I had a conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago, and honestly, it was quite the reality check.
Prior to the conversation, I had watched all four nights of the Democratic Convention, and it really made me feel good. I enjoyed seeing the incredible coalition of people who are under our umbrella right now, and I saw that a lot of others watching the convention felt like I did. We are all feeling hopeful and uplifted — a very nice contrast to how we’ve been feeling under this administration.
On top of that, the information trickling out about the Republican Convention has been, if you ask me, embarrassing. Fully half of the “key” speakers for the convention have the last name of Trump, according to Fox News. And their party “platform” is a joke. A bunch of bullet points of goals and lies.
So, as I was riding this good feeling that we are a unified party, and the Republican party is looking disjointed and ineffective, I reached out to an old friend of mine.
This is someone I’ve known for 3 decades, and we chat about once a year. He’s always been a conservative and in fact now works in DC doing tax law. He does a lot of work with Congress. He’s one of the smartest people I know. So, even though we don’t see eye to eye about politics, I enjoy hearing his point of view. Want to know what he sees?
He sees that it is Republicans who have the edge on enthusiasm for voting. (I checked. He’s right.) He said that in midwest swing states, Republicans are registering more voters than Democrats. (That’s a bit more complicated but some of that checks out, too.) He thinks the “shy Trump voter,” i.e. the ones that aren’t so vocal about their support for Trump when pollsters call, is a real effect. He also is seeing a LOT of visual support of Trump, like hats/yard signs/bumper stickers/etc.
He recognizes that Trump is a polarizing figure, but believes that he will win again. Especially if the election gets framed as Trump vs. Kamala Harris, at which point he thinks Trump wins easily.
Our exchange made me feel really uneasy. Hearing the confidence he had, and backed up with some substantive data, made me wonder about what I might be missing.
I wanted to tell you about this conversation to say, that under no circumstances can we let up because we have a good convention, or because we see that Biden is polling well, or any of the other reasons why you might be feeling good about the election. If my friend, who is no MAGA, sees that Trump being re-elected is well within the cards, know that millions and millions of others will, too.
And unlike my friend, we’re up against Trump supporters who are absolutely in a right-wing news bubble. They still support Trump because they’ve quite literally not seen any reason to drop their support. They don’t believe anything that is reported by the “mainstream media” because Trump has been telling them that they lie for over 4 years. They truly feel that if the Democrats win, that all the great things they’ve gotten under Trump will disappear. (Now don’t get me started on what they think those “great” things are.) They are very motivated to make sure Trump stays in office.
Don’t believe me? Pay attention to the Republican Convention. (I don’t mean watch it — let’s not give Trump extra ratings.) But watch how excited and jazzed his supporters get about the speakers. Watch what ratings it does get. Watch them announce how much money they raise. If you look for it, you’ll see the enthusiasm.
I want to win this election. I think our country NEEDS for us to win this election. Furthermore, I do worry about our democracy if this is a close election. So I want to win this election by a lot — so there is no question at all that we won and a clear majority of this country is done with Trump and his ilk.
But I also think we’ve got a lot of work to do. Every one of us has to vote, and we each personally need to make sure that other people vote for our candidates. We’ve got 71 days until Election Day. Let’s make every one of those days count.
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