In spite of everything, nothing much has changed in the national polling. The Post:
After two political conventions, the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus, economic dislocation, more racial upheaval and a coming battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, the race for the White House remains stable, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a steady advantage over President Trump, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Biden and vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) lead Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 43 percent among registered voters, statistically unchanged from the 12-point margin in a poll taken in August just before Democrats and Republicans held their conventions. Biden and Harris also have a 10-point advantage among likely voters, 54 percent to 44 percent…
A sizable gender gap continues to fuel Biden’s lead, with women making the difference in the current state of the race. Trump has a lead of 55 percent to 42 percent among male likely voters, but Biden has an even larger 65 percent to 34 percent advantage among female likely voters. Trump’s lead among men is about the same as his margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Biden’s lead among women is more than twice as large as Clinton’s was then.
The likely voter polls are a little tighter, as are the battleground states. For me, it’s both crazy-making and comforting that the race is so stable. I’m horrified that somewhere around 40% of our fellow citizens are evil and dumb enough to still back Trump (I used to think approximately 13% better of us), but Trump is still losing, so we’ve got that going for us.
Do you think the Barrett hearings will change anything? Looks like Senate Dems are sticking to a strategy of objecting to the process — everyone who isn’t a cultist knows this is a hypocritical screw job — and emphasizing what’s on the line, i.e., healthcare, civil rights, women’s reproductive freedom, the environment, etc. Amy Klobuchar telegraphed that strategy eloquently this week.
The debate is Tuesday, and I am sick with anxiety about it, but as others have pointed out, debates don’t usually matter. Biden isn’t worried. Newsweek:
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Saturday said he isn’t worried about the first debate against his Republican opponent Donald Trump because “people know the president is a liar.”
Speaking on MSNBC, Biden laid out his strategy and revealed he’ll be taking the fight to Trump on the debate stage. “I’m prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he’s failed and why I think the answers I have to proceed will help the American people, the American economy and make us safer internationally,” the former vice president said…
Biden hopes that he’ll walk away from the debate having contrasted his experience and political knowledge with Trump’s alleged lack of.
“He doesn’t know how to debate the facts, because he’s not that smart,” Biden said. “He doesn’t know that many facts. He doesn’t know much about foreign policy. He doesn’t know much about domestic policy. He doesn’t know much about the details.”
I like the tone — it’s appropriately dismissive. Pundits are conflicted about how Biden should approach the debate. Steve Schmidt says Biden will be the first American who’s had the chance to confront Trump face-to-face about the extent to which he’s destroyed this country and that Biden should do that. That’s emotionally satisfying, but is it the right move? Beats me.
Others say the task is to win over undecided fence-sitters (who must surely be the dumbest goddamned people in the country), so Biden should focus on presenting his own positive vision. Maybe, but if so, he should use simple, declarative sentences and one-syllable words.
My guess is it’ll be a combination of the two. If I were in Biden’s shoes, I’d maybe start off by saying that I expect Trump to tell a lot of lies because he always does, note that fact-checking every lie would make the entire debate consist of Trump’s lies and me/Chris Wallace fact checking Trump’s lies, and say that I might have to call out particularly egregious lies but that mostly I hoped to talk about how to move forward.
But I’m not a politician (for good reason!), and I have no idea how that would play. Since Trump is a gross bully, he will go after Biden’s family. Unable to feel unconditional love or any other non-transactional emotion himself, Trump probably senses a weak spot there and will try to exploit it. I believe and hope there’s a good chance that blows up in Trump’s ugly orange face. We’ll see. Open thread!