We may have already passed peak Biden — a troubling thought for Democratic strategists as the race enters its most intense and demanding period. It’s widely expected that Biden will lose more ground as November approaches; both because his public performances will be doddery and because Trump’s 2016 campaign made remarkable gains in the weeks before election day and could well do so again.
Biden 2020 is shifting through the gears, yet the campaign engine is making some clunky noises. In his speeches, Biden is trying to move away from simply being the ‘not Trump’ candidate. He’s attempting to articulate his plans to, as his blurb puts it, ‘restore the soul of America’. Pundits are excited about the promise of his ‘big tent’ pitch — another word for it, however, is vague. Joe’s vision thing is blurry. As voters try and fail to focus on what his presidency would mean, they aren’t sure about what they see. The $2 trillion plus ‘Green New Deal’ stuff rings alarm bells in the heartlands. In trying to be ‘not just not Trump’, Biden risks identifying himself as the sort of leader the voters don’t want.
Trump was in a strong position to be re-elected before COVID-19 — and his inept response radically undermined his authority. Yet the pandemic, while still a major issue in voters’ minds, is now of secondary importance. The public are now focused principally on the economy and that’s where the news improves for Trump: he consistently polls better than Biden as the man to get American business buzzing again. He needs better economic news, and fast, but Trump is still able to win even if Biden surprises everyone and runs a relatively smooth campaign.