Bad news for Trump not so bad after all
Things don't look too promising for President Trump's re-election. He's down by eight points in the RCP poll average (41.6 to 49.6), 538.com has his approval rating at 41.3, and the betting odds have his chances at 45% vs. Biden's 50%. Unemployment is somewhere between 13% and 16%, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a deadly threat, rioting has destroyed significant sections of urban America, and outrage over the death of George Floyd continues unabated.
This is all actually good news for Trump. The only real threat to his re-election is from an articulate young Democratic politician of substance and accomplishment taking Biden's place at the head of the ticket — someone like California governor Gavin Newsom. If Biden is forced out and replaced by someone like Newsom, Trump might have something to worry about.
Not so with Sleepy Joe Biden. Early-stage Alzheimer's, or some other variation of senility, eliminates him as a serious presidential candidate. He not only can't hold his own in a debate, but can barely deliver a coherent speech from a prepared script. His penchant for gaffes; his inappropriate behavior with young girls and women; and his short, nasty temper are all flaws that predate his mental decline. He's a walking disaster of a candidate.
His record in public office is abominable. He's been flat wrong on every major foreign policy debate in the last 30 years; was the champion of the predatory credit card companies headquartered in his home state of Delaware; and was an architect of the 1994 Crime Bill, which black voters despise.
He and his family have grown rich at the public trough, using his political status to get money for the family out of corrupt deals in China and Ukraine. China has clearly emerged as our principal geopolitical foe, and Biden's record on Sino-American relations is appalling.
"But he's leading in all the polls!" his apologists cry, and how can you remove a duly nominated presidential candidate who seems to be on the road to victory? You can't, and that means that Donald Trump will have the opportunity, once the campaign begins in earnest, to destroy Joe Biden. This is the kind of politics Trump excels at, and it won't be for the faint of heart.
There are any number of other factors that will help with Trump's re-election. He had some things going for him in 2016 as well, but the real reason he won was that Hillary Clinton was actually more disliked than he was.
In the 2020 election, people won't dislike Biden. They'll pity him, which is even worse.
Fritz Pettyjohn blogs at ReaganProject.com.