Trump deserves to lose … but not to the incompetent Biden

Trump deserves to lose … but not to the incompetent Biden. By Greg Sheridan.

Trump is coming home full of energy and fight. He’s not going to die wondering. But COVID-19 may have defeated him. He started a long way behind.

Normally a candidate’s energy counts, especially at the end. But some 85 million Americans have already voted. In Texas, as many people have already voted as the entire total in 2016.

Final turnout could be very big. Trump’s base is fiercely loyal but has never been more than about 40 or 45 per cent. A big turnout is probably bad for him. …

Covid unended Trump:

It Trump loses it is entirely due to COVID-19 and the very poor response he made to it. It is true that managing the virus is chiefly the responsibility of state governments. It’s also true the US performance in COVID deaths is broadly comparable to big European nations. But Trump’s rhetoric and leadership on the virus have been so confused, self-contradictory and at times dishonest that he deserves much of the criticism he gets.

Sometimes Trump is his own worst enemy. Some of the things he says are ludicrous. Thus, rather than admit he underestimated the virus early on, he told Bob Woodward in a recorded interview for the book, Rage, that he knew all along how serious it was but didn’t want to alarm Americans so played down the risk. That is a bizarre statement. …

More recently, Trump has been saying America is “turning the corner” and putting the virus behind it. His campaign spokespeople say the administration has solved the virus crisis. Yet 230,000 Americans have died from COVID and this week the US was recording nearly 85,000 new infections a day — a record.

Achievements:

Trump has some big achievements to his name — tax cuts and deregulation, which led to a booming US economy and record low unemployment, especially for minorities, before the virus; deregulation and a pro-business administration; calling out China truthfully on trade and other issues; significant prison reform to get nonviolent offenders, especially minorities, out of jail; effective control of US borders and seriously reduced illegal immigration; hundreds of judges appointed including three Supreme Court justices of the highest quality who are originalists and textualists, meaning they interpret written constitution and laws rather than inventing new social rules by creative interpretation of texts; a staggering three Arab-Israeli peace treaties; the military defeat of ISIS; containment of Iran; increased defence budget; and being the first president since Jimmy Carter not to engage in a regime change military offensive against another nation.

These are substantial achievements. Even The Economist magazine, routinely almost apoplectic in its contempt for Trump, acknowledges most of these achievements.

Downsides:

But at the same time, Trump has grievous deficits. He lies frequently and easily. He speaks in a way that is intolerable for anybody in national leadership. He is foully abusive of political enemies and in the past especially of women. In the past he characterised some minorities — especially Mexicans and Muslims — in especially offensive ways.

Even his economic achievements have their downside. At no point has Trump made the slightest effort to address, much less reduce, much less eliminate as he promised, the yawning federal budget deficit. Official US debt will soon go beyond 100 per cent of US GDP. Crazy ideas like Modern Monetary Theory are getting purchase in these deranged times, which is just another excuse for thinking there is a magic money tree that can solve all problems forever. His fiscal recklessness represents a characteristic weakness of contemporary populism. …

On balance, I think Trump deserves to be thrown out.

Biden is worse:

However, equally, Joe Biden does not remotely deserve to be elected. It’s a wretched choice.

Acknowledging that Trump has achievements, and Biden weaknesses, means the highly emotional Trump-is-the-devil brigade will label you an apologist for Trumpism and probably declare you a racist and white supremacist as well. Pointing out Trump’s grave failings earns you the opposite criticism from Trump loyalists that you are an apologist for globalism, probably an agent of UN world government and perhaps a lizard illuminati.

Biden’s cognitive decline is obvious in unscripted encounters. …

Biden, like his vice-presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, appears to have no fixed political principles. He was once a centrist but drifts wherever the zeitgeist takes him. Once a friend of segregationists and opponent of school busing, he is now a right-on, woke, Black Lives Matter, identity politics aficionado. …

And he has embraced, though obviously without conviction, enthusiasm or perhaps even altogether comprehension, every jot and tittle of identity politics and critical race theory, the most destructive ideological forces at work in America today. …

Oh the media:

Most of the US media has performed appallingly in this election. …

In the single most sinister turn of the campaign, Twitter and Facebook became political censors by blocking any mention of the [Hunter Biden] emails, except to denounce them.

Similarly Twitter blocked US Customs and Border Commissioner Mark Morgan, who praised the border wall for keeping out violent criminals from Latin America. It did this on the grounds that such tweets constituted “hateful conduct”. … This grossly arrogant assumption of the power to impose political censorship by Big Tech-owned social media companies is the worst and most undemocratic development of this election cycle.

If the result is close, it could get ugly.