To start, during the summer and fall of 2016, Clinton never had the kind of national poll lead that Biden now has. She led by an average of four points four months before the election and the same four points just before Election Day. This year, after Biden effectively clinched the nomination, he moved into an average six-point lead over Trump, which has grown to nearly 10 points after the death of George Floyd and the weeks of protests that have followed. The lingering apprehension among Democrats fails to recognize just how much the political landscape has changed since 2016. We are looking at different polls, a different America, and different campaigns with different leaders…
Trump’s raison d’être as a candidate and mission as president is to stop immigration. He promised a wall against Mexicans, imposed a Muslim ban, and has obstructed legal as well as illegal entry. Yet during Trump’s term, Americans have grown more pro-immigration. About half of Americans viewed “immigrants to the U.S.” favorably when Trump took office; now about 62 percent believe that immigrants benefit the country. And as Trump highlights the 200-plus miles of wall on the border with Mexico, polls have shown that Americans oppose it by big margins.
Finally, most Americans have strongly rejected Trump’s divisiveness, intolerance, and racism in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. While Trump claimed the mantle of a law-and-order president, two-thirds of the country supported Black Lives Matter, according to a June Pew poll. Two-thirds. A majority of white Americans now believe that George Floyd’s killing was “part of a broader pattern of excessive police violence toward African Americans.” It has left the president isolated, as have his tweets promoting his white nationalist supporters. This president has created a country that is committed to defending its values. Just not his values.
Trump has also left the Republican Party a diminished entity, as I argued in The Atlantic in March, that is shedding voters.