8. The President get COVID and the campaign gets weird, NC Senate Race, Long shot Senate Pickups and “Across the Pond.”

Our 8th Issue!!! Check us out on www.downtothewire.info

“…Down to the Wire” 

Edited by David S. Kerr. 

A product of Morningside Communications 

In this Issue:  Campaign 2020 enters the world of the weird – has President Trump’s new views on COVID and the pandemic hurt or helped him – Democrats seem to have lost their shot at North Carolina’s Senate Seat while some longshots look more promising.  And, Ross Duncan, our London correspondent looks “Across the Pond” at our Vice-Presidential Debates.

The Presidential Election enters the world of the weird 

When the President was diagnosed with COVID the election and the Trump campaign entered into a new kind of strange.  The President was sick, perhaps seriously ill for several days, but in the middle of it all, he emerged from his suite at Bethesda and took an ill-advised ride around the hospital in his limousine (nicknamed “the beast”) to wave a crowd of supporters.  A couple days later, he checked himself out of the hospital, while probably still contagious and defiantly pulled off his mask when he entered the White House.  Doctors nationwide were in something of a tizzy. 

“Gift from God…” 

President Trump has declared his infection with COVID to be “a gift from God,” says it’s no worse than the flu, really, he said that, and has started touting an anti-viral cocktail of medicines produced by Regeneron as a cure all.  It’s still experimental.  And oh yes, he’s been tweeting a lot.  A lot and in all caps.  As an aside, I once had an employee who used to e-mail me in all caps.  I was so glad when he retired.  The President’s tweet storms have included several rants suggesting President Obama and Hillary Clinton be arrested.  Most of this stream of consciousness seems to have its roots in the, quoting President Trump here, “the phony Russia investigation.”  He has gone so far as to criticize his Attorney General for not prosecuting and arresting these supposed wrong doers and has been upset with the Secretary of State for not being more aggressive about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.  You remember those?  Wasn’t that, er, four years ago?  Like I said, it’s weird. 

Has all this hurt the President?  Yes, No, Maybe…  

Yes, his recent behavior has probably hurt the President politically.  Well, maybe.  His base of core supporters is not easily swayed, and many voters have learned to ignore these twitter outbursts.  That’s the kind of world we live in.  Polls, particularly the collection of data provided by www.FivethirtyEight.com, show Former Vice President Biden carving out a sizable lead nationwide and in the critical swing states. But, still, there is a fear on the part of some Democrats, I think it’s a form of PTSD left over from 2016, that there are still a lot of secret Trump voters out there.  People who conceal their intentions, or misrepresent them, and plan to vote for Donald Trump, no matter what.  

More on the Senate: 

To move the Senate from Republican to Democratic control requires a net gain for the Democrats of four seats.  North Carolina looked like a good pickup.  Republican Senator Thom Tillis was in trouble.  That is, until his opponent, Democrat Cal Cunningham was found to be sending romantic messages back and forth to a married woman not his wife.  North Carolina looks like it may go for Biden.  And Tillis looked like a potential casualty.  However, North Carolina probably expects better of its potential Senators and oh yes, don’t forget it’s still a part of the Bible Belt.  This kind of behavior doesn’t go over well in the Tar Heel state.  The Democrats will probably have to write this one off as a Senate pickup. 

Other Senate Seats: 

The GOP seems to have troubles in states it didn’t expect would cause them any problems.  Senator Lindsay Graham is seemingly tied, or even trailing his Democratic opponent in South Carolina.  Georgia (where two seats are in play) is at least looking like a possibility, as is Iowa, Montana and Texas.  The latter hasn’t elected a Democratic Senator since Lloyd Bentsen and oh yes, South Carolina hasn’t had a Democrat in the Senate since Fritz Hollings.  These, we should remember, are all still in the long shot category.  However, if the Democrats, to borrow an overused term get their “perfect storm” on November 3, anything could happen. 

President Trump pulls out of relief talks with Congress (airline snub may hurt him the worst): 

It was a surprise move, with conflicting signals, but apparently President Trump doesn’t want to talk about a nationwide economic relief package until after the election.  Republicans were surprised and upset by this.  One part of the package was a major allocation of funds to help the airlines.  Airlines, since 1 October, have begun to shed as many as 36,000 jobs.  In states with big airports which play a pivotal role in the economies of pivotal states such as Texas and Florida, this may not go over well. 

An “Across the Pond” perspective on the Vice-Presidential Debates – from our London Correspondent – Ross Duncan 

After the mayhem of Trump and Biden’s first debate, it would be fair to say that the Vice-Presidential debate was a far more sober affair. 

Indeed, I thought both Pence and Harris performed adequately, which is the only requirement for Vice-Presidential candidates, even in these challenging circumstances. Pence, in particular, struck me. Firm and measured, his performance was a timely reminder of why he will be a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2024. 

Nevertheless, it was Harris and her likewise sound performance that I found most interesting. My instinct is that her performance will not, in itself, have a notable impact on her position one way or the other. After all, both her popularity and her unpopularity are driven by fundamental dynamics that Wednesday’s debate did little to alter. 

Yet one consequence of the debate will be to remind voters that “President Kamala Harris” is a realistic possibility, in the way that only a striking visual medium can achieve. Indeed, the widespread assumption that Harris is an unmitigated electoral asset is a serious mistake; it is not an accident, after all, that she is not the Democratic nominee for President. 

Whether these weaknesses will prove decisive in November, however, remains very much an open question. 

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