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If America I love is going to fall to Trumpism, I want it to go down fighting • Georgia Recorder

Donald Trump ought to be the main issue in this election. He led a conspiracy to overthrow our elected government, he incited political violence on his own behalf and then refused to intervene to stop it, and he has publicly demanded that the U.S. Constitution be “terminated” – his word choice, not mine – so that he, Donald Trump, could be immediately reinstated to power.

Trump wants to abandon our allies to the tender mercies of Vladimir Putin and pardon those who attacked our Capitol. He has already sacrificed a woman’s right to choose on the altar of his political ambitions, and the restraints that confined him somewhat in his first term, in terms of government personnel and law, are being dismantled in preparation for his return.

The next time, there will be no guardrails.

Given that situation, this shouldn’t be a close election, and increasingly, it’s not. In the wake of Joe Biden’s debate performance, what ought to be a referendum on Trump, his record and his dictatorial ambitions has become something else, and Democratic prospects have turned sour. In a tight election, little things matter and big things matter a lot. A physically compromised candidate, a candidate who has difficulty expressing himself clearly, is a big thing.

My own vote is set in stone, but the people whose vote is set in stone are not the people whose eyes we should try to see through. Those who will decide the outcome of the election are those not happy with either candidate, those looking for a reason to swing one way or the other. The argument that Trump is unfit for office now has a counterargument, that Biden is unfit for office, which clouds the outcome considerably.

This situation is not the creation of the media. It is not the consequence of some conspiracy. If you witnessed the debate, then you know it is the consequence of Biden’s own performance as candidate. When the likes of Nancy Pelosi are saying that Biden should drop out, without actually saying he should drop out, you know the concern is serious.

The only viable option is Kamala Harris.

In an open field, with enough time, Harris would be one of a half-dozen or more well-qualified Democratic candidates that I would want to look at closely. However, it is not an open field, time is very short, and Harris is Biden’s natural replacement. Opening the convention floor to other nominees or trying to run some half-baked “mini-primary” between now and August would multiply the existing chaos, distraction and division by a hundred-fold, and eat up time and money best spent elsewhere.

I can’t tell you with any certainty that Harris will do better than Biden would. I do know that the type of problems that Biden is exhibiting do not get better over time or under stress. If he and his staff were confident in his abilities, he would be making his case publicly, aggressively, instead of in carefully stage-managed appearances.

My bottom line is that Harris has potential upside, and this version of President Biden does not.

Voters always say they’re unhappy with the candidates presented them by the two major parties, but discontent with these recycled nominees is much higher this year than in most. In a Pew poll taken in April, 49% of voters said that if given a choice they would want to replace both Biden and Trump. Among Democrats, that number was 65%.

Would replacing Biden with Harris represent a bold choice, a risky choice? Absolutely it would. But keeping Biden under these circumstances would be at least equally dangerous. Either way, bold, risky choices are all we have left, and I distrust anyone on either side of this debate who stridently insists they know what the right answer is.

The stakes are immense, the unknowns are immense, and emotions are high.

But if the America I love is going to fall to Trumpism, I want it to go down fighting. I want a candidate who can convincingly explain the progress made under the Biden-Harris administration, who can aggressively expose Trump for the hateful, dangerous, incompetent wanna-be dictator that he is.

I fear the Joe Biden of 2024 cannot perform that duty; I have cause for hope that Kamala Harris – a former district attorney, a former state attorney general, a former U.S. senator and a vice president with four years in the rooms that matter — can.

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