In thinking about how Joe Biden and Democrats can win their respective races in the 2020 election, I’ve been paying close attention to a number of Democratic and former Republican political analysts and talking heads. They all acknowledge Donald Trump’s deep personal flaws and failures as a leader, but they warn against Democratic over-confidence. Though 2020 is different than 2016 in a number of ways, they remind us that Trump won once and he could win again.
I list here Trump’s historic failures as President and offer a synthesis of what these political pundits agree can bring victory to the Democrats.
- The Trump administration is, without question, the most incompetent, chaotic, and corrupt in our lifetime, perhaps in the history of the United States;
- Trump has disastrously mismanaged the pandemic and resulting economic catastrophe;
- Trump’s serial lying, self-delusion and denial, fantastical thinking, and disdain for scientific advice and empirical evidence of the threat of the coronavirus unnecessarily killed tens of thousands of Americans who ought to be alive today with possibly more than 200,000 deaths by Election Day;
- Trump constantly divides the nation through his demagogic and racist dog-whistle white supremacy;
- Trump every day sullies the office of the President through his coarse and nasty rhetoric, tweets, and behavior, his personal attacks against critics, political opponents and journalists, and his bullying anyone who doesn’t play nicely to his malignant narcissism;
- Trump has broken more social and political norms than any President in modern history;
- Trump has undermined America’s Intelligence organizations, the State Department, the Military, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department, and others;
- Trump has dramatically diminished international respect for the United States by withdrawing from international agreements and alliances, catering to despots, insulting allies, scapegoating international institutions for his own failures, making America a global health risk, and worst of all, betraying our men and women in uniform;
All of the above are reasons enough to defeat him and his Congressional Republican sycophants in November. However, it is likely that the large margins that Joe Biden and many Democrats now enjoy will shrink between now and Election Day.
To win big means that not only do we need constantly to shine a light on Trump’s manifest failures as President, but to engage more citizens to vote against him who are and have been marginal to the political process in the past, who have not voted before, and who believe that their vote does not matter. It does. We can’t forget that Trump won the Electoral College because 80,000 votes in 3 states went to him thus giving him the election even though he lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.87 million votes.
Though it ought to be clear that this election is about a president’s integrity, common decency, empathy, civility, competence, and steady leadership, these virtues may not be enough to bring the needed numbers of people to vote Blue unless we do everything we can to bring out the vote.
To get people to vote, the experts all agree that this election must be about issues that affect American’s quality of life. Specifically, it’s about
- saving the Affordable Care Act and expanding health care to millions of Americans
- envisioning a Green New Deal that will reverse climate change while creating millions of high paying jobs
- reforming the immigration and criminal justice systems and community policing
- supporting small businesses and helping the working class to earn a living wage
- getting government assistance to help pay down student debt and helping students pay for the education they need and deserve
- fighting the NRA and enacting sensible gun registration laws
- appointing judges who will support LGBTQ people and a woman’s right to choose and preserve the independence of the courts and the Justice Department from encroachments by the Executive Branch
- enfranchising through statehood 700,000 Washington, D.C. American citizens
- restoring the United States as the international leader on behalf of human rights, the environment, justice, and peace.
Above all, it’s about electing officials who are committed to strengthening human solidarity by regarding all Americans as fellow human beings deserving of dignity and respect regardless of race, class, ethnicity, national origins, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.
To win big, the political experts all say that we need to focus our attention and resources on winning core battle-ground swing states for Biden and candidates for the Senate and Congress. They argue that social media will be the critically important tool in this election and that all of us can make a difference by using social media to persuade the people we know (family, friends, co-workers, and others) in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Arizona to vote for Biden and Democrats up and down the ballot.
Republicans have 23 Senate seats (mostly in Red states) to defend, compared to the 12 Senate Democrats who are up for reelection. Four states are highly competitive for Democrats and now have Senate seats held by Republicans that could switch: Colorado, Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina. Several more Senate seats are in play for Democrats as well including Montana, Georgia, and Iowa.
If Democrats win the White House, a majority of the Senate, and grow our margins in the House, November 3 can be the corrective to 4 years of corrupt and hard hearted Trumpism and the beginning of a new era of American democracy.
In sum, these experts remind us that
- Every vote matters.
- People should vote by mail and vote early. It’s a mistake to wait until the day of voting itself. The more people who vote early, the shorter will be the lines on Election Day. Every core battle-ground state has vote-by-mail despite Trump’s histrionics. If people don’t receive their ballots, they need to vote anyway, to put on their masks and gloves and stand in line for a few hours, if necessary, to vote.
- Polls giving Biden and Congressional candidates the advantage now could lead to over-confidence in November. Over-confidence could cause us to lose this election. We need to think and act as though we’re behind in every race.
- Current polls showing Biden’s lead are not necessarily real. The numbers certainly will tighten come Election Day.
- It will be harder this time for a lot of Americans to vote because of Covid19, voter malfeasance, Russian interference, and deliberate Republican attempts to suppress the vote. Democrats will need, therefore, a substantial surplus of votes heading into the election.
- Young adults historically do not vote in large numbers relative to their percentage of the population, nor do Latino citizens. Therefore, we need to impress upon our adult children, grandchildren, and Latino friends to vote, and that they need to get their peers to vote.
Feel free to use any of the above without attribution to disseminate in your own social media as we move towards November 3.
William Simon said:
This is a great recap and big reminder!! Thanks John. Bill
PS, happy 4th of July “celebration”….