As it happens, Trump’s one remaining electoral advantage heading into the fall was the economy. Despite the spring shutdown that put the economy into stasis, Trump still entered September with a net positive approval rating on the economy — three points or so — an edge he continues to have right up to today. That would have been the moment to have implemented the following plan: First, sign another big stimulus bill, one that included more checks for Americans. Take whatever Democrats were offering, add some sort of tax cut to it, and apply maximum pressure to Senate Republicans to pass it. Make sure voters credit that big October GDP number to Trump’s efforts.

Second, Trump should have talked and tweeted incessantly about his economic record. The first three years of the Trump administration did see the economy accelerate a bit from the final three years of the Obama administration. More importantly, unemployment rates hit record lows, and wage growth was fastest for those in low-income sectors. Did all that happen along with a big increase in the national debt? Sure, but Trump could have let Biden play deficit scold at the debates.