This is the final piece in my Lessons from 2016 series, and like most good writers, I’ve saved the best lesson for last. This piece was published on July 14, exactly 111 days until the presidential election on November 3. Which means there is still a lot of time left until Election Day. Many more campaign pledges to be put forward. More mud to be sling between the two parties. Never mind the presidential debates.
My point here is that with so much time left, you would be forgiven for thinking that Joe Biden and the Democrats had already begun their plans for moving into the White House, that his boxes were packed and the removals company was already booked.
Slow down, everyone.
The race is not over, for either side. If anything there’s an enormous amount of race left to come. Neither side has already won, and neither side has already lost. Some parts of the media are so ready to hype up individual polls that look convincing for the Biden campaign that it would be easy to fall into a false sense of security and assume the 2020 election was a done deal.
Trump supporters know better than anyone that the election is not over until the magical 270 Electoral College votes are reached. Sometimes that can take weeks. But until that point, nobody has won. Even on Election Day, when poll averaging showed Clinton was set to win by around 2%, Trump voters continued to believe in their candidate and took that belief to the polls.
Once again, polls continue to show (now President) Trump lagging behind his Democratic opponent. But polls don’t get a candidate elected. Presidents only get elected with votes. So while the polls look favorable for candidate Biden, he continues to urge his supporters not to get complacent.
Ignore the polls.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 24, 2020
You can read more about why polls are not always the best measure of a candidate’s support here.
Regardless of which candidate you support, be it President Trump or Joe Biden, a lot can change in 117 days. The presidential debates, while not always persuasive to large portions of the voting population, certainly allows both candidates an opportunity to reach millions of voters at once. Donald Trump seizes any opportunity to speak publicly, demonstrated by his rapid return to campaign rallies despite the Covid-19 public health crisis. Joe Biden has a history of gaffes in public speeches, though they appear to be slowly coming under his control. Both candidates have plenty of time left before Election Day. Undecided voters have plenty of time left to make up their minds.