By Wierson and Hanson:
Let us be clear: We are political consultants who have spent the better part of the last 20 years working to get scores of Democrats elected across America. It gives us no great joy to think about Trump getting a second term, but here is some of what keeps us awake at night:
Americans usually don’t fire sitting presidents
Only three sitting US Presidents have been fired in the last 75 years, and that number could easily have been only one. After pardoning Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford went on lose to Jimmy Carter by a squeaker. Carter barely won Wisconsin and Ohio and a switch of 144,384 votes in New York would have reelected Ford.
n 1992, Bill Clinton beat George Bush, winning less than half the popular vote (43%), with 19% going to Independent Ross Perot — a plurality, but not a majority. Since the 1930s, only Ronald Reagan was able to successfully unseat an incumbent president and beat him by a healthy margin
— as a rule, Americans just don’t decisively — or regularly fire sitting presidents
Trump’s numbers are down by a lot less than one would expect given, well, everything
Let’s state the obvious: America has been turned upside down over the last few months. The country has been all but shut down during the Covid-19 outbreak, and ongoing efforts to combat racism are fundamentally changing America. Sure — Trump’s numbers have taken a hit — but the problem for Democrats is that they are not down as much as his abysmal performance deserves.
The latest Fox News poll
shows Biden is leading Trump by 12 points, up from a lead of eight points back in May. Bottom line, the country is in tatters and Biden’s lead has grown by a paltry four points. No typo — Biden’s lead has increased by just four points as a surge of coronavirus is gripping large swaths of states that typically vote red.
How is Biden doing today among the White voters without a college degree in the swing states that Trump won in 2016? Biden’s support, according to The New York Times / Siena College Poll
, has him rising by a single point with this group since October — that’s the extent of the momentum Biden has gotten by winning enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination in reaction to Trump’s poor performance over the last four months. A single point!
How about non-White voters — many of whom are taking to the streets and demanding justice and equality? Biden, according to the New York Times/ Siena College poll
, has made virtually no gains whatsoever — up only two points among Black voters from 74% in October 2019 to 76% in the most recent poll and up just one point among Hispanics, from 35% in October 2019 to 36% today.
In fact, according to an early June NPR / PBS / Marist Poll
, 3 in 10 non-White strongly approve or approve of the job Trump is doing as president — a number that has only declined by a single point since mid-March. And the poll finds that 9%
of Black voters are supporting Trump today — essentially the same level of support The Donald enjoyed in 2016.