We are going to have to get through August, September, and October before we’ll know whether the Republicans can hold on to a piece of national political power. But it’s not too early to write some reassuring words. I’m using this column to announce my personal guarantee that Donald Trump will not barricade himself in the Oval Office and refuse to leave if the Electoral College flunks him. I ask any readers who know Nancy Pelosi to pass this along. More, I wish to assure my fellow citizens that The Donald will not mobilize his “storm troopers,” “militia” and “private troops” to make his presidency perpetual.

It is not for me, however, to guarantee the outcome of the election. Patricia McCarthy, an American Thinker columnist is more confident. She published “The distraught and desperate Democrats are flailing” on July 26, pointing to hysterical invocations of the Third Reich as evidence of the “flailing.” According to Patricia the Democrats know that Biden is a pathetic loser destined to a decisive defeat. She also argues their hope that the Black Lives Matter, Antifa juvenile delinquents, and associated violent rioters, looters, and vandals will bring people over to their side is illusory.

Everyone is entitled to their hopes but there are too many unknowns to support a confident prediction about election day 2020. It is clear that President Trump has a solid base of support, convinced that their hero is the only hope for national salvation. It is not clear whether this base has grown or shrunk since 2016. Last week I spoke with a retired Republican office-holder who voted for Trump back then but has decided to vote for Biden this year. After some bargaining he agreed to write in his own name if I promised to do the same. How many other disillusioned Trumpists are there? No reliable statistics are available, but this man is not alone.

More to the point; Joe Biden has no solid base of support at all apart from the Biden nuclear family. It’s clear that there are millions, actual millions, of voters who will crawl over an acre of jagged, broken promises to vote against Trump. The Democratic Party has offered them only one viable alternative. Good Ol’Joe Biden might not be their optimum choice, but he is far from being a Non-Trump as any other featherless bi-ped in the United States. So Good Ol’ Joe will do.

No one knows the exact numbers of implacable Trumpophobes or last-ditch Trumpophiliacs. There are no predicable events which are going to shift these two faction. November’s outcome will depend therefore on the minority which remain undecided. Big question mark there. Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative columnist proposes that B.I.D.E.N.—“Biggest Idiot Democrats Ever Nominated”—as a suitable nick-name for Good Ol’ Joe. His daily gaffes, verbal slipping and sliding, inability to finish sentences, and inability to distinguish up from down after breakfast have been and will continue to be easy targets. Trump’s egregious vanity also shows up regularly, but the True Trumpophiliacs have learned to discount that long ago. There are no shocking surprises for them. B.I.D.E.N. super-gaffes prompted by addled senility are far more unpredictable and dangerous.

Consultants and campaign managers will concentrate on the issues, strategies, talking points, and propaganda that may decide the undecided and excite the unexcited. The Trumpian strategy was originally based on a steady flow of positive economic news. Only a tiny fraction of the voting public have a grasp of competing economic theories. Most assume that the president more or less “runs” the economy so if their jobs seem secure and the pay is adequate they will stick with the incumbent. However this advantage disappears when virus pestilence hit, forcing the economy into a kind of coma. Trump’s first impulse was to minimize the consequence of the pestilence, hoping the economy would stabilize and resume its upward course. He and his advisors soon saw that this was very problematic. They may still hope for positive news, but time is running out.

Effective policy response to the pestilence is still an issue, but there is so much contradiction and uncertainty about its nature and the proper response that it is impossible to frame an effective political response. Both parties have reason to fear that their response could do the more harm than good. Democrats have reasons to minimize economic recovery. Republicans have equally good reasons to emphasize good news. Neither side can depend on the disease to behave according to their wishes. Neither can be certain about deflecting or assigning blame. They will have to try, but can’t be sure of the results.

An incumbent president always has an initial advantage when the country faces a dangerous situation. A large segment of the public are instinctively inclined to look for strong presidential leadership. Trump knows that but doesn’t seem to realize that the public doesn’t always confuse egomania with determined leadership.

The Democrats know that the electoral math makes solid support (85-90%) from the Black voters crucial to national electoral triumph and that they must motivate this part of their base to go to the polls. Race-baiting has long been integral to their national campaigns. Their enthusiasm for the Black Lives Matter movement was in keeping with this strategy, but then the rioting that has grown out of it could prove disastrous. Trump recognizes that the presidency is associated with domestic and international security. His strategy has been, and will continue to be, playing the role of the nation’s protector.

Democrats cannot be his rivals in this. A candidate for presidency cannot play that role, least of all a candidate campaigning from his cellar. So the Democrats must hope that Trump’s pose as national defender can be turned against him by representing it as a racialist appeal. That is, they must present themselves as defending the nation against Donald Trump.

John Frary of Farmington, the GOP candidate for U.S. Congress in 2008, is a retired history professor, an emeritus Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizen’s Coalition Board member, and publisher of FraryHomeCompanion.com. He can be reached at [email protected]

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