If the polls are to be believed, President Donald Trump faces an uphill battle getting to the number of Electoral College votes he needs to win reelection. But nine of those votes are not in doubt: Alabama’s.
Alabama has from the start given Trump some of his highest approval ratings. When it came down to a fight between Trump and Alabama’s own longtime former senator, Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republicans picked Trump over Sessions.
Nevertheless, we believe Trump’s presidency has been, on balance, bad for the country and bad for Alabama.
The case against President Trump is clear; he is the one who made it. He entered office claiming the nation was gripped in “American carnage,” even though violent crime was near historic lows. During the past four years, violent crime and social unrest have gotten worse. He promised to get tough on trade and to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement. But his NAFTA replacement is virtually identical, and the U.S. trade deficit in goods has never been higher, reaching a record $83.9 billion in August. Meanwhile, Trump’s tariffs have cost American business $46 billion, according to a Reuters news agency analysis of Commerce Department data, and led to taxpayer bailouts of U.S. farmers totaling roughly $28 billion. In his quest to make America “great again,” Trump has belittled our allies abroad and cozied up to dictators and murderers.
Trump promised to reduce the budget deficit, but under Trump it climbed to more than $1 trillion last year, before the COVID-related spending started, and despite Trump having inherited a growing economy from President Barack Obama. But perhaps most importantly, Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” Yet few administrations have been so mired in scandal as Trump’s. To date, eight people associated with his administration or campaign have been arrested or convicted of various crimes.
None of this even takes into account the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. On this score, Trump gets perhaps too much of the blame. In our system, governors and local officials have most of the responsibility for dealing with public health. Yet it is clear the president has made a bad situation worse by failing to take it seriously from Day 1.
For all this, what do we have? We have a country that hasn’t been so divided, so eager to rip itself apart over political disagreements since the Vietnam era.
That is where Trump’s Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, has his greatest advantage: Unlike Trump, unlike Hillary Clinton four years ago, and unlike too many politicians who benefit from the increasing Team Red/Team Blue tribalization of our politics, Biden wants to bring the country together.
In a career that goes back to the 1970s, Biden has shown a willingness, even eagerness to work across party lines and make the compromises necessary to get things done for the nation’s benefit. Ironically, this has mostly irritated his own party’s left wing, something he has done his entire career, which is why it’s absurd now to cast him as some sort of left winger.
“Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” Biden once asked. As Biden might say, “Come on, man.”
A vote for Biden is a vote for a return to normality and the first step in rebuilding trust in the nation’s institutions. And every one of those votes, even in Alabama, can contribute to what hopefully will be a mandate not for something vague like “change” or “Make America Great Again,” but for something concrete: a return to the rule of law that Trump has flouted at every opportunity.
There is a reason our allies overseas prefer Biden while our enemies prefer Trump, and it’s not that Trump is an enemy agent or other fantasy out of a conspiracy theory. It’s simply that Trump is an agent of chaos, and our enemies prefer us to be mired in chaos. Four more years of Trump means four more years of chaos.
A vote for Biden is a vote to make politics boring again. Who can argue against that?
The Daily recommends Joe Biden for president of the United States.