Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Decisions of the Decisively Undecided

 

I continue to read here and elsewhere how important tomorrow’s debate is. If Biden looks lost, he’s toast. If Trump sounds rude, he’s toast. And so on. And I understand that point of view. But, well… Well, actually, no; I don’t understand that point of view. Who on earth could possibly be undecided at this point, awaiting tomorrow’s debate to get a read on the candidates? I think Joe Biden could show up naked, go over and sniff Chris Wallace’s hair, and then wander off calling for Toto and it would not affect the outcome of the election. Trump could yell that Biden’s father killed JFK and it wouldn’t matter. I just can’t imagine either candidate being hurt (or helped) by whatever happens in these debates.

Everyone knows who these guys are. Everyone knows which political party supports the rioters, supports the police, supports fracking, and so and so on. Even political ads seem pointless to me. Every time I see an ad the concludes with “I’m Joe Biden, and I forgot this message” I wonder who he’s trying to convince of anything. He’s been in Washington for nearly 50 years; he’s not an unknown quantity. Trump has been president for four years – everyone knows what to expect from him as well. I know that most of us here are political junkies and that most people aren’t as interested in such things. But do you think there are enough “undecideds” out there to make the debates worthwhile to either candidate?

If anyone can watch the past 5-10 years of American history and be not quite sure what they think about things, what on earth would be required to help that person decide? Surely you wouldn’t communicate with that person like you would with the other 99.9% of the population, right?

My view is that the debates don’t matter. But if they do matter, Biden has a very serious problem. Trump is brilliant in front of a camera. I don’t like listening to him speak, but millions find him captivating. His reality TV show got great ratings for years in a very competitive market. He’s comfortable on camera, and quick, and clever, and fearless, and authoritative. He’d be difficult to win an argument with over dinner. On TV, it’s been nearly impossible. He’s a force of nature.

And Joe Biden graduated near the bottom of his class at the University of Delaware. And has deteriorated significantly since then. If he holds his own against Trump, it will be a remarkable triumph. But he could also get annihilated, and stumble off the stage wondering what happened.

But again, I’m not sure it matters, either way.

So what do you think?

Are there a significant number of undecided voters out there (other than Joe Biden)? If so, how can you convince someone so uncertain about everything to be certain about anything?

Can the ‘decided voters’ be convinced to change their minds by a debate? Or an ad?

How important is tomorrow’s debate to each candidate?

Could tomorrow’s debate have an impact on the election?

Maybe, I guess. But I’m unconvinced that you can convince me that the candidates can convince the unconvinced of anything at this point.

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  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    OK, I’ll try to convince you, Doc.

    I don’t know what moves the opinions of people who seem to be undecided. They seem to exist. I just checked the RCP polling data today, and Trump is down a bit in job approval.

    I find Rasmussen to be the most reliable individual poll, with the usual caveat that no poll is perfect. Here is the Rasmussen polling data on Trump’s job approval.

    Trump was way up on Sep. 18 — +7%, 53% approve vs. 46% disapprove. His approval dipped a few points during the following week, Sep. 21-25.

    Today, Sep. 28, he is -7%, 53% approve vs. 46% disapprove.

    What in the world could have happened to cause a 14% swing in just 10 days? Is it the death of RGB and nomination of ACB? Is it the story on his tax returns?

    I just have no idea. However, this is some pretty good evidence that there is a sizable group of people whose opinion about the President can swing, in a very short period of time.

    • #1
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Chuck Thatcher

    I’m not gonna watch. Not a masochist.

    • #2
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:21 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I just have no idea. However, this is some pretty good evidence that there is a sizable group of people whose opinion about the President can swing, in a very short period of time.

    You make a good point. I don’t understand those people, but they do seem to exist.

    In the title, I called them the decisively undecideds, because to me, the only way to remain undecided at this point, is to be absolutely determined to remain undecided. Which would make them unconvincable. 

    But apparently not, as you pointed out.

    Odd…

    • #3
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Since 1996 the Democrat candidate has always won according to the media except for 2 occasions:

    1. first debate between Bush Gore in 2000
    2. first debate in 2012 between Obama Romney

    If Biden stays awake for 90 minutes, he will be declared the ‘winner’.

    I still think tomorrow’s debate will not happen – Biden will cancel at the last minute by saying he has covid or something

     

    • #4
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Chuck (View Comment):

    I’m not gonna watch. Not a masochist.

    Yeah, I know what you mean.

    For some reason, I feel like I ought to, some sort of civic duty or something. I’m not sure why I feel that way.

    But I’m with you, I just don’t think I can do it.

    • #5
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Franco Member
    FrancoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    We also have to account for the fact it will be Trump versus Chris Wallace and the Fox News narrative/pretense that every charge versus Trump is troubling and every charge against Democrats is a hair-brained conspiracy theory.

    (This from the people who are in the business of concocting conspiracy theories.)

    And Joe Biden, Mr. Nice Guy who has always been there as a fake politician from Delaware, (sorry for the redundancy)….

    The guy who rose up to become VP by being extraordinarily mediocre. Not just in intelligence but really, everything. But he has love and empathy – because he is a freakin’ human being – but somehow Trump doesn’t in contrast ( golly do I hate these people 🙄)

    I’d like Trump to go right at Chris Wallace and the assumptions of his questions. He could even downplay Biden easily and ‘debate‘ Wallace. 

    Yes there are undecideds. They break last because… they are undecided. Undecided people have trouble making decisions.

    I completely understand your perspective, but I’ve heard too many stories about people deciding in the voting booth. It can swing 10 points. And there are many levels. Of course anyone staying to hear the opinion assignment aftermath will lose perspective but still… people tend to believe their own impressions.

     

     

    • #6
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln

    My assumption is from a media standpoint, Trump is going to make a huge gaffe even if he doesn’t make a huge gaffe, since the whole idea coming out of the event will be to maintain the focus on Trump, and not on Biden. But from Joe’s standpoint, how he does or doesn’t perform may make the upcoming VP debate far more important, because for those annoyed by lots of things connected to Trump’s persona, a halting effort by Biden Tuesday night might not completely put them in the Trump camp, but could make them want to take a far closer look at Kamala Harris.

    Biden’s biggest goal Tuesday is going to be to convince whatever undecided voters there are out there that he is lucid enough to serve a four-year term. So it’s important for him to get through the 90 minutes without making some mistake that sets off alarm bells with those voters. But even then, he could still get them to vote for him, if those voters tune into to the VP debate and don’t see a big government California progressive who they’re going to be fearful will want to turn the other parts of the U.S. into mirrors of the current situation in the Golden State.

    If that’s what viewers take from the debate (as opposed to the “OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! Did you hear what Trump said!?” spin they’ll get from the bulk of the media no matter what after Tuesday’s debate), then Harris vs. Pence could be a far more consequential debate than any previous once between the vice-presidential nominees.

    • #7
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I just have no idea. However, this is some pretty good evidence that there is a sizable group of people whose opinion about the President can swing, in a very short period of time.

    You make a good point. I don’t understand those people, but they do seem to exist.

    In the title, I called them the decisively undecideds, because to me, the only way to remain undecided at this point, is to be absolutely determined to remain undecided. Which would make them unconvincable.

    But apparently not, as you pointed out.

    Odd…

    I was undecided myself 4 years ago. I did not like Trump during the primaries. Not at all.

    I consciously declined to jump on the NeverTrump bandwagon. I decided that I didn’t have to make up my mind until closer to the election, and I decided to give the guy a chance. He won me over, sufficiently to pick him over Clinton.

    Of course, this year is completely different. He’s done a very good job, in my view, and now has a solid track record — the most solid since Reagan, and in some ways better than Reagan.

    • #8
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  9. abbael Coolidge

    Victory always matters- People follow winners.

    My opinion is that Biden must perform very well – all eyes will be upon him. Only the most zealous Republican-haters can’t see his weaknesses. I am still shocked that the Dems picked Biden/Harris. IMHO that might be the weakest ticket they could have arranged.

    Trump is a known quantity at this point and his performance is less important. There are millions of people who want to vote for him and just need a nudge – This election is Trumps to lose. Picking ACB was a great start to the final month.

    • #9
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:39 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    abbael (View Comment):
    I am still shocked that the Dems picked Biden/Harris. IMHO that might be the weakest ticket they could have arranged.

    DeBlasio / Cuomo

    Warren / AOC

    Pelosi / Sanders

    Hillary / absolutely anybody

    Omar / Farrakhan

    I think Biden / Harris is pretty pathetic, too. But I think they have the bench talent to have done much worse.

     

    • #10
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:47 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    the “OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! Did you hear what Trump said!?” spin they’ll get from the bulk of the media no matter what after Tuesday’s debate)

    I presume that the articles about tomorrow’s debate have already been written.

    • #11
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Henry Castaigne Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    I’m not gonna watch. Not a masochist.

    Yeah, I know what you mean.

    For some reason, I feel like I ought to, some sort of civic duty or something. I’m not sure why I feel that way.

    But I’m with you, I just don’t think I can do it.

    You know how you Nascar is most interesting when the cars crash. That’s why I’m watching. 

    • #12
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. Chuck Thatcher

    abbael (View Comment):
    This election is Trumps to lose.

    Wonder if you saw clifford browns conversation.

     

    • #13
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    the “OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! Did you hear what Trump said!?” spin they’ll get from the bulk of the media no matter what after Tuesday’s debate)

    I presume that the articles about tomorrow’s debate have already been written.

    It would also be nice to be able to see two days into the future right now, to know if Fox’s prime-time lineup on Wednesday is going to be at war with Chris Wallace, versus if CNN and MSNBC’s all-day lineups are going to be at war with Chris Wallace. He and Trump butted heads just over a month ago, but Wallace seemingly has been irked that Team Joe has refused to let Biden come on Fox News Sunday.

    If he wants his chance to finally question him, Tuesday’s the night, while if he wants to spend the whole debate basically going back-and-forth contentiously with Trump in Candy Crowley-lite fashion, he can do that as well. Which side is irked with him come Wednesday will be a tell on which side thinks their guy either didn’t do so hot Tuesday night, or didn’t get a fare shake from the moderator (if both sides are irked, that might mean both candidates received equal grillings).

    • #14
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Doug Watt Moderator

    President Trump will need to be careful , his debate opponent graduated at the top of his law class. At least he’s not up against the man who invented the internet.

    • #15
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Henry Castaigne Member

    Dr. Bastiat: Everyone knows who these guys are. Everyone knows which political party supports the rioters, supports the police, supports fracking, and so and so on. Even the political ads seem pointless to me.

    You understand the capacity of human ignorance.

    • #16
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. carcat74 Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    the “OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! Did you hear what Trump said!?” spin they’ll get from the bulk of the media no matter what after Tuesday’s debate)

    I presume that the articles about tomorrow’s debate have already been written.

    That’s what a caller into Rush’s program said today. He also offered possible headlines that bloviate how great Biden was, and how crappy Trump performed.

    • #17
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    President Trump will need to be careful , his debate opponent graduated at the top of his law class. At least he’s not up against the man who invented the internet.

    Chris Wallace didn’t go to law school. 

    Biden graduated in the bottom five (or maybe ten) of his law school class, where he got kicked out for plagiarism, then somehow readmitted.

    • #18
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White MaleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. Bastiat: Everyone knows who these guys are. Everyone knows which political party supports the rioters, supports the police, supports fracking, and so and so on.

    You’d be amazed how many truly dumb and/or disengaged people there are in this country.

    • #19
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:22 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. TreeRat Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    I’m not gonna watch. Not a masochist.

    Yeah, I know what you mean.

    For some reason, I feel like I ought to, some sort of civic duty or something. I’m not sure why I feel that way.

    But I’m with you, I just don’t think I can do it.

    I will satisfy my ‘civic duty’ by recording the thing and reading the comments of other people who claim to have watched.

    I can then always watch it if some reason comes up to make me think it worthwhile.

    Or just put it off until it really doesn’t matter.

    • #20
    • September 28, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. The Reticulator Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    You’d be amazed how many truly dumb and/or disengaged people there are in this country.

    That’s what I aspire to be. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

    • #21
    • September 28, 2020, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. JoelB Member

    First question to Biden: How are you feeling today Joe?

    First question to Trump: How do you get off with only paying $750 in income taxes?

    • #22
    • September 28, 2020, at 7:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Franco Member
    FrancoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Biden’s eyes are empty

    He’s an animatron of himself

    A replica of a half century of American

    Mediocrity and failure

    Fat, happy, white-toothed glandhander

    On the Acela to Wilmington 

    Boasting of his powers and abilities

    All his credentials on display, just challenge him

    And you will hear it from himself

    Push ups, IQ, experience in government are his attributes and don’t dare question it. 

    • #23
    • September 28, 2020, at 8:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    JoelB (View Comment):

    First question to Biden: How are you feeling today Joe?

    First question to Trump: How do you get off with only paying $750 in income taxes?

    The debate topics are so slanted:
    * Covid
    * unemployment
    * Trump a racist
    * dead grannies
    * forest fires
    * Scranton, PA

    • #24
    • September 28, 2020, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Flicker Coolidge

    I intend to watch just because I’ve never seen Secretariat race Rocinante.

    • #25
    • September 29, 2020, at 1:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. Stad Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat: So what do you think?

    Trump will point out Biden’s had 47 years in office and has done nothing to help anyone except his own family . . .

    • #26
    • September 29, 2020, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Buckpasser Member
    BuckpasserJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I intend to watch just because I’ve never seen Secretariat race Rocinante.

    It could be close….yeah that’s the ticket.

    • #27
    • September 29, 2020, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. David Carroll Thatcher
    David CarrollJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    President Trump will need to be careful , his debate opponent graduated at the top of his law class. At least he’s not up against the man who invented the internet.

    Chris Wallace didn’t go to law school.

    Biden graduated in the bottom five (or maybe ten) of his law school class, where he got kicked out for plagiarism, then somehow readmitted.

    But at least Biden served 180 years in Congress.

    • #28
    • September 29, 2020, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Chuck Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat: If he holds his own against Trump, it will be a remarkable triumph.

    Probably a doctor would know better, but I’m reading that the right drugs can help a lot.

    • #29
    • September 29, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: If he holds his own against Trump, it will be a remarkable triumph.

    Probably a doctor would know better, but I’m reading that the right drugs can help a lot.

    I’ve read speculation like that. I’m not sure.

    If someone has early Alzheimer’s, I suppose you could make them more alert, temporarily, with amphetamines. But giving speed to an 80 year old is just begging for a heart attack, I would think. And they would tend to get jumpy and irritable.

    But I really don’t know what’s wrong with Mr. Biden. Something is obviously very wrong. Alzheimer’s is a very reasonable guess, but to me, he acts more like Lewy Body Dementia. All this is purely speculative, of course. I have no idea. But if anyone ever walks into my office looking as unpredictable and confused as Mr. Biden sometimes appears, there is no way I’m letting that person drive home.

    And I’ve never tried to make a dementia patient temporarily more alert with, well, with anything.

    So what do I know.

    But I understand why people are wondering about drugs – Biden can seem very different day to day.

    • #30
    • September 29, 2020, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 6 likes