Unless the smoldering resentment of our increasingly incoherent president causes him to burst into the flame of spontaneous combustion like Mr. Krook in Dickens’ Bleak House, it looks like the country must endure another exhausting campaign and election.

Being an optimist, I feel pretty good about ending the rule of this Caligula wannabe. Of all the things President Trump has done wrong, he somehow managed to turn a public health issue into a political one. That error will result in the unnecessary loss of tens of thousands of lives, an economic loss of billions of dollars, and immeasurable physical and emotional pain and suffering. Long after the youngest of us are gone he will be unfondly remembered.

The way I see it, there are two possible scenarios whereby he could somehow get re-elected. 

The first, less likely one, is that by some combination of voter suppression, Russian manipulation or other chicanery, Trump cheats and wins the election. The short response here is for the Democrats to make sure that doesn’t happen. Figure it out. The Democrats are supposed to be the smart ones.

The second is that Joe Biden and the Democrats blow it by running a stupid campaign. Recall that this election is binary — either Biden or Trump. The single best thing every Democratic constituency can do is to vote, campaign and donate in support of Joe. Whether your passion is DACA, Me Too, the environment, BLM, income disparity, animal rights, women’s health, education — whatever, the best and fastest way to move the needle in your direction is to get Trump out.

I think Joe gets it. He needs to imitate the 21st-century version of a “front porch campaign” with judicious use of surrogates like the Obamas, Sanders and Warren. They should talk about jobs, infrastructure, police reform, tax the super-rich, health care and the restoration of relationships with our allies. Biden needs to avoid being baited into side issues like safe spaces, Civil War monuments, free college reparations, defunding police — pretty much anything AOC is for.

 By way of example, take those Civil War statues. Most Americans do not know or care who Jefferson Davis was. Many cannot identify the decade or even century the Civil War was fought. Relatively few people on either side care passionately about these statues. Those on the far left do. They find it therapeutic to pull them down because they don’t want to do the hard work necessary to effect more meaningful change. Those on the far right who feel passionately about the issue are likely Civil War re-enactors who enjoy not bathing for weeks at a time like the soldiers they emulate. 

On the other hand, lots of voters care about the environment and health care and avoiding pandemics. Perfect is the enemy of good. Alas, good is the enemy of better.

Win the middle and win the election. Carrying Illinois, California and New York by larger margins than 2016 is not important. Carrying Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin is important.

Keep it simple. Joe is not Hillary. Trump is losing it. Keep the car on the road until November. This should be a layup.

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...

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