Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Campaign's Final Days

Presidential campaigns always last too long. I think we can nominate, debate, scare, insult, propagandize, and raise obscene amounts of cash in two months and then be done with it. Start in September. Done by November.

Of course, this campaign is different from most others because of the virus and because of the candidates and because of the virus. President Trump did not help himself by catching Covid-19 by flouting every bit of science we have about how the virus spreads, and then telling the country not to be afraid of it. I've been trying to find some rationality in the man, but I can only conclude that he really doesn't have a whole lot of empathy in his personality and that he is tone deaf to the fact that we're on the way to 250,000 dead and countless millions affected by this scourge.

And Joe Biden? Solid debate performances, but nothing really special, but then again, he doesn't need to do much other than act presidential and appeal to the more rational among us who see the value in not gathering with thousands of other unmasked people at a political rally, football game, biker confab, or mass pig roast. In addition, this is exactly the type of campaign that Biden needed; no big rallies, few occasions to say something mystifying, odd, offensive or wrong, and against an opponent who wallows in conspiracy theories and personal vendettas. 

The Trump Administration can say all it wants about how it handled the initial outbreak of the virus, but the fundamental error was the president's decision to fight the numbers associated with Covid-19. By trying to minimize the number of people infected and to control how many cases were reported, the administration missed an opportunity. What they should have done was embrace what was going to happen and set up the president as leading the fight against it. I know he said he was trying to calm the situation, but he only ended up telling us that it would be over soon, which is something that he never should have said because he couldn't make it happen. Banking on a vaccine is not a bad idea, but again, hyping a vaccine every few weeks when clearly we weren't going to get one for at least six to eight months does not enhance his credibility.

Yes, I know that the millions of Americans who support President Trump have assigned him a credibility that has a wide, no, yawning gap in it that's enough for two or three jumbo jets to pass through, so his saying that the virus is nothing to fear and that a cure is just around the corner are comforting rather than irresponsible. What troubles me is that so many people are willing to listen to him over experienced, professional scientists. This is why we are in the midst of a terrible new wave of the virus in exactly the states and localities where the president has so much support. Thankfully, not as many people are dying, but they still getting sick. Wear a mask. Please.

As for the issues, well, we certainly haven't had a robust debate over health care and taxes and foreign affairs and anything else related to how we should be moving forward as a country. That's a shame, but if the president wants to rehash conspiracy theories and falsehoods about how terrible the country will be if the Democrats win, then that's his choice. I prefer facts and science. Call me naive.

The president has tried to question the validity of the vote, which is a shame. Instead of creating problems, he should be working to solve them by making voting more accessible and fair. Undermining democracy is no way to run a...democracy. Of course, when your party has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, I can see where you might question allowing more people to vote. Perhaps the Republicans could change their message to, let's see, expanding health care, protecting Dreamers, making wealthy corporations pay their fair share of taxes, allowing women to make choices regarding their own bodies, and other issues upon which most of the country agrees.

Just a suggestion.

If you waited until Tuesday to vote, please make sure you do. 

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