The growing anti-democratic and authoritarian actions (not tendencies) of the Trump administration, Republican Party, and right wing extremist media and base is more than worrisome. One day thugs, toting guns and egged on by Trump, invade state capitals and threaten governors if they don’t open up their state, even if it is premature and likely to result in more deaths. On another U.S. Attorney General William Barr is withdrawing the Justice Department’s case against the already convicted Michael Flynn. On still another day, it is Jared Kushner, the avatar of white male privilege and the president’s son in law, suggesting that the November elections might have to be postponed. And the list could go on and on.
But as dangerous as all this is, it is less a sign of strength than a reflection of a weakening of Trump’s support on the one hand and a strengthening of the opposition against Trump on the other.
Here’s the deal.
Trump’s approval in poll after poll on a range of matters is slipping significantly, triggered no doubt by his total mishandling of the deadly pandemic, an imploding economy, and the stealing away of the lives of so many Americans. The death count is approaching 100,000 and in a month it will likely be well beyond that.
Even seniors who supported Trump 4 years ago, according to recent polling, have turned on him. It’s one thing to collude with Putin, but quite another to play Russian roulette with their lives. Too close to home for them to ignore or rationalize.
And when it comes to comparing Trump against governors, using the metric of how well each has addressed the pandemic, he fares poorly.
All this has stolen Trump’s reelection narrative of a booming stock market and economy that, he believed, would carry him over the finish line come election day. Is it any wonder why panic is rippling through the White House and Republican circles?
While this is going on, we are seeing, not surprisingly, growing support in recent polling, including in battleground states, for Joe Biden. Even Texas and Georgia appear up for grabs this fall.
What is more, the various wings of the Democratic Party are uniting in support of Biden and a progressive platform, including a science based and comprehensive approach to the Covid-19.
So while there is reason for alarm, there is also cause for hope. Momentum isn’t completely on our side, and it never will be as long as Trump is in the White House, Republicans a majority in the Senate, and Trump acolytes occupying powerful positions in the government, not least the Supreme Court.
Nevertheless a shift is afoot and shouldn’t be lost sight of. It positions the Democratic Party and the larger democratic coalition to win in November and redirect the country towards greater democracy, equality, economic recovery and security, and global cooperation.
It’s by no means guaranteed, but the makings of a such victory and an about face in the country’s direction are easier to see now than they were only a few months ago.