by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden may not be moving much, but he’s proving a tougher target for President Trump than his past political opponents.
Less than five months from the election, the Trump campaign team is still trying to find the right message to defeat Biden. The president has stuck with the “Sleepy Joe” nickname, though his campaign is as likely to go with “Hidin’ Biden,” to mock his low-key approach to the trail, or “Beijing Biden,” to paint the Democrat as soft on China. But none of these have defined the former vice president as effectively as “Crooked Hillary” Clinton. …
… A recent Fox News poll found that 53% of registered voters have a favorable impression of Biden, compared to 44% unfavorable. Other polls show higher unfavorable numbers for Biden, suggesting Trump campaign attacks are beginning to take their toll. But the RealClearPolitics national average still has his net favorability at -1.6%, while Trump’s stands at -14.3%. Biden’s numbers are also noticeably better than top congressional leaders of both parties, including Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer.
“Trump needs to reframe this election as a choice,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant. “In 2016, Trump was fortunate to run against a very unpopular and divisive nominee, which helped offset many of his own negatives. If he wants to win in 2020, he has no choice but to drive up Biden’s negative ratings.”
The Trump campaign is starting to settle on Biden as a doddering bystander looking on as radical leftists take over the Democratic Party. The campaign debuted two new ads on Friday, one that suggested Biden’s embrace of increasingly liberal economic policies would jeopardize the post-lockdown recovery and another that questioned Biden’s mental acuity.