Trump’s traditional campaign will prevail over Biden’s run-out-the-clock mentality
Republicans breathed a sigh of relief when President Donald Trump resumed his campaign schedule last week. First there was the obvious feeling of joy that his health was safeguarded against a malady that has either caused or been present in a couple hundred thousand American deaths, and then there was the reassurance that he would presumably resume his “normal” campaign activities ahead of Election Day.
For a lot of folks, it was hard to imagine Trump winning without traveling the country and holding large rallies attended by thousands of cheering fans as a backdrop. Ever since prevailing over Hillary Clinton in 2016, political experts have credited Trump’s aggressive canvassing for helping him break through the solid blue Electoral College wall in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
This year, with fears abounding over the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus, both campaigns have been forced to rethink the way they operate. Trump simply moved his rallies from large arenas and other indoor venues to airport hangars. Democrat Joe Biden has maintained his distance from any large gatherings since the COVID-19 outbreak emerged in early March.
The divergent campaign philosophies test old tried and true notions of in-person campaigning. Is it still relevant? W. James Antle III wrote at The Washington Examiner, “For months, Republicans have predicted that at some point, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s approach of campaigning largely from his basement was a mistake and that eventually, Trump’s embrace of barnstorming and the bully pulpit would pay off. Instead, Biden has built a formidable lead in the polls, 10 points in the RealClearPolitics national average and almost 5 in the top battlegrounds, with only a limited resumption of normal public campaign activities.
“Yet the discrepancy in public events feeds one doubt that gnaws at Democrats and encourages Republicans after Trump’s poll-defying upset victory in 2016. The Biden campaign has downplayed door-knocking and other get-out-the-vote efforts. And with a few exceptions, such as the former vice president’s appearance in Pennsylvania the day after the first presidential debate, when Biden does hold public events, the crowds are sparse...”
What, you mean people aren’t lining up by the bus load to hear Joe Biden speak? Democrats swear the former veep’s a popular guy, but if he had trouble filling small rooms in Iowa before the caucuses and then came in fifth in New Hampshire, there’s no way there’s a groundswell of emotion for him now. There’s absolutely zero that’s dynamic or inspiring about Joe Biden. Hoping to get sustenance from him is like eating toothpaste for dinner.
Donald Trump initiated a movement by immediately attacking the status quo and the DC swamp when he launched his presidential bid in 2015. Joe Biden is the status quo and the swamp. He (apparently) has the coronavirus on his side, but is anyone truly amped up by the sight of a doddering, gaffe-prone idiot wearing a mask? The people who dragged themselves to one of his events in the past few months have had to do their best to put on a plastic smile and clap whenever the doofus pauses intentionally. Kamala Harris mastered the timing and look at her -- she got the vice presidential nomination!
It’s not necessarily that Biden needs to or doesn’t need to campaign. He can’t campaign. Barack Obama was good at public appearances because he could strut back and forth across a stage and wave his hand and inflect his voice to emphasize points. The big O made promise after promise and his phony, contrived life story inspired a lot of gullible people. It was like buying a popular group’s latest album before you’d even heard the songs. To the mind-numbed identity politics lot, it didn’t matter what Obama said, it was important just to consider what he represented.
In contrast, what does Joe Biden represent? As the would-be oldest president ever on day one, there’s no “future” in the Democrat party. It’s all about who Joe Biden was thirty or forty or fifty years ago, the young father who rode AMTRAK to work every day so his boys could remain in the family home. Or that he’d developed close relationships with the who’s who of the DC establishment since the early 70’s -- he's got a story for everyone, doesn’t he?
Why campaign then? Who wants to hear about racism and hiking taxes and how everyone’s in danger of getting sick and perishing from COVID-19? And that wearing a mask is a patriotic duty even if it’s hard to breathe in one and it makes your nose itch like crazy. Heck, even the World Health Organization recently came out against further lockdowns -- what is Joe Biden going to tell people about getting the virus under control?
Biden’s campaign apparatus functions just fine without a visible candidate. After all, many of the same people who populated and steered Hillary’s effort four years ago are involved this time around too. From one unappealing candidate to another… you’d better send out a lot of emails and make pointed contacts. Data has never been more important than in 2020 to these pols.
On the other hand, Trump needs to campaign more than other candidates would. Biden’s absence from view is understandable considering his ballot slot could contain “Name X” with a D next to it and would still earn 45 percent of the vote. With Trump’s job disapproval rating still over fifty percent (it was just under 54 percent at last check), a fairly high number of those people would automatically choose Trump’s opponent.
But if anything, this year’s election is a good test on whether approval/disapproval ratings truly matter, particularly because there must be a good number of folks who disapprove of both Trump and Biden (as they disapproved of Crooked Hillary and Trump in 2016). The media depicts Grampa Joe as a kindly, affable guy who’s the life of the party at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but the man’s been in Washington forever and many of his experiences are decidedly negative (Hunter and Barisma, anyone?). Gee, he dropped out of the 1988 race because of what, plagiarism?
He’s creepy too. What about gaffes? Or his tendency to dress down people and snap insults at voters -- including children and young adults -- who ask him something he doesn’t want to answer? Add the fact he stubbornly won’t respond to a simple request to tell whether he approves of ending the precious senate filibuster and packing the Supreme Court, and there’s an awful lot not to like about Joe Biden.
Therefore, at least some of the “disapprove” people will either, one, not vote for the lesser of two evils, or two, vote for Trump because they see him as more capable, even if they’re unsure about his job performance.
Americans have certainly made note of Biden’s hide-the-candidate strategy
The fact Biden isn’t out on the campaign trail meeting with thousands of people isn’t lost on the casual American voter. By now they’re sick of his TV ads that basically say the same thing -- blast President Trump as divisive, irresponsible, aloof, uncaring, etc. -- but there’s no sign of agenda items to motivate folks to bother to vote. Seeing the candidate in your town does tend to make a difference, therefore, as does the usual campaign paraphernalia -- yard signs, bumper stickers and door knockers.
(From the story above) Antle continued, “Some Republicans speculate that Trump voters will be more willing than Biden supporters to turn out on Election Day, in part because they are more willing to go out in public during the pandemic. Still, the Democratic primaries largely played out according to the polls, and Trump’s public displays have yet to move the national numbers, with the election less than a month away.”
Polling Democrat primary voters was worlds apart from now trying to assess the mood of the national electorate in this weirdest of all weird campaigns. The media portrays Trump as having lost a good chunk of his support among seniors, but this doesn’t make much sense. Older folks liked Trump in 2016 because they wanted to see their country return to the glory days of their youth and productive years, not continue down the road to cultural ruin that Obama instituted.
It defies belief that these same seniors who were Trump voters have wholesale abandoned him now because they’re terrified of the virus. Older Americans are among the best informed of all demographic groups and they recognize that there was only so much that could’ve been done to prevent the spread of the Chinese plague. Some of these people might not have liked everything Trump did or said, but it’s hard to see them jumping over to floundering Joe because of this issue alone. It’s not as though they enjoy being locked away from people they love and denied the comfort of friendships.
The same generations that stormed the beaches of Normandy or fought in the jungles of Vietnam aren’t so selfish that they would willingly flush the nation’s future down the you-know-what simply because they feel more comfortable with Biden and Kamala Harris. If this is truly the case, I haven’t seen any evidence of it. If anything, the people I know in the age group (who voted Trump in 2016) are even more out front about their Trump support today.
Need proof? An acquaintance relayed an experience he had last weekend in a little town in eastern Montana. “We stayed in Glendive, MT, a small town about 35 miles or so from the North Dakota border.There was a huge Saturday night cruise – Trump parade.Trucks, cars, ATV’s, even a horse and its baby, which someone spray painted ‘TRUMP’ on the baby horse. Alright then!”
Here’s guessing a good number of the attendees and participants were seasoned citizens. How many secret Biden voters are out there? Do you see anyone spray painting BIDEN on anything, much less a baby horse? The candidate says masks show you care about your neighbor. Don’t insult us or condescend to us, Joe.
Patriotism is for people who proudly fly flags, not wear a mask.
Barron tested positive for COVID-19 too; Melania puts a human face on the crisis
It goes without saying that two weeks ago when President Trump announced he and first lady Melania tested positive for the CCP virus, many wondered if son Barron came down with it as well. Unfortunately, we now know the answer was yes.
Victor Morton and S.A. Miller reported at The Washington Times, “In a statement posted to the White House web site, first lady Melania Trump said her 14-year-old boy became infected along with her and President Trump. ‘To our great relief he tested negative, but again, as so many parents have thought over the past several months, I couldn’t help but think ‘what about tomorrow or the next day?’’ she wrote. ‘My fear came true when he was tested again and it came up positive. Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms. In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together.’…
“’When my husband was taken to Walter Reed as a precaution, I spent much of my time reflecting on my family. I also thought about the hundreds of thousands of people across our country who have been impacted by this illness that infects people with no discrimination,’ Mrs. Trump wrote. ‘We are in unprecedented times — and with the election fast approaching, it has been easy to get caught up in so much negative energy.
“’It also cheered me to think of all the people I have met across our country and the world — and the goodness and compassion that exists if you seek it out. Our country has overcome many hardships and much adversity, and it is my hope COVID-19 will be another obstacle we will be able to tell future generations we overcame — and learned from in the process.’”
Does this sound like someone who didn’t take the disease seriously? Democrats find ways to spin just about everything negatively, but they’ll be hard pressed to come up with a downer narrative here. All the Trumps living in the White House got the virus -- and they’re all still kicking. If anything, they’re better than before. The president was right -- don’t let fear dominate your life.
Trump’s return to the traditional campaign trail is an inspiring story, not a cautionary tale. We’ll soon discover whether conducting rallies and in-person campaigning makes a difference -- and we can only hope it pays off on Election Day. President Trump is a wise man leading a desperate fight for the future; it’s more important than a personality contest.
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