Good summary of why Trump lost last night, starting with the fact that they needed Biden to bomb and he had his best performance of the cycle. But really the major problems are the larger problems with his campaign, starting with the fact that he’s the Extremely Online/Extremely High Volume Fox News Viewer candidate:
But in the 2020 general election, Trump needs to communicate with those who live outside the Fox News Cinematic Universe and are not acquainted with its deep mythology. And his self-assigned mission on Thursday night — to reengineer the 2016 campaign’s twist ending by introducing a hazily-defined, email-centric corruption scandal into the mix — only pulled him further into the weeds of the far-right fever swamp. Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” has been a fixture of conservative media for weeks now. But unlike in 2016, the mainstream press has declined to take interest in the right’s ill-substantiated smear of this year’s Democratic nominee. This is in part because Hunter-gate is thin gruel, even for those used to consuming Rudy Giuliani’s cooking. Existing reports have made it clear that Hunter monetized his father’s name in shady ways. But, as the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night — in a jab at its own opinion page — there is as yet no evidence that Joe Biden himself committed any corrupt acts.
All this left Donald Trump — a man not known for the cogency of his extemporaneous remarks — with a task akin to describing the fourth season finale of a surreal, largely plotless television show to a crowd of people who’d never heard of the series
The number of persuadable voters who will have the slightest idea what Trump is talking about when he babbles about “AOC plus three” is “none,” but he can’t communicate in any other way anymore.
He’s also busy repudiating his shrewd choice in 2016 to (sporadically) abandon some particularly unpopular Republican positions, leading the public to perceive him as more moderate than Clinton. His actual campaign was much more right-wing than it was portrayed, but he took advantage of the fact that the media is more likely to report on novel positions than give a holistic account.
But now, having (inevitably) governed as an orthodox Republican, he’s now running as one too:
One of Trump’s few genuine strengths as a Republican politician has been his nose for the party’s most odious economic ideas. In 2016, he made a point of disavowing the GOP’s orthodoxy on health care, public investment in infrastructure, and — occasionally — taxes on the wealthy. But on Thursday night, the president went out of his way to signal his opposition to a $15 minimum wage (an idea that two-thirds of voters support), his desire to “terminate” Obamacare (a policy only 20 percent of voters support), and his burning hatred for wind power (a feeling 80 percent of Republicans cannot relate to).
The fact that he initiated discussion of Biden’s extremely popular minimum wage proposal was a definitive He’s So Good At This moment (I don’t think the OUTFLANKING is coming.) And Biden forcefully defending it and deriding the bad Econ 101 critique is the kind of rising to the occasion Paul talked about yesterday.
And finally, there remains the problem that he’s a remorseless sociopath and can’t be bothered to hide it:
This week, lawyers tasked with reuniting migrant families who were deliberately broken up by the Trump administration revealed that they cannot locate the parents of 545 immigrant children. Confronted with this fact in a public forum, a normal human being — or even, a sociopath with a rudimentary understanding of normal human thought patterns — would recognize that a demonstration of sadness (if not outright contrition) would be in order. But such recognition is beyond Trump. Instead of communicating his heartbreak at an unintended side effect of his efforts to enforce the border — and vowing to do everything in his power to ensure these families are brought back together — he said the following:
I will say this, they went down, we brought reporters and everything: They are so well taken care of. They are in facilities that were so clean.
I can believe we’re not losing to this guy.