- Well, we are at a point in the election where seemingly there isn’t a lot we can do. Wrong. The other day Jo Reid likened the end of a campaign with the final length of a foot race. No runner wanting to win a race looks at the finish line as the end of the race. They set the goal beyond the finish line, so, at the very least, they don’t slack before the race ends.
- This time four years ago, the Clinton campaign started to slack. They looked at the polls the way amateurs do, seeing only the point spread without calculating the margin of error. They relaxed and were unprepared for the Comey undercut and Bannon/Conway’s final weeks push in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. They saw little danger in the high percentage of undecideds…and we paid for it.
- October 22, 2020 is not four years ago. No need to respond with “I hope you are right.” We can see the difference right in front of us. Biden has spent most of the week preparing for a “debate” that he probably doesn’t need to prepare for. The Big Gun called Obama started firing yesterday (“Can you imagine if I had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection? You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would have called me ‘Beijing Barry.'”). The campaign is running their positive “Morning in America”-style ad. They have gobs of money and are spending heavy in traditional and new battlegrounds. They are looking far beyond the finish line.
- Very important that we do the same, and I think we are. When Trump floated his “What if I lose?” con, it spawned a day of wisecracking among his opponents, but it didn’t stick. Within 24-hours, the jokes were over and we were back to being critics. That is the right attitude, however we must make sure that we are adding action to that. Vote, of course. Reach out to friends and neighbors and make sure that they are voting. Yeah, I know it is uncomfortable to politic people you know. But you can do it without the hard sell or being a pest. Mention it. Offer a ride to the polls or ballot drop box. In some states, you can pick up a family or friend’s ballot and drive it to a drop box, if you have that voter’s permission. You can also start psyching yourself for the post-election day fight.
- The Trump campaign is on the ropes and not as they were, at times, in 2016. Trump’s people invested a lot in the “ground game,” but it seems that most of the effort was put into making sure that Trump has large crowds at his rallies. Perhaps this was a winning strategy in 2016, but in 2020 holding rallies as he does is seen as irresponsible. The public unease about Trump’s super-spreader rallies could have easily been countered with mask wearing and social distancing, or even just mask wearing, but Trump is afraid that masks might be interpreted as a sign of weakness or “giving up.” Sure, the guy who decides to defy evacuation order to “ride the storm out” might think masks are for weakling but how many “storm riders” does this country have? People talk big, but talk is talk. When a wild fire or hurricane hits, how many people stay on compared to those who evacuate? A Oct 5, National Geographic survey reports, “Despite noisy no-mask protests, 92 percent of 2,200 Americans polled say they wear a face mask when leaving their home, with 74 percent saying they “always” do. That “always” percentage is up nearly a quarter since July, according to the poll, which has a 2 percent margin of error.” That should tell you enough about the irrationality of Trump’s fear of masks undermining his “masculinity.”
- Trump’s performance at rallies is pretty much a rehash of his 2016 act. There are the Lock Her Up chants, the attacks on the Obama administration, the Make America Great Again Again Again, and the cheap Bob Hope-style racial and ethnic “jokes” (and even references to the “great Bob Hope”). His new pieces of shtick are just plain weird. The other day he introduced the “Democrat” threat of a Black Live Matter/MS-13 alliance, “[Biden will] order you to stay at home while letting rioters and MS-13 killers roam free, without masks. Without masks. MS-13 doesn’t have to wear a mask.”
- Actually, let’s dissect “MS-13 without masks.” What Trump is saying is that the stranger, the foreigner, Brown people will be allowed to run wild, while the white people are trapped in their homes. This is a 2020 riff off of the old “Black men will rape the White women.” Certainly, there is a “White Women Matter” vote, but I’d bet that Trump has that locked up. A selected group of racist paranoids might perk up to “MS-13 without masks,” but for everyone else that line is bizarre.
- It also shows how desperate and undisciplined Trump is. He has said he wants to focus on the Hunter Biden garbage, but he can’t go two minutes on the subject before complaining that others aren’t helping him spread the message and then bumbling into something else. Because he refuses to read or sit for briefings, he lacks depth on anything, even his favorite points of attack. COVID = It is China’s fault and it is going away. Ten months into the pandemic and he can’t go deeper than that. And he won’t be able to go deeper: Instead of preparing for tonight’s “debate,” he has been flying across the country to hold rallies (some in states that he does not need to compete in either because he will win or will lose them).
- Part of Trump’s messaging problem is that he has no party platform. Platforms are important for two reasons. They give voters an idea what a candidate might do if they win office. The 2016 GOP platform was full of lies and horrible shit, but it also stressed infrastructures, wage growth, and plenty of other things that are uncontroversial and attractive to mainstream folk. When Trump’s fans tired of “Lock her up!,” he could pull from the platform. It was his crib sheet. He doesn’t have one and I am not sure why. Perhaps fear of putting stuff on paper or that he was too lazy to attend to it or he things it detracts from attention on him. Probably all that and more. But, here is the thing…
- As the Washington Post reports, “Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien has complained to others that when he took the reins of the campaign, there was not a formalized budget and he did not realize what a dire situation he was in.” Yeah, you read that right: At least up until mid July, when Parscale was forced out as campaign manager, the Trump campaign had no budget. I cannot imagine Stepien was able to do much more than put together anything more than the outline of a flexible budget. He has to deal with the whims of the Trump family, who have been using the campaign as personal bank accounts, paying themselves hefty salaries, flying on private jets without staff, and funding whatever hair up is up Kushner’s ass. The Post reports that much of the money is poured into Trump’s rallies, including building “elaborate stages” for Trump to speak from.
- Trump hasn’t just diverted ad money to rallies, he has diverted money from the Upper Midwest to Florida, Georgia, and Texas…places no Republican should have to spend heavy on.
- Trump’s Florida spending is largely a result of Michael Bloomberg. I never thought I’d say “God bless the man,” but dude has spent $100 million in Florida, which at the very least has meant that Trump has increased spending what he has in that state. And, because Bloomberg’s name is attached to the money and Trump hates Bloomberg, Trump can’t ignore it. He is the target of the most expensive troll in human history.
- Trump also insists on spending ad money in California, which is fucking crazy, and Washington DC, so he can see his ads on TV. His fragile ego and constant need for attention and positive reinforcement is his worst enemy.
- Note that Trump has gone quiet on staying in office forever. Seriously, there never was a threat of a coup or that he’d have to be dragged out of the White House by his ankles. When he was booted from his casinos, he talked some shit, mostly blaming others for his failure, but he went quietly. No federal marshals had to escort him from the property. He litigated until he couldn’t and negotiated his exit. That is pretty much what will happen if he loses re-election, though without the negotiation. (Trump far right supporters? Who knows? Lots of talk followed by a little violence, but they will not be as violent as they are loud. Most likely we will see a week of angry boat marches.)
- How long the legal fight over the election will go on will be determined by how much Biden wins by and how clear the victory is. If Biden get to 300 electoral college votes fast, it is over. If Biden wins Texas and/or Georgia, it is over. Trump’s only hope (besides winning) is a close loss. Which brings us back to where I started. This thing is not over. We might see the finish line, but we have to look past it and turn up the speed and effort. In the next couple weeks, we must work for a landslide + title wave. Our goal should be not just a Biden win but the total defeat and humiliation of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.