Donna Brazile on Biden-Harris ticket: Need all hands on deck for Democratic Party, every vote counts
The first virtual political convention in American history opens Monday when Democrats gather in cyberspace to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden as my party’s presidential candidate and Sen. Kamala Harris of California for vice president. This marks the real beginning of the campaign to defeat President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and restore competent leadership to our nation.
President Trump has proven to be one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had. He is focused on his self-interest above the national interest and has no idea how to perform the duties of president.
Trump clearly envies the dictatorial powers of his good buddy and campaign supporter, Russian President Vladimir Putin, repeatedly ignoring constitutional and legal limits on the power of the American presidency.
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And Trump knows that as long as his Republican Party controls the U.S. Senate, senators won’t kick him out of office by convicting him of anything — no matter what he does and no matter how many times the U.S. House or Representatives impeaches him.
This means that the only way to remove the Trump-Pence team from office is to vote them out, by overcoming Trump’s desperate efforts to suppress the vote and degrade the U.S. Postal Service in a year when a record number of voters will be casting ballots by mail, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the Democratic Convention, Biden and Harris need to show the American people how they will work together to restore the soul of our nation, fight for working families and move our country forward.
Before a television and online audience that may exceed 35 million viewers, Biden and Harris have an incredible opportunity to come out of their convention with a lead in national and battleground state polls that may be too big for the Trump-Pence team and the Republican Party to overcome Nov. 3.
So what do Biden and Harris need to accomplish at their convention before Trump takes center stage at the Republican National Convention — America’s second virtual national political convention — next week?
As of July 9, The Washington Post Fact Checker <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/13/president-trump-has-made-more-than-20000-false-or-misleading-claims/">column reported</a> Trump had made 20,055 false or misleading claims in his first 1,267 days in office.
In only eight nationally televised hours over four nights (9 to 11 p.m. EDT) Biden, Harris and other prominent Democrats who speak to the American people will need to highlight the priorities of a Biden-Harris administration and the Democratic Party Platform, and explain what the new administration will accomplish in its first 100 days.
Most importantly, all the convention speakers will need to inspire the American people. They must both unify the Democratic Party and tell us how they will unify and heal our country.
Biden and Harris need to show, through their words and actions, that they and other Democratic candidates — for the U.S. Senate, House, and state and local offices — have the heart and soul, the character and experience, and the empathy and commitment to heal the deep wounds and bridge the wide divides begat by the Trump-Pence years.
The Democrats need to tell the American people that now is the time for a more positive and hopeful chapter in our history. A chapter that will end the seemingly endless battle of haves versus have-nots. And they need to tell us that the American people can reclaim our country from Trump and his Republican Party enablers who have sown chaos and discord for nearly four years.
Can the Biden-Harris ticket and the Democratic Party accomplish all of this in the span of only eight hours over four nights? Can Biden and Harris lift up our spirits and “send us home” inspired to Get Out the Vote for them — Democrats, independents and fed-up Republicans? Can Democratic candidates across the country emerge from the convention with a big bounce in the polls?
Since 1952, the average convention bounce has been 3%. But nobody knows what the average virtual convention bounce is — Biden and Harris will be breaking new ground.
The Biden-Harris team could match, or even exceed, the 3% average rise in opinion polls, but it won’t be easy. Nothing in politics ever is. Especially during a deadly pandemic when almost all campaign events are conducted virtually.
So listen up, Democrats. Here’s precisely what you need to do at this week’s convention and in coming weeks to set up the party for victory in November and beyond.
Focus on character. The character of our democracy, our society and our leadership in the world is on the line in the upcoming election. On every night, and with every speaker and video, Democrats need to show America and the world that Biden, Harris and the Democratic Party will fight to restore the heart and soul of our great country.
Hear from everyday Americans. In addition to showcasing our leading candidates and elected officials, Democrats should showcase first responders on the front lines fighting the coronavirus, community organizers on the front lines fighting for racial justice, teachers, Dreamers, environmentalists, and others who share our American experience. These are the people Democrats are fighting for, and the people working hard to build a better future for us all.
Hear from Republicans. Former Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, will address the Democratic National Convention because he is a great American who puts the interests of our country and his state ahead of his personal and political interests — quite a contrast to Trump. Kasich unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He abhors Trump and is saddened over how the president has transformed a once-great political party into a cult of personality worshiping Trump. We should also hear from former Trump supporters in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to explain how they came to the realization that Trump is a con man who doesn’t deserve their votes this year.
Spread a message of unity. The United States of America is an incredibly diverse county. This diversity is reflected in the Biden-Harris ticket and in the “big tent” that is the Democratic Party. And this diversity is our party’s and our country’s greatest strength.
Tell the American people. that we rise and fall together. In order to form a more perfect union, we must highlight how alike we are as Americans and how much stronger we are together. This is the exact opposite of the way Trump exploits our differences and fans the flames of racism and other forms of bigotry for his short-term political gain.
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Focus on issues that really matter to the American people. Democrats need to do the opposite of Trump and talk truthfully about what they want to do about the coronavirus pandemic, our weak economy and high unemployment rate, racism, crime, immigration, climate change, energy and other major issues. In other words, they should act like adults, unlike Trump. Trump tweets incessantly and inanely, and he rambles on at news conference about minor things — criticizing athletes, entertainers, journalists, Democrats and even Republicans who dare say a bad word about him. Like a 5-year-old spoiled brat, Trump whines about how he is not appreciated, how his opponents are traitors for daring to question him, and how any news story that exposes his lies and misconduct is “fake news.”
Tell the truth. This is a foreign concept to Trump. As of July 9, The Washington Post Fact Checker column reported Trump had made 20,055 false or misleading claims in his first 1,267 days in office. The newspaper has collected all of Trump’s falsehoods in a database.
Discuss plans to reassert American leadership abroad and strengthen democracy at home. In so doing, remember to honor the tremendous legacy of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who passed away last month, by calling for the renewal of the Voting Rights Act to ensure that all eligible Americans can vote safely and securely, this year and forever after.
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During their convention, Democrats must keep these last words from Lewis to the country he loved — published posthumously in The New York Times on July 30 — in their hearts and souls: “Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”
Freedom rang when Biden chose Harris as his running mate last week. Members of the Democratic Party must stand up for what we truly believe, and continue to let freedom ring at the Democratic National Convention — and every day going forward — so that we overwhelmingly defeat Donald Trump and Mike Pence on Nov. 3.
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