News/Op-Ed: Biden Holds Steady Lead Over Trump Nationally In Election Defined By Covid-19

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

Throughout the Summer, Democratic presidential nominee and former-Vice President Joe Biden united his party and continued his measured rhetoric amidst widespread racial tension, the rising COVID-19 death toll and a downed economy. Meanwhile, incumbent President Donald Trump maintained a stranglehold on his base of support, weathering low net approval ratings and criticism regarding his administration’s COVID-19 response.

Throughout the past year and a half, the President has been under intense scrutiny from Democrats after a failed impeachment attempt, as he now attempts to change the narrative surrounding his administration’s pandemic response. Despite the chaos that has occurred over President Trump’s term, the President himself continues to avert attention from his perceived “downplaying” of the pandemic and its dangers, attacking the left for creating “fake news” in the media and attempting to block his agenda from coming into fruition. 

As a result of the continuous division of the United States, as well as the disappearance of bipartisanship, the upcoming election will be one of the most consequential in recent history. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of up-to-date polling data shows former-Vice President Biden leading the President by about 6 points nationally. 

At the Democratic National Convention last month, the party called for unity, strength and perseverance in a time where, they claimed, the country is in dire need of moral leadership. In his nomination acceptance speech, the former-Vice President displayed the reason why Democrats across the country entrusted him with the tremendous responsibility of representing their party when many in their ranks feel the man currently sitting in the Oval Office poses an existential threat.

“Love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear, and light is more powerful than dark,” said the former-Vice President.

In the midst of unforeseen, unpredictable times brought upon by the spread of COVID-19, the ensuing economic collapse and widespread racial injustice, Biden and his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, have stuck to a message of national unity, moral leadership and trust in science. President Trump, on the other hand, has struggled to exhibit acumen and accountability in these areas, touting record numbers in Wall Street markets as Main Street awaits another government stimulus hung up in gridlock between House Democrats and Republicans. 

Contrary to the Biden/Harris call for unity and leadership, President Trump and Vice President Pence have continued their “America First” rhetoric, as well as ramping up the insult-laden campaigning that won them the Presidency in 2016. From calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocohontas,” to branding the former-Vice President as “Sleepy Joe” and a man “Hiding in the basement,” the Trump Train is still rolling, albeit in a different way than in 2016.

Instead of prioritizing the preservation of American lives and establishing a national sense of unity, the President doubled-down on a rhetoric of divisiveness that was foreshadowed during his 2016 campaign. 

In lieu of finally taking the high road and expressing some sense of empathy for the American people in a time where two pandemics are spreading rapidly – COVID-19 and Racism – the President employed dark, pessimistic, and ironic rhetoric at the Republican National Convention last month. 

In a direct attack on the opposing Biden, Trump stated, “No one will be safe in Biden’s America.” 

All the while, protests, riots as well as anti-fascist and right-wing extremist movements have increased under the President’s watch, as he has done little to set the record straight or mend the wounds the American people have been subjected to under his very own leadership.

At an ABC News Town Hall on Tuesday, Trump struggled to answer voter questions, speaking little to their immediate concerns and pivoting to praising himself and his administration. However, the President has found it difficult to get ahead of the media narrative regarding his failed response to COVID-19, as the American death toll edges toward 200,000. 

Nearly 48 years after investigating the Watergate Scandal and exposing an election cover-up by then-President Richard Nixon, famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward is back at it in 2020, this time exposing President Trump on COVID-19. After a March phone call with the President, Woodward recently revealed the content of their conversation, and even by the President’s standards, it’s stunning. 

According to Woodward, President Trump was warned in a briefing on January 28th that the virus would be as deadly as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that killed 675,000 Americans. And still, despite assembling a coronavirus task force, the President “downplay[ed],” to use the President’s own word, the dangers of the virus in public and concealed information from the American people. 

As Woodward pressed Trump in following phone calls, the President admitted that he liked downplaying the pandemic because he did not want to create a panic. Yet, hundreds of thousands of lives later, he still does, ignoring science while casting doubt on the unanimous scientific consensus on mask wearing and calling for a full reopening of the economy and schools. The most recent example was Wednesday when the president contradicted sworn congressional testimony from his Center of Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield on the importance of mask wearing and the availability of a vaccine to the general public. 

While President Trump has been out on the campaign trail playing to large, maskless crowds, sometimes even indoors, the former-Vice President Bident has exhibited extreme caution. Tonight voters will get a chance to hear from the candidate in a townhall of his own on CNN.

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