As we move into Labor Day I have no exceptional polling analysis suggesting who might win in November, but I suspect the Trump/Biden race is closer than current polling would have us believe. And I didn’t spend a lot of time watching either one of the virtual party conventions. My intuition is that the Republican presentation was more favorable for Trump than the Democratic presentation was for Biden and, frankly, I thought that Trump handled himself personally much better than I expected.
As for the critical issues, here is what I think, 64 days out: If you had asked me six months ago what the leading issue was, I would have answered the economy; three months ago, the answer would have been the pandemic; now I think the riots and looting in the streets and the racial tensions have moved toward the top of the list. I have seen no definitive polling on it, I just intuitively think that Trump’s base is even much more energized than they were since the mobs under Black Lives Matter and Antifa leadership took over the streets in various cities. But of course, issues aside, this election is all about Trump and all that we have come to know about his style, the narcissism, the tweets, the character issues, and the rest of his baggage, and the debates will weigh in pretty heavily, mainly in determining whether people believe Biden can handle the job cognitively.
In the end, The Wall Street Journal editorial board said it best: “Trump has been better on policy than we feared, but worse on personal behavior than we hoped. Whether Americans re-elect him depends on how they assess that political balance sheet.” I think it is Trump’s to lose, and he can most certainly do so and drag control of the Senate down as well, but I believe that the current version of the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left that its rule would be a disaster for the country.