To hear the mainstream media talk incessantly, there is no need to vote this November. The oft-cited, touted, invincible, and correct polls have spoken. Of course, the polls were seriously wrong in 2016, but we are led to believe that the necessary adjustments have been made and President Trump is dead in the water. Further, Joe Biden “picked” Kamala Harris as his running mate and this is going to make all the difference this year. She is certainly more photogenic than Tim Kaine, has the right skin color and sports a vagina, but little else of consequence.
We are told that more this year than in any previous Presidential election year, the choice of a Vice President is more important than ever. The unspoken reason is the problem for the Democrats. They realize they have a senile, old white guy with some serious political baggage and likely some more racist and/or sexist skeletons in his scandal-ridden closet as their “leader.” If you have to resort to racial and sexual pandering in choosing a running mate, you have a problem at the top of the ticket.
Despite what the spin masters in the media say, voters do not choose a President based on the “what if” scenarios and the VP has to step in. People did not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 because of Tim Kaine any more than people who voted for Trump did so because of Mike Pence. Even if some do this year, there is plenty of ammunition to use against Harris. If Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate with no chance at the nomination, can dent her armor, then the GOP better do the same.
This writer believes, simply because of polarization of politics in the large-population states, that Biden will take the popular vote. But we do not elect Presidents, thankfully, by the popular vote. Expect to hear the obligatory screeching and hollering whenever the winner (Trump) is made official: Let’s do away with the Electoral College, Trump lacks a mandate, Biden beat him X amount of votes, ad nauseum. Without getting into the details since they will come later, this writer is predicting that Trump will lose Michigan, but keep Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the win column. Assuming he keeps other states he won in 2016, the loss of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes is still enough to put him over the top.
There are a couple of reasons to be optimistic about Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Although polls show Trump handily losing (as of this writing, Trump is down 7 points in Wisconsin and 7 in Pennsylvania), those results do not quite square with other factors. Every report this writer has read out of Pennsylvania shows stabilization in those numbers- Trump is not going up or down, and the same for Wisconsin. Some of the polls, if you take the average, involve polling during perhaps the depths of his administration. If Trump can weather the polling storm during tough times, that bodes well.
There is also the enthusiasm gap. In both states, the respective primaries were basically uncontested. Yet Trump managed to pull in more voters as a percentage of registered voters than Biden. That is, more registered Republicans cast a ballot for Trump than did registered voters among Democrats for Biden. If you are running uncontested and pull in 97% of a large vote count (for a primary) like Trump compared to 72% for Biden, then there is a lack of enthusiasm for Biden. Some of them may ultimately hold their nose and vote for Biden come November, but he has some convincing to do among his faithful while Trump does not have that obligation.
I also see some possible surprise state pick-ups for Trump. The media loves to shove Trump’s nose in the polls when they are bad. Suspiciously absent are polls out of New Hampshire and Nevada. Between the two states, since January 1, 2020 there have been a total of ten polls. For comparison purposes, Michigan leads the pack with 54 polls and Wisconsin with 45. That dearth of polling shows a virtual tie in New Hampshire and darn close race in Nevada.
We often hear of the power of suburban voters who, we are told, drove the Democrats into power in the House in 2018. Maybe there is a shift in political attitudes in the suburbs as they drift to the left, but is what they got in 2018 really what they bargained for? Notice how the craziness in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York and other major urban areas has not really been all that welcome in the suburbs. All it takes is one bad suburban protest for the “we empathize with you” attitude of suburbanites to change to “get the hell out of my neighborhood.” People do not move to suburbs to have urban life infringe on their peace.
This year, there is no major third party candidates like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein to siphon votes away from either Biden or Trump. Here, incumbency counts for something. It is a rare thing in American politics for voters to choose either “four years and out,” or “we prefer 12 years of the same party.” Since 1968, an incumbent has only lost twice (George H.W. Bush in 1992, and Jimmy Carter in 1980). Bush, had he won, would have violated the 12-year-max rule. It is a bizarre quirk of American politics: we like stability (short-term), but we embrace change (the longer view).
The 1992 election was different in that the country was suffering a recession and Bush’s “read my lips- no new taxes” pledge doomed his chances. We are currently in a recession, but this one is qualitatively different from previous ones that have doomed the chances of incumbent Presidents. Everyone with a clear mind (that leaves out Biden) realizes that this recession was not brought about by bad pre-existing policies, but by a virus. This recession was self-inflicted by all branches of government in response to the coronavirus. In effect, Trump gets a pass whereas Bush got no quarter in 1992. It may be the economy, stupid, but it was a stupid response that created the recession.
Finally, there are the candidates themselves. Despite the occasional giggles over the drunk Uncle Joe gaffe, Trump has more star power and charisma in his pinky finger than Joe Biden has in his entire feeble body, no matter how many push-ups he does. This is a guy who uses phrases from the 1920s like “malarkey,” or from 1960s drug hustlers on the streets (“C’mon man, cut me a break on that ounce…”). This is a guy who could draw maybe 10,000 people tops to a podcast and, I venture three-fourths of them are there to listen to the latest Bidenism and gaffe. Biden is a walking, talking, barely audible meme-producer.
Let’s face it: the polls are worth squat. I doubt that many who will vote for Trump have either the time or inclination to participate in such polls, thus skewing them towards Biden which the press then dutifully reports as an impending Trump electoral Armageddon. There is a vast swath of unpolled Americans out there of all ethnicities, genders, living in a variety of settings who will do their talking on Election Day. A good rule of thumb when looking at those polls? Add at least 2-5 points to Trump’s total and Armageddon looks more like a Bruce Willis movie than political reality.