Trump Isn’t Running Against Biden … He’s Running Against Himself


Donald Trump’s reelection chances are looking flimsier by the day.

The latest nationwide New York Times/Siena College poll has Biden ahead by 14 points. What’s even worse, the same polling has Trump losing to Biden in many of the crucial swing states … 47%-36% in Michigan, 49%-38% in Wisconsin, 50%-40% in Pennsylvania, 47%-41% in Florida, 48%-41% in Arizona and 49%-40% in North Carolina. 

So, Joe Biden is a great candidate, a great campaigner, right?

No, not really. He is pretty much keeping a low profile these days, allowing Trump’s self-destructiveness to keep propelling him forward. And, most likely, Biden will stick to that strategy for a while longer. What’s the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

As Janet Hook and Evan Halper recently wrote in the LA Times, “Voters are not so much upbeat about him [Biden] as they are upset with Trump.”

Though Trump has tried to make the race about Biden and his faults, he has failed miserably. His campaign has already spent tens of millions on attack ads that have fizzled – tying Biden to that Trumpian concoction, “Obamagate” and, of course, to Ukraine funny business. 

Finding that the right’s culture war playbook is proving less convincing against a white male target, Fox News is stepping into the breach.

As Matt Gertz writes in the National Memo, “They have started claiming that this fall’s election isn’t really about the relative merits of Trump and Biden. Instead, they have turned Biden — the septuagenarian center-left liberal who capped four decades in public service as Barack Obama’s vice president and speaks movingly about loss, grief, and the need for reconciliation on the campaign trail — into a stand-in for dark forces poised to shatter civilization.”

Here is what Fox’s Tucker Carlson said recently in one of his monologues:

“We should stop pretending that this is an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. There is no Joe Biden; the Joe Biden you remember no longer exists. The candidate has no independent thoughts of his own. He has no core beliefs. He is empty. He’s a perfect Trojan horse.”

With his chances for November continuing to slide, like on that “slippery” West Point ramp, look for Trump to shake up his reelection team any day now. Of course, this won’t make any difference or change the dynamics of the race. Trump’s problem is Trump.

As William Galston, a Brookings Institute scholar, succinctly put it, “Right now the election is Trump versus Trump, and Trump is losing badly.” 

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