My skin isn’t thick enough to endure criticism trailblazers like Harris, Pelosi, Gandhi, Meir, and Thatcher have had to suffer; but I have been inspired to follow in their footsteps, in my own ways. As Harris told Marie Claire magazine, “I want [young] women to know, you are powerful and your voice matters." Amen, Sisters. Amen.
TMM hates to pee in the punchbowl during this week’s Democratic love-fest – but somebody needs to.
Alert: This post contains (bolded) colloquialisms. Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls. If you remember that line from a classic TV show*, you might be a Baby Boomer – and you might decide this election.
Democrats are looking good. Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in most polls. Biden’s VP choice, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), is popular. Senate races with vulnerable Republican incumbents and strong Democratic challengers are neck and neck, in formerly red states (AZ, GA, NC, SC).
But never underestimate Democrats’ ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Hillary Clinton looked good in 2016 – but an incompetent campaign allowed Trump to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Ten ways Democrats and Biden could screw the pooch:
- Repeat Clinton’s mistakes:
(1) Become over-confident.
Over-confidence creates complacent staff, volunteers – and voters. Project confidence and a winning attitude, but cautious optimism is best.
(2) Ignore key states with favorable polls.
Clinton didn’t campaign in Wisconsin, considering it her firewall. Pennsylvania and Michigan were ignored. Trump’s victory margin? 78,000 votes in those three states.
(3) Fail to prepare for Trump’s attacks – and to counterpunch immediately.
Ironical, since husband Bill’s successful 1992 campaign used its war room for that. Trump condemned Hillary’s Secretary of State experience, including her unsecured emails and terrorist attacks on Americans in Benghazi; her health, after appearing unsteady in public; and other allegations.
(If you recognize George Stephanopoulos and James Carville, you’re probably a Boomer.)
Clinton’s failure to adequately respond allowed Trump’s accusations to dominate media attention and perpetuate the narrative she had skeletons in the closet.
Trump WILL attack Biden’s son Hunter and his lucrative involvement with Ukraine businesses (and VP Biden’s dealings with its government), and everything else imaginable. Biden must counterattack, fast and hard. Former prosecutor Harris can help (although she must walk a tightrope between being tough, but not too tough, which turns off some voters, including women).
(4) Allow Trump to define the campaign as a referendum on Biden and Harris, not him.
With decades in public life, Biden’s record is ripe for Trump’s cherry-picking of mistakes and gaffes. However, Trump has MORE of them. Biden’s campaign must shift gears quickly, ensuring TRUMP’S shortcomings are front and center.
(5) Insult Trump supporters.
Clinton called them a “basket of deplorables”. Fine to ridicule Trump, but avoid disrespecting supporters. They’re not going to vote for Democrats – but insulting them energizes them to vote AGAINST you.
- Make new mistakes – building a bridge too far for the heartland, embracing far-left demands:
(6) Propose national mandates.
Most Americans support wearing masks to prevent COVID spread. But a NATIONAL mask mandate will rile up some voters, especially Independents and Moderates – who Biden needs. Popular Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH), a rare Moderate Republican, and others, refused to enact STATEWIDE mask mandates.
Trump will tag Biden and Democrats as Socialists; national mandates pour gasoline on that fire.
(7) Give Trump opportunities to blow smoke, scaring voters away from Democrats.
The Green New Deal includes worthwhile goals (like increasing clean, renewable energy) – but was loaded up with progressive wish lists (guaranteed jobs, health care, housing; pristine transportation, manufacturing, farming). All noble ideals – but packaged together, a long shot for many voters.
(8) Condone violent protests, no matter their cause.
Inexcusable police killings of George Floyd and other blacks united Americans against injustice. However, “Defund Police” demands went too far. A Trump ad reinforced fears that citizens in danger, when calling police, would hear a recorded social worker’s voice.
Biden wisely avoided taking the bait, declaring he does NOT support defunding police.
Violent protests frighten many Americans. Looters in Chicago and anarchists STILL attacking police and burning buildings in Portland drown out peaceful protesters’ legitimate demands.
(9) Propose confiscation of legally-purchased guns, or repealing the 2nd Amendment.
Biden supports banning sales of assault weapons and improved background checks for gun purchases, supported by most Americans – but Democrats should leave it at that.
(10) Fail to counteract Trump/Republican efforts to suppress votes and weaken confidence in our elections.
Undermining Postal Service capability to process ballots, and claiming (already) the election is “rigged” if Trump loses, are just two examples of GOP hanky-panky that Democrats MUST neutralize.
Any of these mistakes could alienate voters and cost Biden this election.
Our final colloquialisms: forewarned is forearmed. No need to look it up, Democrats – you bet your sweet bippy* it’s good advice.
* Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, 1960s
Images: Google Images
Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary: Font Folly
Biden & Harris: Fox Business
War Room: Austin Chronicle
Hunter Biden: ABC News/The Federalist
Trump Supporters: Newsweek
Statue of Liberty with Mask: Chattanooga Times Free Press
Green New Deal Supporters: The Conversation
Portland Riots: EMS1.com
Gun Control Demonstators: Jewish Week/The Times of Israel
Laugh In: TV Guide