Five minutes into last night’s debate I had to live up to yesterday’s declaration and I sent Joe his thousand bucks. That’s how long it took Joe to mention Trump’s China bank account and to go after Trump for never releasing his tax returns. And as far as I’m concerned, the debate ended right then and there although I watched through to the end.
You would have thought, by the way, that Joe was the incumbent and Trump the challenger, if only because to deflect attention from his own failures, Trump kept brining up what Joe did and didn’t do when he and Barack were running things between 2008 and 2016.
One point needs a bit of clarification right now. Trump kept saying again and again how he had created this wonderful, historically-strong economy and he used as his ‘proof’ how the Dow has moved upwards since 2017. In fact, since he was inaugurated, the Dow has gone from 19,864 to its current close at 28,363, an increase of 43%. On January 30, 2009, the Dow was at 8,000. By the time Barack and Joe left office, the Dow had climbed up by more than 140%. Who’s kidding whom?
What was evident last night is that Trump’s ability in 2016 to speak to the ‘fuck you’ voter was the perfect script when you’re challenging a long-time Establishment figure whom nobody liked. It doesn’t go down when you now represent the Establishment, even though Trump claimed again and again that he’s not a ‘politician.’ As far as I’m concerned, every time he tried to pretend that he was still some kind of outsider, he fell flat on his face.
As of this morning, the polls still don’t show any beginnings of a last-minute surge for Trump. On October 15, Joe’s lead over Trump was 10.5%, 52.4% to 41.9%. As of this morning, Joe’s lead is 9.8%, 52% to 42.3%. In 2016, the national aggregate polls had Hillary up by 45.3% to 39.3%, a gap of 6%. But note that almost 16% of respondents hadn’t yet made up their minds. But nine days before the actual election on November 8th, Hillary was still at 45% but Trump was at almost 41%, and 4 days before the election, he had narrowed the gap to less than 4%. And there were still 13% Sedaris dog-shit voters out there.
I don’t see any kind of movement like that this time around, and neither do polling professionals who have a lot more experience than me. None other than one of the GOP’s most heralded pollsters, Frank Luntz, predicted yesterday that Trump simply doesn’t have enough time to catch up.
Luntz also made the point that in the final statement by both Trump and Biden, the latter talked about bringing the country ‘together,’ the former just went through some usual attacks on Biden again. This script worked for Trump in 2016 because he truly was an outsider. So this time around Trump changed his delivery style somewhat but the message was the same.
Last point: When they started arguing about medical care, Trump accused Joe of just following the Bernie push for ‘socialized’ medicine and mumbled something about the ‘terrible’ medical situation in Vermont. In fact, Vermont with its ‘socialized’ medical-care system has the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases of any state by far. The national rate per 1,000 people is 25,657; Vermont’s rate is 3,172.
The real reason that Joe is (hopefully) going to win the election is because as my accountant father used to say, figures don’t lie but liars sure can figure. And when Trump once again lied by saying that he ‘couldn’t’ release his tax returns while they were under audit, he was just replaying his same, tired old script again.