I have a great idea for Joe Biden’s campaign slogan! I’m surprised no one has thought of it before. Are you ready? How about “Make America Great Again”?
Yes, I know it has been Donald Trump’s war cry, but Trump’s first term as president has been a disaster. The U.S. stature at home and abroad under the Trumpster has become an embarrassment. So much so that he might be convinced that it’s kind of mortifying to use it, given how the United States has slid down the slippery slopes of history during his first term.
As a matter of fact, Biden may have to change it to “Make America Adequate Again.” We haven’t heard a lot lately about American Exceptionalism, which may have been national hubris anyway. Could that be because Donald Trump has squandered any claim to fame that we had? Where do we start?
How about COVID? Trump’s motto might have been “Do Something Even if It’s Wrong.” In pursuit of re-election, he has made so many bush league moves that it’s unclear how many thousands killed by the coronavirus in this country are a direct result of the mistakes made by him and his people — if not mistakes, absolute lies told in the name of his campaign. If you want to talk about American Exceptionalism, let’s discuss the exceptional death toll and spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.A. If Joe Biden wins, he will have a major job ahead to undo the public health damage. If Trump wins, it’s possible we are all doomed.
Moving right along our chagrin list ... how about race relations, which is not among our strong suits anyway? It’s hard to believe that President Trump has made it far worse with his blatantly racist actions and demagoguery.
On the international stage, he has managed to antagonize just about every one of America’s allies, although he wins popularity contests with the ruthless autocrat set, including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and even has an on-again-off-again bond with China’s President Xi Jinping. At the moment it’s off-again, because he’s demeaning China so he can exploit any vestiges of anti-Chinese racism in the United States.
Vladimir Putin is pleased as punch. Whether there was collusion or not, Trump has spent his entire presidency furthering Moscow’s interests, leading some to speculate that Putin has something on him.
Vlad obviously would like to see Donny re-elected. And why not? His agenda is American instability. That’s Trump’s agenda too.
Meanwhile, D. Trump and his sycophantic Republican Party are doing everything they can to discredit America’s election just in case Biden wins. By constantly attacking mail-in balloting, in the age of COVID, he is falsely arguing that it’s a sure bet it will be fraudulent, undermining one of the remaining fundamental parts of the fragile U.S. identity.
And we haven’t really gotten to the good part. How about our premise that the Trump campaign’s October surprise is a coronavirus vaccine announced just before Election Day? But what if it’s something else? Something so compellingly sleazy about Joe Biden, with no time to check out its veracity?
And, of course, there is great fear that the surprise really comes in November, when after the election Trump refuses to accept defeat. Anything is possible to Make America Ashamed still again.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN; opinions are his own.