Many seem convinced that any election with former President Trump’s name on the ballot will invariably be about him, with little else mattering. There is no question that Trump is a dominating personality and presence, and unlike any previous political figure in our history. A love for him is the driving influence for some voters, while detesting him is the primary consideration for at least as many.

Look no further than the results of the late January NBC News national poll that showed Trump leading President Biden by 5 points, 47 percent to 42 percent. Among Trump backers, 57 percent said it was more of a vote for Trump, while 35 percent indicated it was more against Biden. Among those supporting Biden, 62 percent said they aimed to thwart Trump, exactly double the 31 percent who said their vote was more pro-Biden.

With 89 percent backing one of the two men, the bulk of the 11 percent who were undecided are likely what pollsters call “pure independents,” those who do not lean toward either party. Pure independents read, watch, and

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