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Thu Oct 22, 2020, 04:01 PM

Trump guaranteed the election would be all about him

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

Coming into the final presidential debate Thursday night, former vice president Joe Biden holds a commanding lead in national polls and in a sufficient number of states to comfortably clear the hurdle of 270 electoral votes. Gallup on Thursday summed up his opponent’s fundamental problem: “The majority of U.S. registered voters, 56%, believe President Donald Trump does not deserve to be reelected, while 43% say he does.” That is a seven-point drop in his “deserves reelection” number taken in January.

Every presidential reelection campaign is a referendum on the president’s performance. With a president whose performance is as rotten as Trump’s (Gallup also shows him with a 43 percent job approval rating), his only hope was to make his opponent even more unappealing than himself. Trump, however, never settled on an effective attack on Biden and, in any case, cannot stand ceding attention to anyone else. Trump’s performance, his lies, his antics, his insults, his crackpot conspiracy theories, his attacks on the media and his financial scandals have remained front and center. In other words, Trump’s raging narcissism has prevented him from doing what was necessary to give him a reasonable chance to win reelection.

The final nail in Trump’s political coffin, aside from his antics in the closing weeks of the campaign, might be the shift in public perception of his performance on the economy. The Financial Times reports: “The final monthly survey of likely voters before November 3 for the [Financial Times] and the Peter G Peterson Foundation found 46 per cent of Americans believe Mr Trump’s policies had hurt the economy, compared to 44 per cent who said the policies had helped.” Even more troubling for Trump is the finding that “only 32 per cent of Americans believe they are better off financially now than they were when Mr Trump took office four years ago — equal to the lowest total since the FT-Peterson survey began 12 months ago.”

Similarly, the New York Times-Siena College poll released this week confirms, “The president has even lost his longstanding advantage on economic matters: Voters are now evenly split on whether they have more trust in him or Mr. Biden to manage the economy.”


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