A Presidential Election Halftime Report | Opinion

The first Tuesday in November—the fateful day Americans will decide who they want to lead them for the next four years—is approximately 100 days away. We say it every four years, but this is the most consequential election of our lifetimes. And just as it was true in 2016, it's true again now. In this political era, the stakes only get higher.

Here is my "halftime report" as to where the race stands and what each candidate should do to win, as the campaigns enter their final phase after the conventions.

I'll start with an understatement: This race has been greatly impacted by the Chinese coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd. These unique overlapping, and now integrating sets of circumstances (not to mention living in the wake of the Mueller investigation and impeachment) make this election unlike any other in American history. Normal rules simply do not apply.

Keep the following in mind when considering this presidential race:

  • The majority of Biden voters are driven more by a fear and hatred of Trump than by a love for Biden.
  • Most of the president's voters are driven more by enthusiasm for him and not their hatred of Biden.

This has been pointed out by the very smart, but very misguided, Ezra Klein of Vox as potentially being both a blessing and a curse for Biden. I think it is more of a blessing because of the opportunity it presents. Let's start with former Vice President Biden.

What Biden needs to do:

He needs to hide.

Only people preoccupied with politics understand Biden's cognitive decline—and that includes only 20 percent of Democrats, who will vote for him regardless. The press is dismissing it whenever it's brought up because they know that the more time passes before more Americans become aware, the less time there is for them to change their minds.

Biden needs to pick a vice president that people will "love." Since a typical Biden voter is going to be voting against the president, he needs to close the enthusiasm gap with a likable veep. Since he's promised a female minority candidate, Biden's "game over" choice would be if he could persuade Michelle Obama to be his running mate. Want to take the next three months off, Joe? Sign up Michelle.

Almost as important as his vice presidential choice, Biden needs to make the following statement at his Zoom conference call that will double as a convention:

"My fellow Americans, I know I am not in my prime, and I know that concerns have been raised about my overall health. I assure you I am fit and ready to govern. That said, I am here tonight to pledge to you that if I am elected, I will only serve one term. Our country is so greatly divided that it needs someone with experience, character and stability to help it heal and to bring people back together. I am that man. I can and will do that job. Then I will step aside and turn over a new and vibrant American to my successor."

Because of his presumed mental decline, and his relative weak debate performances from the primaries, Biden cannot debate the president live and in-person. People will not be able to forget what they see. Whether he demands to see President Trump's tax cuts first, or insists that because of the concerns over the virus, normal debate formats are unsafe, he must avoid a one-on-one confrontation at all costs—let alone three or four such encounters.

In short, Biden must make sure the campaign season is as short as possible.

President Donald Trump in West Texas
President Donald Trump in West Texas Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

What the president needs to do:

He needs to make his base feel he is ready to stand up and fight for them again. He needs confrontation. Everything about the other side's behavior over the past four years has been confrontational. He cannot defeat them by suddenly trying to appease them.

As a first move in this direction, he must abandon any hint of embracing DACA and foreign worker or student visas. He is playing to a myth that Hispanic voters will flock to him if we allow more immigration, legal or otherwise—they won't. There is a large plurality of Hispanics driven by economics, safety and security, and law and order, rather than by immigration. His base, however, takes any movement to the left on DACA as a major betrayal.

The president should approach America in his convention speech by giving us a list of 2016 promises and breaking it down into three categories:

  • What I've done
  • What I will do between now and January
  • What I will do over the next four years

That would be a way to give voters something real upon which to focus. He needs to sit down in a comfortable chair, look the American people in the eye, and say the following regarding the Chinese coronavirus:

"A virus cannot be contained by government action. We've done a lot and will continue to do more. I am going to rely on first principles and individual liberty. I trust you, the American people, to make the right decisions for you and your families, just like I trust you to drive a car, exercise your Second Amendment rights and how I trust you in every other exercise of your God-given rights as an American. Fight back against your state and local leaders who do not show you the same level of trust and respect."

He needs to insist on in-person debates and allow for no exceptions. If there are exceptions he should not debate. Any "controlled" format will be used by the networks and moderators to help Biden.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, President Trump must unleash his most under-utilized, and potentially strongest weapon: We must start to see and hear more from First Lady Melania Trump. This remarkable individual, whom I have come to know, is intelligent, charismatic and can appeal directly to the female voters, from the cities to the suburbs who are so important to the president's re-election hopes. In a race this close, even if her voice can sway 50,000 votes in North Carolina or 15,000 in Michigan, it could account for the critical difference come November 3.

Those are my election halftime thoughts. I will see you on November 4 for the postmortem.

Charlie Kirk is the author of The New York Times bestseller The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas That Will Win the Future and host of The Charlie Kirk Show.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.