Biden has never trailed Trump in Pennsylvania in the FiveThirtyEight average. The last two polls look ominous for Trump. Biden leads by nine points among likely voters in both the Post-ABC News and the New York Times-Siena College polls. It should not be surprising that Pennsylvania looks more and more like Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2016, we learned those states tend to move in tandem. If Biden wins those three and nothing weird happens, that’s it. He has 278 electoral votes. But Biden has a small lead in Arizona and is essentially running even with Trump in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio — all states Trump won. Increasingly, the question is not who will win but just how big Biden’s win will be.
It is in one sense understandable that Trump ads are disappearing from the air in Iowa and Ohio. There are too many leaks for the Trump campaign to plug. Now, it is a matter of holding off a deluge. Republicans face a sea of blue.
They have additional worries, given that Trump has scared Republicans off from early and absentee voting. If the race is not close on Election Day, many Republicans will not bother showing up to wait in long lines. As demoralized Republicans stay home, Democrats up and down the ballot could start racking up wins in unusual places. It is not inconceivable to see Democratic Senate wins not just in Maine, Colorado, North Carolina and Arizona but in Iowa, Montana, Alaska and Georgia.
The table has tilted substantially in Biden’s favor; the states are beginning to fall into his lap. The angle keeps getting steeper, so every state not nailed down by invincible red margins is at risk of tumbling onto Biden’s side.
Trump may not believe this polling. He may not think lying about the severity of covid-19 or insulting the troops or evidence his business losses are so large that he is vulnerable to foreign influence matters. But they do. Republicans can read the polls with less self-delusion. They see Trump’s numbers collapsing. Worse, they see their own races going to seed. One need only look at Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s pathetic, desperate pleading for money for his South Carolina race to see that they know all too well: Trump is dragging them under.
What do Republicans do? It might behoove them to vote for a big stimulus project even if that means putting off a Supreme Court confirmation vote. (Imagine the ads: Your senator did not have time for you, only for a judge who’s going to take away your health care.) Republicans might start overtly separating themselves from Trump on his attacks on mail-in voting. They might even suggest it is just not right for someone who claims to be very, very rich (let’s dispense with the notion he’s a billionaire; in all likelihood, he is worth “only” seven figures) to pay no taxes.
These things might help, but frankly the only chance for some of them is to plead: Don’t give Biden a blank check. And that’s precisely what he will have if Trump drags Republican senators under. It would be fitting if they join the ranks of the unemployed they could not spare time to support.