JUST 9 MONTHS UNTIL NOV. 5
The polls are even more alarming when it comes to the six "battleground" states expected to determine the election’s outcome. He’s barely ahead only in one – Pennsylvania – and behind in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia (where Trump leads by 7.2 percentage points).
I take the polls seriously. Whatever its flaws, early polling means that a lot of voters have made up their minds; and it’s really, really hard for them, or for any of us, to change our opinions today, or nine months from now.
A lot of people don’t mind that Trump faces felony charges in four courts, that he’s a rapist and a liar and that he and his allies are working on plans to create an authoritarian government.
So what’s the good news?
THE HOPEFUL PART is that it may not take a whole lot of votes to turn things around.
Not that it won’t mean a lot of extraordinarily hard work and a fair amount of luck
But it might not take that many votes to swing the election to Biden. Which means that every vote, and everything people do to increase voting, will make a difference.
This was what happened in 2020, when Biden rescued the nation from Trump.
You may remember that Joe whipped Don by more than 7 million votes; Joey got 51.3 percent, Donny just 46.8 percent.
But the real margin was just a tad under 43,000 votes.
That was the combined winning margins for Biden in three of the aforementioned battleground states – Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin. Biden won by absurdly thin margins in each state, but enough to throw their Electoral College votes to Joe Biden.
This Electoral College system is one of the Constitution’s dangerous flaws; it means a candidate can have far more popular votes than his or her opponent, but lose the election because of the Electoral College formula.
But not too old
ONE REASON many Americans don’t want Joe Biden to serve a second term is that he’s 81.
But, remarkably, he’s active, hard-working and sharp.
Exactly one month ago, on Jan. 5, Biden delivered a critical speech in Pennsylvania.
It was a forceful, eloquent appearance that defined the election in stark terms, as a choice between democracy and dictatorship.
What struck me was the vigor that Biden displayed.
You can see for yourself. Below is a picture linked to a four-minute except of a C-Span video. To watch, click on the photo.
Below the photo is a transcript of what's on the clip: Biden' is discussing the Jan.6 Capitol riot.
“THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE PREVAILED.
Not the anger of the mob or the appetites of one man.
When the attack on January sixth happened, there was no doubt about the truth.
At the time, even Republican members of Congress and Fox News commentators publicly and privately condemned the attack.
As one Republican senator said, Trump’s behavior was embarrassing and humiliating for the country.
(The transcript continues below the main story).
Thank you, Founding Fathers for coming up with such a stupid, stupid system.
On the other hand, in a closely divided country, this can mean that everything each one of us does counts, including volunteering for a group trying to produce a relatively few votes.
Every door you knock on, every obnoxious phone call, every postcard or letter that you write, and every “discussion” you have with anyone, may make a difference.
As I said, I doubt you can change many people’s minds. But we might be able to persuade people to vote, even though they weren’t planning to.
The people involved are voters variously described as “undecided,” “detached,” “low-information,” and “cynical.”
The cynics say things like:
- Both candidates are terrible.
- I’m not interested in politics.
- Actually, I hate politics.
- A candidate said or did something stupid.
- He or she let me down on my pet issue.
- There’s not a dime’s difference between them.
Various activist groups are working to influence presidential and congressional elections, and seeking volunteers to contact such voters, working from lists of people who might vote for Democrats, just not this time.
The organizations include Activate America and Swing Left. I hope to provide more information in the future about such groups and the actions that individuals can take.
Meanwhile, if you are a closet patriot...
... and if you fit any of the above categories of likely 2024 non-voters, this is your chance to change course and become an American Hero.
But you’ve only got nine months to figure that out.
BIDEN'S JAN. 5TH SPEECH CONTINUED:
"BUT NOW, that same senator and those same people have changed their tune.
As time has gone on on, politics, fear, money, all have intervened.
And now these MAGA voices, who know the truth about Trump on January sixth, have abandoned the truth and abandoned the democracy.
They made their choice.
Now, the rest of us, Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans, we have to make our choice.
I know mine, and I believe I know America’s.
We’ll defend the truth, not give in to the big lie.
We’ll embrace the Constitution of the Declaration, not abandon it.
We’ll honor the sacred cause of democracy, not walk away from it.
Today, I make this sacred pledge to you: The defense, protection and preservation of American democracy will remain, as it has been, the central cause of my presidency.
America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot. Your freedom is on the ballot.
Yes, we’ll be voting on many issues: on the freedom to vote, and have your vote counted. On the freedom of choice.
The freedom to have a fair shot.
The freedom from fear.
And we’ll debate and disagree.
Without democracy, no progress is impossible. Think about it.
The alternative to democracy is dictatorship. The rule of one, not the rule of we, the people.
"THAT'S WHAT THE SOLDIERS of Valley Forge understood.
So was me, we have to understand it as well.
We’ve been blessed so long with a strong, stable democracy, it’s easy to forget why so many before us risked their lives and strengthened democracy.
What our lives would be without it.
Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.
Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.
Democracy. Democracy is how we open the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, not notwithstanding our mistakes.
But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom, we’ll lose the power of we, the people, to shape our destiny.
If you doubt me, look around the world.
Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world.
Look at the authoritarian leaders and dictators Trump says he admires. He out loud says he admires.
I won’t go through them all. It would take too long.”
If you want to watch the entire speech, click on the big photo of Biden, which is linked to the full C-Span video, which is preceded by an annoying ad.
I'VE BEEN a reporter and writer for 58 years, long enough to have learned that journalists don't know very much, although I've met some smart ones.
Mainly, what reporters know comes from asking other people questions and fretting about the answers.
This blog is a successor to one inspired by our dog, Phoebe, who was smart, sweet and the antithesis of Donald Trump. She died Feb. 3, and I don't see getting over that very soon.
Occasionally, I may try to reach her via cell phone.