Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Takes a Lot More than Empathy, Joe!

Given that 190,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, there’s massive unemployment, and the streets are throbbing with violent protests over racial injustice, you might think that Donald Trump would be considering a nice golfing retirement at Mar-a-Lago.


But the president has an ace up his sleeve – the Democratic Party who gifted him the 2016 election.


Now I have nothing against identity politics. It’s the limited nature of the Democratic brand that’s troubling. You think they’d have learned from Hillary Clinton’s reliance on a huge African-American vote in the 2016 election. 


Joe Biden will undoubtedly improve on Mrs. Clinton’s listless turnout of that essential group, especially with Kamala Harris on the ticket; not to mention Senator Harris will appeal to another core Democratic identity group – suburban women.


But White Working Class and Latinos appear to be an afterthought. What’s that all about?


Now I admit that I dozed off during each night of the Democratic Convention; can you blame me – two hours of testimony to Joe Biden’s empathy is like watching Mister Rogers on Xanax. 


Empathy is comforting but it will not create new jobs for the millions of unemployed or prevent President Trump from fomenting racial turmoil on American streets.


So I’m praying that Senator Sherrod Brown was rallying white working class voters during my convention snoozes; and that Congressmen Tim Ryan and Conor Lamb were describing how they turned their Trump districts Democratic as I dreamed of a Twitterless future. 


Scranton Joe is going to need every iota of such grassroots working class advice.


Donald Trump may have consistently strong national disapproval ratings but the Democratic Party is currently not putting in the ground level work necessary to beat the president in Pennsylvania and the Rust Belt states.


Take Lackawanna County, PA where Republicans are out-registering Democrats 4 to 1, or Mr. Biden’s hometown of Scranton where his campaign hadn’t even opened an office toward the end of August.


How soon they forget James Carville’s observation, “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.”


Despite Donald Trump’s gross incompetence I’ve yet to meet one of his 2016 working-class voters who is switching sides. 


Later for Zoom, Joe, time to at least talk about jobs and reveal detailed infrastructure plans or risk losing your home state – and the election. 


And how about troubled Wisconsin, you didn’t even turn up in Milwaukee for your convention. On the campaign trail that’s called “pulling a Hillary!”


You’ve got your mask and your private jet – time for some rough and tumble and local media interaction.  With three grueling debates looming you need the practice!


The polls are favorable in Ohio, a win there is a stake through Trump’s heart; you should be camping out in Sherrod Brown’s guest bedroom not shunning him at the empathy convention.


The under-representation of Latino major speakers at the convention is even more puzzling now there’s a chance of turning Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and even Texas.


True, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham got a whooping 2 minutes of convention time, but what about the 90-second snub to a Latina superstar, our own Bronx born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 


And why no appearance from Julian Castro, and no bilingual rallying cry from Beto O’Rourke that could have put the fear of god in Republican Texas?


Senator “Tio Bernie” Sanders was the huge favorite of under-30 Latino primary voters, mostly due to the work of organizer Chuck Rocha. 


The Biden campaign has yet to hire Rocha for Latino outreach. Chances are they haven’t even read his excellent book, “Tio Bernie,” detailing how he sparked Latino interest in the progressive senator’s campaign.


Donald Trump may be the Divider in Chief but he is an energetic and often riveting campaigner who will stop at nothing to gain victory. To beat him Democrats must reach out to every identity – including Irish-American. You ever get the feeling you’re being taken for granted?


Seamus Heaney’s “hope and history rhyme” was an inspired choice for Biden’s convention speech, but it’s just a collection of pretty words without perspiration, preparation, and attention to grassroots detail.


This is not just an election - it’s a battle for America’s soul, and it won’t come easy.


Time to pick up your game, Joe! Losing this election is not an option.

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