Trump held several rallies over the weekend and each was more disgusting and disturbing than the last. He started with an outdoor affair in North Carolina where he urged voters to vote twice, which is a felony in North Carolina. The NC State Attorney General even had to issue a warning later for voters to ignore Trump’s statement. Then yesterday he held a profoundly irresponsible indoor (“Super Spreader”) event in Nevada that was packed with supporters and went off the deep end in spewing hatred and spreading fear. Trump claimed the Democrats were going to “rig the election” and “destroy the suburbs,” and that they wanted to “lock law abiding Americans in their homes” and “indoctrinate your children with poisonous anti-American lies in school.” He also claimed he was “probably entitled” to get more than two terms because of the way “we were treated.” He called Joe Biden weak and pathetic and insisted Biden was controlled by “left-wing puppet masters.” He then insisted that Biden would “allow violent mobs to burn down your business.” He also talked about the man who the police killed in Portland who had allegedly been the killer of a right wing counter-protester weeks ago, saying “…the U.S. Marshals killed him. And I will tell you something, that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.” In other words, our police should pursue retribution in the form of extrajudicial killings rather than follow the law and work for justice.
Trump’s playbook is old but the tone is getting increasingly extreme. He’s openly stoking fear and hatred, and it’s not hard to imagine him soon insisting that Democrats have horns and forked tails. His kind of violent rhetoric and demonizing is exactly what happened in Rwanda and in Pol Pot’s Cambodia. I hate Trump and I despise what’s become of the Republican party, but we simply can’t cast the entire right wing of America as evil or irredeemable or less than human. That’s what Russia and China want us to do. That’s what every despot and dictator have done through human history. It’s wrong and deluded and unAmerican. And just because Trump is going there and demonizing huge swaths of America is all the more reason we must resist this kind of generalized dehumanization. It’s easy to fear Trump and his supporters but can’t let his sickness and Rupert Murdoch’s greedy fearmongering force us to embrace hatred. Otherwise, America is lost.
In addition to pushing back against hatred, we must also reckon with Trump’s other election strategy–setting the stage for a contested election. Trump is plainly saying that the only way he can lose is if the election is rigged by Democrats, but this flies in the face of months of polling data showing Biden in a consistent lead. FiveThirtyEight.com has the most comprehensive polling aggregation system and they have Biden with a 75% chance of winning versus Trump with a 24% chance. Keep in mind that, unlike the 2016 election, there are far fewer undecideds to push those numbers around, so Trump will have a harder time changing the percentages. But 24% is still WAY too big for my comfort. More importantly, we have to use our social networks to talk about Biden’s lead and beat back on the unfounded and desperate fiction that the election will be rigged or that Trump is somehow ahead.
One bit of good news comes from the battleground state of Florida, where Biden holds a slender 3 point lead in the polls. Trump has already spent $35+million in TV ads there while Biden has only spent $20 million, and the Latino vote has shifted slightly toward Trump. But yesterday billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced that he was going to spend $100 million in Florida to defeat Trump, developing ads and messaging in English and Spanish. This has to have Trump and his team quaking in their boots. If Trump loses Florida, it will be nearly impossible for him to win the election.
Rep Delgado is having a “50 Days Out, All Hands on Deck Phone Bank” tonight from 6-8, which is an easy and impactful way to get involved and help our local congressional rep, so please join him if you can. Info and sign up here:
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”