In 2016, Donald Trump pulled off the unthinkable. The longtime reality TV star and real-estate mogul managed to narrowly grab the majority of votes in critical swing states and edge out the odds-on favorite to win the election, Hillary Clinton. He was buoyed by a combination of factors, including a surprising turnout of white voters with no college education. The low turnout of younger voters also significantly hurt Clinton.
One of the major stories of the 2016 election, however, was the sudden surfacing of a huge email dump of Clinton’s allegedly hidden correspondences. This massive dump of info was major, 24/7 news that was inescapable in the weeks leading up to the election.
Many pundits believe this eleventh hour revelation was critical in getting Trump the slight lead he needed in places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In spite of this surge, he still lost the popular vote by some 3 million.
This year, Trump’s campaign seems to be carrying a different energy into November. While in the last election they seemed to be surging into their shocking victory, this year they appear to be staving off the inevitable. Trump’s rhetoric has shifted.
All of his promises are now for things that can happen “after the election”. Relief for families struggling with COVID? Evidence of the conspiracy theory regarding Obama’s administration spying on the Trump Campaign? Progress on the long-promised border wall?
All of these things and more, Trump seems to now suggest, will come once he’s been reelected. However, this kind of talk is strange, coming from a candidate who has been in the White House for four years.
For the first two years of his term, Trump’s party controlled both the House and Senate. For the second two years, Republicans have enjoyed a Senate majority. Why are these promises being kicked down the road? Why could these things not have been done in the past four years?
One question still lingers over Joe Biden’s election chances. In 2016, national polls showed Clinton leading Trump in the leadup to the election, but then she lost in an upset. What’s to say that won’t happen again? Well, frankly, the polls are telling a different story.
Biden leads Trump by an average of ten percentage points nationally. Even if polling errors like in 2016 were present, that margin of error still has Biden on top.
Moreover, pollsters have taken pains to weight their poll responses properly to not underrepresent whites with no college education. That demographic was overlooked in 2016, which led to the perception that Clinton was in the lead.
In reality, Trump would have held a small lead in polling had that demographic been properly weighted. Going into November this year, however, Trump might not have the eleventh-hour save coming down the pipeline like he did in 2016.