The first night of the 2020 Republican National Convention was like its following three nights: The lies were peddled out like crazy. Several speakers sought to cast Democratic nominee Joe Biden as a wild socialist who would wreak havoc on America. Let that sink in: They’re saying this about Joe Biden. No one in their right mind should buy into any narrative that casts Biden, famously a “moderate” on the spectrum of American politics, as a socialist. But Republicans have been pushing that narrative because it’s one of the few cards they can play, along with blatantly lying about the state of coronavirus in the U.S. Several speakers hailed Trump’s “quick action” to tackle the virus when it has already been widely established that COVID-19 has become such a lingering tragedy in our nation because of his delayed action. Trump feared that bringing attention to COVID-19 would hinder his reelection chances and that selfishness manifested in COVID-19 getting out of control, causing over 170,000 deaths along with that also hindered the economy he was so proud of.
The past few weeks have caused me relentless anxiety as someone who frequently consumes politics. In addition to Trump loyalists denying the severity of coronavirus, they have also shown that they will do just about anything to tilt the election in his favor. Soliciting help from foreign governments wasn’t enough; Trump has attempted to cast doubt on the electoral process by slamming mail-in voting, despite the fact that he and his wife, Melania Trump, have requested Florida mail-in ballots. If that isn’t hypocrisy at its finest, I don’t know what is.
By casting doubt on the election, Trump is trying to leave open a window where he can contest, and even steal, the election if it is close enough. Which is why it is so imperative for him to lose by a wide margin. Polling has indicated that Joe Biden is roughly eight points or so ahead nationally, but as we saw in 2016, it is possible for one candidate to get nearly three million more votes than their opponent and still lose due to the Electoral College. What Michelle Obama said at the Democratic National Convention is true: We must vote for Joe Biden as our lives depend on it. They do. We have already seen what Trump will do to advance his own interests at the expense of public health.
It’s confusing that Trump has raged against mail-in voting when it isn’t particularly advantageous to either Democrats or Republicans. What that infers is that he knows that if as many people vote as possible, he will surely lose, so the vote must be suppressed. Polling locations are being closed down, “poll watchers” whose sole purpose is to intimidate those waiting in line to cast their ballots are being hired, and USPS mailboxes/sorting machines have been removed.
Republicans did not make a 2020 platform. They instead recycled their platform from 2016. There is no concentrated effort to detail policy to voters, something that is sad but unsurprising. Republicans have gradually shifted away from policy and the “conservative values” they love to spout, and instead have merely become the party of stonewalling, shooting down everything that is associated with Democrats to galvanize their staunchest, most loyal supporters. Gone is their regard for facts; day one of the RNC was the first a four-day spree of lies, fitting for someone who has told over 20,000 lies on the campaign trail and in the White House. Much like 2016, Trump’s strategy is to cast fear — to capitalize on our most primal instincts — and to make us believe Democrats will bring the United States into irreparable darkness. The protesting that swept the nation after the death of George Floyd has been summed up as “riots” and anarchy, with no thought toward police reform.
Trump needs to lose by a wide margin not only so he can’t contest the election, but so that his playbook can be repudiated and thrown into the dustbin of history. Republicans were supposed to conduct a party autopsy after the 2012 election, but once Trump came roaring in and seized the party by the balls, any sincere effort that Republicans attempted to make their party appeal to anyone other than white people was stalled.
This November we have an opportunity to not just elect someone who is principled and capable as Joe Biden, but we also have an opportunity to denounce Trumpism and deliver an indictment on his cruelty, racism, and corruption so that future politicians will think twice before dabbling in his fear-mongering. It is a necessity for our country because we cannot accept the past four years of his administration as normal. It’s been anything but.
This is not an election any of us can afford to sit out. Vote early if you can, and be safe.