Updated: Jul 27
By Jack Street
Joe Biden may be the first person to win the presidency from his basement.
I must make an admission, a couple of weeks ago I was talking to my fellow Demographica colleague, Alex De Boick, about the US election and I proudly proclaimed ‘Trump will win again, but bigger’. Well, it looks like I may have to eat my words. Biden currently leads Trump on average by +8.6 points. For reference, at this point in 2016 Clinton led by +2.7 points.
This is an absolutely enormous deficit for Trump to have to overcome and, unlike in 2016, Trump is showing little sign of closing the gap. Biden is far from a dynamic campaigner; he has done very little in the way of rallies or media appearances and when he does he is often less than articulate and far from persuasive. However, this may be a winning strategy - Trump is unfavourable with 55% of the population polled and those in battleground states like Florida and Arizona feel the Coronavirus response has been poor.
Biden’s chief strategy seems to be to give Trump the floor in order to lose himself the election and looking at the polling, that strategy seems to be working. Whilst in 2016 Trump focused on pushing an ‘America first’ and ‘Make America Great Again’ policy-focused agenda that resonated with voters in places like the midwest, this year he is doubling down on the culture war and racial tensions. This 180-degree turn in strategy is not looking good for Trump and clearly does not hit home with the voters he won over in 2016.
The truth is that working-class Americans have not been put first under the Trump Administration, Trump has just been another establishment politician who lied his way into power and then acted on the wishes of elites.
The real unemployment rate in the US is closing in on 20% (the worst figures since the Great Depression), wealth inequality continues to be out of control and ever-rising, the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked protests all over the country.
Do not be fooled when conservative and right-wing commentators tell you that America is doing great under Trump, it just is not the case.
For Joe Biden, this provides a fantastic political opportunity. He is a candidate that waffles during speeches, is almost entirely in the pocket of wall street, backed the Iraq war, was pro-segregation and supported the 1994 crime bill that has aided mass incarceration. None of this seems to matter to the electorate, however, because Trump has been so awful at dealing with America’s problems and the American people seem to have noticed.
The only way I can see Trump regaining the ground he needs is if he goes on the offensive as he did in 2016 during the debates. Biden is poor when speaking and both his current policy platform and political history is a gold mine for opponents. Even so, Biden would have to seriously f*ck up to lose this lead.
If Biden wins, many will see it as a major victory for progress and feel like the future is bright - this would be a massive oversight. Yes, Trump’s presidency has been horrendous, his policies have made America’s problems worse and the man is clearly not fit for office, but if Biden wins, we will be going back to business as usual: establishment corruption. Biden does not have the interests of working people at heart just as Trump doesn’t. If Biden wins, there must be the same levels of scrutiny and opposition as there has been towards Trump.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica as a company