Webb’s Wrap: Why can’t Trump tone it down? . . . Tied in the 4th District . . . 2nd District debate . . . Is a write-in vote a wasted vote?

Well, it all comes down to the next two weeks. The intensity is building in a wild election in one of the most turbulent years I’ve ever lived through.

I can’t predict how the presidential election will turn out. By any conventional standard, Trump should lose badly. He makes unforced errors several times a day. He acts like he doesn’t care about re-election. But every time he is declared politically dead, he miraculously rises from the grave.

Trump has some very positive issues he could talk about, like how he plans to restore the economy to pre-COVID levels, his remake of the federal judiciary, foreign policy accomplishments, rebuilding the military, religious freedom, his pro-life agenda, his plans to keep taxes low and continue his de-regulation crusade.

Instead, he attacks Dr. Fauci, calls Biden a criminal, goes after Sen. Ben Sasse, refuses to wear a mask, and undermines the voting process. None of that is helpful. He doesn’t need to secure his base. He has those folks. He needs to appeal to mainstream Republicans and independents.

He will get some of the more moderate voters because they don’t like Biden and the liberals and they do like many of Trump’s policies. But he’d get a lot more if he would tone down the personal attacks and other cringe-worthy stuff.

Thursday’s debate will be a chance for Trump to act more presidential and stay focused on the issues. But I have no expectation that he will do so. I hope I’m wrong, but the debate will likely be another bare-knuckled brawl that will repulse many voters.

Trump is expected to assail Biden over the alleged influence-peddling activities of his son, Hunter. I agree that it doesn’t look good for the Bidens and the national news media have an obvious double standard on these matters.  But the reality is that voters don’t much care about Hunter Biden and whether he made millions of dollars because his father was vice president.

Trump would do much better to focus on his forward-looking plans for the country instead of descending into the gutter and creating sympathy for Biden.

Trump should tone things down for the next two weeks, and send out some of his remarkable surrogates, especially those black conservatives who make the case for Trump much better than he makes it for himself.

4th District standoff. I’m surprised that the battle between Ben McAdams and Burgess Owens is essentially a tie. I thought polling would have McAdams ahead by 4-5 points. It’s going to come down to turnout and whether the Republicans are better organized than they were two years ago. The 4th is Utah’s most moderate district, and if Owens is doing as well as the polling shows, it might mean that Trump exceeds expectations as well.

2nd District debate. To win in the 2nd Congressional District, a Democrat would have to be a superstar conservative Democrat. Kael Weston is a solid candidate, but the district is too conservative for him to win, especially against a strong Republican incumbent like Chris Stewart. Weston and Stewart both did fine in the debate, but a draw isn’t good enough for Weston to gain ground.

Libertarian candidate Robert Latham, who also participated in the debate, articulated Libertarian positions well. He might take a few points away from Stewart in the election. But in the debate he was a distraction and prevented Weston from going one-on-one with Stewart.

Parting Shot. My wife, Jan (who hates it when I write about her), can’t stand Trump. Unlike me, she can’t separate his policies from his often-repulsive character and personality. She won’t vote for him. He violates everything she believes about how to treat other people. But she also doesn’t like Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and the arch-liberal Democrats, and she doesn’t really want them to take over the government. So she’ll probably write someone in. I argue (gently) that a write-in vote is a wasted vote and it’s really a vote in favor of changing control in Washington. But it’s a matter of principle for her. I note all of this because I suspect Jan is representative of a lot of mainstream voters, especially a lot of women. Luckily, despite our political differences, Jan allows me to hang out with her (especially if I help feed the chickens). I hope some political scientist keeps track of write-in votes this election to see if the number is higher than usual.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].