FILE – In this Oct. 19, 2016 file photo, moderator Chris Wallace guides the discussion between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas. Wallace, who just turned 70, signed a contract extension to continue as “Fox News Sunday” host. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP, File)
If one didn’t know that Chris Wallace was a Fox News anchor, one might think they’d tuned in to MSNBC instead. Over the last few years, he has made no secret of his disapproval of President Trump. When the conversation turns to Trump, “fair and balanced” flies out the window and an undisguised look of skepticism crosses his face.
On Friday, Wallace appeared on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom.” He said he sees the general election as a referendum on how well voters think Trump has handled the crisis. He went so far as to say people will understand that Trump did not create the crisis. Wow!
Wallace noted, “In all of our [Fox News] polls for months, Biden had an 8-9 point lead, and that’s now gone. It’s dead even.” He continued:
It seems to me as this virus goes on, that instead of this being a choice between the president and Joe Biden, as a lot of elections are, I think that this election is going to end up being a referendum on President Trump and the handling of the coronavirus.
As we get into September and October after Labor Day, I think people are going to make a judgment, and they’ll understand, the president didn’t create the virus, so I think they’re going to be fair-minded about it. Do they think he handled the health crisis well? Do they think he handled the economic crisis well?
If they do, I don’t see how he gets beat. If they don’t, I don’t see how he could win.
Why, I would even call Wallace’s comments fair and balanced. He didn’t bash Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Nor did he recite the liberal talking points.
Frankly, I never put too much stock in polls that showed Joe Biden with such a commanding lead over President Trump anyway. The Fox News polls which showed Biden ahead of Trump by 8-9 points were outliers. The Washington Post was showing Biden ahead by only 2 points.
Biden’s cognitive decline in the last few months has become impossible to hide. Every brief interview he gives from his basement studio goes viral not because of what he adds to the national conversation, but because he stumbles over words, loses his train of thought and often speaks nonsense. Biden’s media coverage over the last month consists of little more than entertainment for the conservative blogosphere.
And although Biden is now the presumptive nominee, Bernie Sanders and his followers have indicated that their support in the general election comes with a hefty price tag. Sanders has outwardly suspended his campaign, but as I wrote about yesterday, if Biden were to move as far to the left as Sanders demands, victory would be impossible.
Additionally, the day after Biden became the last Democrat standing in the battle for the nomination, a national poll commissioned by the Club for Growth showed that 56% of Democrats surveyed would prefer New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be the nominee and only 44% chose Biden.
The Real Clear Politics average of the polls shows Biden ahead of Trump by 5.9%. I don’t see that as even remotely possible. Either way, Biden’s real problem is the enthusiasm gap between his supporters and Trump’s supporters.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on March 30, “53% of Trump supporters say they’re “very enthusiastic” about supporting the president, while only 24% of those backing Biden say the same about supporting the former vice president.”
President Trump appears every afternoon in the White House Press briefing room acting, well, presidential. He is focused on the crisis. He’s leading the country through it. He has given the pandemic and the economic crisis his undivided attention.
This crisis was not his fault, but he is handling it well. Even Chris Wallace thinks so. And that’s saying something.