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BBC: 5 Ways Trump Can Win

Read story here for more details. I’ve put my impressions in the parentheses.

  1. Another October surprise (the first one fell flat)
  2. The polls are wrong (not because the polls are way off, but because many votes won’t be counted)
  3. A debate turnaround (Trump becomes calm and Biden comes unglued)
  4. A swing state sweep (key states where Biden is leading abruptly switch to Trump)
  5. A Biden fumble (football teams blow games in the last seconds, so why can’t a presidential candidate do the same?)

My strategic assessment of these arguments is they’re what journalists write on slow news days when their editors are pressing them to come up with copy to fill space. I give the writer an “A” for imagination, though.

Drilling down deeper, I don’t think a smear, or even a genuine scandal, will work because voters care about the big issues — taming Covid-19, reviving the economy, and health care — and are tired of the mudslinging; they’ll just tune out. How many people actually care about Hunter Biden or Burisma? Besides, many have already voted.

The polls — even GOP-slanted ones — show Biden consistently ahead by large margins. Trump is a lousy, ineffective president, whom many people find repulsive, so the polling results are plausible. And by all indications, voters are turning out in huge numbers, many of them scared of a Trump second term, and determined to run him out of office.

There’s one debate left on the schedule, which may or may not happen, and even if Trump gets a final opportunity to redeem himself on the debate stage … Trump is Trump. Biden might make a bad impression, but I don’t think that would have much effect on voters. This election is a referendum on Trump, not on Biden.

The polls are closer in the swing states than nationally, and it’s conceivable Biden could lose the election there, but it’s a stretch. Biden doesn’t need to win all the swing states; Trump does.

As for a Biden fumble, once again, this election is about Trump’s failings, not Biden’s. The attitude of many voters is that Trump is so bad even a marginally adequate replacement is good enough this time around. In my neighborhood the yard signs say, “Any Functioning Adult 2020.” That’s not much of a hurdle. Biden probably can step over it, even on his worst days.

Am I nervous about the election? Yes. Not about what the voters might do, but whether (a) they’ll be able to vote, (b) their votes will be counted, or (c) they’ll be overruled by gerrymandered legisltures or partisan judges.

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