Three’s a Charm

The latest Wall Street Journal poll has Democrats on edge, the headline being Joe Biden and Donald Trump tied at 46-46 in a two-man race.  These “Nervous Nellies” should keep THREE things in mind.

  1. There are 14 “independent” polling services of which only THREE have Trump tied or ahead.
  2. Poll sampling depends on accurately gauging the percentage of THREE groups of people who are likely voters in the 2024 election: Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  Major shifts in demographics and party affiliation since 2020 make any poll that does not take these factors into account suspect.
  3. To win a majority of the electoral college, Joe Biden needs only THREE of the six 2020 battleground states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  All THREE have seen a rise in Democratic voter registrations (largely from younger voters) and an increase in Democratic turnout following the Dobbs decision.

But that is not what I came here to talk about.  In the same poll, respondents were asked, “Is (candidate) too old to run for president?”  The results?  Biden, 73 percent.  Trump, 47 percent.  That is a significant difference for two individuals who are only THREE years apart when it comes to age.  Biden, 80,  Trump, 77.  

But even that is not what I came here to talk about.  Presidential candidates have been able to overcome a plethora of biases.  John Kennedy and Catholicism.  Barack Obama and race.  According to the popular vote, Hillary Clinton and gender.  Biden and age. Perhaps the only remaining bias that continues to dog most presidential aspirants is height. Texas Tech political science professor Gregg R. Murray found that in 67 percent of the presidential elections, dating back to 1789. the taller candidate triumphed over (pun intended) his shorter opponent.

Which is why no one should be surprised Florida’s governor chose not to accompany President Biden during his visit to view the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. You guessed it.  Ron DeSantis is THREE inches shorter than Joe Biden. Biden, 6 feet tall.  DeSantis, 5 feet 9 inches.  And you can bet the farm one of DeSantis’ campaign consultants told the governor, “The last thing we need is a photo of Biden putting his hand on your shoulder as he did with Zelenskyy.  That picture screams, ‘Son, nice of you to be here.'”

Not surprisingly, a DeSantis/Biden portrait would also debunk Trump’s self-reported height of 6 feet 3 inches he submitted to the Fulton County, Georgia sheriff’s office prior to his booking on August 24.  Former President “Double Down,” of course, would claim to be two times THREE inches taller than his rival for the GOP nomination.  One need only Google photos of Trump and DeSantis, such as the one below of the two men meeting on an Orlando tarmac in March 2020, to see a half-foot difference in height is questionable.

Aristotle first suggested the “rule of THREE,” based on his belief people find it easier to remember three things.  This principle was later applied to writing, psychology and survival techniques.  Think of what we were always told about fire safety.  “Stop, drop and roll.”  You should now add politics to that list of topics for which the “rule of THREE” is relevant.

For what it’s worth.

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