The 2020 election is now fewer than 90 days away.
It seems unlikely that too many people’s lives are going to change in any appreciable way during those days. The COVID-19 pandemic is going to keep everyone mostly at home; few big vacations will be planned by anyone, and travel will remain largely at a standstill. People will continue to be able to go out to eat and shop in a limited, frustrating way. State governments will reopen certain businesses, then close them again in exasperating fits and starts as the virus continues to spread essentially unchecked throughout the country, due in large part to reckless behavior like this. No new testing regime will be implemented. By now, in most places, it’s too late to implement comprehensive contact tracing, even if there was the political will to do so. Businesses, except for those that are “essential,” will continue to flounder, for the most part, as people remain too fearful to make large purchases.
It doesn’t appear that Republicans are interested in providing more meaningful assistance to those out of work due to this crisis, and even if they have a last-minute change of heart, the aid that will be provided doesn’t seem like it will make any significant difference to the economy beyond keeping people from starving and keeping some being evicted from their homes. If state and local governments are not funded within the next few weeks, another massive round of layoffs is looming, which will send the unemployment numbers into the stratosphere and further crater the idea of any rapid recovery. The Republican Senate majority blocking any attempts to provide for millions of suffering Americans apparently senses its impending demise and has settled on a scorched-earth strategy, which seeks to pin the blame on the states themselves, accusing Democratic-controlled states of seeking “bailouts.” As ridiculous as that is, in the face of an economic crisis that is fast approaching Depression-level impact, that appears to be the hill Republicans have chosen to die on, possibly with a view towards blaming the Democrats for the broad-based economic collapse we’re all but certain to experience going into 2021.
On the home front, parents are beginning to recognize the appalling situation facing the nation’s children as a result of this administration’s complete and utter dereliction of its responsibility to the American people. Some schools will attempt to reopen in accordance with Donald Trump and his cohort of Republican governors’ delusional demands. Most will end up closing after horror stories begin to propagate of children exposed to the virus going home and infecting—and sometimes even killing—their parents and grandparents, to say nothing of the teachers and other school employees whose health and lives will be sacrificed.
In sum, it doesn’t appear likely that beyond a now near-certain, last-ditch effort to prematurely hawk a phony vaccine, we’ll be seeing anything fundamentally hopeful or helpful from this administration or the Republican Party that currently holds this nation hostage over the next 12 weekends up until Nov. 3.
Given those assumptions, it may seem trite to be thinking about what type of message is really necessary for Joe Biden to get across to the American people. In fact, he may not even need a specific message to hammer home other than the bare fact that he’s not Donald Trump. But there’s one he may want to try.
Joe Biden may want to simply ask Americans if they ever want to go back to work normally again. Or if they want their children to ever go to school again. Do they ever want to freely travel again without being hampered by social distancing or wearing a mask? Do they ever want to embrace their parents, friends, and grandparents again? He might ask if they ever want to enjoy their lives again.
He may want to simply ask if Americans want a future for their children—any future. Because right now, the way this thing is going, there is none on the cards.
And he should spell it out quite plainly: If Americans want those things, they have to get rid of Trump.
If they don’t want this nightmare to keep going on and on, ad infinitum, they have to get rid of Trump.
If they ever want to go back to work, if they ever want their children to go back to school, they have to get rid of Trump.
If they want their children to have a future, or if they just want a future for themselves, they have to get rid of Trump.
In sum, and to make all of that as simple as possible: If they ever want their lives back the way they used to be before this virus happened, voters have to get rid of Trump.
Otherwise the rest of their lives are going to be just like this—a continuous loop of desperation.
Yes, the blame also lies with every Republican who enabled him. But making that case will be the job of every single Democrat running in November. Biden should round this messaging out with all of his own plans, and he will. But this election is a referendum on failure, and the face and name of that failure is Donald Trump.
Americans right now are exhausted. They are beside themselves with anxiety and stress. They are worried about their lives and the lives of their families. They wake up every morning with no hope on the horizon because this administration has given them none. Each day is simply waking up and looking into a dark, endless tunnel. That’s the American reality right now. And more than anything they have ever wanted in their lives, they need a light at the end of that tunnel.
Biden needs to offer them that light.
We need to turn out Democratic voters to defeat Trump in November, even during a pandemic. You can help out from home, no matter where you live, by writing personalized letters to infrequent, but Democratic-leaning, voters in swing states. Click here to set up an account with Vote Forward, the most popular get-out-the-vote activity among Daily Kos activists.