45 Days Before the Nov. 3 Election: Last Minute Salvos for Biden, Trump

By Elpidio R. Estioko

The Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election is just around the corner! What does this mean? It means that it is time for the voters to assess the two parties’ platform, decide, and vote during the election!

But since the political arena is tainted with fake news, conspiracy theories, lies and misrepresentation, alleged Russian interference, the COVID-19 pandemic, political alliances, serious allegations, personality attacks and pressures, federal vs local management styles in handling the pandemic, and the dwindling economy… it will be hard for the voters to make their choices!

Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and running-mate California Senator Kamala Harris painted the dark ages under the administration of President Donald Trump. Biden offered to “give people light” and Harris said the campaign is “not for Joe nor for me” but for the American people.

Biden’s campaign revolves around uniting the country. In his acceptance speech, he pointed out that America is in the dark moment and his solution is to “give people light” since Trump took the path of anger which are signs that America is in darkness. Biden echoed the words of Ella Baker, a civil rights movement icon: “Give people light and they will find a way.” Biden said, “those are words for our time.”  He thought that this is what we need based on his vision to unite America in times of darkness. He thinks America is in darkness due to too much anger, fear and division at present.  

How about the Republican Party, Trump’s GOP?  President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, I think, have less to offer considering that most Americans disapprove of what Trump is doing in key issues in general, and in combating COVID-19. This was shown in national surveys where he is trailing behind Biden in almost all of them.

Based on the NPR’s KQED report by Domenico Montanaro, “Trump struggled to defend his handling of the pandemic during his acceptance speech, so he attacked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for saying he would shut down the country if the science demanded it.” I think this is a desperate surrender on his previous stand on the issue of the pandemic.

To lift his campaign and possibly ensure his reelection, I think he has launched three political moves: reopen the economy, reopen the schools, and come up with the vaccine before the election. I call these moves as gambits (in chess parlance, making a sacrifice to gain advantage) or Hail Mary Pass (a very long forward pass in American football, according to Wikipedia, typically made in desperation, with only a small chance of success).

Based on the report, the president said: “Americans have to get back to work, they have to get back to school.” He espoused on these, I guess to be able to lift his chances for the economy to bounce back. Trump then claimed, “We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year. And together we will crush the virus.”

The author mentioned “the convention offered a poor example during the coronavirus. When first lady Melania Trump delivered a speech from the Rose Garden, few masks were worn. There was an attempt to space seats out, but not far enough to make public health experts comfortable. Pence spoke before a larger crowd in Baltimore with lots of close mingling—and few masks.

But all pretense of setting an example of adhering to public health measures was thrown out with Trump’s speech in front of 1,500 people, closely seated next to each other with few masks in evidence.”

There are factors attributed to Trump that are either positive or negative, depending upon the situation which may play significantly in the election. He is known to be a 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. But the question is: Will it work this time around?

Known to be “self-oriented” in most of his decisions at the expense of the American people, Trump boldly advanced his political gambits in the hope of bouncing back the economy and getting himself re-elected for another four years. Studies show that a good economy bolsters the chances of a candidate, much so for an incumbent, for another term. This has been shown in the past and Trump is banking on the study to be able to retain his presidency!

Gambits or Hail Mary’s work… sometimes, but will it work for Trump in the coming Nov. 3 presidential election?

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 estiokoelpidio@gmail.com

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