Trump finally revealed for all to see
Perhaps veteran American journalist Dan Rather said it best after the first presidential debate when he said most Americans left their TV sets to take a long shower.
I think more than a few Canadians felt the same way too.
Many on both sides of the border compared the 90 minutes of bombast, insults and gutter talk – most of it coming from President Donald Trump – to excrement, calling it a “shit show.” And all of this coming from a First World country that’s supposed to be the world’s leading democracy. If that’s the case democracy is in peril all around the planet and so are we. And no amount of showering is going to stop that.
For anyone paying attention, Trump’s strategy is clear. He’s already called the Nov. 3 election “rigged” even before it has happened. He’s hoping the turnout will be as low as possible because he knows his fundamentalist base of religious evangelicals, far right extremists, xenophobes and outright racists will follow him no matter what he does.
Throw in the many Americans who hate government as a matter of principle and want a minimum of market regulation so they can accumulate wealth and maybe even make it to the gilded halls of the top one percent and you have a Machiavellian strategy for electoral victory and keeping the lumpen proletariat and all those black, brown and working class folk in their place. It’s a long shot, but it worked in 2016 and it just might work again if Trump can sow enough discord, distrust and chaos, which he does so well.
And then there’s Trump’s best friend of all, the Electoral College. He doesn’t need to win the popular vote. He lost it by almost three million votes last time and he may lose it again. But it really doesn’t matter as long as that political anachronism known as the Electoral College comes through for him again. And it just might.
Ah, but don’t despair good people. I may sound despairing about the American election but I also believe there’s hope that the doomsday scenario above may not come true and there’s a big, bright sun lurking behind all those dark clouds. And what’s that you rightfully ask? My reply? The fundamental decency of the American people that when push comes to shove won’t abide a charlatan and bully like Donald J. Trump.
Remember this is the country that came to the aid of democracy and the right of all peoples to govern themselves in the First and Second World Wars. Sure, they got a lot of help from other countries, including Canada, but no one can deny that those wars would have been lost if it were not for the military might and commitment to democracy held by most Americans.
And they still hold that commitment. The polls show Trump running close to 10% behind Vice President Joe Biden. And I believe that, bad as it was, Biden won the debate Tuesday in that he confounded the expectation of many that he would wilt under the blitzkrieg of Trump’s bullying and would succumb to Trump’s lies, insults and rhetorical intimidation.
Even though he was befuddled at times, Biden came across as a fundamentally decent man who cares about his country and cares about Americans themselves as they try to find their way through the darkness of the Trump years and a world-wide pandemic that Trump only worsened.
And they also saw something Tuesday they’d never seen before – Trump stripped naked by the camera and revealed for what he really is – a liar, a bully and a narcissistic demagogue unfit for the office he so menacingly seeks.
– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who’s seen all of what he’s ever wanted to see of Trump.
Editor’s note: This column was submitted a day before President Trump was announced as having COVID-19.