Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Matt Viser and Michael Scherer have written a revealing post-mortem on the 2020 presidential campaign with the apt heading "How Trump's erratic behavior and failure on coronavirus doomed his re-election." In the following paragraph, they start and end with the truth, with nonsense in the middle:
But the president finally lost, aides and allies said, because of how he mismanaged the virus. He lost, they said, over the summer, when the virus didn’t go away as he promised; when racial unrest roiled the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death and protesters ran rampant through the streets; and when federal and local authorities gassed largely peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square across from the White House so Trump could stage a photo op. And he lost, they said, during a roughly three-week stretch from late September to mid-October, when an angry and brooding Trump heckled and interrupted his way through the first debate and then, several days later, announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Bless our liberal hearts that we comfort ourselves by believing there was in Trump's defeat a significant ideological component, that voters were so antagonized by urban violence that it upended the campaign of the right-wing racist. The Lafayette Square incident was a fiasco, demagoguery gone awry; however, there is little evidence that it had a significant impact on the election.
For all of Trump's bigoted values, the issue of urban violence receded into the background not only because the B/black L/lives M/matter protests declined in number but also with the campaign's failure to play its hand to the fullest. If it had understood that the election would be lost by the candidate who became the issue, it would have emphasized the following, here with a partisan, conservative, and misleading spin from The Federalist:
.... the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate was a huckster for a bail fund that sought to free violent criminals who were rioting on the streets of Minneapolis, and she was very effective at it. In the wake of deadly fires and looting, Harris asked her five million plus Twitter followers to donate money to bail out the “protesters” arrested in the riots.
Instead, and as the Post quartet writes
From the beginning, Trump and Biden made wildly different bets on the path to victory in 2020, taking divergent routes on nearly everything: from tone and message, to how to run their respective campaigns — and whether to wear a mask.....
Yet through it all, Trump kept returning to a faulty strategy of trying to wish, tweet and riff away the deadly virus. He forced his team to create an alternate reality in which he held massive rallies — supporters packed together, few sporting masks — and said that the coronavirus was only a modest threat and was going to disappear any day.
That was obviously going to prove a losing strategy as it made Donald Trump, rather than Joe Biden, the issue in the campaign. Deaths from the coronavirus continued to mount and then...... Donald Trump got sick.
Trump's poll numbers significantly declined- more than I had expected- after that, probably for two reasons:
2) It represented a bad bet by the allegedly master deal maker, who gambled that Covid-19 would not intrude upon his recklessness.
Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairperson of the Republican National Committee (and obvious source for much of the Post story), said "shortly" before November 3 "if he loses, it's going to be because of covid." He did, and it was.