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The State of the Race Right Now. And Also Burgers.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

This week we examine the question everyone’s asking — whether or not Trump is winning at this point in the race. We also go down the rabbit hole of burgers again because you people are very, very emphatic about that. 

Let’s start with the important stuff. Where Are We Today?

We’re winning.

That’s my assessment, with the caveat that the crustacean could name a veep between the time I send this in and the time it runs – though I can’t imagine any pick would help him. 

Regardless, the polls, which I doubt for a number of reasons, including the mainstream media’s status as a garbage pail of liars and Democrat operatives, are tightening. Now, the polls are literally the only evidence – again, it’s weak evidence – that the Democrats are winning. Everything else seems to point to Trump, starting with the incumbent advantage and the total lack of any significant movement of people who voted for Trump in 2016 deciding “Yeah, I voted for Trump before, but after four years of conservative success, I think I’ll back that gropey, senile old weirdo who is a pawn of the communists because Trump sends mean tweets.”

I don’t see it.

And I want to see it. I’m looking for bad news because I always think you should fight the strongest enemy possible (I discuss this in my new book, The 21 Biggest Lies About Donald Trump (and You)).

The race was always going to tighten, and it’s a long time until the election. Remember, Gov. Michael Dukakis was up 17 points about this time in 1988 when he ran for president. Plus, the trends are good for Trump. The virus is receding and the efforts of the media and Dem governors to keep it a thing are ticking people off. Ditto the lazy teachers’ unions trying to get paid for parents doing their job – Trump wisely positioned himself on the popular side of that fight. The economy is improving while the cultural chaos is playing into his law ‘n order message. 

But the big thing is Grandpa Badfinger. Biden is holding fire on his manifest senility until September, when normal folks start paying attention. Oldfinger will definitely dodge the debates (“I won’t appear on stage with Trump and normalize his racism, sexism, transphobia, and racism”) and people are going to notice that he’s 217 years old and totally out of it. That’s going to crush him. More on this in an upcoming column. 

Similarly, it looks to me like the House is getting closer toward going Republican. Each race is a separate battle, but the overall trends are positive. I have been hearing some inside info that allegedly safe Dem seats are at risk. That might be spin, but my sense is that something is shifting, either because of the chaos or the school closures (or both), and it’s against the Dems. 

I say it’s time to run up the score. I’m in Ted Lieu’s district, so I need to put my money and effort somewhere. One guy I’m supporting is PA-17’s Sean Parnell, an Army combat vet running against a JAG Pelosi pet. This is a swing district, and I say we swing it back. You can help too, by donating directly so the D.C. hacks don’t eat 60% of your money for “overhead.” 

We can win. And I think we are winning. But we need to fight like we’re losing.

Burger Input

Last week, I promised to tell you about how a burger may be made and to discuss the acceptable variations, but I must now break that promise because so many of you filled my super-secret email address (below) with your own thoughts. Some of them were intriguing and acceptable. Others opened the door to a chamber of horrors. So, I’ll show you everyone else’s thoughts before I tell you next week what the real answer is.

First, Lew and Al both continued the defense of hot dogs. Okay, hot dogs are not happening. Still, they had some good old school hot dog stories from NYC and ’Frisco respectively.

“C” insists on adding bacon to the meat. He/she/xe also insists “DO NOT add cheese. Unless blue with pepper.” Further, “Condiments are NOT red.” And “C” minimizes the importance of the bun. This is all wrong and is pretty much communism. “C” gets an “F”.

The ironically monikered “Corn Dog” says “the way I like to cook my burgers is to first make a compote of butter, garlic (lots), and tarragon.” Okay, I’m listening…

“Freeze that rolled in cellophane. Using 80% lean ground beef (the more fat the better), make your patties as you normally would except make them smaller. I like to add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Place the butter compote on top of one patty then top with another patty a pinch the edges to form a single patty. Chill in the fridge for an hour or two just to kind of set the patties, but pull out well before grilling to allow to return to room temperature. Make sure to do grandma’s thumb press in the middle and then grill away. Add all of your fixings and enjoy, but make sure you have plenty of napkins, because they are deliciously messy.”

All right, I’m not opposed in principle but it seems like a lot of work. One of the joys of a burger is its glorious simplicity.  

Liz says “85/15% grilled to medium rare with Colby cheese” and observes that “[t]he French add butter to their ground beef, if there is not enough fat.” Interesting.

Beth says “Best burger secret in my house: serve it in an onion roll.” Meh, I’m not totally down with that.

Jeff is very picky about cooking: “It is flipped exactly three times. First when it bleeds, then when it bleeds again. Thirdly when it stops raining grease. Four thou shalt not flip unless transferring to a plate. Two shall neither be used unless followed appropriately by three. Five is right out.” This is from the sacred Burger Scrolls of Antioch, I believe.

Rick, who is “100% Never (Sloppy) Joe” – I assume that applies to both sandwiches and the election – is a stovetop cooker. “Ripping hot cast iron skillet, 4 oz ground beef...Form into a small patty, season with salt and pepper as desired…Place in a ripping hot skillet and smash with stiff metal spatula until at most 1/2" thick…Don't move it for a good 1.5 minutes until a nice crust forms. It'll smoke, and that's good…Flip and if you want to add cheese (good, melty American cheese) and cook for another minute.

Maybe top with a tomato slice. That's it. No stuffing it with cheese, adding spices to the beef, breadcrumbs or egg. Just 100% pure beef. Stack multiple of the smash burgers if you want more than 1/4 pound.” I agree on everything but the topping limitation.

Jeff, after correctly pointing out how awesome my latest conservative thriller, Collapse, is, takes a terrifying tangent: “I think falafel is an acceptable alternative to the mighty hamburger, and it is ideal for hot sauce!” He also suggests “[j]alapeno bacon cheeseburgers.” Oh, no.

Carol insists that her husband’s “Lamb tacos. Lamb burgers. Lamb, veal and pork meatballs” rock, but while each is intriguing, none is a burger.

Mick likes personally ground burgers (fine) but digs “a nice pork (well done) or venison burger as well.” ALSO NOT BURGERS.

I was a Desert Storm vet like Stefan (BTW, this week marks the 30th anniversary of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait that lit the whole thing off). 

“When I was in Bahrain during Desert Shield, Crown Prince Isa Bin Salman al Khalifa was kind enough to furnish plenty of fresh vegetables, salads, and lamb for the Marines of MAG-11 to eat. It was the least he could do while we prepared to throw the Republican Guard out of Kuwait. Unfortunately, the culinary taste of those Devil Dogs was of a decidedly quotidian nature. It wasn’t long before the troops began to grumble. They yearned for tube steak and burgers. Despite your preference for the burger, the yearning for the hot dog is equally as enthusiastic. It wasn’t long before the fare at the mess tent resembled what was being served at chow halls around the fleet: soggy burgers and rubbery dogs. Even though I felt right at home, I missed the fine cuisine the Crown Prince had so generously provided.”

Debby Downer Gary warns, “You might feel differently about hamburgers if you had had the misfortune to take a microbiology course in college and seen by experiment how black you have to burn them to get the bacteria count down to reasonable levels.” Well, I was a communications major and dodged that bullet.

Finally, Proforce mentioned that “I broke a tooth on a Patty Melt at home Monday. Great sandwich.” Hey, who dares wins. We’ll discuss the patty melt, an acceptable burger mutation, next week.  

Grab a copy of my just-released Regnery non-fiction book, The 21 Biggest Lies About Donald Trump (and You!). And now the audio version is out, read by the amazing Tony Katz. Get it so you can surround yourself in your car with his mellifluous tones! My super-secret email address is


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