by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, July 15, 2020
The biggest threat to Biden’s chances is the continuing suppression of black votes and the refusal of the Democrats to do anything about it..
“The Democrats’ effort to sell the lackluster and problematic Joe Biden involves telling some outright lies.”
“Biden will win in a landslide.” “Trump will quit before election day.” These are just some of the tropes being spread by Democratic Party propagandists. It is true that Joe Biden can defeat incumbent Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential election. However, the rosy scenarios painted by the corporate media don’t take into account the vagaries of the election process in this country. They are intended to give the appearance of an inevitable Democratic Party victory, a plan which failed miserably in 2016.
Like George W. Bush in 2000, Trump won in 2016 not because most voters preferred him, but because of the very undemocratic electoral college. Republicans use voter suppression and outright vote theft to dilute the impact of black voters, whose support for the Democrats remains in the 90% range. Hillary Clinton failed to target her campaign outreach accordingly, or frankly to do much outreach at all. She needed only 78,000 more votes in three key swing states in order to win. If Biden succeeds where she failed he can win the presidency. There is reason for the Democrats to be optimistic, but their effort to sell the lackluster and problematic Joe Biden involves telling some outright lies.
“Republicans use voter suppression and outright vote theft to dilute the impact of black voters.”
The propagandists give the same assurance in 2020 that was given in 2016. They announce with great fanfare that polls show Biden winning. They don’t explain how these polls differ from the 2016 polls which showed Hillary Clinton winning all the states she needed. They don’t explain what went wrong in 2016 or analyze the challenges that Biden faces.
The biggest threat to his chances is the continuing suppression of black votes and the refusal of the Democrats to do anything about it. Voter identification requirements, felon disenfranchisement, voter enrollment purges, and simpler schemes such as sending fewer machines to polling places in black neighborhoods all diminish the franchise. This year the COVID-19 pandemic will mean more voting by mail. But paper ballots are as problematic as electronic voting machines can be. There is a hodgepodge of rules which determine how and if paper ballots are counted, with differences varying even within the same state.
Most importantly there is no constituency that will increase its turn out for the sake of Joe Biden. He will get 90% of the black vote, but it is unlikely that he will benefit from the tremendous increase in that cohort that helped Barack Obama when he ran in 2008 and 2012. If the Biden campaign team doesn’t outperform Hillary Clinton’s lackluster get out the vote effort, Trump can squeak through a second time.
“There is no constituency that will increase its turn out for the sake of Joe Biden.”
But there is something else going on among the propagandists masquerading as journalists. Instead of dispassionately reporting on Trump’s chances they peddle a dubious kind of psy-op. Even Fox News jumps on that bandwagon with stories of “major players” and “Republican insiders” saying that Trump will quit before election day. These stories are accompanied by unflattering photos of a seemingly dejected Trump or reports of rallies that are sparsely attended. These anonymous insiders are as real as the “intelligence sources” who claim that Russia is paying the Taliban to kill Americans.
The subterfuge is intended to boost Biden, who is strangely absent in the midst of Trump’s failure to handle the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. States that failed to shut down public activity and decrease opportunities for the virus to spread are facing an upsurge in infections, hospitalizations and death. Biden ought to be much further ahead in the wake of Trump’s bumbling. But we don’t see him very often because his handlers don’t want him to be seen. Biden clearly has a health problem which has not been disclosed, but his inability to speak coherently and his penchant for strange outbursts means that he must be kept under wraps at the very moment that Trump is on the ropes.
“Biden is strangely absent in the midst of Trump’s failure to handle the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.”
Election day is in less than four months. In that time an economic downturn, a worsening spread of COVID-19 or a debate performance can make the difference. There would be greater certainty for Biden if he would campaign on an issue that the voters want. A new study indicates that 5 million workers have lost their health insurance since March. But Biden opposes a plan to give Medicare to all. Just in case anyone was fooled by his claims of being a progressive, Biden steadfastly refuses to consider what is a surefire election winner.
At this juncture no one should claim they know who the next president will be. Phony stories and wishful thinking won’t get Donald Trump out of the White House. Predictions of his political demise are rather premature.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. Her new book, Prejudential, looks at the history of US Presidents treatment of people of color. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. She is a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Movement. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.