Top Obama election engineer says Trump's got it in the bag
To read the pages of Politico, Axios, or the Atlantic, you'd think President Trump had finally met his Waterloo. Re-election is gone for him, Joe Biden is leading in the polls, and the coronavirus crisis "changes everything."
I read them, so you don't have to, and the narrative line is that President Trump has lost the biggest reason for voters to re-elect him — the fact that he created a stellar economy and now that's gone.
Here's the conventional wisdom, from Politico:
"The economic and social underpinnings of the Trump era are giving way to the economic logic of pandemics," said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at financial firm RSM U.S. "In a clear-eyed, sober assessment, if on November 3, 2020 there are more than 100,000 dead and the unemployment rate is at 15 percent, Trump is not going to get reelected. We could resurrect George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and I doubt they could survive that either."
Yes, it makes a sort of sense — these are not wild-eyed wishful fantasies coming from the far left. These people cited can cite reasons for what they think.
But it's not the thinking of the smartest people on the election front, the ones with a track record who know how to win elections no matter what their party. At least one of them sees something different.
Here's President Obama's former campaign manager, David Plouffe, who's at least as far left as President Obama and whose track record suggests he can read the tea leaves even better, according to Fox News:
The coronavirus pandemic and struggling economy will not deter President Trump's supporters from turning out in November, which makes the incumbent "very dangerous" to Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, former Obama adviser David Plouffe told the "Fox News Rundown" podcast Thursday.
"You look at the economic situation and say, 'How can an incumbent win in that?' But, you know, no one's blaming Trump for the damage," Plouffe explained. " ... I think if you can lay his crisis response at his feet and connect that to the economy, I do think that's some headwind he's got to run into."
He brings up an important detail not seen in the Wall Street analyst and expert reports: that the public is not blaming Trump for this Chicom-generated plague hitting us.
Plouffe goes on to say that that's going to be his job as he seeks to get Joe Biden elected president.
Here's a problem he didn't say, but we know he knows it: even Biden isn't blaming Trump. To do so comes off as too disgusting, too politically opportunistic, and Joe's advisers know it. They know that the public doesn't want to hear that because they see this situation differently, so Biden tries to finesse it by saying he doesn't blame Trump, but...
That's what he's reduced to — blaming Trump while saying he's not blaming Trump. Quite a balancing act.
"There's nothing he [Biden] can do about it. He's not in office. He's not a governor. He's not the president. And truthfully, [New York Govornor] Andrew Cuomo, [California Govornor] Gavin Newsom ... Donald Trump, citizens want to hear from those folks because they're the folks making decisions."
"So," Plouffe said, "all Biden can do is leverage interviews ... leverage social media every day ... to communicate how you would handle this crisis."
Newsom and Cuomo aren't blaming Trump, at least not much, either. They too know the score on this.
A third issue is this: Plouffe notes that not only will the Trumpsters turn out, but the election is going to be based on who can clean up the coronavirus-trashed economy — Biden or Trump. We all know what their track records are, which may be what voters look at. Democrats have never considered a good economy an important thing, which is why they propose no policies that can really generate economic growth. Unless Joe Biden goes all libertarian and hires Arthur Laffer as his adviser, he's not going to do much to persuade anyone he can fix the economy, given that all he will offer is crony contracts to bad green outfits and lots of bureaucrat-hiring to keep the economy from growing.
Advantage, Trump. And Plouffe, who's a total political operative, meaning a realist, sees just that.
Image credit: Obama White House via Flickr, public domain.