Maybe basements are good. I wouldn’t know, having lived most of my life in a place where, if you dig a hole, it immediately fills up with water, so very few basements. But in addition to the largely media-created narrative that Biden is benefiting from a “stay in the basement” strategy, a similar approach may be benefiting Democrats not named Biden, according to an article in The Post.
Republican incumbents like Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst are begging opponents to debate them in hopes of a game-changing gaffe by less experienced candidates. Democrats are saying, “Nah, I’m good.”
“Democrats continue to meet with and hear from voters across their states, and they didn’t need a manufactured debate over debates from desperate incumbents to do it,” said Lauren Passalacqua, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The “basement” narrative is mostly bullshit. Biden and other Democratic challengers are less visible in traditional campaign settings right now because we’re in the midst of a raging pandemic, and that’s the responsible way to behave, as circumstances recently forced even Trump to acknowledge. Trump is the incumbent president and an idiot, and the incumbent senators are his enablers, so of course their higher profiles aren’t helping. That’s how being stupid in public works.
As for the Democratic candidates, their policies are out there for anyone who wants to compare them to their opponents’ proposals and records. Anyone curious about how Democrats stack up rhetorically against a Republican opponent can easily find the material for that analysis — that goes for Biden vs. Trump and the Democratic candidates for the senate and their opponents too.
What’s not on offer this year (at least so far) are the usual building blocks for lazy political narratives — campaign-friendly meet-and-greets at hog fries and corn fritter fests that might yield “campaign tracker” soundbites that can be spun up into mini-scandals at the senate level.
At the presidential level, the conventions and debates (if the latter happen) will provide some of that fodder, but from the GOP perspective, much time has been lost. Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement of the pandemic cost lives, jobs, national dignity — and political opportunities. Each time the sun sets on a day without an event that shakes up the race is another day Trump marinates in loser juice.
That’s an argument in favor of a basement strategy, whether it’s conscious or wholly imposed by external circumstances. This is such a weird time too, for everyone. I’m not convinced regular people (as opposed to political junkies) will pay attention in great numbers even when there are events to cover and this telescoping dystopia of a summer finally ends.
I could be wrong, but my feeling is a lot about this race is baked in already. As a nation, we’re sick. We’re tired. We’re humiliated. We’re ready for this endless shit-show to be over.
We’re also in countdown mode: 6 days until Biden is expected to announce a running mate (or will begin to be hounded in earnest about that decision) and 100 days until Election Day. Early voting starts in September in my state. Predictions?
I suck at prognostication, but my guess is Biden-Harris defeat Trump-Pence (EC: 349 to 187), the Dems take the Senate and make modest gains in the House. We just have to make it through today and the next 99 days. (Then there’s the perilous transition period, but let’s jump off that bridge if/when we get there…)