Submitted by George Callaghan…
What chance does Joe Biden have of winning the presidency in 2020? At first glance one would assume that an incumbent would be re-elected. 75% of the time a sitting president who seeks a second term gets it. As George W Bush said peace, prosperity and incumbency confer major advantages. Trump has two of the three barring the minor scuffles in the Middle East.
Look at the opinion polls. The poll of polls shows Biden 10% ahead. If he maintains this lead he shall win by a country mile.
At this stage in the last electoral system Hillary Clinton was riding high. On average polls showed her 8% ahead. Polls tightened towards November as they usually do Polls showed her 3% or 4% ahead on election day. As we know she won the popular vote by 2% but lost the electoral college. Even if there is an error in the polls which understates Trump’s support by a similar amount to last time he is still 8% behind at the moment. Making up that shortfall is a tall order.
The demographics are moving the way of the Democrats. Hispanics break heavily towards the Democrats and they are a growing percentage of the populace. The same goes for Asians but they are a small community at the moment. African-Americans are not growing as a percentage of the population by they are hugely inclined towards the Democrats. The junior generation of whites leans towards the Democrats. Women lean towards the Democrats. The Republicans have the advantage among the elderly and uneducated white males. The Grand Old Party is also stronger among churchgoers, gunowners and rural people. These groups often overlap.
Trump has mishandled coronavirus. His maladroit response should sink him. However, he inspires blind faith among many. His polling at 41% is astonishing in the circumstances. He has never gone below 35%. Then again he has never touched 50% either.
The Democrats won the midterms by 8%. They tend to do better in the presidential years. If last time is anything to go by then they should win the presidency handily.
The Democrats cannot afford complacency. Gloating would redound to their disadvantage.
Biden is tight lipped. Why? After Trumps twitter storms, rants and unceasing barefaced lying people might welcome placidity and laconicism. Left to his own devices Donald J Trump will foul his nest.
Joe Biden is playing his cards close to his chest. He may calculate that this election is his for the taking. He will say as little as possible. Play it safe. So long as he does nothing idiotic he shall win by default.
With Donald J there is always a wild card factor. What will he do next? He might try a desperate gambit. He could bomb Iran or try some audacious demarche.
Poll ratings for a president always rise when he bombs another land. Rally to the flag. The commander in chief will have to choose his moment carefully. The day before the election will be too late. If he does it four months before the election it will be too early. By then a war will drag on without much success and his poll ratings will dip.
Right on cue no doubt another caravan of illegal immigrants will be spotted crossing Mexico. Trumpsters will say they have to vote for Trump to stop the illegals. Remember how previous caravans disappeared as soon as they no longer served Trump’s purpose?
How is that border wall going? Has he won a trade war? Has he beaten ISIS? He he withdrawn from Afghanistan? Or Iraq? Or Syria? Have Americans tired of winning? Has he drained the swamp? Has he locked her up? Has he got a great relationship with Russia? Has he funded Medicare? Or Medicaid? Has he made drugs better? Has he made them cheaper? Has he ended the opoid crisis? Has he stopped all Muslim immigration? Has he brought back worse than water boarding? Trump has failed to deliver on almost every promise.
Biden need only point out that Trump has reneged on his electoral pledges. Biden needs to offer a platform of his own.
Much depends on whom Biden selects as his running mate. He is inclined to select an ethnic minority person or a woman but ideally both. Kamala Harris would be ideal. The two have crossed horns in the past. But neither bears grudges. They could easily publicly forgive each other. Biden could express remorse about his relative indifference to the plight of African-Americans.
Miss Harris has the brains, the experience, the media savvy and let’s face it the looks. Rightly or wrongly women are often judged by appearance. Psychologists have often shown people vote for men on the basis of a leadership look. A leader man or woman is unlikely to win if he or she is totally ugly. Trump apart from obesity is not bad looking.
Kamala Harris is telegenic, sincere, composed and self-assured. In many respects she would be a superb choice. She has disappointed some radicali within her party. She comes across as haughty but that is the norm in politics. Is haughtiness merely self-belief? Trump’s stratospheric arrogance is deemed to be appealing by many.
Biden has his weaknesses. He is even older than Trump. If he falls in public that could hurt his chances. But Trump is swaying in public and his mental declension and pre-Alzheimer’s is plain for all to see. Neither is in the first flush of youth. But Biden seems to be in ruder health than his rival.
Trump had some genuine successes. The stock market and unemployment were both going well. However, these advantages have evaporated. Much of its can be put down to COVID-19. But the president badly mishandled the situation. He greatly aggravated the situation. By contrast Biden was highlighting the gravity of coronavirus in January. In February the president said that coronavirus was a ‘hoax.’ Later that month Trump was still saying that coronavirus would be close to zero by March 12. His wilful ignorance and stupid suggestion that people should take hydroxychloroquine or disinfectant was extremely harmful.
I give Biden a 60% chance of winning. His margin of victory will be 5% of the popular vote.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.