Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been a vibe shift in perceptions of the presidential election. Some of it is data-driven, with high-profile media polls like NBC and New York Times/Siena showing President Joe Biden narrowing the gap with former President Donald Trump in national polls. A Marist poll released this week showed Biden ahead of Trump 51% to 48%, his largest lead since October 2023.

I’ve also noticed that the palpable despondency that accompanied most conversations with rank-file type Democrats earlier this year, has been replaced with a more optimistic (though still guardedly so) view of Biden’s chances to win reelection.

Some of this vibe shift can be explained by the fact that Democrats have (finally) come to the conclusion that Biden is going to be the nominee. Dreams of a “white knight” sweeping in to replace the 81-year-old incumbent have been extinguished. The “uncommitted” vote in Democratic primaries, while still a sign of discontent from the progressive base, has not snowballed into a more robust rejection of the president. In other words, Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are

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