It shouldn’t be even this close.
A week out from the US election and it’s incredible that there’s still a remote chance that Donald Trump could squeak back in.
After four years wreaking havoc on the White House, the United States and the rest of the world, you would think that at this point there would be absolutely no discussion of any possible pathway to victory.
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In an interview last week Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney described the mood of his party as hopeful but still with “high anxiety”.
Not surprisingly, the Democrats don’t want to count their votes before they’re cast, despite widespread signs of a huge advantage to Joe Biden.
They were presumably concerned by a story in The New York Times last week about polls that showed Trump neck and neck with Biden in seven out of 10 battleground states.
It was noted that Trump won last time thanks to a carefully plotted path to electoral college victory targeting those same states.
Then came last week’s presidential debate. It was meant to be the third, but the second got skipped in all the excitement of the Trump COVID-19 health crisis.
Remember it was a mere two weeks ago Trump announced he and most of the people around him had contracted the virus. It was meant to be the killer blow to his re-election hopes, taking him off the campaign trail in the crucial final weeks.
Unbelievable, then, that the final debate actually went ahead and in relatively normal circumstances. Biden presumably didn’t want to look like he was dodging a fight, given the whole attack line from the Trump camp that he’s cowering in a basement somewhere.
But all it managed to do was give Trump a do-over for his disastrous first performance. While he continued to lie blatantly, especially about COVID-19 statistics, he did it in a less unhinged way, and was not directly challenged on some of his more outrageous falsehoods.
It makes you wonder why Biden took himself off the campaign trail for days to do debate prep at all.
Meanwhile Trump continues his frenzied rallies, crisscrossing the country to key states right up until election day. And some polls show his plummeting figures might have plateaued.
The stories about Trump haemorrhaging women and older voters might be correct. Yet as Texas showed overnight, Biden is still not inspiring the crucial Latino vote in many states.
In fact the key issue will be how much Biden inspires the wider vote (though the Democrats are taking comfort in the record early voting turnout).
Despite being a (relatively) young woman of colour, Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris has also failed to inspire huge excitement in her own right.
Yesterday Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed she would stay on in the job if the Dems retain the House as expected — but it should be noted that, at 80 years old, she serves to make the 77-year-old Biden look young. Or younger, anyway. And they are both positively youthful compared to the senior California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is 87.
As the senior Democrat on the crucial Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein has been criticised by her own party for her embarrassing performance in the recent confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
The Senate will confirm Cohen today, giving the conservatives a 6-3 majority. That will be the real legacy of the Trump presidency for generations to come, no matter who wins next weeks.
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