The Race Is Not Getting Tighter

The contest between Trump and Biden was supposed to tighten up in the last days of the campaigns, but here we are in the final week and Biden’s lead overall is wider. The nerds now have Trump’s chance of winning down to 11 percent, and Biden’s at 88 percent. That’s the biggest advantage for Biden yet.

In 2016, with a week to go, the nerds had Clinton 45, Trump 42. See also Harry Enton, CNN, 8 days to go: Biden’s lead over Trump is holding, while Clinton’s was collapsing at this point.

The Trump campaign continues to step into doodoo. The headlines this morning told us that hundreds of Trump supporters were stranded for hours in freezing temperatures at a rally venue in Omaha, waiting for buses to take them back to their cars in far-away parking lots. Many of these people were elderly. Police did what they could, but the road to the airport where the rally had taken place was clogged. Seven people were hospitalized, according to the local newspaper. It’s possible Air Force One got back to Washington before some of those rally attendees got home.

This is not a good look for Trump, who has run short of money for television ads and is relying on rallies to get publicity. But if he’s using Air Force One to fly around the country to his rallies he’s supposed to reimburse us taxpayers for that. Not cheap. The time-honored trick of incumbent presidents to get around that is to schedule some kind of official presidential event at some place that just happens to have a campaign event nearby. But I can’t tell from news stories that there was anything going on in Omaha but the rally. Trump flew in; Trump flew out.

And it says something that Trump thinks he needs to shore up support in Nebraska. In 2016 Trump beat Clinton 58.7 percent to 33.7 percent in Nebraska. See also the Cook Political Report, Biden’s Path to 270 Widens, Trump’s Path Narrows, as Texas Moves to Toss Up.

Greg Sargent writes that the newest polls show a dip in support for Trump among White voters, including not-college-educated White voters. Most of this shift from red to blue is because of Trump’s botched pandemic response, Sargent says, although a lot of it is disgust at Trump’s race-baiting.

It’s also the case that Trump clearly had counted on fanning the Hunter Biden scandal to squeak out another Electoral College win, but this time major news media haven’t gone along. See Tina Nguyen at Politico, MAGA scrambles to repair the Hunter Biden narrative. “The Wall Street Journal and Fox News have both reported finding no evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden benefited from the Hunter Biden business dealings that have drawn scrutiny,” Nguyen writes.

The Biden laptop and Clinton email scandals differ in some substantial ways, seems to me. One, the FBI really was investigating Clinton’s emails, and the concern over Clinton’s private server goes back to 2009. It wasn’t a controversy the Trump campaign had to generate. But beside the fact that Hunter Biden isn’t even the candidate, from the beginning the White House and Trump campaign not only had their fingerprints all over the Biden-Ukraine story, they’ve been the sole source of information on new developments, such as the laptop from hell and the alleged Hunter Biden sex tapes (from China via Steve Bannon). Outlets like Breitbart and Gateway Pundit have published everything the Trumpers put out about Hunter Biden, but the more establishment sections of right-wing media have been much more cautious with the stuff. See also Trump Had One Last Story to Sell. The Wall Street Journal Wouldn’t Buy It. by Ben Smith at the New York Times.

About a hundred years ago, when I was a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, we students got warned about taking jobs with tabloids. Note that the professors at this J School were not academic types but people with years of experience as working journalists. One old newswriting prof named Tom Duffy used to tell us great stories about covering Chicago mobsters as a newspaper reporter in the 1930s, for example. He was a hard ass, but he knew newspapers.

Anyway, the word was that we seniors might get job offers from the supermarket tabloids like the National Enquirer, and that these offers would be tempting because the tabloids paid a lot better than regular newspapers. But, we were told, if you take that job, it’s the only journalism job you will ever have. There was no moving from the supermarket tabloids to legitimate journalism, they told us. I thought of that when I read about the Wall Street Journal playing down the laptop story. Trump will be gone soon enough, but the Wall Street Journal will still live or die by its reputation as a legitimate news source. I guess there are places it won’t go.

One can’t say the same about the New York Post, which is part of the Murdoch empire, but at least one reporter withheld his byline from a Hunter Biden story.

On the other hand, David Graham at the Atlantic complains that the press is giving Trump a free pass and not reporting on some recent scandals, such as his stripping of civil service protections from federal employees.. But if you read Graham’s article, you notice that Graham is learning about the scandals from newspaper stories, like this one. I infer that his gripe is that lots of stuff going on is not being covered on the teevee news. But yeah, we need media reform, bug time. We’ve needed it for years.

But this is Trump’s most recent outrage — Trump to strip protections from Tongass National Forest, one of the biggest intact temperate rainforests.

President Trump will open up more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted Wednesday, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock. The relatively-pristine expanse is also home to plentiful salmon runs and imposing fjords. The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.

Next week, if Joe Biden finds himself called upon to give a victory speech, I want him to issue a warning to the developers and the logging companies that the protections will be back in place as soon as he’s inagurated, so don’t bother moving equipment to start ripping up the Tongass National Forest.

5 thoughts on “The Race Is Not Getting Tighter

  1. There's a couple of different aspects to the "race tightening" narrative. The press sells every election as a cliff-hanger, so there's going to be plenty of speculative 'Maybe Joe isn't ahead." stories. Second, the Biden campaign and the DNC  won't accept that they are ahead – they're afraid of reduced Dem turnout on Nov 3 if they start a victory lap too soon and there's the coattails effect – Senate seats to pick up if voters turn out in large numbers.

    The nerds are gonna report straight numbers – I look at FiveThirtyEight and Cook Political Report. Both say Biden has a lead according to objective polling. Cook is very clear – If Trump runs the table of swing states, he's 22 Electoral Votes short of winning.

    Trump thinks he's in trouble or he wouldn't be in Nebraska. The big flag that Trump realized he's behind was when he started asking his voters to try to vote twice.The other signal Trump sees the writing on the wall is his attempt(s) to get the Supreme Court to engage in voter suppression. 

    But it's gonna be a long week.


    • What I'm trying to make sense of is the surge in record breaking early voting. I know that it is an indication of something, but what exactly that something is I can't be sure. It could be that people are so thrilled with Trump's performance as president that they just can't wait to propel him back into the White House for a second term. Or it could mean that people are so disgusted with his criminal buffoonery and his childish antics that they are tripping over their feet in an attempt to bounce his fat ass out of office. I guess it remains to be seen. 

  2. How ironic will it be if, with the early results going wildly FOR Biden and AGAINST tRUMP, it's tRUMP who has to beg states to keep counting the ballots past Wednesday morning?!?

    tRUMP might have managed to eke out reelection if he'd just taken Covid-19 even just semi-seriously.

    But no.

    Racism's always on the ballot in America – but generally, ignored.  A few more dozen George Floyd's/Breonna Taylor's might have happened, and sure, the BLM movement would have spread, but would it have had the impact it had if these people of all races, religions, sexual orientations hadn't risked not just having the police and National Guard to deal with, but risk their lives to protest in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century!

    BLM will have a lot to do with the result we hope for: A victory for Biden/Harris, and a Democratic House and Senate.

    But imo, the deus ex machina at work here, is The tRUMP Plague – AKA:  Covid-19, Coronavirus.


  3. On top of it all, Trump's supposed strong-suit of business/economy/stock market acumen is proving to be entirely false at this most crucial time with stocks dropping steeply.

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