So, Donald J. Trump, what are you going to run on in November?
- On over 20 million unemployed Americans — more than at any time since the Great Depression in the 1930s?
- On the 1.284 million coronavirus cases in the United States with almost 80,000 deaths, or 28 percent of the 272,000 who have died around the world?
- On the fact that, globally, the death rate is 34 per one million, while the death rate in America is 232 per one million?
- On your chaotic, actually non-existing national coronavirus strategy, with little testing and tracing and with every state fending for itself?
- On a dysfunctional national health care system, which has failed the country as it was needed the most, and as you still continued to end Obamacare?
- On your growing isolation in the world in the middle of a global pandemic, as you stopped funding WHO, the World Health Organization, and declined to participate in a world-wide vaccine donor conference?
- On the forlorn voices and heart-breaking stories of all Americans, as seen through the 21 victims in today’s New York Times, who now discover that America is brutal country, without a safety net, and where those who lose their jobs also lose their health insurance and even their home, and lose hope?
- On his impeachment?
In 2016, Trump ran on MAGA, “Make America great again,” and he won, barely. He was, I have argued, incredibly lucky to do so. He lost the popular vote but captured three key states – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – by a total of only 68,000 votes, enough to win the Electoral College and capture the presidency. To win in November, he needs to be lucky again but with a now highly motivated Democratic Party, he also needs to find new voters, beyond his faithful base. But he has shown no inclination, and no ability, to do so. The coronavirus has shown him at his worst, a clueless non-leader, and, now, polls show that seniors around the country have soured on him. In RealClear Politics poll averages, Trump trails Joe Biden nationally by 4.4 percentage points and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and even in Florida, Trump’s new home state.
This time, Donald J. Trump does not have much to run on — it’s hard to run on fear, scandals, incompetence, crisis, but, most of all, on chaos. It’s hard to run when 57.6 percent of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track and when only 35 percent think the country is heading in the right direction.
Still, it’s going to be a hard-fought election. But, as former Republican Peter Wehner wrote in The Atlantic, the coronavirus will likely be when everything changed and when Americans saw “the con man behind the curtain.” Instead of uniting America during this pandemic, Trump has divided the country even more. But under Trump, as George Packer wrote, also in The Atlantic, about America as a failed state, nothing will change, when change, fundamental change, is so urgently needed.
That’s why November is so important and why it can’t come soon enough. We need to end this nightmare.