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End the duopoly

Trump, Biden and the Myth of ‘But 2016’

Damon Winter/The New York Times WASHINGTON — At first glance, there seems little in common between red-hat-wearing admirers of President Trump and Democratic activists still nursing PTSD from Hillary Clinton’s loss. Yet these political opposites share an overriding conviction, one they are apt to invoke any time the president’s re-election prospects are questioned: But 2016! Mr. Trump’s surprise win in the Electoral College is their Exhibit A, cited repeatedly online or in real life, to counter any polls or election results or momentary events that cast doubt on the president’s electability in 2020. Just as William Faulkner wrote about how Southerners once daydreamed about the moments before Pickett’s Charge, before Gettysburg turned the tide of the Civil War, some activists seem frozen in the post-midnight hours of Nov. 9, 2016, when Mr. Trump won and time — political time — stopped like a broken clock. Ever since then, the assessment has been the same: Mr. Trump is a powerful, if unconventional, political force; the polls don’t fully capture his strength; and the Democrats are too complacent to win this November. Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, also championed the “But 2016!” way of thinking this month when she […]

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