All along, something about the timing of both the China Virus and the riots bothered me. Yes, of course in and of themselves they were both tragic, horrible, and costly in terms of life and livelihoods. But still, I couldn’t help thinking back to October 2016 when the Hillary Clinton campaign dropped the “Access Hollywood” tape and I kept thinking, “It’s too soon. They should have waited.”
In previous columns I explained why the timing of that—its rushed appearance—allowed Trump to recover. Yes, it may have broken even larger momentum, but in the end, it only cost Trump Minnesota and New Hampshire.
With the COVID-17 China Virus and the riots, I kept thinking “why did they roll this out so early?” Perhaps (or perhaps not) they didn’t have any control over the China Virus and the national, then state, response. But the riots? Those were clearly orchestrated and pre-packaged. The Soros-backed groups could have used those at any time. By rioting so early, it gave Trump a chance to clearly be the only “law and order” candidate—so much so that polling by my friend Richard Baris has shown that by far, now, the economy has overtaken “law and order” as the #1 issue. Trump has been able to pivot from “a” strong point to his strongest suit, economic growth. Goldman Sachs, for example, has raised its third-quarter GDP estimate from 30% to a stunning 35%. Most likely, Team Trump knows that the figures are at least this good and possibly better.
Whether or not the Democrats were too early unleashing their riot season, the China Virus already dictated their 2020 strategy. Well, the China Virus and Joe Biden’s complete inability to speak without teleprompters, with aides rattling off lines in his earpiece, and to avoid taking serious questions from genuine reporters at all costs. It is clear now that the strategy is to run and hide, bob and weave, and avoid having Joe in public. Meanwhile, the other side of the strategy has been to emphasize the danger of the China Virus and try to have Democrats vote by mail (VBM) which, some think, is merely a tool for fraud. Certainly, however, there were some inside the Biden campaign who actually thought they might prevail with a higher VBM turnout.
Here comes the bubble busting
A new analysis of North Carolina VBM by poster “byecomey” from FreeRepublic entitled “Joe is Done” should terrify Democrats who may be counting on VBM to bail out Sleepy Joe. As byecomey shows, in 2016 the Democrats were outvoted by Republicans in NC VBM (40% to 31%), but this year Democrats expect to have a 51% to 16.9% edge. As byecomey says, “This is actually bad news for Joe.” According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, while 47% of Biden supporters plan to vote by mail, some 66% of Republicans say they will vote on election day. The number of Democrats planning to vote by mail in battleground states rises to 57%, largely because they believe voting in person is a “health risk.” After all, that’s what their pals in the media have told them.
When byecomey applies this turnout to VBM statistics, he found that in 2016, the Democrat turnout was 1.872 million, who voted at an estimated 50% rate. For Democrats to match 2016 levels (remember, they lost North Carolina by over 2 points) they would need 936,000 VBM ballots. Republicans, of whom 1.571 million voted in 2016 with an estimated 18% VBM share would need 282,900 VBM ballots to match 2016 levels.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Currently Democrats are on track for . . . 762,000 (under-performing by 174,000) while Republicans are voting at a rate of 288,630, or over-performing their 2016 pace by almost 6,000. Independents are over-performing their 2016 pace even more strongly, at 82,000 over 2016 levels. Want to know the even better news? Byecomey used the more pessimistic estimates for turnout of both sides. In other words, Democrats may fall short of their 2016 pace even worse, and Republicans may do even better.
But the most important factor is that Biden’s team has made “the deliberate decision to not have a ground game due to safety reasons, and hence will not be able to make up the differential in GOTV efforts.” For example, I’ve mentioned the closed campuses many times. But there are other major problems for Democrats on election day or “vote-in-person-early” efforts, particularly “souls to the polls.” This is the GOTV effort mostly among black churches where after a church service and luncheon pastors get their flocks on buses to vote early. Except this year there won’t be any churches. There won’t be many schools to mobilize students.
Team Biden made a horrific mistake abandoning one of the Democrats’ long-standing advantages over Republicans, their early-vote GOTV ground game. I noted here over a month ago that Biden didn’t even open offices in such battleground states as Minnesota until August, by which time Team Trump had knocked on 100,000,000 doors nationally! In Minnesota alone, Trump’s campaign has knocked on an astounding 3 million doors. Then you factor in the increasingly favorable voter registrations (in Pennsylvania, for example, just in the last week according to “Freeper” Ravi, Republicans have out-registered Democrats by another 8,000. Since 2016 in Pennsylvania Republicans have had a net registration gain of 73,000 while Democrats have had a net loss of 87,000 for a total net Republican gain of over 160,000 in a state Trump won by about 43,000 votes.
To say the Democrats are panicking is an understatement. When Time magazine has to warn that Biden's “invisible digital campaign” in Michigan is “making some Democrats nervous,” you can read that to say “Biden has all but lost Michigan". And when the Las Vegas Review-Journal is warning that “King Sosolak’s Coronavirus Missteps Give Trump a Chance to Win Nevada” you know Nevada is trending Trump.
There is only one thing wrong: these weren’t “Missteps.” It was a deliberate strategy. A colossal COVID miscalculation, the fruits of which should be evident on Nov. 3.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: The American President, and founder of the Wild World of History, a grade 9-12 history curriculum website that features US and World History courses with teacher guides, student workbooks, tests/answer keys, maps/graphs, and videos accompanying every lesson (www.wildworldofhistory.com).