May 7, 2020

NICE COLUMN, KID. DON’T GET COCKY. Stacy McCain: Has Trump Already Won Reelection?

Ever since President Trump was elected, conservatives have nervously watched the poll numbers to see whether constant attacks from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) were damaging the president’s popularity among his core constituency. Of course, Trump has sometimes suffered from self-inflicted damage — at times, he is his own worst enemy — but never in recent history has any president faced such unrelenting opposition from the moment of his election.

Trump’s shocking 2016 upset of Hillary Clinton, which contradicted nearly every expert forecast, triggered a series of events that included the “Russiagate” investigation, the Democrats’ takeover of the House in the 2018 midterm election, and Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment proceeding against the president that culminated in his acquittal in February. As soon as that crisis ended, Trump was immediately plunged into the COVID-19 emergency, in which his leadership was questioned and the strongest suit of his reelection platform, a robust economic performance, melted down in the span of a few days. Throughout his term, the major national news media have worked hand-in-glove with Democrats to treat Trump as an enemy to democracy itself, with journalists enlisted as part of the “resistance” to the president’s alleged authoritarianism.

Because all of this is so unprecedented, no one had any idea what the ultimate result might be, and many pundits who succumbed to poll-gazing obsession were inclined to believe two things: First, that Trump, who fell short of a popular-vote majority in 2016, faced an uphill challenge to win reelection in 2020; and second, that Joe Biden was the Democrat best qualified to beat Trump. Both these beliefs might yet prove true, but there is evidence that the poll-gazing pundits are as wrong now as they were four years ago. In fact, Trump’s reelection could already be a near certainty, and the establishment Democrats who lined up behind Biden’s candidacy may be leading their party to a landslide defeat in November.

There’s a good argument that Joe Biden is Bob Dole without the war heroism, the legislative achievements, the dry sense of humor, or the ability to speak in complete sentences. But everything is up in the air, and there’s a good chance that the Democrats will try to pull a Torricelli and replace Biden at the last minute.

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