Almost half the electorate has already voted, so with every passing day the latest poll fluctuations and the October Surprise du Jour make less and less difference. We are told that women in particular have problems with Trump's "personality" ...which is apparently reason enough to vote for a corrupt brain-dead sex predator on the take from China and Z-list oligarchs. The old line is: You can't beat something with nothing. The Dems figure that, when the something is Trump, nothing will do just fine - at least for those suburban women pining for decorum.
Get real, ladies: it's last orders in the saloons of the west. You don't like the Tweets? Whoop-de-do: That's more important than China and immigration and dying American communities with nothing to do but work at the KwikkiKrap or deal heroin? In his poem "New Year Letter", Auden was writing about Karl Marx but these lines apply even more to Trump:
What if his hate distorted? Much
Was hateful that he had to touch.
What if he erred? He flashed a light
On facts where no one had been right...
Much is hateful that Trump has had to touch - a coup-plotting FBI, a corrupt media, mobs on the streets... But Trump flashed a light on facts where no one had been right - on the cozy uniparty consensus on illegal immigration, on the rise of China, on the endless unwon wars...
If Trump goes down on November 3rd or in the four months of recounts and litigation to follow, that's what I'll miss. The Trump Campaign 2020 is not the Trump Campaign 2016 and, if he survives on Election Night, it will be despite the campaign not because of it. But he's still the only guy who's talked about anything real, as opposed to the peripheral trivia that the great worthless two-year presidential campaigns and the elephantine debates and their portentous moderators obsess about: Will you denounce QAnon? WhoAnon? Who cares?
If you wanted to "flash a light on facts", the second and last debate was pitiful: The same tedious subjects - climate change, for the third time - framed by the moderator, as usual, from the Democrat perspective, and then treated in fatuous Biden soundbites that grew woozier and woozier as the night wore on.
But worse than the bias is the shallowness: This has been an extraordinary year - for most of those voting, perhaps the most extraordinary in their lives. Most importantly, 2020 has revealed that China is already the dominant power of the planet: the Politburo has the run of Africa, the Caribbean, large parts of Asia and the Pacific - and America seems increasingly, as I said six months ago on The Mark Steyn Show, a mere great-power theme-park, where the outward forms (and the unsustainable expenses) remain but the future is being made elsewhere. It would have been nice to have had a substantive discussion on that before the election, because, if Sleazy Joe wins, we're not going to be having one after the election.
With respect to that last grim scenario, did the debate help the President? Well, it didn't hurt him, as the first debate is alleged to have done. As befits a man with no reliable memory of the post-Cornpop years, Biden lied with breezy insouciance on fracking and the crime bill and the Covid travel ban and the minimum wage and the pay-for-play with China, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan. And, in the hours and days ahead, for any of those mythical moderate, centrist, undecided swing voters still interested, those lies will be exposed ...but the benefits to Trump will be marginal, with the exception of Pennsylvania, whose voters will not have liked what they heard from Joe on energy policy.
That's not a small thing. But, that aside, nothing happened last night that seems likely to move the meter more broadly in this race. What else is left? Attack ads? I'm in a swing state and all I see is Biden commercials, because Brad Parsehole and the usual "conservative" grifters blew through a billion bucks with nothing to show for it. The Hunter stuff? National Public Radio has formally announced that "we don't want to waste our time" on it, and as election day looms they and the rest of the legacy press will double-down, and the new barons at social media will clamp the screws ever tighter.
Which means it is all down to whether or not that "silent majority" exists. There are certainly "silent" Trump supporters - a conservative estimate might be four to five per cent, but it could well be higher - but whether they constitute a "majority" we shall not know for another fortnight. This is a "base" election, with a lower turnout I'd hazard than four years ago.
Yet Trump's base is fiercely motivated, and Biden's is, like him, barely there.
Mark Steyn Club members are welcome to give their take in the comments below.
~We opened The Mark Steyn Club over three years ago, and I'm thrilled by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. My only regret is that we didn't launch it seventeen years ago, but better late than never. You can find more information about the Club here - and, if you've a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don't forget our special Gift Membership.
Oh, and if you're seriously chafing under the lockdown and looting, there's no better way to cock a snook at the lockdown than by booking a berth on our Third Annual Steyn Cruise sailing the Med next year - and with Conrad Black, Michele Bachmann, John O'Sullivan and Douglas Murray among our shipmates. We'll be attempting some seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, our Sunday Poem and other favorite features. If you're minded to give it a go, don't leave it too late: as with most travel and accommodations, the price is more favorable the earlier you book - and, if the lockdown ever does gets totally lifted, why use your newfound freedom of movement just to visit the county fair or see X-Men 47 at the multiplex when you can bestride the world like a cruising colossus?
I'll be back with our debate-delayed weekend edition of The Mark Steyn Show.