By Elpidio R. Estioko
Culminating the four-day virtual Democratic Party National Convention over broadcast news networks ABC, CBS and NBC, Party presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden painted in his acceptance speech the dark moment of America. Solution? “Give people light.”
Biden suggested President Donald Trump took the path of anger and fear that he has “cloaked America in darkness.”
“Those are words for our time,” he said echoing those words from Ella Baker, a civil rights movement giant: “Give people light and they will find a way.” He thought that this is what we need based on his vision to unite America in times of darkness. Due to too much anger, too much fear and too much division at present… he thinks America is in darkness.
“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness. It’s time for us, for We the People, to come together.” Biden said.
I must admit I was stunned by his words in the light of the pandemic that we are facing as I watched throughout the duration of the convention. “This is our moment; this is our mission… the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight, as love and hope and light joined in the battle for the soul of the nation…We can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America. We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, and fairness over privilege,” he added.
I listened to his speech with hope when he said: “This campaign isn’t just about winning votes. It’s about winning the heart, and yes, the soul of America. This is a life-changing election that will determine America’s future for a very long time. Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy.”
Then he went to explaining what he will do if elected president: “The first step I will take will be to get control of the virus that ruined so many lives… The President keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him, no miracle is coming… And after all this time, the president still does not have a plan. Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation. He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.”
Well Biden said that on the first day of his presidency, he will implement a national strategy to combat the pandemic. “We’ll develop and deploy rapid tests with results available immediately. We’ll make the medical supplies and protective equipment our country needs. We’ll make sure our schools have the resources they need to be open, safe, and effective. We’ll put the politics aside and take the muzzle off our experts, so the public gets the information they need and deserve. We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask–not as a burden, but to protect each other. It’s a patriotic duty. In short, I will do what we should have done from the very beginning,” Biden said.
“I won’t have to do it alone because I will have a great Vice President at my side. Senator Kamala Harris has a powerful voice for this nation. Her story is the American story. She knows about all the obstacles thrown in the way of so many… Kamala and I both draw strength from our families,” Biden explained.
Another reality check is: Can Biden outsmart the canny/unorthodox political moves of Trump?
In the 2016 presidential election, then candidate for President Republican Donald Trump was a “joke” to many! In fact, “nobody” believed he will win the election. The prediction was even amplified when almost all national polls placed him behind Democratic female candidate former Sen. Hilary Clinton. She was way ahead in almost all the polls. True enough, she won the popular votes by almost three million, but Trump won the Electoral College which catapulted him to be the 45th president of the United States of America.
As I See It, the situation is similar to the upcoming November 3, 2020 Presidential election. Trump is trailing the polls in almost all national surveys behind Democratic candidate former vice president Joe Biden. Biden’s popularity is even bolstered by him selecting Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Will this be a repeat of 2016?
Maybe not! While the 2016 and the 2020 elections are similar, there are two distinct differences. First, in 2016, the economy was robust while at present the economy is going down which may have to last till the November elections.
The second difference is that there was no pandemic in 2016 while the 2020 election is being wreck by COVID-19. These two situations may dictate the outcome of the election and may derail the repeat performance of Trump!
There are factors attributed to Trump that are either positive or negative, depending upon the situation. He is known to be shrewd and unorthodox politician making a lot of unpopular decisions (mostly for his own personal benefit). He defies conventions and thrives on controversies. In fact, he likes controversies and is creating a lot of them. He is making bold decisions defying his cabinet members and presidential advisers. He is considered a strong leader who is willing to take risks likened to the world dictators and was able to convert the GOP into a Trump Party. These were the attributes he had in 2016 and still possess in 2020. Question: Will it work this time around?
So, whether we like it or not, the election of the next US president is dictated by the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic! It’s tied up with all aspects of our lives. Political life in America was fundamentally transformed by the virus!
Incumbents at every level, starting with Mr. Trump, will be judged on how they prepared for and managed the country through a crisis that has turned the life of nearly every voter upside down.
Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma said: “This is the question that is going to dominate the election: How did you perform in the great crisis?”
Democrats need to learn from the past! This time they need to make sure that during their campaign for popular votes, they have enough delegates/electoral votes to win the presidency. It’s the Electoral College that will catapult them to the presidency. Trump capitalized on this in 2016 and he had the experience to duplicate it in 2020!
Well, technically… the Electoral College is a thing in the past, meaning it may not apply any more to the present times as envisioned by the Founding Fathers because of the emergence of the internet, institution of the vote by mail which is being questioned by the Trump team, and the voting precincts are now available in remote places. But, for as long as it is still not amended and ratified by the states, it is still a matter the politicians can’t ignore. It needs two thirds of supermajority in Congress and three fourths to be ratified by the states, so we are stocked with the Electoral College this coming November.
This is the naked truth for the politicians and the American people to understand and contend with: The Electoral College is still in force!
Will Biden be able to transform his rhetoric to reality? The people will have to decide!
ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.