November 6, 2020


Biden Had One Job and He Did It (Ed Kilgore, 11/07/20, New York)

[T]he president's job-approval rating was the lowest this year in January, before the pandemic began, and reached its highest point in March, when the first big wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths had already hit. Trump's reelection bid made the voting inevitably a referendum on his presidency, and the negative judgment Americans rendered on his performance never varied enough to matter for the ultimate outcome. His strategy of polarizing the electorate, energizing his base, and demonizing the opposition never varied, either; those waiting for a Trump "pivot" to a positive case for his record or a clear-cut presentation of his agenda waited in vain.

If Trump relied excessively on painting a caricature of the "Democrat" party and its "socialist" plans and love for looters and terrorists and open borders, then by nominating Joe Biden, the Democrats made that caricature even more incredible than it might have otherwise been. In the end, it was all but impossible for persuadable voters to imagine Uncle Joe in a Che Guevara T-shirt, lustily closing churches and partying with antifa "thugs." And Trump's alternative efforts to suggest Biden is the senile stooge of "the Squad" or the "communist" and "monster" Kamala Harris didn't fare much better, since she regularly outclassed him in coherence and self-discipline. We'll never know how Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg or Harris herself might have fared as a presidential nominee against Trump. But the two abiding things about the 45th president have been his unpopularity and his inability to disguise or even distract from the aspects of his personality that made nearly half the electorate rule out even the possibility of voting for him. The fact that he outperformed his poll numbers doesn't change any of that, as will become clearer as the final votes are counted and Biden's popular-vote and electoral-vote margins swell.

Posted by at November 6, 2020 5:43 PM