In his column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Michael Tomasky explained that the polls for Donald Trump look so bad they will force the president to take drastic measures to stay in office, which means Americans should gird themselves for the next 100 days to get very ugly.
Noting that, if the election was held today, current polling shows presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would win a whopping 321 electoral votes to Trump's 121, the columnist pointed out that a "desperate" Trump likely has only three paths to victory, calling each one them "terrifying."
Admitting that at a similar point in 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis held a 17-point lead and still faltered, Tomasky said the country has become more polarized politically since then, which calls for more drastic measures to peel away voters.
After writing "In today’s America, it’s a highly debatable proposition that even one-tenth of voters are moveable," Tomasky sketched out three possible scenarios the president could follow -- the first using the current battles between protesters and federal law enforcement agents to inflame public opinions even more.
Writing that, so far, the public seems to be siding with protesters over the excesses of what has been called the president's "goon squad" by an ex-ICE official, Tomasky fears Trump will only ramp up the attacks hoping for a cop to be killed.
"There’s no doubt that this is what Trump wants. He’d love for there to be a little antifa action within blocks of the White House or right near Trump Tower," the columnist suggested. "Still, an explosive event—the killing of police officers, say, or some totally out-of-control late October rioting—could turn undecided voters (8 percent right now) toward Trump."
Secondly, he wrote, Attorney General Bill Barr and the Justice Department could announce details of a possible corruption case against Joe Biden that could lead to nowhere in an attempt to smear the Democratic candidate even more than the president has with accusations of corruption.
"Simultaneously, we’ve got Ron Johnson of Wisconsin running the Senate probe into Hunter Biden and all things Ukraine-related. He just sent out close to three dozen subpoenas last week," he wrote. "Fortunately for justice, Johnson is almost as dumb as Trump, so there’s a decent chance he’ll bollix this up in one way or another. Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham, though a sniveling coward, is not stupid, and he’s running the Senate’s deep state investigation. Among them, they’re bound to turn up something. Not something legitimately alarming, but something they can distort into sounding nefarious to people who don’t pay much attention."
Lastly, the president could flat out lie to the public -- as some of his economic advisers are already doing -- about the economy rebounding while millions remain out of work and struggling to survive.
"Remember the phrase 'Chicago numbers'? It got a little bit of a workout back in 2012, when some conservatives started alleging that Barack Obama’s Labor Department was posting phony jobs numbers to make things look better than they were. Jack Welch tweeted: 'Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers," Tomasky recalled before suggesting the president might actually do what President Barack Obama was falsely accused of doing.
"Trump, however, would order the numbers doctored in a heartbeat. That much is obvious. Whether people would go along is another matter. If there are any firings at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in coming weeks, we’ll know he’s trying to get the honest people out of the way," he noted, before concluding, "So, there you have it, his three possible paths to victory. He’d probably need them all to happen. "
You can read more here (subscription required).