Trump Is Lagging Behind, but Winning

The campaign strategies of the U.S. presidential candidates are not targeted at attracting additional supporters. Instead, the candidates are working to convince their rival’s supporters to stay home from voting. For now, this is working to Donald Trump’s advantage.

There are less than two weeks until the election, and at first glance, it doesn’t look very good for Trump. The president lags almost 8.6 points behind former Vice President Joe Biden. Considering the distribution of electors predicted by pollsters, the situation is still more complicated. Biden has a solid lead of 216 electoral votes in states where he holds a solid lead. If these are added to states where the Democrat’s lead is small, he has a total of 357 electoral votes. This indicates that Trump has between 125 and 181 electoral votes, almost two times fewer than Biden. Not to mention that the most influential media in the U.S. are going all in for Biden by advocating what they feel is the correct choice or endorsing the Democratic candidate.

But why are bookies rating Trump’s chances of winning not at 10 percent or even 20 percent, but at almost 40 percent?? Why do people who are willing to bet money on the election believe that the incumbent president has a serious chance of reelection?

Their confidence is due in part to how active Trump is. While Biden is sitting in a bunker, the incumbent is running around the country like a wind-up toy, holding daily rallies before thousands of people. Trump is going for the win, talking with voters and inspiring them. Even Democrats are now saying that their candidate’s excessive confidence could backfire, as it did with Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In addition, the unconventional nature of the current campaign favors Trump. Typically, presidential candidates spend tens of millions of dollars to win the support of nonpartisan or undecided voters. This traditional third of the electorate has usually determined the winner of elections in swing states (states where the number of Republican and Democratic voters are approximately equal). However, there are few undecided voters right now – the candidates are too controversial, too sectarian. According to Dmitri Suslov, deputy director of the Higher School of Economics’ Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, “The political and sociocultural split between American elites and society is unprecedented in recent decades, as Republicans and Democrats – not only elites, but also voters – look at each other as enemies whose legacy must be razed to the ground, and who defend fundamentally different models not only of America’s future but its past.”

That is why the Democrat and Republican Party campaigns are focused on a different task: not to convince the opposition to vote for their candidate, but to discredit the opposition’s hero so much that disillusioned voters stay home. The election won’t be won by the candidate whose rating is several percentage points ahead of his opponent’s, but by the candidate who will bring his supporters to the polls.

Herein lies Trump’s advantage. In reality, “Trumpism” and “Bidenism” do not exist in America, but “Trumpism” and “anti-Trumpism” do. It’s very difficult to convince Trump’s supporters to stay home. People are mobilized both by the candidate himself and by what is happening now in America, where leftists and African Americans have staged mass riots on the streets of American cities. In addition, Trump supporters are mobilized by the biased American media, which openly supports Biden. This makes Trump, if not invulnerable, then, at the very least, able to resist the consequences of various scandals about him that the Democratic media have tried to exaggerate.

As for Biden’s supporters, they are ready to vote for any relatively sane candidate in order to remove a “brazen racist” from the White House. That’s why the Democrats nominated Biden, the only relatively rational candidate from an entire pool of left-wing politicians who ran in the Democratic primaries. The Trump team now has the task of proving to moderate Democrats that Biden is an even more unacceptable candidate than Trump; that it’s shameful for a decent person to vote for Biden.

Republicans previously tried to achieve this by focusing on Biden’s health and the consequences that would occur if he were to die in office. (The presidency would pass to his radical vice president, Kamala Harris, with her ultra-left leaning ideas.) But recently, Republicans have put forth a much weightier argument: the story of Biden’s son, Hunter. Republicans and reporters sympathetic to Republicans have published the contents of Hunter’s laptop, which he left in a repair shop, and the contents are very disconcerting. This is not because it exposes a presidential candidate’s son as a drug addict and pedophile. “Hunter Biden’s addiction is not the issue. Joe Biden’s addiction is: His addiction to power and money,” according to American reporters. Thanks to this laptop, the famous Burisma case (which involved Hunter Biden’s position on the board of a directors of a Ukrainian company and investigation by the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office – after which Joe Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, blackmailed President Petro Poroshenko into dismissing Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin) took on a completely new meaning. Republicans in the Senate even conducted a special investigation into whether Hunter Biden’s work at Burisma was harmful to U.S. interests – and the contents of the laptop actually confirmed this. It turns out that Hunter shared his bribery with his dad. Joe Biden not only knew that the prosecutor general was investigating his son’s company (Biden has claimed that he did not know, and that he pushed for firing Viktor Shokin purely because Shokin was ineffective ), but was paid in the process. This corruption has actually been proven (the Biden team does not deny the authenticity of the contents of the laptop) and is the kind of corruption the American voter views extremely negatively, especially given the image of Joe Biden as a “decent” candidate being sold by the media.

The fact that the same media tried in every possible way to prevent the publication of the contents of the laptop (going so far as to directly censor it) only mobilizes Trump’s base and discourages Biden’s supporters, who are convinced Biden is a terrible alternative to Trump and believe they should choose the lesser of two evils or no evil at all.

Russia is very pleased with what is happening in the election campaign. It is watching, and for the most part, is betting on Trump. Why? Trump’s victory is unlikely to improve Russian-U.S. relations, after all. As Suslov correctly notes, no matter who wins the election, “…the U.S. will continue its policy of double containment toward China and Russia, its foreign economic policy will remain very mercantilist, and the balance between the role of a benevolent hegemon and the reviving U.S power will continue to shift toward the latter.” However, let’s be honest. Trump is fun, and I would love it if the American president could keep supplying optimism amid the hysteria and constant stress of COVID-19.

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