Opinion: Plan Your Vote or Lose it


This week we were reminded of everything we stand to lose if Trump finds a way to steal the presidency again.

Yeah, I know he “won” the Electoral College vote and with it the presidency. But as the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence committee acknowledged in its report this week, that “win” was engineered with a lot of help from Russia.

Let’s face it. Trump stole the presidency in 2016, and since then we tasted the bitter pill of tyranny, humiliation and cruelty.

One important difference between the ordinary tyranny of Russia and pre-2017 governance in America is the manner by which the president uses power. It’s the difference between mattering and not, between a country that can and one that can’t. It’s the difference between leaders who kick you in the gut to boost their egos and leaders who kick our enemies in the gut to protect our country, our people and our interests.


Trump’s political strategy is stealing mailboxes, psychologically torturing the long list of people he doesn’t like and happy-talking his way out of his pandemic. It’s because he really doesn’t care what we think of him or the job he has done. He doesn’t care that our suffering stems from his inability to do the job of president.

As so many have said countless times during the past four years, Trump cares about Trump. Even when his younger brother died, Trump went to the golf course as if it was just another day. Sure, he read some “feeling” words from a teleprompter and tweeted something. But you never had the sense that he felt pain or was even capable of it.

For all the criticism of Joe Biden, one cannot escape the fact that his acceptance speech sounded like someone who understands suffering from first-hand experience. The fact that he understands what America deserves in a president (and Trump is incapable of delivering) is unavoidable.

We deserve better than someone who spouts conspiracy theories. We deserve a First Lady capable of feeling our pain and saying it in her own words instead of someone who steals someone else’s speech and blames staff for it.
As awful as the past four years were, I was glad to see several speakers point out that Trump’s tyranny can get worse. I know enough from reading about tyranny elsewhere and interviewing people who experienced it to know there isn’t a person on the planet who deserves to exist that way.

And if we have anything in common, it’s that we know we don’t want that existence for ourselves and especially not for our children. (Ok, there are people who will support it because their profits will increase if we become a world of slave owners and slaves.)

No one says the road ahead is an easy one, but we saw a coming-together unlike any we’ve seen in a long time. Joe Biden may be running as the Democratic Party’s chosen nominee, but he is the national unity candidate. That was on display as we saw everyone from Colin Powell to Bernie Sanders endorse and support Joe Biden.

The fact is that Trump will use every dirty trick and every dirty dictator to cling to power. In Trump’s America, voting means having a plan and getting around the obstacles. It means experiencing a version of what black voters have experienced throughout American history.

That alone makes this the most consequential and easiest of elections.
Next week, the Republicans will renominate Donald Trump with much of their convention in a shroud of secrecy. But then, they probably want to avoid more failures after they abandoned attempts to hold a convention in Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida eventually refused to host the convention. They may not want the country to see how few people want to watch the live version of Trump’s pandemic road show.

That convention will remind us that the choice this time is easier than it ever was. We’ll see the difference between Trump’s capacity to divide and destroy and Joe Biden’s ability to unite and rebuild.

Plan your vote, readers. It’s the most important thing you will ever do.