President Donald J. Trump is a wild and crazy guy.
That's his superpower. That's how he won the 2016 primary — his reality show villain's instinct for spectacle sucked away screentime from his rivals. That's how he won the presidency.
He was the Animal House candidate, the R-rated prankster raising a defiant middle finger against the preppie politicians, the crusty deans of the establishment, the prudes who tut-tutted that it was improper to say this or that.
Forget being the candidate you'd want to have a beer with: Trump implicitly promised to take the nation on a never-ending pub crawl of one bonkers incident after another. You'd either be entertained or terrified, but at least you'd never be bored.
And he kept that promise.
The last four years have been one long night where so much unforgettable happened that you can barely remember anything the next morning: the fights over "very fine people" and "losers and suckers" and "fake news" and a "perfect phone call" and "shithole countries"; the allies he insulted and the dictators he exalted; the resignations and recriminations and outrages and kids in cages; the cavalcade of exposés on his escapades; the explainers of emoluments and collusion and obstruction and tax evasion; all the names that mishmash into a mush of Mnuchin and the Mooch and Mueller and Manafort and Papadopoulos and Stephanopoulos; the porn-star payoff; the Bible-and-tear-gas photo op; the drumbeat of school shootings and mass shootings and officer-involved shootings; the burning forests and burning cities; the hurricane that his Sharpie couldn't alter, the sickness that his makeup couldn't conceal; the tallies of 20,000 lies and 200,000 lives...
Trump was every morning headline, every late-night punchline, the first-course argument on every Thanksgiving menu — Trump, Trump, Trump, all the way down.
He is the man who blots out the sun — an eclipse who demands you stare at him and only him.
There was no GOP platform at the convention this year: Only the call for four more years of Mr. Trump's wild ride, the claim that only a man of such brazen chaos could bring about law and order.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE!!!" Trump tweets.
And that Joe Biden guy? He's an old man, Trump argues. He's senile! Trump tweets a photoshopped meme of Biden in a nursing home with the caption "BIDEN FOR RESIDENT".
Biden, 77, is an old man. And that's his superpower.
Yes, he's stubborn and cranky. He misspeaks, he rambles down long tangents about his old buddies from back in the day.
But that's a reason why he won the primary: While other Democrats chased the retweets of Twitter lefties, Biden ignored most of that newfangled "woke" stuff. No, he says, he's not a socialist. He doesn't want to abolish ICE or defund the police or ditch Obamacare for Medicare for All.
So while Biden's platform is more liberal than Obama's — and he keeps dodging questions about if he'll pack the Supreme Court — Biden is campaigning, dispositionally, as the conservative candidate.
He's the one making the pitch to go back to the good ol' days, when life moved a little slower, when Republicans and Democrats drank together at the same soda fountain. He's the one promising that he can make America great again.
If Trump's the party animal, Biden is campaigning as the sober designated driver. He's honestly not a lot of fun. But once the nightclub closes — they closed back in March — and you're hungover, exhausted and literally sick, he promises to be the one who will hold your hair back as you vomit the last four years out of your system.
For Trump, there is perhaps no higher crime and misdemeanor than to be low-energy, to be dull, to be boring. So how could he be losing, he asks his captivated crowds, to "Sleepy Joe Biden"?
But to Biden, that's his pitch: Our nation is sick. Our nation is tired. And Sleepy Joe is the soft, calming voice that will finally let you go to sleep. ♦