With less than two weeks until Election Day in the United States, US President Donald Trump finds himself trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden with time running out to win over the few remaining undecided voters.
In the final weeks, it appears Mr. Trump’s closing message is to lash out. He’s attacked Biden, CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He’s even slammed NBC News reporter Kristen Welker, calling her “biased” ahead of the final presidential debate.
Despite all of this, can Trump pull off another shocking upset for the second time? Biden currently leads Trump by 10-points nationally and leads in all the battleground states. However, Democrats haven’t forgotten what happened four years ago when Hillary Clinton was also predicted to win big. We all know how that turned out.
So, will history end up repeating itself with Mr. Trump pulling off another shocker? It’s likely not possible, but it’s also not impossible. Here are four reasons why a Trump victory is not outside of the realm of possibility:
A massive polling error
Four years ago at this time, Hillary Clinton was leading by 6.8 points in national polls and was projected to win over 300 electoral votes. She ended up losing, picking up just 227. Despite thinking the polls were “massively off” in 2016, they actually weren’t. They were correct in showing she won the popular vote and was within the correct margin in the states she did win. Polls were only off in the state of Wisconsin and since then, polling firms have adjusted how they survey people to correct their error.
The difference this time is Biden has maintained his lead over Mr. Trump ever since he won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination back in August. The President has never led Biden and has never led in any of the states he needs to win for re-election. Still, Democrats are cautious, and rightfully so. Biden’s campaign put out a statement earlier this week, saying the race is much closer than it appears.
However, as 2016 proved, national leads are irrelevant and state-level polls can have errors. With that said, placing your faith in the inaccuracy of the polls is risky. The 2018 midterm elections were largely accurate, and Mr. Trump would need widespread polling errors and errors that once again all work in his favor.
As I said, relying on inaccuracy of the polls is risky. But Mr. Trump is desperate and may just take that risk.
A debate push
After the disastrous first debate and pulling out of the second one, Mr. Trump’s final chance to sway the American people will come at Thursday’s debate. The Trump campaign sees Thursday’s debate as the president’s final chance to make a dent in Biden’s lead. The big question is: will Mr. Trump change his tone? If his actions this week are anything to go by, there’s a better chance of a meteor hitting the earth the night before the election (as predicted by Neil deGrasse Tyson).
Mr. Trump has already called for his political rivals to be jailed and will likely not be happy with the Debate Commissions’ late format tweaks of muting the microphones when the other candidate is speaking. Reports have suggested Mr. Trump will continue his attacks on Biden’s son, Hunter. That did not go over well with suburban women, a key voting block Mr. Trump needs to win re-election.
Still, if the President can somehow find a way to be calmer and act normal for 90-minutes, he could possibly sway a few undecided voters in his direction.
A Biden misstep
Up to this point, Biden has done well for himself. He’s letting all the attention stay on Mr. Trump and doing smaller events, such as drive-in rallies to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Trump is still holding large rallies with his supporters wearing few masks and no social distancing.
This week, Biden has been off the campaign trail to prepare for Thursday’s final debate. Despite him being in a good spot, some Democrats are concerned if he loses, he may realize he did not do all that he could to ensure a victory.
Biden has been very disciplined and has not made many gaffes as he did at the start of his campaign last year. Mr. Trump tried to get Biden to stutter or lose focus at the first debate but it clearly did not work. Still, in these final two weeks, can Biden keep his cool to close things out?
Mr. Trump is in a desperate spot and will likely play dirty in Thursday’s final debate, trying to make Biden angry. If the Democrat shows his firey side, it could make some voters back off Biden and into Trump’s corner.
Trump’s tall task
Lastly, Trump could steal every battleground state, but that would not be enough. For the fun of it, I put Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Arizona in Trump’s column in an election simulator. It was still not enough. Trump would need to sweep the battleground states and flip Nebraska’s second and Maine’s second congressional district in his favour.
Trump needs Florida to win the election. If he loses that, then it’s game over. States like Michigan and Wisconsin seem out of reach for the President this time around, but crazier things have happened. I would not discount anything in this crazy year we’ve had so far.
With two weeks left, Biden certainly does not have this race locked up, but it’s looking likely he will be the next President of the United States. Trump has a chance for sure, but it may be too little, too late.
Words by Stephen Michael