Joe Biden is suddenly a clear favorite in the general election battle against President Trump given rising poll numbers nationally and in key swing states, meaning he must now figure out how to run as a front-runner. It’s no easy task, especially against an opponent in Trump who is comfortable running as an underdog and who has the presidential bully pulpit and a healthy campaign war chest to throw at his opponent.
“If the election were held tomorrow, it would be a bloodbath. But there are about 150 tomorrows left,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton, who knows what it’s like to be on the losing side when you’re a favorite against Trump. The quandary for Biden and Democrats is how to win while ahead and retain the momentum Biden has won over the last few months — momentum that has come more from Trump’s own problems and news events than actions by Biden.
Friday's positive jobs report underscored how there are twists and turns to come in the presidential race, and the White House immediately touted the strong numbers as an argument for why the country should stick with Trump.
“The great American comeback is underway after the economy was artificially interrupted by the global pandemic,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement on Friday while blaming Democrats for keeping the economy from reopening. The jobless number fell to 13.3 percent in May from 14.7 percent in April, a surprise turnaround since most expected the number to rise.
Democrats warn Biden can’t afford to just run out the clock without punching back against Trump. At the same time, they know they also must offer their own proposals on issues including the economy — especially since Trump will be on the attack against Biden.