American elections tend to tighten sharply in the home stretch. Yet in this unusual year as the pandemic worsens in the United States it is quite possble that shift will be minor.
Covid-19 is accelerating in the US, hitting a record 75,000 daily cases on Friday.
The US has passed 140,000 deaths and 3.7 million cases. It took 80 days for the country to reach its first 500,000 cases and just eight days to reach its last 500,000. New cases are on the rise in three dozen states. Millions of people have lost their jobs.
Those basic conditions are being reflected in polls that show President Donald Trump lagging nationally by about 8 to 10 per cent. Two polls last week put Democratic challenger Joe Biden's lead as high as 15 points. In the past 45 years, only Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan polled about where the former Vice-President is now at this stage of the race.
The trajectory of the outbreak, and Trump's fortunes in November, are unlikely to significantly improve in time - unless he drastically reverses his course, as improbable as that seems.
There are actions the President could take to help the situation and his own prospects, starting with an unity address to the country. He could hold an online meeting with all the governors to agree on a strategy, which could include a nationwide mask-wearing directive for Americans when outside. The President could himself wear a mask whenever he appears in public. Hard-hit states could be told to introduce border restrictions. He could outline jobs projects and more financial aid that directly helps families.
Trump's present approach of leaving individual states to primarily deal with the problem is a major failure so far, practically and politically.
It means he does not allow himself the option of taking action to improve the situation yet cannot absolve himself of responsibility because people expect national leadership in a crisis. He leaves himself open to criticism from state leaders. He is not taking advantage of his own incumbency.
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By attempting to avoid tackling the pandemic and trying to project a sense of normality about the virus when life is not normal for millions of people, the President risks coming across as callous, out of step and largely irrelevant.
When he has focused on the coronavirus, Trump has made controversial interventions. Now he is pushing for schools to reopen in the northern autumn. Before, he pushed for early economic reopening.
The Washington Post reported at the weekend that Trump is putting "less of his time and energy to managing the pandemic". It quoted an adviser as saying "he doesn't want to be distracted by it ... He's not worried about cases".
Biden leads in polling on every issue of importance to voters, except on who is best to handle the economy. A Quinnipiac University poll last week was the first to show Biden with an advantage on that issue as well. Several Republicans are behind in Senate races and Gallup reports that the number of self-identified Republicans has shrunk by 8 per cent in six months.
The Democrats have been helped by Trump's strategic mistakes. In a pandemic, Trump has pursued his attempts to end the Affordable Care Act, cut support for the World Health Organisation and shown more concern for statues than the living.
With 15 weeks to go, Trump is on defence by his goal line.