The More That Joe Biden Campaigns, the Worse His Polls Get, and Trump Gains Even While Stuck in Court

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Quick question: What do you know about Joe Biden’s reelection campaign? His ideas and plans for a second term? Seen many town halls? Media interviews?

I’ll wait…………………….

True, the president is raising a lot of money from rich Democrats able to afford $30,000 for a hotel dinner — each. Anything else?......

Now, what have you heard about Donald Trump’s election campaign? 

Right, that huge rally in the Bronx the other evening. Thousands came out 12 hours beforehand. And the fire-house visit, where he delivered pizzas to all the firefighters. And the bodega in Harlem where the owner was prosecuted for shooting a robber.

Oh, and the Chik-fil-A down in Atlanta where Trump ordered all the milkshakes, and the black women behind the counter couldn’t wait to get a photo with him.

Probably the most important, over-arching and simple factor in any American political campaign is: Voters want to see candidates working for their vote, seeking it, showing up to ask for it. 

For the country’s first few dozen presidential campaigns, that was considered tasteless and bad form. Surrogates could campaign, but not the candidate.

You may have noticed that’s changed. And right now, a former president, who’s supposed to be politically crippled by required daily court appearances, is beating the campaign posters off the incumbent president, virtually everywhere.

Biden even had to make a quick trip to New Hampshire to address sagging support.

Donald Trump turns 78 next month. He shows none of Biden's age signs. And Trump has a personal magnetism, not just with media, although that’s a huge help getting exposure. Anywhere Trump appears, heads turn, even among the many who dislike him. 

That helps explain how, in 2016, a political rookie could adopt a political party and surpass 16 lifelong Republicans, then defeat an over-confident Democrat in an historic upset that silenced her overnight.

Then, Trump lost his own reelection by turning off too many former supporters against a schlump like Joe Biden, who feigned normalcy. But now Trump is cruising down the road to only the second White House return ever by a once-defeated incumbent.

We are currently witnessing another potentially historic upset in the works. 

Long weeks and numerous challenges remain ahead for these two elderly gentlemen to endure and overcome: 

  • nationally-televised debates, 
  • a possibly turbulent domestic summer, 
  • two political conventions in the Midwest, 
  • hundreds of millions in attack ads, 
  • unpredictable foreign adversaries seeking to influence the outcome,
  • 163 days of campaigning.

This is the longest presidential campaign in United States’ history. And it seems like it, right? But if the last few months are any indication and our luck doesn’t change, Joe Biden will become a one-term disaster.

We’ve only had presidential job approval polling since the 1930s. The numbers tend to jump around quite a bit depending on current events and the economy. 

George H.W. Bush’s approval was above 90 percent during the 1991 Gulf War, then dipped because of the economy to 30 percent in the pre-election summer of 1992. 

In a 1999 conversation, Bush told me he knew two weeks before the election he was going to lose to Bill Clinton.

Actually, he could have seen that coming long before. Only one incumbent president has ever won reelection with an election-year job approval in the 30s. 

That was Harry Truman in 1948. Pollsters, including Gallup, were so sure of Republican Tom Dewey’s impending victory that they stopped polling in mid-October. Oops.

According to the latest RealClearPolitics average, Joe Biden’s job approval is 39 percent, but other surveys find him all the way down to 35.

Right Track/Wrong Track for the country has Biden at 34/66 wrong.

On individual issues, Biden’s approval is underwater on every single one, the worst being Immigration (33 Approve, 63 Disapprove), Inflation (35-63), and Israel (33-63).

The 81-year-old Biden has always been more Mr. Magoo than anyone resembling Mr. Charisma. His mounting physical and mental deficiencies prevent any kind of normal campaigning among real people. Even with special shoes and shortened stairs, he’s still unstable. His shuffling gait with abbreviated steps resembles an exotic zoo bird.

One painful video the other day caught him standing still, arms out, clearly lost, mouth open, until someone led him toward a screen door, which seemed to puzzle the commander in chief.

Virtually every speaking opportunity produces mumbles, awkward pauses, slurred phrases, or some non sequitur, as my colleague Nick Arama has regularly noted.  

Take a minute to watch this disturbing collection of Joe Biden moments.

One day last week provided a clear contrast of the impressions voters are subconsciously collecting these days about both men. And we have video of both.

At the White House, Biden attended a brief news conference with Kenyan President William Ruto. The questions were cleared in advance. Biden knew who to call on. And he read his responses straight off note cards. Click on this link for the full video of that.

Trump, whose legal charges by Democrat prosecutors were designed to prevent his campaigning, staged an evening campaign rally in the south Bronx, where Republicans have long been an endangered species. 

That borough is named for Jonas Bronck, a 17th-century religious refugee (possibly Mennonite) from the Netherlands. He had the ridiculous idea that someday, the island of Manhattan would become so crowded people would want to live just across the Harlem River in mainland space.

Today, the Bronx is the fourth most populated of New York’s five boroughs and the only non-island. Its 1.4 million residents are 85 percent Black or Hispanic.

Trump’s rally was an audacious gambit to pierce that Democrat stronghold, not unlike his original 2015 campaign launch as the seventeenth entry into a GOP field. 

Here’s the C-SPAN video to compare Trump’s energy and presence against Biden’s. Quite a difference!

Predictably, New York Democrat politicians professed outrage over this political salient, likely because numerous polls show Biden’s support waning among Hispanics and Blacks. 

TV interviews of the crowd were very positive for the former president “showing up.” And, in fact. CNN reports Trump’s black support has now doubled to 22 percent, despite Biden's frequent pandering to black audiences.

Then, this weekend, Trump "showed up" at the Libertarian Party convention.

Trump had a Crotona Park crowd permit for 3,500, though thousands more arrived starting in the early morning. Many red MAGA hats were evident.

Trump, a native of Queens, spoke extemporaneously for 93 minutes to frequent applause, absent his once-standard grumbling about the 2020 election results. 

He said:

It doesn’t matter whether you’re Black or Brown or White or whatever the hell color you are — it doesn’t matter. We are ALL Americans — and we are going to pull together as Americans!

Biden repeatedly claims the polls are all wrong. He may believe that. I don't.

Indeed, individual polls are not predictive. However, when packs of them show roughly the same directions and result, the results become more convincing about a moment in time.

In numerous states, down-ticket candidates who would be on the same ballot with Biden are becoming antsy for his campaign to do something to regain some momentum. 

Perhaps the people who Biden admits tell him what to do are convinced that he can be prepped in some magical way for an impressive debate performance late next month to shatter his image of weakness. 

And, they may hope, a Trump conviction in New York would suddenly turn the tide.

However, Biden’s cognitive difficulties actually appear to be worsening. They are certainly not going to improve. Even foreign news networks are collecting these cringe-worthy Biden moments.

It’s unclear what his party could possibly do.

Dumping Biden for the Chicago convention in late August would likely leave them with Kamala Harris, whose polling is even worse than Biden’s.

The more Biden campaigns and the more Americans see his current condition for themselves the last few months, the worse his polling numbers become

Here’s one idea: He’s spent about 40 percent of his term on vacation. Maybe he could retreat to his 2020 campaign strategy. Only appear in his Delaware basement. Quit work by mid-morning. 

The only problem is, he doesn’t have the cover of Covid now and, worse, he must run against his own record this time, not Trump's.


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