What an interesting time we live in.

With just over seventy days until the election, we are faced with a choice between a boorish wild-man Untethered Orange Id (TM) and a senescent lifetime swamp rat.

The President, who managed to have a good first year despite coming into office with almost the entire Fourth Estate and an army of political lifers aligned against him, managed through a mountain of missteps to flush a lot of that down the drain. Two and a half years of incoherent trade policy, an obsession with zinging others on Twitter, and a laundry list of unforced errors have wiped a lot of that potential good will away, and led many to declare that “he must go,” no matter the alternative.

The challenging party could have sashayed into the White House with barely a ripple of effort, given all the gifts that Trump has bestowed, had it merely stayed sane and picked a decent candidate. Instead, it let its lunatics take over the asylum, lost its chance at picking a quality candidate that would appeal to a large swathe the country, and when the lefties ate each other, got stuck with, as its standard-bearer, a DC fossil whose deteriorating mental acuity is increasingly obvious. Still, the fossil could have put forth a measured platform of policies that would have signaled “I promise a return to normalcy” and a potential step back from the wild polarization of today’s landscape.

Instead, he chose to pander to the same leftists who rejected his candidacy in favor of another fossil who, against all common sense and empirical evidence, put forth a repackaged and re-branded version of an ideology that murdered a couple hundred million people and left billions in poverty and misery across the past century. That those leftists failed to elevate their guy, despite having cowed virtually the entirety of the Democrats into relative silence and sniveling obeisance wasn’t taken as a sign that they’re not as powerful as all that, and so Biden put forth a platform that stands well to the left of his former boss’s.

The presumption, as far as I can tell, was that the dislike for Trump would be sufficient to sway the middle-ground voters, and that the leftists needed to be coaxed out of staying at home in protest over a second rejection of Sanders. In other words, energize the base, and expect “I’m Not Him” to be a sufficient sell to the moderates and never-Trump skeptics on the Right.

Along came the pandemic, and Trump’s initial miscues seemed tailor-made for boosting the Demcrats’ chances. And, indeed, the polls (and the betting markets) showed an uptick for Biden.

Then George Floyd was killed by a cop. That seemed, for a while, to be the boom stick, the nail in Trump’s coffin. The gambling markets swung even more towards Biden, as “Black Lives Matter” became the #1 issue. The Democrats were all too happy to jump on board the movement with both feet.

Unfortunately for them, the movement was promptly co-opted by the organization with the same name, an organization led by avowed Marxists that, along with a passel of other individuals and groups, seemed more interested in fomenting unrest than in achieving reforms that would improve police relations with the black community. Violence started becoming more and more common, and more and more organized.

The Democrats stood mute, their accomplices in the press carried their water in downplaying and outright denying what was plain to anyone who was paying attention, some even put forth justifications for the violence and looting, and the violent became more and more emboldened.

Biden made one attempt at triangulating his party’s desire to play to the BLM crowd with the recognition that critical swing votes needed courting by picking Kamala Harris. Harris offered the identity politics bribe to the wokesters while tacitly signaling that a “tough on crime” former prosecutor would see to public order. Harris is highly problematic on both fronts, but don’t expect the press to highlight that.

Then he retreated to his basement again, sitting quietly while hoping that Trump’s behavior and the press’s assistance would hand him the Presidency. Again, “I’m Not Him” persisted as the primary election strategy.

Of course, the violent and their enablers weren’t going to just go away, no matter how deep in the sand the Democratic leaders of the cities and states where they’re active bury their heads. The Democratic National Convention came and went with nary a peep about the #1 issue, and the normal convention bounce in the polls did not materialize.

Then Trump and his crew put on a show. Handed this gift of silence in the face of violence, they capitalized on it, painted Biden as someone unwilling and unable to restore order and normalcy (and indeed, to make matters worse on many fronts), and ran a glitzy, massively over-produced spectacle that scored a series of center-of-mass hits on the Dems.

The polls, and especially the gambling markets, tell the tale. Biden’s slipping has become significant enough for the press to go into revisionist mode, working triple-time to assure us that the violence doesn’t exist, or that it’s just a few outliers, and that what does exist is the Republicans’ fault.

People aren’t buying it. Over at electionbettingodds.com, a site run by John Stossel that tracks the gambling markets in near-real-time, Biden’s 23 percentage point lead has slipped to 9. In addition, the chances of the GOP keeping the Senate, which peaked at 60-37 against, now give the GOP a slight lead.

With nine weeks to go, the momentum has clearly shifted back to Trump and the Republicans, with leftist gadfly Michael Moore sounding warnings that he’ll win again.

And yet, despite a single “tsk-tsk” statement of generic condemnation put forth by Biden in clear response to the loud complaints that his party is ignoring the fact that cities are unraveling and people are dying, the strategy seems still to be, as far as middle-of-the-road and undecided voters go, “I’m Not Him,” with policy still tailored for the Bernie-Bros. While a President isn’t in proximate control of cities – mayors and governors are – the head of a political party can put it to those mayors and governors in his party, and people aren’t so stupid as to miss the fact that the violence is overwhelmingly in Democratic towns.

The Democrats’ sense of hubris and entitlement that stretches back to the first year of Obama’s tenure (if not further) is again threatening to doom their dreams of running the country as they wish. The terrifying tetrad of Biden, Harris, Pelosi and Schumer running the nation is not something I care to contemplate, given all I know about their history and their plans. Were it within the realm of probability that Biden could win with a GOP takeover of the House and retention of the Senate, offering divided government and the possibility that the fossil would move his party to the center, I’d root for it. Trumpism sounds great to Trumpists, but to libertarians, it’s a very mixed bag, and it has had the unfortunate effect of empowering leftists and socialists that have abandoned any respect for liberty in favor of a fascistic approach to, well, everything.

But, it’s not an option that’s on the table. Come January, we are either going to be governed by the terrifying tetrad or by a divided government (a week ago, I figured it’d be Trump vs Pelosi-Schumer, but now it’s possible that the GOP keeps the Senate). My preference, as I’ve noted before, is for the latter, and I’ll keep hoping and cheering whatever crumbs of liberty fall off that table.

My preferences don’t matter, of course. I’m one vote in a state that’s utterly irrelevant to the outcome of the election, and, as always, I will vote for the candidate that most matches my views (i.e. Jo Jorgensen). What does matter is that the Biden-in-the-Basement, “I’m Not Him” strategy is not surviving conditions in the field, and now Biden’s in a position of having to explain why he should be trusted with the country’s leadership despite his party’s culpability in its unraveling.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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