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Make Beating Trump Real

All the way back in November 2017, I made the argument that Donald Trump had made himself and his party prisoners to the militant minority that made up his base. It was already clear that every move he made, everything he tweeted or said, was calculated to rile up the base, without regard to how it might alienate everybody else.

Now, each passing day sees him doing the same thing, even as the political professionals who try to salvage his sinking campaign talk about the need to reach beyond the base. He just can’t do it. He doesn’t have the faintest clue how to unify the country. Who else would use a Fourth of July oration, not to celebrate our unity, but to call his opponents fascists?

It’s true that he has the Republicans: Gallup findsover 90 percent of them approve of his performance. But they are at most one-third of the electorate. There are more Democrats, and more independents than there are Republicans, and every move he makes, every word he says, every tweet he tweets, confirms more of those people in the conviction that Trump is not fit to be President. The suburbs, even in the south, are increasingly slipping from his grasp. The majority of whites, according to Gallup, now disapprove of his performance as president. White women have been against him for some time. He’s left with the base: a shrinking island of less-educated whites, mostly men.

We know Trump’s base will vote. We’re going to have to have a big-time turnout operation to get the Democratic supporters out in even greater numbers.

The national polls are reflected at the state level, where Trump trails Biden consistently in all the swing states that will decide the Electoral College. He’s depending on the base to deliver him another EC victory like 2016, but it’s not in the cards when he even has a fight on his hands in Texas, or Kansas, or Georgia.

Nobody is talking about the GOP retaking the House, and it looks increasingly likely that the Democrats can eke out control of the Senate. Gains at the gubernatorial and legislative levels (vital for reapportionment) are also likely, maintaining the momentum from the 2018 and 2019 elections.

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The fundamentals, in short, are against Trump and favor Joe Biden

But the fundamentals are not as solid as we would wish. Joe Biden is ahead because he’s Not-Trump, more so than because voters positively support him. He’s put himself in a strong position by finding ways to get his word out even as he’s still holed up in Wilmington. He has a robust set of program plans on his website, reflecting the center-left posture that dominates the Democratic Party. So there’s a lot that’s good there.

But the personal enthusiasm for the candidate just isn’t there yet. He’s seen as a nice guy, someone we know and trust—and he’s not Trump. We know Trump’s base will vote. We’re going to have to have a big-time turnout operation to get the Democratic supporters out in even greater numbers. Rejection of Trump will get us part-way there, but turnout among all the constituents of the Democratic coalition must not be taken for granted.

Another danger is that if Biden continues to lead in the polls, people who aren’t really enthusiastic about him, but really despise Trump, might figure it’s in the bag and vote Green ( other minor party). A plausible case can be made that Ralph Nader, as the Green candidate in 2000, flipped enough states to Bush to let the Supreme Court decide the election in Florida.

Get a grip on this: Trump and his increasingly white nationalist party pose a mortal danger to the Republic as we have known it. We simply must defeat him and them to salvage what’s left of our democracy. Only then can we start to think positively about what we want to build.

impeachment unavoidable

John Peeler