The Slatest

Trump Vincibility Watch: Losing by a Little Less?

Biden descends the steps of an airplane onto a tarmac while wearing a black mask.
Joe Biden arrives in Tampa on Tuesday. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump Vincibility Watch is a subjective and speculative estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump actually loses the 2020 election or, in other words, that he suffers the consequences of his actions for the first time in his life rather than wriggling out of yet another jam (see: the Mueller investigation, the Ukraine scandal, the 2016 popular vote, his six bankruptcies, and everything else).

Is the race tightening?

Is Joe Biden’s campaign not knocking on enough doors relative to Donald Trump’s?

Did Biden not do enough to denounce arson in Kenosha, Wisconsin?

Is he not doing enough to win Latinos in Florida?

Is the race going to upended by an October surprise in the form of a $250 million Department of Health and Human Services “public information” campaign about the coronavirus led by Trump loyalist and HHS spokesman Michael Caputo?

The first three questions can be addressed at the same time: There is as of yet no evidence that the presidential race is tightening because of Biden campaign resource-deployment decisions or law-and-order concerns. FiveThirtyEight gives Biden a 75 percent chance of winning the election, which is actually up slightly from where his odds were two weeks ago. He is maintaining leads in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona that are outside the margin of error. A CNN poll released Tuesday has him winning by 10 points in Wisconsin, which is where Kenosha is.

Florida is a li’l bit of a different story. Biden’s lead there did narrow over the course of August. But then it bounced back to the point that he is projected to win the state by about 2 points. A Monmouth poll released Tuesday has him up by 5. Michael Bloomberg, a wealthy Manhattan information-services entrepreneur, also said through a spokesman this week that he is going to spend $100 million to promote Biden’s candidacy in Florida, which will, at the least, guarantee that local Latinos are going to see a lot of political advertisements on television between now and Nov. 3.

Michael Caputo, meanwhile, is on the verge of taking the ol’ “leave of absence” because of a Sunday night Facebook Live appearance in which he said he believes that scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conspiring to murder him. This means 1) that we may have finally found a line that a Team Trump goon needs to cross to get fired, 2) that Caputo may not be around to goon up the HHS campaign, and 3) that Trump has still not gone an entire week since the Republican National Convention without the inherent goon-driven instability of his administration creating one or more negative news stories that prevent him from focusing on his single potentially winning-ish message (which is that the economy is not quite as bad now as it was a few months ago).

Trump: STILL VINCIBLE (and possibly threatened by CDC ninja assassins).

A "Trump Vincibility Watch" graphic of six rows containing the letters T-R-U-M-P. The row that is highlighted reads "UMP," with a worker removing the R.
Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo/Slate. Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images.