Impeached president Donald Trump has a problem. His numbers are in the gutter, with little hope of pulling himself out of that hole. Public opinion has solidified against him. His only chance? To pull a 2004 and drag Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s numbers down to his level. It’s what President George W. Bush did that year, mocking Democratic nominee John Kerry’s military service and Purple Heart, while making windsurfing a thing that was supposedly disqualifying. Remember that nonsense? Well, it worked.
But rather than drag Biden’s numbers down, this is happening instead:
On the day Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic primary, Biden’s favorables were 38-53. They are 44-50 today, a full nine net points higher. And the numbers aren’t just going up among Democrats, but independents as well, up a net 10 points. This is going all wrong for Trump! And really, he bears much of the fault.
Republicans have always been excellent at creating scandal and controversy where none should exist. There’s Kerry’s aforementioned wind surfing, not to mention the Swift Vets and POWs for the Truth, a bunch of random people who didn’t serve with Kerry, but presented themselves as such to undermine the Democrat’s valiant biography. More recently we saw it with years of focused attacks on “Hillary’s emails.” Try to find one person who actually knows what the hell it was that she supposedly did wrong. “But her emails” is not an accusation of wrongdoing. They could never even pretend to have one of those. "But her emails” was enough to get people to chant “lock her up.” But that wasn’t Trump’s doing. That was the GOP machine in action, back when Republicans knew how to focus.
(Even now, you see Fox News and Republicans try to make “Pelosi got a haircut” into a thing.)
Problem for that vaunted GOP machine is that Trump doesn’t focus. He doesn’t think strategically. He doesn’t do the mindless daily repetitive repeating of the same simple talking points, drilled into the heads of not just the conservative faithful, but the traditional media and the general public as well. Indeed, The New York Times had dozens of reporters on the Hillary email beat in 2016, while completely ignoring the copious amount of actual wrongdoing by the Trump family cartel.
So what exactly is the case against Joe Biden?
There was the whole Hunter Biden thing over which Trump got impeached. There was something else Ukraine. There’s “Sleepy Joe.” There’s Obamagate, the biggest scandal in the history of America, which lasted all of two days before Trump got bored with it and forgot all about it. There was “Biden controls the Left.” And then when that didn’t stick there was “The Left controls Biden.” There was that weird segue into attacking vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris as “phony,” then a cop who was anti cop, or something, and then they forgot about her again.
Trump’s inability to stay focused has left his noise machine unable to amplify a single line of attack. In fact, they spend more time defending him from his daily ridiculousness, than they do targeting Biden. And sure, it’s helped maintain Trump’s support among his deplorable base. But that’s not enough to get him reelected.
And so Trump flails, like he did yesterday in North Carolina.
So I guess the election is now about Biden selling America out to China, which would have more salience if Trump wasn’t Russia’s puppet. And apparently the Green New Deal is supposed to rev up the conservative base?
You see, if Trump and Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and that whole crowd had spent the past year railing against the Green New Deal, claiming it banned cows and airplanes and all that usual right-wing bullcrap, then maybe that would be a crowd-pleasing line. But Trump can’t focus, and so the line comes out of nowhere, and his audience doesn’t know how to react. He gets crickets.
And if he can’t even get his base revved up about China and the Green New Deal, how is he going to get those themes to penetrate the broader public? Instead, Olivia Nuzzi and the rest of the Beltway media laugh at Trump. And the broader public? They like Biden more and more every day.