We're just a few months from the 2020 presidential election. Republicans are overly confident, and Democrats are scared of their own shadows. It's a normal Tuesday in Washington. No one wants to pay too much attention to the polls, which consistently show Joe Biden kicking the teeth out of Donald Trump. Everyone points to 2016 and Trump's shocking “upset" over Hillary Clinton, thanks to documented election interference from Russia and James Comey.

The New York Times treasure Maggie Haberman was full-on Debbie Downer Monday when discussing the election with Anderson Cooper and David Axelrod.

HABERMAN: I don't know any Democrats who think this is going to be an easy election ... I certainly don't know any who think this is going to be easy. A lot people are very scarred by thinking 2016 was going to be easy and ... Democrats were scarred by thinking Hillary Clinton was naturally going to defeat Donald Trump.

Clinton was trying to make history. Trump wasn't even the first white supremacist or first male idiot (or both) elected president. But Trump no longer has misogyny as a (not-so-silent) running mate.


Haberman said that Trump's shock victory has Democrats afraid it could happen again. That's a reasonable concern, even if the fundamentals of the election are completely different from 2016.

HABERMAN: Look as much trouble as Donald Trump is in politically, a lot of it of his own making, but certainly not all of it.

Apollo Creed was in less trouble when he fought Ivan Drago. It's also entirely Trump's fault. Most governors have seen their approval ratings increase during the COVID-19 crisis, but Trump's have cratered because he pitches snake-oil cures and “jokes" about the deaths of 120,000 people.

HABERMAN: Joe Biden is still a very flawed candidate.

You Serious? www.youtube.com

Biden isn't just performing better against Trump than Obama did against Romney in 2012. He's exceeding Obama's numbers at this time during 2008.

The media has in the past described Trump as a “Teflon Don," against whom no scandal sticks. That's arguably even more true of Biden. He has withstood his share of body blows and ginned-up controversies without losing ground with voters. Republicans wanted Ukraine to be his “but her emails" but voters didn't take the bait.

HABERMAN: He is running a flawed campaign so far. There are still four months left. They still have to have three general election debates.

What in the name of Symone Sanders is Haberman talking about? Biden isn't running a “flawed campaign." He's winning. Does anyone who watched Trump's dumpster fire rally in Tulsa Saturday think debates, which involve him speaking, are going to save his campaign? Biden survived debates with Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar, who were actually informed and literate.

This reminds me of the Richard Pryor routine when he mocks the naysayers who predicted Leon Sphinx would crush Ali in a title rematch: “[Ali's] hair's falling out. His fingernails are dirty. He doesn't have a chance." The very people who swooned over flavor-of-the-month candidates won't accept that Old Reliable Handsome Joe is running away with this.

HABERMAN: Four-and-a-half months ago, no one was talking about the coronavirus the way we are now. So a lot can happen.

Uh, what exactly? Voters trust Biden more than Trump on the coronavirus and race relations. We're not going to fix either in four-and-a-half months. Trump is fundamentally the wrong candidate for this moment, which is why Biden's “I'm a mammal" platform is connecting with voters.

HABERMAN: It's important to remember that at the end of the day ...

Nothing intelligent ever follows the expression “at the end of the day."

HABERMAN: Elections are still binary ... People are going to make a choice between these two men.

See?

Twitter dragged Haberman for her “flawed campaign" comment and her defense was bizarre. She repeated the “joke" that Biden is “hiding in his basement," which is a deliberate rightwing talking point that she's willingly spreading like the Trump administration spreads COVID-19.

Twitter

I don't claim to know every Biden supporter, but most of us don't think the vice president is “hiding" in his basement. He's remained at home to help slow the spread of an infectious disease and unlike the thing squatting in the Oval Office, he wears a mask when he goes outside. Biden isn't a “flawed candidate," and Haberman will just have to get used to covering a president who doesn't set the world on fire every day for kicks.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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