There’s always been a whole lot to worry about when it comes to Donald Trump. On top of everything else this guy might to do you, now you have to worry that he’s going to bankrupt you and maybe kill you. He’s done so much damage, it creates the illusion that he has a magic wand that he can wave at any time, and get any evil result he wants – including making the 2020 election magically turn out in his favor.
Here’s the thing. Three years into this, and Donald Trump still has yet to come up with a single scheme, antic, or trick to boost his anemic approval rating. For all the underhanded things he’s tried, he’s never been able to get much above 40%, which is a number that translates to a near automatic loss when it comes to reelection. He’s polling eight points behind Joe Biden, a reminder that his desperate Ukraine antics also failed him miserably.
In fact, if you look back at the 2016 election with a critical eye, instead of just accepting the way history has been rewritten, you realize that Donald Trump ran an almost hilariously ineffective campaign. He wasted all his time holding ego-driven rallies instead of trying to win over people who weren’t already voting for him. He went to all the wrong states. None of his political narratives broadened his base. Even his criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin didn’t move the needle enough to put him over the top. Trump is an ineffective campaigner and an ineffective cheater. The only reason he’s in office, after his failed campaign and failed Kremlin conspiracy, is that James Comey panicked and wrote a last minute letter for no good reason that upended the entire election and put Trump in office by accident.
That last minute letter cost us everything, and its sting never has gone away. No matter how big Joe Biden’s lead might be, we’ll always be motivated to work even harder and deliver him even more votes, because we need a huge buffer in case a last minute fluke happens again. I’m not worried about complacency, because we all know what the stakes are.
I’m worried about something else. Every day the media shoves Donald Trump’s press briefings in our faces, while refusing to put Biden’s briefings on the air, and then asks where Biden went, all without necessarily bothering to point out that Biden is way ahead. This isn’t hurting Biden; again, he’s way ahead. But it creates the illusion that Trump is somehow masterminding all of this, when in reality he’s only going on TV each day to desperately try to turn around an election cycle that thus far is kicking his butt.
My fear is that our side is going be demoralized into believing the media’s premise that Donald Trump has evil magic powers and he’s going to find a way to win the election no matter what we do. He’ll magically shut down the post office so we can’t mail in our ballots, or whatever overblown hysteria the media is pushing this week. By the time everyone figures out that’s not even how the post office works (it has its own revenue stream), the media will have moved on to some other narrative about how he’s going to win the election by magic.
None of Donald Trump’s political scams have worked out in his favor to date. He’s utterly terrible at this. He’s a bumbling schemer. Why would he suddenly get any better at his scheming now? But logic doesn’t seem to matter. My fear is that the increasingly ugly circumstances we’re facing are going to trick us into feeling defeatist about the election, thus leading us to conclude that there’s no point in putting in the work needed to win, because Trump will just wave a magic wand at the end anyway. Nothing works that way. Never has, never will. It just doesn’t. We’re still crediting Trump with magical powers that he doesn’t have, simply because Comey wrote a letter. This emperor has no clothes. Our greatest fear is fear itself. If we work hard to beat him instead of cowering to him, we’ll beat him. It’s as simple as that.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report