Sunday, October 25, 2020

Few People Believe Anything Trump Says-- Which Makes Campaigning Tougher Than It Was In 2016



Today the Topeka Capital-Journal, which endorsed Trump in 2016, decided to not make the same mistake again. They urge their readers to vote for Biden despite him being a Democrat: "He deserves your support anyway... In these difficult times, after four years of chaos and confusion, the United States needs a steady hand. We endorse Joe Biden as the next president."
Everyone knows that Kansas is a red state. We’ve reliably cast our votes for Republican presidential candidates for decades upon decades. But we’re also not a hopelessly partisan state. We have elected Democratic governors and U.S. representatives. We have elected many problem-solving moderate Republicans to the Statehouse.

That’s because we value the old-fashioned civic values and virtues. We value decency, the kind seen in legendary politicians like Nancy Landon Kassebaum and Bob Dole. We value watching out for our neighbors, no matter the color of their skin, their religion or their sexual orientation. We value putting in a hard day’s work. We value the opportunities this country has brought us, as we know that so many of us are immigrants.

In the person of incumbent President Donald Trump, we have someone profoundly indecent, accused of sexual assault by nearly 20 women and captured on tape bragging about it. We know he doesn’t look out for his neighbors, as he’s routinely insulted other nations who have traditionally been our strongest allies. As for putting in hard work, the president’s lengthy days watching cable news or golfing should suggest how little he’s interested in doing the traditional labors of president.

Finally, of course, Trump has been anti-immigrant. Not just in addressing illegal immigration, an issue about which reasonable people can disagree. But he has cut the numbers of refugees allowed in the United States and sought to decrease the numbers of those in the country through legal means.

This newspaper endorsed President Trump in 2016. At the time, under different ownership and in different circumstances, we understood the risks. But it seemed as though Trump’s no-nonsense persona and business record could shake up Washington, D.C., for the better.

The gamble didn’t work out.
I've pretty much stopped taking calls from a friend of mine. He's a classic nervous Nelly and just cannot accept that Trump is going to lose. Any crazy poll from Trafalgar (a GOP polling firm that accepts pay for sunny results from Republican clients) and he goes into hysterics. Any journalist looking for clicks by ginning up some far-fetched story about how Biden is going to lose because Hillary did, is aiming right at my friend. I'm too busy to talk him off his ledge any more. Maybe I should send him the level-headed piece Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey wrote for the Washington Post last night: Trump bets on a 2016 replay, but faces a changed landscape. It could calm him-- and perhaps you?-- down.

They wrote that Señor T "and his advisers are betting on a high-octane replay of the closing two weeks of his 2016 campaign, with nonstop travel for packed rallies filled with attacks on alleged Democratic corruption in a bid to reignite the outsider spirit that defied the polls once before. Despite health authorities discouraging his largely maskless outdoor events and an opponent who has maintained strong favorability ratings, Trump is urgently trying to reassemble the core elements of his 2016 upset win: news coverage of red-hatted spectacles, calls for a criminal investigation of his rival and the mischaracterization of allegedly leaked documents in the final stretch of the campaign."

That pointed out that four years ago some voters "may have been unsure what a Trump presidency would look like, and many were willing to gamble." This time, they know. Some are still buying into it but most aren't. The pandemic has exposed his incompetence and his disregard for the welfare and safety of anyone outside of some members of his immediate family. When he can get away with it, he still denies the pandemic is real. He "continues to dismiss coverage of the health crisis as a political tactic by his opponents to scare the American people. 'Turn on television, covid-19, covid-19, covid-19, covid-19, covid-19, covid-19. A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it,' Trump said at an event in Lumberton, N.C., on Saturday. 'By the way, on November 4th, you won’t hear about it anymore. It’s true.'"

And yet... On Friday-- a one-day record: 81,414 new cases, many in the heart of Trumpistan. The 15 worst hit states in the country, on a per capital basis, are all states where majorities voted for Trump in 2016 and all states where people are foolish enough to pay attention to his gaslighting about not wearing masks and not following the advice of public health experts:
North Dakota- 49,496 cases per million residents
South Dakota- 44,314 cases per million residents
Mississippi- 38,670 cases per million residents
Louisiana- 38,686 cases per million residents
Alabama- 37,599 cases per million residents
Iowa- 36,716 cases per million residents
Florida- 36,253 cases per million residents
Tennessee- 36,254 cases per million residents
Arkansas- 35,163 cases per million residents
Wisconsin- 34,035 cases per million residents
Georgia- 33,052 cases per million residents
South Carolina- 33,150 cases per million residents
Idaho- 33,208 cases per million residents
Nebraska- 32,980 cases per million residents
Arizona- 32,720 cases per million residents
Yesterday, nearly as many-- 79,449, lower only because 3 states didn't report. So far 230,068 Americans have died from a disease that Trump constantly minimizes.
Trump is facing a very different kind of opponent than Clinton, who was broadly unpopular. Biden’s favorability has increased slightly since his August convention, according to multiple polls, while Trump’s lower favorability remains basically unchanged. Biden is viewed far more positively than Clinton, despite the tens of millions of dollars that have recently been spent to sully his reputation.

“In 2016, you had the unprecedented situation with both major-party nominees having a favorable rating that was significantly underwater,” said Democratic pollster Joel Benenson. “You also had an open seat. This is a referendum on Trump.”

Yet nostalgia for the last campaign remains a throughline of Trump’s stump speech. As he did with Clinton in 2016, Trump has argued that his opponent should be investigated and imprisoned. He compares the alleged laptop of Biden’s son Hunter to a laptop owned by the husband of a Clinton 2016 aide, which led to a late-campaign announcement by the FBI that some emails of the Democratic candidate had been uncovered.

“This is called the laptop from hell,” Trump said in a riff at a recent event in Arizona, discussing the device allegedly owned by Hunter, a fact that has not been confirmed by The Washington Post. “The only laptop that was almost as good, maybe worse, was the laptop of Anthony Weiner. Do you remember that? Ding, ding, ding, ding.”

Aides even sought to replicate the 2016 surprise of bringing accusers of Bill Clinton to meet the press before one of his debates with Hillary Clinton. But this time, the guest, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, did not attract as much attention, and Trump himself did not join the business partner for the appearance.
Trump's rallies are getting millions of dollars of publicity in earned (free) media in local markets, although some of it is like the national publicity: lies, COVID-spreading and more lies. The campaign operatives are frustrated that the rallies aren't generating any good national press the way they did in 2016. "Cable news networks in 2016," wrote Scherer and Dawsey, "carried Trump rallies with a certain breathlessness, sometimes showing the empty stage as the crowd awaited the candidate’s arrival. This time, they often decline to cover the spectacles live, while interviews, a key way for Trump to broadcast his message in 2016, have become far more confrontational as journalists pick through his record. Trump prematurely ended an interview this past week for CBS News’s 60 Minutes after objecting to questions from reporter Lesley Stahl. More broadly, Democratic voters in 2016 were badly divided, and many were complacent, with little doubt that Clinton would prevail. In contrast, Trump’s first term has largely unified the American left."
The overall goal [of Trump's ad campaign] is to argue to traditional Republicans who may have doubts about Trump that whatever the president’s flaws, Biden is a tax-and-spend liberal who would make life worse for many Americans.

The Biden campaign argues that Biden has been a moderate for a half-century in politics, and that voters will not buy into Trump’s portrait of him as a socialist.

“He has been forced to divest from making a case for himself and is instead resorting to even more wild-eyed, projection-based lies about Joe Biden that have failed him for months and that fact-checkers have already carved to pieces,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in response to the ads.

The Trump campaign is also in an even weaker relative position than in 2016 when it comes to money available for television ads. Over the four weeks ending Oct. 24, 2016, the Trump and Clinton campaigns were evenly matched on television, with Clinton spending about 8 percent more in total, according to Advertising Analytics.

This time, the two campaigns are much farther apart, with Biden’s campaign spending 2.3 times what Trump has spent over the past four weeks.
Trump's biggest problem is that people now know he's a compulsive liar. No one believes anything he says but his base (between 38-42% of the voters). So, no matter what he says, he isn't getting anything across. Instead... these guys (and no wonder Ivanka and Kushner-in-law want to sue them!)

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At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, but what was it that P.T. Barnum famously said? or Mencken?

And that was a century before americans got REALLY stupid!

If 2016 didn't teach you that, well, I guess that means you're american.

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am greatly saddened that the only option American voters are being allowed is to select a blatant liar - or Trump.

Everything about Biden is a lie promulgated to allow the continued control of the nation by the Big Money interests who prefer him to Trump. Biden isn't likely to act impulsively and thoughtlessly, because Biden isn't going to be able to act once they take him off the drugs he's on. It's like trying to use a blow torch to light a candle. He'll be used up quickly and be almost completely non-functional - unless they want him to drop dead on camera as the Martyr Who Rescued America From Trump.

Biden's pledge to Big Money will essentially be the defining statement of both himself AND Trump, as Biden will not fundamentally change anything and Trump is not capable of personal fundamental change as he fundamentally changes everything else.

The last large group of people to have to make a similar Hobson's Choice -orders of magnitude smaller than the entire adult voting population of the USA- were those trapped in the World Trade Center and faced with the choice of burning or falling to their deaths. Trump represents burning. Biden represents falling.

Either way, the end is gruesome.

At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

an excellent simile, 11:35.

yet americans have been voting for falling for decades and likely won't change. The difference is that they don't need to die either way. They could choose to not be in that building at all.

but they never do.

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bullshit. nazi campaigning is so easy, it's trivial.

trump and pence can say anything insane they want. their cultists just. don't. fucking. care.

what could be easier than that.


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