Outperforming his opponent Donald Trump in every poll, it appears that Joe Biden will become America’s next president. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch also allegedly thinks that Biden will win by a huge margin. Biden seems to have united both the traditional and progressive wings of the Democratic Party, doing what Hillary Clinton could not do four years ago. Even in places across the U.S. where it would have been inconceivable for Democrats to win, some polls show Biden ahead. Furthermore, donations to the Biden campaign are at record levels and it seems as though the media are working at full capacity for a Biden presidency. No presidential candidate has been given such a broad level of support.
Despite these positive developments, and despite more or less two weeks remaining until the election, Biden’s team is uneasy. It can even be said that an atmosphere of panic is setting in behind closed doors. It looks like the election will be much closer than it seems to the media or is reflected in the polls. Even Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, is saying this. The other day, she tweeted that the election is even closer than people think. But the real panic appeared the day before in an editorial published in The New York Times.
Tom Edsall, a veteran journalist in Washington, D.C., worked for a long time as a professor of journalism with graduate students at Columbia University. I also met him there. He is a legendary journalist with an absolute loyalty to the truth, so interested in academic research, statistics and figures that it would bore anyone else to tears.
Writing about quantitative political science each week for The New York Times, Edsall composed the clearest editorial, stating that a Biden victory is not yet guaranteed. No stranger to D.C., Edsall mentions a secret bulletin that he obtained from a strategist close to the Democratic Party, and he tracks down the anxiety expressed within: In states where the race is head-to-head, the voter registration rate for white people over the age of 30 without a college degree increased by 10%, compared to four years ago. In these same states, the gap between registered Democrats and Republicans fell by 10 points to six points. Furthermore, support for Biden among Black women and Spanish-speaking Catholic voters went down by a small percentage.
The proportion is small but symbolic. That’s because it was expected that Biden, who is Catholic, would win all the votes of other Catholics. Likewise, it was taken for granted that Black women completely supported Biden just because he was Barack Obama’s vice president. The Obamas have dedicated all their energy over the past weeks to getting out the vote.
If there is anything that scares the Democratic Party the most, it is white voters without a college degree showing an inclination to vote this year. Generally, voting rates in the U.S. are low; however, it seems that the Republican tendency has been to restrict voting rights for rival Democratic voters, especially by contesting mail-in voting this year. Because more Democrats prefer to vote by mail, a huge fight has broken out for months over this issue, and it is still unknown how it will be resolved. Even in large cities like New York, ballots with the wrong name were sent to voters. Though the media and the Democrats attempt to downplay these “inadvertent” mistakes, they could cause chaos, as Trump has said.
Who Will Vote?
Whenever you turn on the television, or even order a pizza, people remind you to vote. Even on Instagram, there is a daily call to get out the vote. Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, bring up voting every time they appear on television, and they urge voters to go to the ballot box. Even so, Democrats have not requested as many mail-in ballots as was expected. Will some of them go to the polls, or will they abstain?
Looking at the figures provided by Edsall, the call to get out the vote is reaching the ears of Trump voters, the opposite side. It is obvious that the Republican Party has worked a lot harder than Democrats over the past four years in swing states. In Florida, Republicans have registered 195,652 voters since March alone. Democrats have registered 98,362. In Pennsylvania, another critical state, Democrats only registered 57,985 voters compared to the Republicans’ 135,619 registrations. The numbers are trending in this direction. There are also registered Democrats who will vote for Trump at the ballot box.
I would like to remind everyone that even one vote is important in an American swing state, and that, although she won the popular vote by a landslide, Clinton did not become president because she lost these swing states by several thousand votes. In 2016, Clinton did not hold a rally or even visit these states. Biden’s team has not even knocked on doors to demonstrate that they are the “responsible party” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden has hardly emerged from his basement to appear in public. Now Harris, one of the strongest speakers, has put herself into quarantine because someone from her team tested positive for COVID-19. All these things could be the reason for a disconnect between the party and voters. Trump caught the virus and recovered in only a few days, and his reelection appears statistically challenging in a country where 215,000 people have lost their lives, even as Trump reappears in public. But, it is also a fact that he has gained strength with the public. Furthermore, there is now a phoenix rising from the ashes effect. Who knows, perhaps it really is true that Trump feels better than he did 20 years ago. Biden has not exceeded the critical threshold to win.