Throughout the campaign, primary and conventions, I have been supremely confident in Joe Biden winning this election. I have felt that Trump’s literally criminal mismanagement in his response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and his undeniable racism would doom him to a landslide defeat. These two factors would bring out a record African-American vote against him and result in large margins for Joe among senior citizens, college educated men and women, and suburbanite voters.
And nothing that happened at the conventions changed my mind. The post-convention polls showed that the Trump effort to persuade the voters that he is not a racist was a total failure. In fact, his inflammatory law-and-order language in his acceptance speech only served to reinforce the accurate perception of Trump as an anti-Black bigot.
In fact, I find that the post-Convention polls that have been published are encouraging to Biden. The narrowing of the gap in the head-to-head race has been well within the margin of error, and Trump continues to trail Biden badly on the Coronavirus issue, the defining issue in the campaign.
The National Conventions did fundamentally nothing to change overall basic perceptions of the electorate regarding either candidate. In fact, Trump’s unfavorable ratings have worsened far more than those of Biden.
Most encouragingly, the electorate appears to have one overwhelming priority when it comes to racist police brutality and both the violent and non- violent response it engenders. That is to elect a president who serves as a unifying force between the races. On that score, Biden leads Trump by a light year margin.
Bottom line of the post-convention polls: Much to the disappointment of Trump and his campaign, while systemic racism persists in America, White America is significantly less racist than in the heyday of George Wallace.
But now, it has been announced that Trump plans to visit Kenosha next Tuesday. Depending on the itinerary of the visit, this may provide Trump an opportunity to change the entire narrative of his campaign and propound a new message, however false it may be, Specifically, the new message would be that Trump is indeed a force for racial reconciliation. It all depends upon whether he visits with the family of Jacob Blake.
If Trump does make such a visit, it has the potential, to a certain extent, to soften his image as a racially polarizing figure. This might help Trump, to a certain extent, change his campaign message and narrative.
But if Trump goes to Kenosha, fails to visit with the Blake family (with whom Biden has already spoken at length), and just continues to pour gasoline on the fire by accelerating his George Wallecite law-and-order message, he will further distance himself from the prevailing values of the American people and increase the likelihood of his landslide defeat.
Alan Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.