Presidential candidate Joe Biden is trying to get America to say to President Donald Trump, “You’re fired!” That has only happened to four presidents in the past 100 years. So there’s a lot in Biden’s speech tonight. As one of the people who helped Bill Clinton write his conference speech in 1992 – the last time we fired an incumbent president – I have some thoughts.
First, though, Joe Biden’s campaign has been very successful. His convention is wonderful. He and his team don’t need me to kill. But I couldn’t help it. Here’s what I think he needed to accomplish in his award acceptance speech:
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020 Election Shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater
Politics is About Supplement. Refute the meaningless debate between the democratic base electrification and outreach to voters. Biden has to do both. More than 172,000 families are experiencing the pain of losing loved ones because of Covid-19. That pain is the same whether they live in the greenest city or the reddest countryside. Besides, the divide is Trump’s trademark – the unity is Biden’s. He had to sew up the worn-out cloth of our people and restore the ties. Biden received 17.3 million votes in the Democratic primary. He would need 70 million to fire Trump. The road between 17.3 million and 70 million requires a lot and a lot of additions – by definition adding those who did not participate in his party’s primary election. A large tent is not only the best political strategy but also the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020 Election Shirt only way to run this huge, complex and deeply divided country.
Focus on the Windshield, Not the Rearview Mirror. I believe Biden has appeared in public ever since Millard Fillmore has got tickets to the Whig Party. He’s done a lot of good things for a lot of people: passed the Senate Violence Against Women Act, implemented the White House Economic Recovery Act, strongly supported US allies and US values around the world. Those feats are good, but they’re in the past. Elections are about the future. He needs to spend twice as much time telling us what he is going to do as President than reminding us of what he has done in the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020 Election Shirt past.
It’s about the voters, stupid. Here’s the deadly mistake I made in 2016: I allowed Trump’s silly personal behavior to distract me from voters. Certainly, it was a shame that Trump taunted a man’s physical disability, attacked prisoners’ heroism and bragged about sexual assault (he denies that). But I failed to connect those personality flaws with the life of a Wisconsin farmer, a retired Pennsylvania pensioner, an office worker in Michigan. Accusing Trump is not because of what he is, but what he did and what he failed. Everyone is dead. Others get sick. Businesses closed, job lost, farm confiscated, school crisis. Our troops have a bounty on their heads. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are being cut from Trump’s budget.
Getting Americans fired a President is not easy. If Biden’s attention to the award – making the lives of the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020 Election Shirt American people better – then his speech could be a key step towards that goal.