All of a sudden, Sleepy Joe has disappeared from the Trump lexicon and has been replaced on Trump’s tweets by someone named Joe Biden. If that isn’t the single, most telling event of this year’s Presidential campaign, I don’t know what is. Here’s a guy, I’m talking about Trump, who has never (read: never) referred to any Democratic office-holder without using some kind of insulting nickname. In fact, this kind of rhetoric has been Trump’s trademark for the last four years. Now, all of a sudden, he’s actually referring to Joe Biden by his real name.
I think what’s going on is a poll released yesterday by The Hill which shows Trump and Biden running neck-and-neck in – Arkansas! Arkansas. We’re not talking about Florida or Ohio or one of the other ‘battleground’ states which also show Biden to be even or ahead. We’re talking about Arkansas, a state that gave Trump a two-to-one margin over Hillary in 2016. Even Missouri only gave Trump a 56% to 38% edge.
The last time that Arkansas ended up in the blue column was 1996, when Bill Clinton, who was born and raised in Arkansas and then served as Governor until he ran for President in 1992, got 53% of the popular vote. From then on, Arkansas was a reliably red state. But neither Bush, McCain or Romney got as many red votes as the number that Trump piled up less than four years ago (although Romney did come close.)
If Arkansas now becomes a ‘battleground’ state with its 6 electoral votes at stake, what does this say about other allegedly ‘safe’ GOP states? And what does this really say about the battles in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, states where the Presidential outcome is usually decided every four years?
Talking about Florida, The Hill ran an op-ed that found Trump’s support among seniors going down the drain, largely because they now see him as guy who hasn’t done a very good job protecting the country from COVID-19. To be fair, the op-ed was written by a guy who happens to be an aggressively-progressive Democratic campaign consultant, but he based his piece on a survey conducted by Morning Consult, whose polling work, generally speaking, tends to be about as accurate and reliable as such polls can be.
The Morning Consult poll stopped collecting responses on April 19, which is when daily infections in states like New York and Ohio were at their highest point. On the other hand, the virus numbers are still increasing in 20 states, with Florida posting the highest one-day numbers just last week. And who lives in Florida? All those seniors live in Florida.
God knows who convinced Trump to announce ending ties to the World Health Organization at the height of the pandemic, but cutting the country off from the organization which tracks the incidence of a worldwide infection whose numbers in the United States are still the highest for any country, is about as dumb a political move as anyone could make.
I suspect this advice came from the son-in-law, who continues to put his foot in his mouth every chance he gets. The latest was a comment he made about possibly delaying the vote on November 3rd: “I really believe that once America opens up, it’ll be very hard for America to ever lock down again.” Meanwhile, even in Texas, there is serious talk about re-imposing lockdown regulations again. According to RCP, right now Trump leads Biden in the Lone Star State by a whole, big 1.5 points.
The best Trump tweet yesterday was this one: “The silent majority is stronger than ever.” I guess his proof is that he’s claiming that more than a million people want to show up for his rally in Tulsa. Of course they all have to sign waivers that they won’t sue the campaign if they catch the virus by attending this Nuremberg event. Can you imagine how a stadium filled with unmasked people will play on the evening news?