Traditionally, in national elections the Labor Day weekend, which is now upon us, marks the beginning of the home stretch. By that time, voters have generally begun to focus on the election and the major issues; both parties have held their respective conventions and formally nominated their candidates; and the nominees have commenced campaigning vigorously.
Such is the case this year. For example, the major issues have come into focus; the few battleground states that will actually decide the election have been identified; President Trump has gone on the road taking his case directly to the people as he did in 2016; and Joe Biden has left his bunker to campaign in person.
In my opinion, Biden would have been content to run his entire campaign virtually from his bunker/man-cave basement. He would have done so had he maintained his lead in the polls. Instead, in recent days, his once comfortable lead has shrunken to five to eight points, depending on which poll one views, and most of the battleground states are within the margin of error.
Moreover, the momentum is with the GOP. Therefore, Biden has no choice but to campaign in person and even answer questions from the media. In addition, any hopes he had of avoiding the scheduled debates is gone.
As I said above, at this point I believe the pivotal issues that will decide the election have come into focus. Hint: they are not what you might think. Some issues, which seemed so important not long ago now no longer appear to be pivotal to the election.
For example, a certain portion of the electorate hates President Trump on a personal level. We’ve heard this for four years now. They believe he is rude, crude, a racist and a misogynist, among other things. They will not give him credit for any positive thing he accomplishes; and they will not vote for him under any circumstances.
Similarly, many voters believe the moderate Joe Biden we remember from the 1980s and 1990s is gone. They view the current version as an “empty suit.” They are convinced he is mentally impaired, a puppet for the far left zealots, and will permit his handlers to impose socialism on the country if he wins.
There is nothing that can be done to change their minds. Those opinions are, as they say, “baked in.”
To be sure, things could still change. Some unforeseen external event, such as a war, a terror attack, a resurgence of COVID, a COVID vaccine, or a calamitous natural disaster, could impact the election. But, barring those occurrences, I believe the following issues will decide the election. Hint: they are not what some of you may think.
Rioting, violence and general lawlessness in the cities.
I have posted several blogs dealing with this issue. For the past few months we have seen these incidences spread and intensify. Property has been destroyed; including many small businesses owned by minorities and immigrants; the police have been hamstrung by ultraleft mayors, and innocent bystanders have been attacked and even killed; a portion of Seattle was occupied; the politicians in charge of these cities, all Dems, have done nothing to quell this rioting, and, in some cases, have even aided and abetted them.
These started as legitimate Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, but radical anarchist groups, such as ANTIFA, have long since hijacked the movement. Presently, it bears little resemblance to peaceful protests. In fact, there is mounting evidence that many, if not most, of these rioters are not local. They roam from location to location and are being supported and funded by organized groups of outsiders.
The polls show that the overwhelming majority of voters are fed up and afraid. They simply don’t feel safe in their own homes or neighborhoods. They want the violence to end. Many of those who can are fleeing these cities for safer environments.
Clearly, the Dems are on the wrong side of this issue. Their history with it is, frankly, laughable.
First, they ignored it. For weeks, prominent Dems, such as Biden and Pelosi, and most of their supporters in the mainstream media denied its existence. Biden called it “fear mongering.” Jerry Nadler, denigrated it as a “myth.” They failed to even mention it at their convention. Not a word. Zip, zilch, nada. Liberal mayors and governors refused to accept President Trump’s offers to help. Various Biden supporters have even given money to a fund that posts bail for arrested rioters.
When pressed on the matter they insisted they were “peaceful protests.” The height of this hypocrisy was a CNN piece that showed the reporter describing the “protests” as “peaceful” while, in the background, one could see fires raging. Talk about “fake news!”
For months, Biden was unwilling or unable to stand up to the mob and liberal governors and mayors in these locales. He refused to criticize, much less condemn, their actions. Probably, he was afraid to anger his supporters who were the perpetrators and abettors.
Now that the polls have turned against Biden and have indicated he is losing support among Blacks and Hispanics, who have been most affected by the violence, now that even CNN anchors, such as Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, have criticized the Dems’ handling of this issue, Biden has belatedly and half-heartedly condemned them. I say, too little, too late.
Now, the talking point is the rioters are Trump supporters. Huh? Does anyone actually believe this nonsense? If they are Trump supporters why are the Dems providing funds to bail them out of jail? The Dems are really scrambling on this issue, and if the violence persists it could cost them the election.
Potentially, the entire election could be decided by mail-in votes. So what, you might say. A vote is a vote regardless of how it is cast. On the other hand, the system is subject to manipulation and fraud. There are various bugs that should be resolved before it is rolled out in a national election.
This issue is being hotly debated right now, and both sides are dug in. I will stipulate that there are legitimate points on both sides. I don’t want to rehash them here. Suffice to say, now is not the time to enact it on a massive basis as some want to do.
Here is the problem as I see it. The entire legitimacy of our republic is based on free, fair and honest elections. Regardless of the outcome, the people accept the result. This has not been a problem in the past. We have had many close and even controversial elections.
In my lifetime, the two that come to mind were 1960 and 2000. In 1960 there were suspicions that Chicago mayor Richard Daley had caused additional votes to be cast for JFK, thus swinging Illinois and the election to him. Chicago already had a reputation for such shenanigans. But, Richard Nixon did not challenge the outcome and the public accepted the result.
In 2000 Florida had a controversy with thousands of its ballots, the infamous “hanging chads” problem. The ballots were recounted several times and ultimately the Supreme Court had to decide the winner, George W. Bush. The Al Gore camp was not happy, but, ultimately they accepted the decision, and the country moved on.
In those years the country was not nearly as divided as it is now. In my view, there is a strong possibility of a controversy in a few closely contested states, such as questionable signatures, accusations of voter harvesting, or late submission of votes. We could end up with litigation or violent protests over the result lasting months if not years. I fear that whichever side loses will claim they were “robbed,” and that would be very bad for the country.
To be sure, there are many other issues that people care about, but I feel that these two have the greatest potential to affect the election.
Both sides agree that this will be an important election. I maintain that it will be the most crucial election in my lifetime. The result will impact our way of life for many years, if not forever. The country is divided as it is. We don’t need matters to be exacerbated by a controversial election.