It’s hard not to be impressed by Donald J. Trump’s sheer tenacity, especially when you consider he just had COVID. The President just gave a very long and energetic speech at a rally in New Hampshire, and now he’s off again on to another event in Maine. ‘I’m doing three or four of these suckers a day,’ he says. ‘That’s not bad.’
He’s drastically down in the polls. All those clever mathematical models suggest he has about a 10 percent chance of winning. Yet he’s a fanatically competitive man, an extraordinary campaigner, and a political force that nobody quite understands. He is also a great finisher. That’s a word used in professional wrestling and in business — two worlds Trump knows — and it means an individual who tends to be at his best when it matters most.
And what about Joe Biden? His schedule in the final days is extraordinarily light for a man who is so close to being elected the leader of the free world. Yesterday Trump was in four swing states; Biden went from Delaware to Pennsylvania and back.
Yes, we are in a pandemic. The Democrats insist that the Biden-Harris campaign is being responsible. They don’t want to endanger lives so they are campaigning in more a COVID-secure way. President Trump is just being reckless, as usual etc. Yet that still doesn’t quite explain Biden’s empty schedule. It’s Sunday, nine days before the election, and he called a lid for in-person events at 11:29 a.m. Harris has been making more outdoor appearances, but Biden is conspicuous by his absence.
The Democrats are trying to sound energized. ‘Are you ready to go? Are you fired up?’ Obama asked a crowd of cars recently. Biden has been trying to shout more in his speeches. He just tweeted: ‘9 days. Let’s go.’ But it all sounds a bit contrived. The dominant theme of the Biden campaign at the moment is its somnambulance. He is sleepwalking to victory.
Trump, meanwhile, keeps flying around the country, regaling his fans, propelled by the nuclear power of his ego. He remains unlikely to win. But if the Democrats were honest — and they’re not — they would admit that Trump’s campaigning strength is making them nervous. He wants to turn this election into the greatest election comeback story ever told. He might just do it. Then again, Trump might be so high-energy, so turbulent, that the American people are just too exhausted to take him anymore. The Biden campaign must be hoping — praying even — that the more people see of their President, the less they like. That may be a gamble.