The Phony Campaign

2020-07-05 Update

The election betting markets gave Trump a little more love over the week, bumping his win-probability up by a whopping 0.2 percentage points.

And they also gave Biden a little more love than that: his win-probability improved by 0.3 percentage points.

Which means that, marginally, the "smart" money says that America is likely to be stuck with one or the other of these lying phony narcissistic weasels men come January 2021.

But Trump widened his lead over Biden in the only poll that really counts: Google phony hit counts.

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 38.3% +0.2% 1,810,000 +110,000
Joe Biden 57.1% +0.3% 473,000 -31,000

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker explains it at AIER: Why Election Markets are Betting Against Trump.

    The betting markets judge Trump’s prospects for keeping the presidency with more negativity each day. As of this writing, there is a 24-point gap between Trump and Biden. It seems unbelievable that it shows confidence in Biden; rather it is likely a measure of how Trump’s glamour and glitz are fading. 

    You can dismiss this. You can also disregard the many reports that Trump is demoralized and considering dropping out of the race. Maybe he will pull a rabbit out of the hat. Maybe the polls are wrong again, and the betting odds also. Maybe. But actually, based on what I can read from his Twitter feed, I suspect that Peggy Noonan is correct:

    How a lot of Trump supporters feel about the president has changed. The real picture at the Tulsa rally was not the empty seats so much as the empty faces—the bored looks, the yawning and phone checking, as if everyone was re-enacting something, hearing some old song and trying to remember how it felt a few years ago, when you heard it the first time.

    Tucker's article contains a snapshot of the Real Clear Politics Betting Odds historical graph which I recommend if you're interested in these things; RCP appears to sample more betting sites than does the Lott/Stossel Election Betting Odds site, but the actual odds, nevertheless, seem to be about the same.

    He helpfully annotates the chart with explanatory milestones, and attributes Trump's erosion to his embrace of statist rhetoric and bogus epidemiological modeling, with the aiieee-we're-all-gonna-die lockdowns.

    It's a story. Might be so.

    Or things might have been even worse for Trump if he'd embraced Tucker's libertarian advice. I don't think the country's generally in the mood for libertarian advice. It seems more devoted than ever to finger-pointing, scapegoating, and close-mindedness.

  • And then there's "journalism". Instapundit points out a Courtney Shadegg tweet:

    (And Instapundit has more examples.)

    I didn't watch Trump's speech at Mount Rushmore, and why should I bother when "journalists" are right there willing to brand it as hate speech, which should probably be banned?

  • At Vanity Fair, Charlotte Klein engages in some utterly tiresome and predictable psychologizing, but … y'know what? Also pretty credible: Trump Only Wants to Be Reelected Because of His Giant Ego.

    It appears that President Donald Trump’s primary motivation to run for reelection—is to be reelected. Some of the president’s allies told The Daily Beast that Trump’s desire for a second term is largely driven by fears of being embarrassed. A former senior Trump administration official said that on multiple occasions, Trump said “he is determined not to be a one-termer, and says that history forever remembers them as ‘losers,’” sentiments that another source says Trump expressed in late 2018. The source, paraphrasing, remembered Trump citing former President Jimmy Carter “as an example of a modern political ‘loser,’ and how ‘you never want to be that guy,’” a legacy Trump is trying to avoid by cinching another four years.

    What Trump would actually do with another term, however, isn’t something the president seems totally sure about, based on a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Trump was unable to name a single policy item when asked what his top goals would be if reelected, instead musing about “experience” and changing the subject to former national security adviser John Bolton, according to CNN. “I always say talent is more important than experience, I've always said that -- but the word experience is a very important word, a very important meaning," said Trump, noting that his time in office has made him familiar with Washington and the people there, which he said “wasn’t [his] thing” as a New Yorker. “Now I know everybody, and I have great people in the administration,” he said, though “you make some mistakes,” citing “an idiot like Bolton” to be among them.

    Both Jeff Jacoby and Clarence Page have compared Trump's response to Hannity's slo-pitch softball query to Teddy Kennedy's answer to a similar question from Roger Mudd back in 1979: “Why do you want to be president?”


  • Kevin D. Williamson takes to the NYPost to observe: Barack Obama's failures left a weak VP field for Joe Biden.

    Biden’s old boss, Barack Obama, really thinned out his party: Democrats in 2009 had controlled 59 percent of state legislatures and 29 governor’s offices, but by the end of Obama’s presidency they were down to fewer than a third of state legislatures and a rump of 16 governorships, while 63 Democratic House seats went Republican after Obama’s first midterm. Democrats were reduced to a status they had not endured since Warren G. Harding was in the White House.

    Donald Trump has done a very fine job helping the Democrats to rebuild — a mad scientist in a laboratory couldn’t have created a more useful enemy — but their bench is still a little thin. Because Biden has been accused of creepy behavior, he’s promised to choose a woman as his vice-presidential pick, as though that would nullify his weirdness with women rather than highlight it. Because Biden is the author of an infamous crime bill very closely associated with mass incarceration — and very much objected to by Black Lives Matter and other left-wing activists, without whose support Biden will lose — he is under pressure to choose a woman who is not white.

    Which brings us to…

  • Aída Chávez writing at the Intercept, noting that Kamala Harris's Wikipedia Page Is Being Edited. Yes, she's a contender for Biden's VP. But:

    Presidential vetting operations have entire teams of investigators, but for the public, when the pick is announced, the most common source for information about the person chosen is Wikipedia. And there, a war has broken out over how to talk about Harris’s career. 

    At least one highly dedicated Wikipedia user has been scrubbing controversial aspects of Harris’s “tough-on-crime” record from her Wikipedia page, her decision not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin for mortgage fraud-related crimes, her strong support of prosecutors in Orange County who engaged in rampant misconduct, and other tidbits — such as her previous assertion that “it is not progressive to be soft on crime” — that could prove unflattering to Harris as the public first gets to know her on the national stage. The edits, according to the page history, have elicited strong pushback from Wikipedia’s volunteer editor brigade, and have drawn the page into controversy, though it’s a fight the pro-Harris editor is currently winning.   

    I often rely on Wikipedia, but this is a useful reminder that it's not that reliable on contentious issues. Stick to looking up stuff like Betteridge's law of headlines.

    Kamala does, however, strike me as the candidate most likely to have memorized the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Should she become VP, the talk on invoking Section 4 will start no later than January 21, 2021.

  • The NYPost reports on Biden's recent Q-and-A with the press corps: Joe Biden rips Trump, calls reporter a 'lying dog face'.

    Biden, who has been stuck at his Wilmington home during the pandemic, also took questions from reporters for the first time in months after the Trump campaign accused him of hiding.

    But the gaffe-prone former lawmaker lashed out when one reporter mentioned his own mental deterioration at age 65 and asked Biden if he had been tested for cognitive decline.

    “You’re a lying dog face,” Biden said, apparently irritated that the reporter kept asking questions as he tried to leave the event, before adding that he was “constantly tested.”

    Good luck finding this reported anywhere outside the right-wing press. But it brings us to…

  • In our "Who Could Blame Them" Department, the Federalist's Jonah Gottschalk reveals: Biden Campaign Refuses To Release Cognitive Test Results.

    Its been three days now since former Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that he’s been “tested and am constantly tested” for cognitive decline. The media has, unsurprisingly, swept this story under the rug, but the candidate’s claim still raises a lot of questions.

    Who’s been doing these assessments? Why are we only hearing about these “constant” tests after the cognitive question has plagued the campaign for well over a year? And most importantly, Biden never actually said what any of the results were. So what were they?

    I want—nay, demand—cognitive tests be given to both candidates, and those tests and their results should be broadcast live on C-SPAN. I'd watch, with plenty of popcorn nearby.

    And then a general test, covering civics, geography, history, basic science, etc. No math, though!

  • And just a reminder from Daniel J. Mitchell on what we have to look forward to under President Biden, House Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Cuomo: The Adverse Economic Consequences of Higher Tax Rates.

    The good news is that Joe Biden has not embraced many of Bernie Sanders’ worst tax ideas, such as imposing a wealth tax or hiking the top income tax rate to 52 percent..

    The bad news is that he nonetheless is supporting a wide range of punitive tax increases.

    • Increasing the top income tax rate to 39.6 percent.
    • Imposing a 12.4 percent payroll tax on wages above $400,000.
    • Increasing the double taxation of dividends and capital gains from 23.8 percent to 43.4 percent.
    • Hiking the corporate tax rate to 28 percent.
    • Increasing taxes on American companies competing in foreign markets.

    The worst news is that Nancy Pelosi, et al, may wind up enacting all these tax increases and then also add some of Crazy Bernie‘s proposals.

    This won’t be good for the U.S. economy and national competitiveness.

    Well, not for the first time, and not for the last, what Mencken said: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    (And 11 other quotes at the link.)

Last Modified 2024-06-03 6:36 AM EDT