Here comes the truly ugly part

Because the 2016 election swung the other way at the last minute due to the Comey letter, something that neither candidate had any hand in, we’ve unfortunately learned all the wrong lessons from that election. We keep trying to identify what Trump did to win, or what his opponent did to lose. The answer to both questions is “nothing.”

But that doesn’t sound right to our increasingly paranoid minds, so we just keep telling ourselves that Trump must have done something right during the 2016 campaign. Really, truly, he didn’t. He went to the wrong states. He chose narratives that failed to expand upon his too-small base. Even his eighteen month long election conspiracy with the Kremlin wasn’t enough to put him over the top; he’d have lost if not for the Comey letter. This brings us to the 2020 election, and the part where it’s going to get particularly ugly.

New national polls yesterday have Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump by six, ten, and fourteen points. Average them together and Biden has a ten point lead nationally. But presidential elections are won in swing states, you say. Okay, Biden has a lead in every swing state, plus the red state of Arizona. And this is all in spite of the media’s insistence on giving Trump free airtime every day, while ignoring Biden whenever he holds a press briefing or town hall.

But this isn’t about Biden right now. Howard Stern said it best yesterday when he endorsed Biden over Trump, and then added that he’d vote for literally anyone or anything over Trump. The reality is that Trump is in the worst possible position for a presidential incumbent. This is so bad for Trump that, if he didn’t have the control over the RNC that he has, this would be the part where the Republican Party would be forcing him not to run for reelection, so the party could have a chance with some other candidate.

Of course that won’t happen. Donald Trump, unless he sinks so much further into cognitive decline that he no longer knows his own name, is going to stay in this race no matter how ugly his numbers might get. If this were the movies, Trump would just pull out a magic wand and wave himself back into contention. But this isn’t a movie. As surreal as things have become, the laws of physics and math still apply. The further behind Trump falls, the lower his odds of winning become. He doesn’t hit some super-low poll number where he’s magically back in it.

The lesson we should have learned in 2016 is that even when the frontrunner is running a solid campaign and is well ahead, and the opponent is an inept bumbler like Donald Trump, a last minute fluke can indeed shift the race. We don’t know how many more James Comeys are out there looking to pull some reverse-Boy Scout nonsense this time around, but we do know that if such a fluke happens, it won’t come from Trump himself. He’s got nothing up his sleeve.

Yet Donald Trump is as much of a narcissist as ever. So he’ll keep trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat. He’ll keep trying increasingly bizarre schemes aimed at turning things around for himself, even as his cognitive decline gets worse. We don’t know what he’ll try next, but it’s whatever comes after telling people to drink bleach. He’s like a half senile jewel thief who can no longer remember what a jewel is, or what thieves do.

So we’re going to keep watching Donald Trump doing increasingly idiotic and self defeating things, even as his poll numbers continue to lag, the economy continues to falter, and Americans continue to die in heart wrenching numbers. Meanwhile we’ll have to keep working hard on things like voter registration and voter turnout, because even in you’re winning big and your opponent is a hapless idiot, you need a big lead in case another fluke happens. Meanwhile, Trump’s dwindling mind and dwindling prospects are going to result in something that’s particularly difficult to watch.

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