2. Don’t assume the race is in the bag for Biden.
Although COVID-19 and other issues make Trump’s road to reelection difficult, he still has a 12 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, according to the FiveThirtyEight model as of Sunday afternoon. And if Joe Biden maintains his current lead in the polls, Trump’s chances will fall further — although the forecast thinks it’s more likely that the race will tighten.
But say Trump’s chances do decline further — to 5 percent by Election Day, for example — I’d keep a few things in mind.
First, even a 5 percent chance is something you ought to take seriously if the consequences are very high, something I think both Trump and Biden supporters would say is true of this election. And second, the outcomes in this election aren’t entirely binary. Say Biden wins: His margin of victory will still be heavily scrutinized. Does he win by double digits nationally? Does he win a state like Texas? This could affect both the degree to which Democrats pursue a more aggressive agenda, and the extent to which Republicans regard Trumpism as having been repudiated. Also, many Senate races are competitive, and having control of 50 versus 52 versus 54 or more Senate seats will greatly affect Biden’s first two years in office. Statewide races matter too, especially in states where control of the redistricting process is still in play.