Donald Trump is right! This election is about safety and security. Spoiler alert: That’s what every election is really about!
The most primal foundational universal human need is for physical safety and security. Before folks have the luxury to worry about such needs as acceptance, love, belonging, self-esteem or self-fulfillment, they need to feel physically and economically safe AND secure in the future of that safety. In a sense, this election season, Americans are facing a 2020 version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; COVID-19, an economic collapse, America’s long-overdue racial reckoning and mob violence. Whichever candidate convinces the key demographics in battleground states that went for Trump in 2016 that he is the most trustworthy custodian to protect their safety and security will win the presidency.
Who are those key demographics? Suburban, college-educated, white GOP-leaning women, and African-Americans. In the case of African-Americans in battleground states, their preference is clear. Trump has no possibility, no matter how many Tim Scotts or Ben Carsons he trots out, of winning the Black vote. In the case of African-Americans in battleground states, the key is voter turnout. Had they turned out for Hillary Clinton in the numbers they did for Barack Obama, Trump would have been a FOX News/reality-TV celebrity for the last four years.
What about those battleground states’ suburban college-educated white GOP-leaning women? How they vote and how many of them vote are BOTH in play. Every time a horrendous scene of mob violence appears on social media and TV, Biden loses and Trump wins. Every time chaos in places like Portland or Seattle or Minneapolis or Kenosha is the lead news story, instead of the daily COVID death rate, Biden loses and Trump wins. No matter what the polls tell us now, for the Democrats to win in November, Biden and Harris MUST come out strongly against mob violence and convince most suburban college-educated white GOP-leaning women in battleground states that four more years of Trump is pouring gas on the fire of mob violence and Biden/Harris have a better plan for containing it and preventing it. Before most Americans can even think about social and racial justice, they must feel safe!
I agree with George Will. Joe Biden “needs a Sister Souljah moment.” In 1992, this rap singer was pleased by the deadly L.A. riots following the acquittal of the police officers involved in the Rodney King beating: “If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”
Candidate Bill Clinton’s criticism, not of extremism in general, but of her explicitly, reassured temperate voters that he was not intimidated by inhabitants of the wilder shores of American politics.
One caveat… If the stock market crash comes, as it surely eventually must, before the election, Trump loses and loses big.