The dust hasn't settled from the conventions yet, so we don't know how they'll affect poll numbers. We do know Joe Biden ended the Republican “dementia narrative” with a speech for the ages about uniting the nation, about hope and reality and, yes, about tackling the pandemic head-on, because as everyone in the country has figured out, except the president, you can't get the economy upright until you fix what ails it.
Biden was presidential, laying bare the contrast between the two men — between fact and fiction, decency and indecency, patriot and grifter. That contrast will become starker in the debates. The emperor has no brain. Certainly no heart.
The Republican all-star convention lineup, including the likes of Kid Rock and Kid Smirk, may inspire some — and don't forget St. Louis millionaire gunslinger attorneys Kid Pink and Kid Karen. Do Republicans even recognize irony, anymore? They literally sent the epitome of lawyers, guns and money to the convention.
That's the formula for Nov. 3, too. Donald Trump's predicting the most corrupt election ever, and he should know. His lawyers will seek to disqualify Democratic votes while law enforcement officers hover at the polls to intimidate minorities with a distrust of the police.
He'll suppress the mail vote, too; an Economist/YouGov poll reveals that 55% of Biden supporters will vote by mail but only 19% of Trump voters. In the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, mailed ballots must arrive by election day. In Florida, in 2016, 90,000 mail ballots arrived on the deadline. Ah, Florida, where the stench of the 2000 Dubya ripoff still permeates. Imagine no Iraq War and progress on climate change.
How much criminality will it take to steal this election? It's a Herculean task, but you can bet the president's up to it. Here's the landscape: in 2016, Trump, who didn't have the baggage of a first term weighing him down, ran the table on swing states, winning Michigan by 0.3 % and Florida and Pennsylvania by 0.7%, amassing 306 electoral votes of the 270 necessary.
Remaining toss-up states are Nevada (6 electoral votes), Arizona (11), Minnesota (10), Iowa (6), Wisconsin (10), Georgia (16), Texas (38), North Carolina (15), New Hampshire (4) and Ohio (18).
Now, the math ... most analysts would agree that Biden has a solid 213 electoral votes to Trump's 126. In recent polling, Biden was +6 in Florida (29 electoral votes), +5 in Michigan (18), and +4 in Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10). Trump is +1 in Iowa. Minnesota is a dead heat.
Should Biden win Florida and Pennsylvania, and let's say, Minnesota, he's in. But let's not count our chickens, yet. They may be dead in the post office. Even if Democrats in key states avoid USPS sabotage, urban in-person voters must overcome limited polling places and long lines — the usual effort to disenfranchise certain Americans.
While things may look promising for Trump on election night, we may not know the outcome for days or weeks as lawyers wrangle over mail ballots. Much depends on the integrity of the courts and some Trump-appointed judges.
The glaring truth is many Trumpinistas don't care about democracy. They care about power. So Democrats must cast more votes than Trump can cram into the getaway limousine. Democracy can't just beat authoritarianism, it must overwhelm.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.