A spectacular wave of Republican backlash has recently fraught the Trump campaign and administration. Republicans were critical and still are critical of Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump’s openly racist and dog whistle tweets have garnered considerable Republican criticism. Trump’s treatment of protestors have also drawn Republican criticism (https://www.ft.com/content/a845d6f2-b6cc-4afd-a2f3-513592612ecf). Trump’s latest genius idea, to promote reopening of schools amid the pandemic, has garnered Republican backlash as well. The signs are clear: now is the time, Republicans. Now is the time to cut the rotten fruit off the branch — but don’t expect a miracle.
It does genuinely seem like a non-insignificant number of Republicans are at wits’ end. Republican organizations are already endorsing Joe Biden, after all. Hell, it seems downright trendy for Republicans to vote for Biden right now. However, I think we should temper our optimism. As many pundits like to point out, we all thought Hillary Clinton had it in the bag and look what happened.
Yes, Republicans are turning on Trump, although perhaps not quite as we had hoped. But what does this mean we should actually expect to see come November? Will disenchanted Republicans actually muster the strength to vote for Biden? Will people of any political persuasion even bother to vote? I really don’t know. This is unlike any election year in modern history. My biggest fear is that the Republicans who say they’re going to vote for Biden will forget why exactly they turned on Trump in the first place if Trump manages to lay low the few weeks prior to the election. All in all, it’s really hard to say we can predict any particular major aspects of the election.
But, as always, I have a point to make here, and it is this: no matter how much it looks like Trump is set to lose, our activism, political efficacy, and participation cannot wane. This is the final stretch.
We’ve all seen it before. The winner is just about to cross the finish line when, suddenly, someone overtakes him for the gold. We watch those clips with a combination of empathy and mirth, but most everybody agrees — they’d rather be the come-from-behind winner than the complacent loser. Complacency could kill the vital momentum we need to get Biden in the White House. Be active. Vote. Register others to vote. Keep the passion going.