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September 10, 2020

The worst yet to come

Opinion

September 10, 2020

Both parties’ political conventions have now concluded. The Democratic Party convention was followed by the Republican convention last week.

It turned out to be a very Trump-family focused four days. All members of his family including his children spoke, as did Melania. Needless to say, all of them recounted how good the president has been for the country.

There was hardly any mention of the pandemic the country is suffering through or the economic collapse that has followed. Vice president Mike Pence set a new standard in ‘smoke and mirrors’ politics. He talked about the 8-10 million jobs that had been gained in the last four months, failing to mention that more than 20 million jobs had disappeared immediately before this weak recovery.

Trump's economic advisor Larry Kudlow spoke of the pandemic in the past tense. Never mind that about 1,000 Americans continue to die every day from Covid-19. Projections are that 300,000 deaths will be surpassed by the end of the year.

The Trump campaign is running a very unique exercise in message management, that the ‘best is yet to come’. Trump seems to be saying things are really bad, but if you reelect me, I will fix everything, as if someone else had been running the country during these past four years. To this Joe Biden had a stark response, “for the last four years Donald Trump has been the president, whether he knows it or not”.

The ongoing pandemic continues to complicate matters further. With over 185,000 Americans dead, many people are concerned about voting in person. Additionally, there is a shortage of staff to manage polling stations therefore there will be fewer voting locations and possibly very long wait times. As a result, people in very large numbers are expected to vote by mail. Surveys show about 65 percent of Democratic Party supporters want to vote by mail, while 75 percent of Republican voters want to vote in person. A direct result of the minimizing of health concerns about the coronavirus by Trump.

The president must have seen this data. Starting a month or so ago he started to attack the accuracy of by-mail voting, claiming without evidence, it is open to fraud. At least five US states have been conducting elections by mail for years, without any issues.

Trump has also started to lay the groundwork for undermining the election results even before voting has started, saying “the only way I can lose is if there is massive rigging of the elections”. Undermining of confidence in the entire electoral process by a sitting president is unprecedented. Perhaps he finds it hard to believe that he isn't loved by a vast majority of his fellow citizens. This is the level of his narcissism.

People are now increasingly nervous about the conduct of upcoming elections. Chances are that the final outcome will not be known the night of the elections, as is customary. It may take a few days to count all the mail-in ballots. In-person voting tally may show Trump ahead in many states, until mail-in ballots are counted. He is threatening to challenge the results from any state where he is not winning.

While people are used to irresponsible statements from Trump, he recently outdid himself. While visiting the state of North Carolina he urged his supporters to vote by mail and then go and vote in person. Voting twice or even attempting to, is a felony crime punishable by up to five years in jail. That doesn't seem to bother Trump. As citizens, all we can say is, the worst is yet to come.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in Washington DC. Website:

www.sqshareef.com/blogs