbent is going to “flip” Nevada and hold onto Arizona.
Veteran Nevada political writer John Ralston batted down Miller’s prediction with a tweet on Monday morning, writing: “It’s almost impossible for Trump to win the rurals by as much as Biden will win Clark County.”
A vast amount of chatter precedes any election.
Trashy polls get equal treatment with the most professional of surveys.
When you look at their crosstabs, the Republican firm Trafalgar Group predicts that Trump will get a quarter of the vote from African American men.
In your dreams.
The reality out there is that we’re seeing an unprecedented level of participation. Ninety-five million votes have already been submitted, approaching two thirds of the total 2016 turnout. Look at the nine million-plus votes already cast in Texas, plus or minus the 127,000 that Republicans have tried to get thrown out.
Many are from folks who’ve recently moved to the Lone Star State, a and a surprising number come from young voters.
Georgia’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams deserves a medal (and Cabinet post?) for declining a presidential run, and instead fighting voter suppression in the Peachtree State. She has put Georgia in play, and lured Biden, Kamala Harris and Barack Obama to campaign there. Impatience with voter suppression has been met with the patience of those waiting hours to vote.
Parkland, Florida, massacre survivors with March For Our Lives have mounted a nationwide campaign (largely unnoticed in the media chatter) to get eighteen to thirty-four year olds to vote, potentially Biden’s strongest electoral base.
All of this is to say, the election may be a referendum on Trump, but Biden is strongly favored to be our forty-sixth president. The chances of a “blue wave,” or even a blue tsunami, are greater than Trump finding his path.
Trump is acting more like a cult chieftain than a pathfinder.
He has picked a last minute fight with the nation’s premier pandemic expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. “Fire Fauci!” changed Trump’s crowd Sunday night in pandemic-stricken Wisconsin. The incumbent implied he would do just that.
The perfect Biden rejoinder: “I got a better idea. Elect me and I’m going to hire Dr. Fauci. And we’re going to fire Donald Trump.”
Trump was out on the trail defending his campaign’s bullyboys.
He praised the caravan of trucks and cars, sporting Trump-Pence flags, which surrounded a Biden-Harris bus Sunday in Texas, forcing it to slow to twenty miles per hour and then trying to force it off the road.
He was in North Carolina on Monday, denouncing a Fox announcer for (allegedly) lowballing the size of his crowd, and describing Fox’s pollster as a fake and fraud for the network’s latest figures: Biden 52 percent and Trump 44 percent.
To hear Trump decry the closest thing the Republican Party has to a party-owned television channel is like witnessing L’Osservatore Romano denouncing the Pope.
Hence, there’s much reason for hope, to calm the nerves, tune out the chatter, and funnel your activism not to fretting but to boosting Washington’s already spectacular turnout. Will King County get to ninety percent? Hope so.
It’ll be grand fun to tell British Columbia friends that our pandemic-stricken election produced a far higher voter turnout than theirs.