The Biden-Harris Wave

In 1936, Frankline Delano Roosevelt won his second presidential election, garnering 60.8 percent of the popular vote. Until now, that was the largest margin of victory in any presidential contest. But Joe Biden has a chance of defeating Donald Trump by a similar percentage.

Coming out of the Republican National Convention, Trump is at the peak of his popularity.  Trump will steadily drive away voters until his base remains — slightly under 40 percent.

Consider this: 68 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction (https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html).  Biden has an overall lead of 7.3 percent in the polls (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/ ).  Trump remains unfavorable (43 percent approve versus 52 percent disapprove).  Meanwhile Biden has a net favorable rating (46 percent favorable versus 40 percent unfavorable).  (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trumps-favorability-perceptions-covid-19-response-stagnate-post/story?id=72705268) (By the way: Kamala Harris is viewed more favorably than Mike Pence.)

The latest Economist forecast gives Biden 88 percent chance of winning the electoral college (https://projects.economist.com/us-2020-forecast/president ).

Trump is campaigning with a multiple disadvantages.  He’s in poor health.  Donald is no longer the outsider, the novelty.  He does not have an unpopular opponent.  Furthermore, Trump has to account for four simultaneous crises, happening on his watch: the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic recession, racial injustice, and global climate change.  In the next 60 days these crises are not going away.

1.COVID-19 pandemic: The RNC treated the pandemic as if it was a crisis that had been solved. Unfortunately, It hasn’t been solved and is likely to get worse when flu season starts in October. By November 3rd, 250,000 Americans will have died from the virus.  Trump can’t wish this away and most voters blame him for the crisis.  (The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll found: “A clear majority of Americans (63%) disapprove of Trump’s oversight of the public health crisis — a steady trend since early July.”)

2. Economic recession: Republicans act as if the economy is growing but last quarter it shrank at a rate of 32.9 percent.  Trump pretends we are in a V-shaped recovery but it’s actually a K-shaped recovery where only the richest 1 percent are benefitting.  Republicans don’t appear to care about the millions who are losing their unemployment benefits or facing eviction. As the weeks go by, and Trump presents no plan to deal with the recession, increasing numbers of voters will be angry.

Most voters feel the economy is in bad shape.   The New York Times reports: “Most polls now find Americans are evenly split on whether they approve of [Trump’s] handling of the issue.  Gallup, for example, found Mr. Trump enjoyed a 48 percent approval rating on the economy this month, down from 63 percent in January.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/us/politics/trump-economy.html )

3. Racial Injustice: Trump does not believe that Black Lives Matter and  refuses to acknowledge the tragic death of George Floyd and the maiming of Jacob Blake.  This attitude will cause him to lose support in the Black community.  Trump is betting that going all out on “law and order” will sway most white voters; it won’t.  (By the way: the ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 62 percent of respondents believed the shooting of Jacob Blake was: “A sign of broader problems in the treatment of African Americans by police.”)  The latest Quinnipiac poll found: “Fifty percent of likely voters say having Donald Trump as president of the United States makes them feel less safe, while 35 percent say it makes them feel more safe.”

4. Climate Change: On night three of the GOP convention, a major hurricane slammed into Louisiana, while wildfires torched the west.  Trump refuses to acknowledge climate change as we’re heading into what promises to be a ferocious hurricane season.

Trump has failed.  He will fall further behind in the polls because he is playing a losing hand.

On November 3rd, voters have a chance to not only defeat Donald Trump but to dramatically change the face of American politics.  Here are 5 key states where  this can happen:

Arizona: What was once a reliably red state has become “purple.”  Recent polls have Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump.

Arizona has one Democratic Senator (Sinema).  Five of nine congressional districts are represented by Democrats.  In 2020, the incumbent Republican Senator (McSally) is challenged by an outstanding Democratic candidate (Kelly).  In addition, Arizona Congressional District 6, represented by a Republican (Schweikert) is challenged by a strong Democrat (Tipirneni).

In addition, Democrats have a good shot at taking over the Arizona legislature:  Currently, Republicans enjoy a 31-19 advantage in the Arizona House and a 17-13 advantage in the Senate.  (The Republican governor is up for reelection in 2022.)

Georgia: Another “red” state that has become purple.  Recent polls have Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump.

Georgia has two Republican Senators up for reelection: Perdue and Loeffler.  Perdue is in a tight race with Democrat Jon Ossoff.  Loeffler is in a complicated race that may pit her against either a Republican (Collins) or Democrat (Warnock).  Five of fourteen Congressional districts are represented by Democrats.  However, one Republican district (GA 7) is open and a Democrat (Bourdeaux) is favored to win.

Flipping the legislature is a long shot.  The Georgia Senate has 56 seats: 35 Republican and 21 Democratic.  The Georgia House has 180 seats: 105 Republican, 75 Democratic.  Nonetheless,  Democrats think they have a shot.  (The Republican governor is up for reelection in 2022; there are rumors that Democrat Stacey Abrams will run for this seat.)

Montana: In 2016, in Montana, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 20 points.  In 2020, in the latest Montana poll, Trump leads Biden by 4 points.  That’s not to say that Montana will suddenly become “blue” but it does illustrate that it’s in play.  And, there are three close races.

Montana’s Republican Senator (Daines) is being challenged by Democrat Steve Bullock — the race is a tossup.  Montana’s single House seat is in play; Democrat Kathleen Williams appears to hold a slight lead.  Montana’s State House is also in play;  Republican Gianforte holds a slight lead over Democrat Cooney.

North Carolina:  A legitimately “purple” state.  Recent polls have Joe Biden slightly ahead of Donald Trump.

North Carolina’s Republican Senator (Tillis) is being challenged by Democrat Cal Cunningham — Cunningham holds a slight edge.  The existing Democratic Governor (Cooper) holds a substantial lead over his Republican challenger.  There are two open congressional seats that could go to Democrats: NC 2 (Ross) and NC6 (Manning).

Democrats forced North Carolina to be redistricted.  As a result, control of the state legislature is in sight.  Demos need to win five seats in the state senate and 6 seats in the house.

Texas: What was once a reliably red state has become “purple.”  Recent polls have Joe Biden tied with Donald Trump.

There’s a Senate seat in play but the Republican incumbent (Cornyn) seems to have a comfortable lead over challenger (Hegar).  There are 36 congressional seats: Democrats hold thirteen of these.  Four additional seats are in play: TX 21 (Davis), TX 22 (Kulkarni), TX 23 (Ortiz-Jones), and TX 24 (Valenzuela).

Democrats also have a fighting chance to take control of the Texas Legislature.

Summary: Supporters of Joe Biden are scared.  They’re afraid that Donald Trump will steal the election.  They’re afraid that Trump will do something awful.  (Newsflash: Donald will do something awful but it won’t be enough.)

We can’t let our fear paralyze us.  We must do everything we possibly can to defeat Donald Trump.

We must unite to seize a historic opportunity.  Donald Trump is a threat to Democracy.  Each day, more and more voters understand this.  The tide is running in favor of Joe Biden, and Democrats in general.  We must do everything we can to take advantage of this moment.