So, Trump, what are you running on?

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.

My hometown paper has it right!

My hometown paper, The Berkshire Eagle, the New England & Press Association Newspaper of the Year, is an added attraction to any resident of Western Massachusetts, the kind of local news one likes to support: ambitious, enlightened, engaged.

Today, its editorial weighed in heavily and rightly on Trump and his racist remarks about the four female members of Congress, one from the city of Boston. Criticizing the Republicans, including Maine’s senator Susan Collins, for their failure to “locate its (the party’s) spine and criticize the president’s shameful words,” only Massachusetts Republican governor, Charlie Baker, who had called Trumps tweets “shameful and racist,” was spared in the editorial. His comments, it said, “speak well for the state.”

The country has many serious problems but finds itself led by a “bigoted bully with an affection for dictators.” But by uniting to deplore “the president’s indefensible statements and actions, it may be that the nation can address these problems,” the editorial concluded.

 

A “bloviating ignoramus” upstages Romney’s victory

When Mitt Romney yesterday, through his victory in the Texas republican primary, reached the required 1,144 delegates to capture the Republican nomination at the convention in Tampa at the end of August, it was a victory without a victory speech, without fanfares and jubilation. He had defeated Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and all the rest after a hard and long campaign. And it was historic – the first Mormon ever to become one of the two major political parties’ presidential candidate.

One would think that to be worth celebrating, but it didn’t happen because Romney’s campaign had somehow, inexplicably and clumsily, planned it so that Romney was not even in Texas yesterday but at a fundraiser with multi-millionaire Donald Trump at his hotel in Las Vegas.

A more stupid strategy is hard to imagine, for it was Trump who got the attention, not Romney, by continuing to express his doubts that Obama was not born in the United States. Many questioned why Romney is even associating with Trump, now a leading spokesman for the totally discredited “birther” movement. Leading conservative columnist George Will was not pleased: who will vote for Romney because he is seen with Trump, this “bloviating ignoramus.”

Good question. This association, for someone who needs to make substantial inroads among independent voters to have a chance to win, can’t be conducive to that effort, and the Obama campaign will surely use this against Romney in the remaining five months to November 6.

Today, the race is even between the two candidates. Obama leads by an average of two percentage points over Romney and, according to Real Clear Politics, by 243 electoral votes to 170 for Romney. 270 are needed to win and the final victory depends on the 125 electoral votes in ten swing states, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In 2008, Obama lost in only of these ten states, Arizona and Missouri.