19 days to go until November 3rd. What do we know?

By Dave Andrusko

When it comes to analyzing political races, in my experience nothing is more important than distinguishing between the easily heard loud surface noises  and the virtually inaudible sounds rumbling quietly beneath the surface that are so often missed. That’s what we try to do in our daily countdown to November 3rd.

As a reminder, tonight President Donald Trump will be part of a Townhall moderated  by NBC News’ Savanna Guthrie (in all likelihood loaded for bear), while simultaneously former vice president Joe Biden will be honored at what doubtless will be a love fest Townhall hosted by ABC News’ George Stephanoulous, a one-time advisor to Democrat President Bill Clinton. 

 It will be fascinating to see how Guthrie attempts to goad President Trump and how Stephanoulous assists Mr. Biden to avoid any number of political tripwires. Stay tuned—8pm EST.

As is our tradition, here are headlines that often go undetected or misunderstood/misrepresented, then some follow up comments.

“With less than three weeks to go until Election Day, Democrat Joe Biden holds a five point-lead over President Trump in Rasmussen Reports’ weekly White House Watch survey. But a week ago, Biden had a 12-point advantage, his biggest lead ever. The latest national telephone and online survey finds Biden leading Trump 50% to 45% among Likely U.S. Voters. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate. Three percent (3%) are undecided”—“Biden Leads by Five” 

“My name is Joe Biden and I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. Look me over. If you like what you see, help out, if not, vote for the other Biden”–Joe Biden at a debate last February just prior to the pivotal South Carolina presidential primary.

“But it’s a mistake to understand that as Biden bending the party to his will. His will is and always has been extremely variable. It has already changed and will continue to do so”Paul Waldman

“Closing the gap won’t be easy. Mr. Trump must prosecute the differences between Mr. Biden’s very liberal statements during the primary …and his attempts now to make those comments disappear. …The president must close on his strength—the economy—on which people trust him more than they do Mr. Biden. Gallup recently asked Americans if they are better off today than four years ago. An astonishing 56% said yes, despite the pandemic and recession. By comparison, 45% said yes as President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election came to a close and 47% at this point in President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign”—Karl Rove in today’s Wall Street Journal.

“What we are watching — the militarization of social media on behalf of Democrats, and the overt suppression of material damaging to Democrats to the cheering of the press — is one of the single most dangerous political moments I have ever seen”—Ben Shapiro [@benshapiro]

And

Thomas Edsall’s cautionary column in the New York Times is getting a lot of attention, particularly an assessment from ‘a Democratic strategist who closely follows the data on a day-to-day basis’ that ‘since last week, the share of white non-college over 30 registrations in the battleground states has increased by 10 points compared to September 2016, and the Democratic margin dropped 10 points to just 6 points. And there are serious signs of political engagement by white non-college voters who had not cast ballots in previous elections. …Does this mean Trump will win? Not necessarily, but it’s fair to wonder if the turnout models used for polling are accounting for these increases in newly registered Republicans, or if the swing-state samples are large enough to account for shifts in these smaller demographics” Jim Geraghty

Hindsight is not 20/20. Often, very often, political analysts learn exactly the wrong lessons from the previous contest. Please keep that in mind as pollsters and commentators tell us what 2016 “tells us.” 

We wrote extensively about the Edsall piece, mention by Geraghty, yesterday. If, as I believe, the political class is proven spectacularly wrong in less than three weeks, the reason President Trump prevails is because of their obsession with big cities and suburbs, as if small towns and hamlets don’t exist, and their failure to recognize that a unknown number of voters predisposed to vote for Trump who did not do so in 2016 came to the polls in 2020.  Both are core points in Edsall’s analysis.

We talk each day about the Rasmussen Reports because they poll each day. Note, please note, that while the usual media suspects will tell us the Rasmussen numbers are off, they are probably far, far more accurate. According to Rasmussen, Biden’s 12 point lead among likely voters has shrunk to 5 points in just one week.

And, while there are exceptions to any rule, typically the race for the presidency tightens the last month.

Speaking of which, the last one-on-one debate is scheduled for October 22. The moderator is Kristen Welker, a White House correspondent for NBC News, about whom I know nothing. We will see if she is fairer than Fox News’s Chris Wallace. What do I mean?

Mr. Biden has a 47 year career in politics. There are plenty of items of his political resume to talk about. So this should not be solely a 90-minute interrogation of the President. 

In addition, since the moderator gets to select the questions, besides being more even-handed in her selection, will she allow Mr. Biden to evade many tough questions, including whether he supports his party’s enthusiasm for adding justices to the Supreme Court?

One other thing. Mr. Rove is entirely correct that President Trump should play to his strengths and point out how there are two Joe Bidens: the Mr. Moderate and the man who says the Democrat Party is his. Given the media filter, the latter, in particular,  is much easier said than done.

But accomplish it he must, beginning with highlighting Mr. Biden’s support for abortion on demand, paid for by the public, a position held by only a minority of the American public.

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