On Thursday, writing for The Washington Post, anti-Trump conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined how the president blew his final, best chance to turn around the public perception of the presidential race, and define it on his terms rather than Joe Biden's.
"With a president whose performance is as rotten as Trump’s (Gallup also shows him with a 43 percent job approval rating), his only hope was to make his opponent even more unappealing than himself," wrote Rubin. "Trump, however, never settled on an effective attack on Biden and, in any case, cannot stand ceding attention to anyone else. Trump’s performance, his lies, his antics, his insults, his crackpot conspiracy theories, his attacks on the media and his financial scandals have remained front and center. In other words, Trump’s raging narcissism has prevented him from doing what was necessary to give him a reasonable chance to win reelection."
Until a few weeks ago, however, Rubin wrote, Trump had a shot to reframe the conversation — and by working with Senate Republicans to force through the Supreme Court nomination above all else, he blew it.
"Ironically, Trump rejected possibly the only thing he could have done to shift perception about himself and improve the economy: prioritizing the stimulus bill over the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett," wrote Rubin. "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has managed to divert all the Senate’s attention to his personal priority — stuffing the Supreme Court with right-wing activists — to the detriment of Trump and even his own members, who now face a potential wipeout at the ballot box."
"You would think Trump, who desperately needs to change the subject, and endangered Republican senators, whose constituencies want economic relief and fear a court that might invalidate the Affordable Care Act, would have staged a revolt," added Rubin. "But no. They remain sealed within the right-wing bubble telling them that Trump’s chances are better than they are and that the court is more important to voters than it is. They have let McConnell commandeer the Senate in a way that clearly benefits Biden and Democratic Senate candidates."
"In sum, Trump made this a referendum on himself — and then failed to produce anything that would warrant a positive reaction to his record," concluded Rubin. "The result is likely to be a devastating loss for him and the Republicans who followed McConnell into a political dead end."
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