(My) Fear and Trembling

In one of the great ironies (or idiocies) of presidential politics, arguably the most lawless and disordered president in American history has seized on the central campaign theme of “law and order”. And equally ironic (or corrupt) is the hateful rhetoric with which Trump uses the black-lives-matter protests to build credibility for this inherently racist theme. His litany of lies literally stokes racism, encourages police confrontation with protesters, emboldens thugs and gun-toting vigilantes to create the violence which, with his lunatic logic, Trump warns will be the result of a Biden presidency.

Unfortunately, the call for law and order will likely resonate as “red meat” for his base, as “dog whistles” to those whose racism is more aggressive than passive, and as effective fear mongering aimed at centrist suburbanites. It thus provides a potentially successful strategy to obfuscate and overcome the long-established majority disapproval of Trump, even magnified during the past six months by his historic incompetence and blatant self-serving in managing the pandemic resulting in an unthinkable number of preventable deaths and an economy in shambles, and his depraved indifference to the obviously racist shootings by police of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and James Blake.

I do not believe that Trump’s desperate and ridiculous attempt to defame and actually nullify the election would have saved him from losing the presidency. I think it was born of his belief that he was indeed going to lose the vote. But the law-and-order strategy has given him new hope.

Trump now has what seems to me a realistic path to re-election, made all the more viable If Biden does not get out of his basement and spend every remaining day of the campaign in the swing states (and every minute of the debates) confronting Trump and promoting clear, decisive alternatives to every one of Trump’s massive failings.

My fear is that Biden is at risk of joining Kerry and Clinton in losing an election that was theirs to win. I tremble at the thought that if it happens this time, it will end very, very badly for America and the world.

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