In poll after poll, former Vice President Joe Biden’s nationwide lead has grown to jaw-dropping proportions. To use a sports metaphor, Joe Biden is heading for the end zone with nothing but green in front of him. But before we anoint Grandpa Joe as the next President of the United States, we need to ask; can Donald Trump make a comeback?
Let’s start with where the President stands as we enter July.
Biden’s lead over Trump in our latest Bonus.com 2020 US Presidential Election Odds Tracker has grown to a staggering 23 percentage points. To put into context how awful June has been for President Trump, the two candidates were tied at 46% probability on May 31.
However you feel about the legitimacy of presidential polling, one thing remains true for Trump’s re-election prospects. If he and his administration do not begin to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously immediately, then there’s little chance he can expect a second term.
Unlike in the spring when urban areas in the north saw concentrated coronavirus infections, now the southern U.S. is on fire with COVID-19. Texas, Florida, and Arizona post new highs in cases and hospitalizations seemingly each day. And after five months of deflections and virtue signaling about respecting the constitution, if you think the Trump administration is poised to do an about-face, may I interest you in the 500-1 odds of the Miami Marlins’ winning the 2020 World Series? Because Trump has shown little interest in instituting a new COVID-19 response plan.
So if Trump refuses to change his pandemic response strategy, then how can he win in November? For those saying the economy will save him, does the severity of the pandemic limit its possibilities?
Voters still believe that Trump is better for the economy than Biden. But rather than feverishly dealing with the pandemic, then running on a platform of economic recovery, Trump’s campaign is spending money to save his electoral position in Texas, Ohio, and Iowa. These three states should be in the Electoral College bag for Trump. But instead, his campaign is forced to waste precious financial resources in areas he should have wrapped up rather devoting the money to the swing states the President must win.
In 2016, Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton came from taking Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania by a combined tally of roughly 70,000 votes. If Biden wins these three states, or perhaps even two of them, then the hopes of a Trump second term is over. And that doesn’t account for Biden’s lead in Arizona.
So if Trump is losing on the pandemic and struggling to reopen the economy, could he rebound by attacking Biden? Trump’s ability in 2016 to competently attack Clinton was ultimately damaging to her bid to become the first female president. But Biden has remained relatively unscathed throughout the early months of the general election campaign.
Trump’s main attack on Biden continues to question his stamina and cognitive ability to handle the Presidency. But at his Tulsa rally, Trump spoke for 14 minutes on his slow walk down a ramp at West Point. The attacks by Trump on Biden’s age aren’t penetrating with with independents and college-educated white voters, two demographic categories he needs to win in November.
In the end, Trump’s biggest problem continues to be himself. While polls continue to show a lack of enthusiasm for Biden, they show an absolute distaste for four more years of Trump.
As Biden’s odds to be the 46th president gradually rise, it is remains to be seen if Trump has the wherewithal or desire to turn his message, and his actions, around to win a second term.