So the dust has settled on last night’s first debate, and the “all important” spin. That debate had little to no educational value for undecided voters. It was barely even a debate. Sure, Donald’s supporters will say he was “strong,” but literally nobody outside of his corner now will agree with that. In short, it was a shitshow.
It’s hard to judge Joe Biden last night, but it looks like a win. He spoke to the television audience directly, his opponent did not reach beyond his base, and Biden refuted him point for point. Now, Trump did often talk over him, and calling him a clown probably bothered some people, but I doubt he lost anybody with that. When he confronted Trump over calling service members “suckers and losers,” he had a powerful moment. When Trump tried to belittle his educational background, Biden got the better of him. He created a headline moment calling him our worst President in history. He managed to assert himself as not being AOC or Bernie. It might not have seemed perfect to folks who wanted a more combative tone (the left), or who equate loud with strong (the right), but those votes are spoken for. He reached who he needed.
Trump… where to even begin? He was awful. He talked over everyone, he lied, he refused to answer questions he didn’t like. My assumption is his 41-44% of the country liked it. Did anyone else like it? Unlikely. He didn’t make the case very well to people who aren’t sold on him. He didn’t show a different side. He didn’t put forward policies. He didn’t tell us why the negative articles about him are wrong. He just talked and talked. And lied. And was generally a clown.
That debate didn’t change many, if any minds. My guess it’s a 7% race still, like it was yesterday.
To be clear, we’re not going to talk about the debate until the next post. Things happened yesterday and today before the debate. Eric Trump declared himself part of the LGBTQ community. Yesterday Biden lead in PA by 9%. In fact, four new polls put it at 5-9% for Biden.
I look forward to the morning of November 4th. I picture myself rolling up to the county courthouse, coffee in hand, bright and early. We’re pretty sure we won, but I need to watch some more ballots get counted. It’ll be done in a day or two though, and then life is wide open. Is it off to DC? To another campaign? To some other place on the globe? I guess we’ll see. I won’t have to give a damn about Donald Trump’s tweets though, or walking the political right rope. Freedom. It’s coming.
The news of this Sunday was not polls, or visits, or anything sane- after former Pennsylvania Governor and DHS founder Tom Ridge endorsed Joe Biden. This is a valuable and symbolic endorsement. Donald Trump has been roundly rejected by the Bush 43 establishment, and this one gets very close to Dubbya himself. It’s a big endorsement in Pennsylvania too. I remember hearing a bunch of Phillies fans cheer around a stadium TV when George W. Bush announced him as his new Homeland Security Director. He’s emblematic of Pennsylvania.
Of course that’s like a million years ago now- I’m talking about the endorsement. Within an hour or two, the Rock was endorsing Joe Biden. That’s Bethlehem, PA native and global icon Dwayne Johnson. I have to admit I never saw this one coming. And did it even matter after Trump’s tax returns finally surfaced. Turns out this guy is forever in debt and is actually the crappy businessman people always said he is. Shocked yet?
None of this actually matters. Joe Biden’s best argument is that he’s a fairly normal guy, and Trump is incompetent. The last of the undecideds know Trump is a bad dude. They don’t think much of any electeds though. They want to know Joe is acceptable to them. They will after Tuesday.
So it was 38 days out from the election, a late September Saturday, and I had the day off. Cheers to my union, IBEW Local #777. This is a rather new development in campaigns, where organizers now have union contracts and rights. It hasn’t yet been scaled correctly for political work, but it’s a good development and our union is doing a fine job. On the Biden campaign itself I was a Teamster, with the PA Dems I’m an Electrical Worker, and I’ve been a member of the Campaign Worker’s Guild since 2018. I love unions and I’m proud to be a member.
Of course, something else happened today that will harm the rights of workers to organize for years to come- right-wing radical jurist Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Much has been made of her awful beliefs on LGBTQ rights, voting rights, abortion rights, and a range of social issues, and it should be. It’s also important to note how bad ACB would be for working people. She will kill labor organizing rights, health care, consumer protections, consumer protections, and all regulations that protect us from corporate excess. I am not attacking ACB for her family, faith, or other strange personal alignments. I’m attacking her for her crazy judicial beliefs.
That’s all for this one. I’ll have Day 37 up in an hour or two…
Biden’s ads are just better than Clinton’s. Instead of attacking Trump’s vulgarity and personal failings, Biden continues to hammer him on the economy, social security, Covid, and keeping people safe. For that matter, Priorities USA Action is also hammering on that script. I think Biden and allies should stay on this messaging. It works.
My favorite down ballot race to watch so far has been the NJ-2 race between Kennedy and Van Drew. Her ads have hit him hard. My least favorite race is basically locked in as the Massachusetts Senate race. After promising the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, let’s see if Senator Markey even gets either a vote.
There are just 40 days to go. The race in the states is pretty interesting. The University of Wisconsin shows Biden with solid, but not overwhelming leads in PA, MI, and WI. Two Iowa polls give each man a three point lead, after the DMR poll showed a tie. A couple of polls show Ohio tilting back to the Democrats. SurveyMonkey shows Biden opening leads everywhere. Georgia is basically a tie. Fox News polls are good for Biden in NV and OH.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, the RNC prime time speaking disaster, was in Palmer today. The press says she had 100 people. Pictures I received don’t seem to confirm that many people. At least they had the event outside. Given that I have nothing nice to say, I’ll just leave it there.
The race remains “as is.” Tuesday is the first debate, usually the biggest. Ballots are currently being cast. We’re not really 40 days from this election being decided.
Again, pushed into the next day. You get two posts today.
Tonight we’ll start a little different. Back in the primaries, Joe Biden didn’t get the New York Times endorsement, which went to Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar instead. Instead, he got the endorsement of the elevator operator and security guard, Jacquelyn. It went viral, he won the nomination, and she ended up nominating him at the convention. Tonight she joined my out-of-area phone bank to pump up the volunteers. It went great. If you’re looking for a pundit that actually is in touch, she’s it.
You know what I’m going to say, right? The polls are steady. Just ask 538. Seriously. Ask RCP. Seriously. Joe Biden’s national lead is 7% again, and I have news, he won’t lose the electoral college up 7%. Or 5%. Or hell, probably not even 3%. Hillary’s popular vote win was 2.1%. She only needed 75k votes in three states. Joe’s in position to get it easily.
With the polling in the states, things are tilting towards a blowout. A tie in Iowa. A tie in Ohio. And yet Pennsylvania and Florida remain inconsistent in the size of Biden’s lead. Trump never leads either, but the depths of his futility aren’t clear. Some Pennsylvania polls show him as close as 2%, more put him 5-7% back though. In Florida, he occasionally holds tiny leads, but more often he’s between a tie and as far as 5% back. The state polls obviously have more room for error, but things aren’t totally clear yet. Pennsylvania could be over already, or still in play.
As we approach the six weeks mark, what’s new? Well, today’s national polls on 538 gave Biden 5-12% leads across the board, and a 6.8% average lead for now (mostly skewed by a couple of Republican pollsters this week). Over at RCP, the lead is 6.5%, fueled by similar polls, and Biden is running 5% ahead of Clinton at this time in 2016. In short, nothing new.
An encouraging and important number NBC’s polling- about 3/4 of the electorate doesn’t care about the debates. I believe Biden will steamroll Trump like Hillary did in the debates, but what should a debate tell us that these last four years did not?
Another observation from recent polls- aside from Biden running at or very near 50%, Trump basically runs very close to his approval. What this means is that the remaining undecideds, who are far less numerous than in 2016, are likely not in the approving column of Trump. There’s a fairly good chance that their undecided status is less about Biden himself than the Democratic Party. Given the relative unity in the party, Joe should aggressively address than 5-10% of the electorate.
I didn’t get last night’s post off in time, so you’re getting two.
A cursory look at national polling on FiveThirtyEight tells the story– a bunch of 8-10 point Biden leads were the weekend. A clear, resounding lead, that is remarkably steady. His average ticked up to 6.8%, which is solid, and would be higher without an outlier poll or two last week. RCP shows Biden up 6.5% on their average, a full 5% better than Hillary at this same point. Things are steady, but the swing state polls still show a fairly close race that probably is competitive still. Biden basically leads the swing states, but not by as big of leads as he has nationally.
More ink has been spilled than should have been over the “Northampton County is predictive of Pennsylvania” storyline. Even so, here’s an article to read about. My theory remains that my home county is very important, but is only one of several (Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, Lackawanna, Carbon, and Luzerne) where Hillary lost the 2016 Election by so badly underperforming Barack Obama. If Joe Biden can improve on her performance in most of these places, he’ll win. For what it’s worth, Northampton County has gone blue since 2016 for County Executive, Congresswoman, Governor, Senator, and State Supreme and Superior Court. Of course, this is a very different kind of race.
By the way, it’s a weird Fall when the Eagles stink and Penn State hasn’t existed yet. I guess that’s better for work product though.
That’s enough for today, part I. I’ll have 43 later.