Democrats pathway to defeating Donald Trump

Keith Simmonds

By Keith Simmonds

The Republican convention is over. Now the race for the White House officially has begun in earnest, and battle lines between the two parties have been drawn.

Since I identify myself with the Democratic Party I can now say, we must absolutely focus on winning the hearts and minds of a majority of the electorate. The surgical approach must be to spend as much money and time on about 10 “swing or purple states,” thanks to the workings of the Electoral College, rather than spreading ourselves too thin, in states we will comfortably win. Beyond the statistics of registered voters both parties must now battle for the 5 percent to 8 percent of “undecideds” that can go either way. Let’s not just focus on what Donald Trump calls Biden’s America, which implies there may be a Trump America as well. 

How should the Democrats go forward? What will be the message that will have impact? What will be the narrative? For me, the message is simple, though difficult to sustain without persistent repetition: We need to shine an unrelenting light on the economic situation which has deteriorated for a large proportion of the population. The quality of life of working families has worsened during the Trump administration.  Donald Trump, the person who the Electoral College elected or hired to ensure a better life for working families, has failed miserably.

There’s only one reward for failed leadership. That is, to replace it with another that will do better.  Repeatedly the following must be stressed: (1) Due to poor handling of COVID-19, the health of the nation is in dire straits. At present, over 180,000 Americans have died and over 5 million are infected with the virus. (2) Due to incompetent leadership on COVID-19, some 20 to 30 million Americans are unemployed, thus requiring unemployment benefits, an unprecedented drain on the US Treasury. (3) Given the relationship between employment and access to healthcare, millions of Americans are well on the way to losing their health insurance. (4) More than ever before, thousands of jobs are gone for good and working families will need childcare assistance in a post-COVID-19 world, a reality that will become more painful to women who are now 45 percent of the workforce.

Other failures that must be repeated in the ears of Americans should include socio-cultural instability, national insecurity and Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the destructive effects of climate change. Democrats must persist in encouraging voters to recognize that Donald Trump is responsible for these failures and use them as performance benchmarks to judge his presidency.  Let this election be a referendum on his four years in office. 

Given this track record, no political leader, presiding over a presumed intelligent electorate should expect its board of directors (the voters) to approve his/her performance and grant its CEO a renewal of contract for four more years. I am going to put my faith in a super majority of fellow Democrats and a majority of the 8 percent undecideds of the American electorate, ultimately to decide that this failed leadership of Donald Trump is undeserving of four more years in the White House. 

Dr. Keith Simmonds is a professor of history and political science at Florida A&M University

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