The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Sleepy Joe’s Sundown Campaign

Posted on | September 24, 2020 | Comments Off on Sleepy Joe’s Sundown Campaign


I should be careful not to praise Michael Brendan Dougherty too much. He’s probably as close to a full-blown paleoconservative as they allow to write for National Review these days. Twice (in 2007 and again in 2017), Dougherty wrote about the late Sam Francis in ways that could be described as laudatory, and you don’t get more paleo than Sam. So if Dougherty is secretly reading VDare or American Renaissance, I wouldn’t want to “out” him as part of the Shadowy Far-Right Cabal. Next thing you know, there’d be an “exposé” by Oliver Darcy or Lachlan Markay and then Dougherty would be hate-listed by the SPLC.

Dougherty is very smart, however, so he’s probably covered his tracks well enough that even my praising him won’t lead to any career-shatttering scandal. and he’s got this nice piece today about how Joe Biden’s campaign is nearly non-existent:

[T]he distress signals are coming from the New York Times now. It’s not exactly about his health, but about the tortoise-like pace and manner of the campaign. In those pages, Mark Leibovich compared the Biden campaign to pandemic-era NFL games: “quiet, eerie and almost entirely fan-free.”
Leibovich gives ample space to the Biden campaign’s rationalization: The minimal event schedule is a sign that Joe Biden cares about his supporters, whereas we’re to suppose Trump rallies are nihilistic festivals of death, in which the MAGA-freaks aspirate and palpate each other in the hopes of joining Herman Cain in the Trump Taj Mahal in the skies.
But then Leibovich adds this:

Still, Mr. Biden’s minimal footprint on the ground tends to stoke anxiety among Democrats that their vehicle for defeating the president has a deficit in effort and enthusiasm, especially compared with an opponent whose big-splash approach (boat flotillas, fully resumed campaign events) is anything but reluctant.

By the tentative prose standards of the New York Times, this is a Civil Defense Siren blaring through a bonfire sending smoke signals, “S.O.S.” With polls tightening in Arizona and Florida you can feel nerves starting to jangle.
If Biden blows it, the basement-campaign strategy will look like an obvious culprit in his defeat. Usually, a party tries to avoid making the same mistakes that recent losing campaigns made. But Biden’s operation seems to be leaning into dangers that should be obvious.

First of all, does anyone believe the polls? I mean, when Dougherty describes “polls tightening in Arizona and Florida,” I figure both those states must be solidly for Trump. If there is even a hint of doubt from the Biden campaign about any state, I count it as solid “red.”

Maybe I’m overconfident, but what’s the alternative? To actually believe that Biden is leading in North Carolina? That even Georgia and Texas might be “in play”? That’s either (a) complete and utter bullshit, or (b) proof that the American constitutional republic is irreversibly doomed. If Biden is even close in Texas, all hope of the future is lost. So my hunch is that the truth is (b) and the polls are all bullshit.

Ace of Spades has a good summary of the polls-are-bullshit evidence. One of the things you have to do, when evaluating a poll, is to look past the topline number and get into the results of demographic subgroups — white, black, Hispanic, etc. How do those smaller subsets compare to anything observable in the real world? Ace points to a recent national poll that showed Biden leading by 5 points but which showed a Dem/GOP skew of 12.5% in the sample, whereas 2016 had only a 4% skew. So basically, this poll has an 8.5% oversample of Democrats. If you take that into consideration, you might guess that Biden is actually trailing by 3 points nationally, which would not be surprising in the least. Biden is actually a weaker candidate than Hillary was, even if his negatives aren’t as high as hers were. When you see egregious misrepresentations like that in one poll, you realize that other polls showing similar topline results must be similarly skewed. Meanwhile, Ace finds support for his theory “that Biden’s events are suspiciously small and unpublicized to make it very easy for him to cancel them if his brain is having a not-so-fresh feeling,” quoting Charles C.W. Cooke:

As of late, Biden’s team has regularly put a “lid” on his day by noon — or even earlier. And, when it does not, the events that Biden attends seem to have been designed to be either easily cancelable or easily replaceable. Were President Trump to cancel a rally, he would be unable to hide it. This is not true of the events on Biden’s schedule . . .
Those with suspicious minds have started to wonder if there is something wrong with Biden. Perhaps he is unable to work every day? Perhaps his schedule needs to be set up in such a way as it can be amended without notice?

So, according to this theory, Biden has his good days and his bad days, like any patient in the downhill slide into senile dementia. Because there are some days where Biden is completely out of it — a blank-eyed zombie — his campaign can’t schedule in advance the kind of major public events that presidential candidates usually do. Instead, they schedule micro-events that can be canceled or rescheduled at short notice.

Tonight, Trump spoke at a gigantic rally in Jacksonville, Florida, while Joe Biden was still stuck in his Delaware basement, eating a warm bowl of stew and trying to remember what he ate for breakfast.



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