NRL News

An end-of-the-week summary of the presidential contest

by | Sep 11, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

With 53 days to go until the November General Election, let’s talk about some additional (and very encouraging) developments.

#1. Enthusiasm. We’ve discussed this key variable on many occasions. There is no question that Trump voters are more pumped about the election than Biden supporters. Where it will be in 7 and a half weeks no one knows, but (as they say) the trend lines are positive.

In that vein, I don’t think I’ve ever quoted Michael Moore who posted a panicky warning on Facebook. From the Hill

Filmmaker Michael Moore warned Democrats that President Trump appears to have momentum behind his reelection campaign in key battleground states, with the progressive activist saying enthusiasm for Trump is “OFF THE CHARTS” compared with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Moore pointed to polling in battleground states such as Minnesota and Michigan in making the case that Trump was running alongside or ahead of Biden in key areas, setting himself up for another potential upset in November.

#2. Years and years ago, before door to door canvassing was prevalent, I managed a local campaign. We got absolutely blitzed by a rival who knocked on door after door after door.

Local aldermanic races are not presidential elections, or even state races. But the Biden campaign and its allies have made the decision they will rely on phone banks and text messaging program, according to a story this week from McClatchy. 

By way of preface, written by Alex Roarty, the story rightly focused on the massive Republican door to door efforts but missed that the Trump campaign has invested massively in digital campaigning. As Kayla Epstein wrote for Business Insider:

On the surface, what jumps out from taking in so much of Trump’s digital campaigning is the production value. Every major social media account is fully built out. They’re producing broadcast quality material to an astounding number of followers.  …

But GOP digital insiders also say that what really makes the Trump digital apparatus so notable is that the president’s campaign has built an efficient, integrated machine for capturing his supporters’ time, attention, loyalty — and most importantly, their data.

But back to the GOP’s ground game… While Democrats and associated groups have chosen not to directly engage voters (they cite health concerns), “The approach is very different on the right,” Roarty writes. “President Donald Trump’s campaign, in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, began canvassing again in June, said officials with the re-election effort.”

And, while off the record, Democrats understand the gigantic gamble they are taking in a contest that could be decided by tiny margins in several key states.

[S]ome Democrats privately say that they’re nervous that abandoning the tactic through Election Day could cost votes, especially in down-ballot races where margins are thinner and candidates have fewer financial resources to run TV and digital ads.

“There is a widespread worry it is going to cost us seats,” said one veteran Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.  

#3. “Joe Biden has the weakest Latino support of any recent Democratic presidential nominee,” argues David Catron. “Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama each received more than 70 percent of their votes, and 66 percent cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Former Vice President Biden, however, appears to be on track to capture as little as 60 percent of the Latino vote. Considering that Latinos constitute more than 10 percent of eligible voters in a dozen states, including crucial battlegrounds such as Florida (20 percent) and Arizona (23 percent), it’s difficult to see how Biden can win a majority in the Electoral College unless he quickly improves his standing among these voters” []. 


#4. While President Trump is “on the stump” day in and day out, Mr. Biden makes rare appearances. And when he gives his infrequent interviews, it rarely goes well.

As Ed Morrissey of Hotair pointed out, Jake Tapper of CNN actually asked Biden a couple of tough questions yesterday.

Without getting off our issues, Biden stumbled, fumbled, and bobbled answering two questions. Morrissey concludes

Biden didn’t turn incoherent in this interview, which is perhaps a win against expectations. However, Biden also demonstrated why his first two presidential bids went nowhere, and why Democrats have been keeping him in cold storage over the last few months. Biden’s political instincts and media skills have always been poor, and it’s very clear he’s not getting any better with age.

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Categories: Politics