In January 2016, then Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump stood before an audience in Iowa and stated, “The polls. They say I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.” These remarks at the time garnered backlash from the Democrats and the left, but overall didn’t seem to make a difference to his base in the Electoral College, as he went on to win the election later that year.
Four years later, we are coming up to the next election in just under a month, and the political climate is worlds apart from what we thought was the chaos of the 2016 election. The Coronavirus pandemic, George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the mountingly deadly wild fires and natural disasters consuming the United States, the seeds of distrust in the fabric of our democracy, the growing inequities felt by millions of Americans as the economy crumbles and the rich get richer, and more are threatening the American people in ways unprecedented, and now, even the President is out of the office and in a hospital bed recovering from the pandemic he failed to contain.
The most pressing question in this election for many Americans among all of these disasters is, “how will the American people respond?” Former Vice President and current Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris are running a platform on “Building Back Better” with a focus on preserving the spirit of America; rescuing the values we once held dear so that the American people may attempt to come together in a more progressive, more united, more American way to face these devastating and perilous times.
On November 3rd, the American people have a chance to definitively decide whether they will allow Trump to get away with murder. As of today, over 208,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States of America, with over 7,000,000 infected with the virus. Those who have recovered have only done so thanks to the incredible work from first responders, nurses, and doctors who have worked tirelessly to help the people while fighting against a government that is withholding aid, resources, money, and vital information that could have been used to stop the spread. These recovering patients are now faced with long-term health effects that will become pre-existing conditions in the eyes of healthcare insurers, coverage for which Donald Trump is currently fighting to get rid of in the Supreme Court.
In addition, police brutality and individual murders committed by white supremacists have not merely been silently overlooked, but rather have been openly supported by the GOP and its base. In the first Presidential Debate last week in Cleveland, Ohio, President Donald Trump addressed the Proud Boys white supremacist organisation – recognised as such by the Anti-Defamation League – and refused to condemn them, instead responding with a chilling “stand back and stand by.” One Proud Boys organiser publicly welcomed this endorsement from the President of the United States: “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA. … Well sir! we’re ready!!”
It is time for Americans to make a decision and to make their voices heard. Will we as a people allow Donald Trump to get away with murdering over 208,000 people by way of violent white supremacists, a pandemic he failed to contain, and the cruel healthcare system he is working to make crueller? That’s not to mention the forecasted and recorded deaths due to climate change disasters annihilating crops and food production across the Midwest, wild fires ravaging the West Coast, the crumbling economy resulting in homelessness and job-losses heading into a harsh winter during a global pandemic, or the national security threat he has created by exposing vast numbers of top-level government officials to his own positive Covid-19 diagnosis.
In 2016, Donald Trump said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody without losing any voters. Over four years, he did not stand in the middle of 5th Avenue, but instead murdered hundreds of thousands from the Oval Office. On November 3rd, how will you respond?