Take a Deep Breath
One of our 2020 through lines has been the chant of “I can’t breathe,” the words of the late George Floyd (and, before him, Eric Garner). Currently, I am hearing “I can’t breathe” from many of my closest friends (particularly the Lovely Carol Marie). They are not the victims of “bad apple” police officers, of course, but are suffering from 2016 PTSD. As we get closer and closer to November 3rd many of us who can’t imagine four more years of Donald Trump are paranoid because of what happened in 2016. I am writing this in hope of allaying, to some degree, the 2016 PTSD/paranoia so many seem to be suffering from.
Let’s simply look at the facts --- and, yes, even the polls --- and take a deep breath. Biden is leading in the polls, even in many “battleground” and “possibly purple” states and, I know, you’re going to tell me “So was Hillary” but there are a number of mitigating factors that make this different. Here are some of the items you need to consider that might help you breathe more easily.
#1. The 2018 Election and the “Blue Wave” that swept the Democrats into uncontested power in the House of Representatives. That is not an insignificant fact. A mid-term election (which often move away from the incumbent President) seldom has the turnout been as significant as it was in 2018. And we know that we are seeing huge turnout in early and mail-in voting. Do you really think most of those people are voting for Trump?
#2. Pollsters learned a great deal from the 2016 election --- about how, exactly, they fucked up. They were not, by the way, as far off as many people now characterize it but the Media failed to reveal the flimsiness of Clinton support to viewers/listeners. My only fear right now --- and I ask anyone reading this to keep this in mind --- is that whatever media outlet you pay the most attention to will keep telling you this “race will tighten up” as we get closer to November 3rd. That is not necessarily true and what it reveals is that most of these broadcast “journalists” are basically building their Maginot Line --- fighting the latest war based on the last one --- which could well be a gross miscalculation.
#3. Biden and the Democrats have not missed why Hillary lost. Her failure to campaign in Michigan and Pennsylvania (beyond Philadelphia) and Wisconsin cost her 77,000 votes and, more importantly, 46 Electoral votes.(which would have resulted in a 280 to 258 Clinton victory). Three other factors that will help Biden bring “battleground” states into the fold are: Barack Obama, Michele Obama, and Kamala Harris. We know that there was low Black voter turnout, particularly in Detroit and Milwaukee, that probably cost Clinton those states. I will guarantee that will not happen in the 2020 election.
#4.The Coronavirus. The Trump Administration’s gross mishandling of the pandemic, and its subsequent torpedoing of our economy, will have electoral consequences. Again, my greatest fear is not that there will be some Silent Trump Majority that miraculously appears on November 3rd (He has never reached 50% approval or support in four years!) No, my fear is that too many of my friends --- and people of their ilk (intelligent, caring, kind souls, generally) --- will continue to wring their hands, hang their heads, and, yes, even lose some sleep, until they actually see with their own eyes that Trump has lost the election.
#5. Donald Trump. We are all suffering from “Covid Fatigue” at the moment but it’s nothing compared to the Trump Fatigue that has worn millions of our fellow citizens to a nub. He is pleading with “Suburban Women” to like him, while threatening them with Cory Booker and hordes of Black people “invading” their suburbs. He is not some kind of political “mad genius” who pulled a miraculous rabbit out of the Electoral Hat in 2016. He rode reality-show celebrity, latent White Rage (particularly toward Obama), and an opponent who was disliked as much as he, into the White House. But four years of the White House Apprentice has exposed Con-man Trump for who he is. The Lincoln Project, Republicans Against Trump, and numerous other former Republicans are marshalling forces against the re-election of this dotard.
#6. The “October Surprise.” We know that James Comey’s letter, announcing a re-opening of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails eleven days before the election may well have influenced those 77,000 votes that swung the election Trump’s way. What’s our “October Surprise” in 2020? So far it’s been Hunter Biden’s emails found on a laptop mysteriously left at a computer shop in Delaware (where the owner of the shop is an avid Trump supporter) and uncovered by Rudy Giuliani, crimefighter. The laptop’s hard drive then found its way to the Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post (by way of Steve Bannon?). The reporter who wrote the story would not allow his name to be put on the byline because the story’s provenance was so questionable. When that didn’t gain any traction we suddenly have a revelation from the Director of National Intelligence (John Ratcliffe, a Trump toady) about Iranian (and Russian) “interference”(again, e-mails, this time supposedly from the Proud Boys threatening people to vote for Trump) --- and that “revelation” just happened to coincide with the day Barack Obama hit the campaign trail for Joe Biden (and was dominating prime-time news until Ratcliffe’s 7:30 pm “emergency” announcement). The only real surprise here is just how blatantly incompetent this Administration continues to be --- thinking the 2016 campaign playbook will work again in 2020.
Yes, the Electoral College allows for another miraculous chance but I don’t see it. The Republican Party is bereft of ideas and has become the Trump Party. They didn’t even create a Party Platform for this election! They simply said, “Read the 2016 Platform,” --- that’s their plan? I saw a news story last night (I believe it was on CNN) which was about a group of Trump supporters in Deep Blue Oregon. They all made at least $100,000 a year and were on a Dune Buggy weekend retreat, replete with Trump/Pence flags. When asked why they supported Trump their answers were consistent: money. To a person, they simply said they thought Trump would “protect” their wealth --- they had “worked hard” and didn’t want to see the government “give things away” to those who didn’t deserve it. Oh, did I mention they were all White people?
Yes, those folks are out there --- not White Men/Women without a College Education. They are people who are like Donald Trump. They value their money and their things most --- and genuine patriotism, empathy, compassion are only elicited when discussing or looking at someone who looks like they do and believes as they do.
The Republican Party slowly evolved into the Trump Party, tracing its roots back to the 1968 election, when Richard Nixon and George Wallace appealed to the “Silent Majority” and White racists, respectively. Over the years, those groups coalesced under the guidance of Ronald Reagan and the Bushes (who were advised and guided by the likes of Lee Atwater, Roger Ailes, Roger Stone, et al) and they found a patron Saint in Mitch McConnell, who has made himself rich while overseeing the destruction of minority rights (particularly voting), government safety nets, and opposing any progressive reform for women, the LBGTQ community, LatinX, Native American, or African-American populations.
That’s where we are. And November 3rd could well see a generational shift, a Blue Tsunami, if you will, that may not only throw Trump out but also turn the Congress (Senate and the House) blue. I only hope the Democrats will not be afraid to wield power the way the Republicans/Trumpists have for the past half-century. Seeing how effective the Lincoln Project’s advertising is, it is no wonder the Republicans have acquired the power they have --- those guys fight and they’re not afraid to fight dirty, if necessary. Maybe it’s time for liberals/progressives/Democrats to become a little less nice and not only acquire the power of office but use it.
Wash you hands. Wear a Mask. Vote.