Trump takes the fight to Biden, stokes ‘rigged poll’ fears

President Donald Trump projects Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden as ‘anti-national, anti-America and a disaster for the US economy’ who is set to convert the country into a ‘socialist utopia’, something his key vote-bank resists severely.

The American presidential elections have entered the “grandfinale” round with the stage set for a fierce showdown, perhaps the first of its kind in US politics. With political leaders signaling fears of a “rigged election, more violence on the streets, including race-related hate crimes”, the days leading up to the 3 November presidential elections are dark and unpredictable. Political pundits say, may be even “darker” than what we all saw in 2016.

The seeds of “American neo-nationalism”, pampering the right-wing White natives were sown then. President Trump, a businessman and a trader to the core, may be lucky to have a crop ready, suiting his political appetite in 2020.

And he knows how to play best to his gallery. “Should rival Joe Biden prevail, the country would be overrun with violence akin to protests seen this summer in Minnesota and Oregon,” he said. “The only way they can take this election away from us is if it’s a rigged election. Be careful… Don’t let them take it away from you,” he told the delegates at his renomination in Republicans’ Convention in Charlotte on Monday night, a message which he wants to reach millions in the midlands and the states, which got him to the White House in 2016 against all poll surveys tripping and trailing him in popularity and acceptance against Hillary Clinton.

Working exactly on the expected lines and as The Sunday Guardian reported this weekend on how President Trump would “trash all the claims” made by his opponent and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden as “anti-national, anti-America and a disaster for US economy”, set to convert the country into a “socialist utopia”, something his key vote-bank resist severely. The Republicans’ convention is more of a rebuttal exercise against the four-days of accusations made by the Biden camp against President Trump. But Joe Bide, who fortunately has the US media support and a strategic partner in Kamala Harris to woo vote-banks of two communities, must watch out for what the Trump camp has ready to counter him. A glimpse of that came up in full support for Trump at the Republican Convention on Monday. As BBC reported on the convention, the Republicans countered the opponent’s charges of mishandling corona by offering slick videos and firsthand accounts of the steps the President took to speed up medical research, provide protective supplies and implement economic relief.

On the charges of inflaming racial divisions in the US, former football star Herschel Walker spoke of his 37-year friendship with Trump. Tim Scott, the first black Republican senator since the late 19th century, touted the President’s work on sentencing reform and tax breaks for economically distressed communities.

The Republican Party leaders gave a message loud and clear: “The future of America was in danger if the 3 November polls resulted in the defeat of President Donald Trump.”

 And the highlight of the convention on its first day was Indian-American Nikki Haley taking the centrestage in Trump’s campaign as Harris did for Joe Biden, exception only being the nomination as the running mate. 

 On Monday night, just like Biden got Kamala Harris to his side to woo the women voters and make inroads into the Indian-Americans and Afro -Americans, Trump too had the support coming out from Indian origin Haley. Though Trump has not nominated her as his running mate as Biden did for Harris, Haley’s support to Trump will count immensely. She has already started to get the message across. As a prime-time speaker at the Convention on Monday, Haley warned Americans that victory for Biden and Harris in the elections will be a ‘disaster’ for the economy and will convert the US into a “socialist utopia”. Interestingly, Haley has not been a Trump supporter, but her vocal support to Trump’s re-election will count significantly, given her image in the Indian American community and she being herself a candidate for 2024 elections. She is heard saying, her only concern is to see President Trump getting re-elected and that’s a huge message in Trump’s favour from the point of Indian diaspora’s political support. Indian-Americans account for over 1.5 million voters and they have been predominantly Democrats’ supporters. But this time, Trump is out to woo the community in the name of his strong friendship and personal chemistry with Indian PM Narendra Modi, a hugely popular figure among the diaspora in the US. 

Making a passionate plea to re-elect Trump, Haley told the delegates, the US President has a “record of strength and success”, while his Democratic rival Joe Biden has a “record of weakness and failure”. She warned the Americans that a Biden-Harris combine would lead the country to the path of socialism, which has failed everywhere in the world. Perhaps, this is the first instance when Haley has been seen criticising Harris, the first IndianAmerican to be nominated for the second highest political office in the country.

Haley said: “This President has a record of strength and success. The former Vice President has a record of weakness and failure. Joe Biden is good for Iran and ISIS… great for Communist China… and he’s a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologise, abstain, and abandon our values. Donald Trump takes a different approach. He’s tough on China, and he took on ISIS and won. And he tells the world what it needs to hear.”

 President Trump also tried to woo his mandate in similar tone and tenor, but with a veiled threat and fear for his voters. Launching a bitter tirade against his Democratic Party rivals, Trump warned against a “voter fraud” that could deprive him of a second term. He complained that Democrats were exploiting the coronavirus pandemic — still raging in the United States — to undermine his re-election. “What they’re doing is using Covid to steal an election. They’re using Covid to defraud the American people, all of our people, of a fair and free election,” Trump said. But he quickly added to counter his red report card painted by the US media in handling the corona pandemic. Trump claimed new trade agreements and improvements in unemployment that occurred before the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the nation to counter the charges made by the media, which was again in the line of Trump’s fiery words at the Convention.

Haley, who couldn’t get the running mate status as Harris at the convention where Trump announced to go with Mike Pence in the second term, slammed the Democrats for “labeling America as racist”. She called herself a proud daughter of Indian immigrants, who wore a turban and a sari. “In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country. This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small southern town. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a brown girl in a black and white world,” she said, adding, “My family faced discrimination and hardship but her parents never gave in to grievance and hate… My mom built a successful business. My dad taught 30 years at a historically Black college. And the people of South Carolina chose me as their first minority and first female governor.”

More came from her in Trump’s support: “President Trump is leading a new era of opportunity.” And there are many others wooing Trump’s vote-bank with more signs of future fears lurking on America. “Joe Biden’s radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American. Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America,” said Senator Scott from South Carolina adding, “If we let them… they will turn our country into a socialist utopia…and history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hardworking people hoping to rise.”

 Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr alleged that Biden’s radical Left-wing policies would stop US economic recovery. He’s already talking about shutting the country down — again. “It’s madness,” Trump Jr said, adding, “Joe Biden and the radical left are also now coming for our freedom of speech and want to bully us into submission. If they get their way, it will no longer be the ‘Silent Majority’, it will be the ‘Silenced Majority’.”  

Last week, the Democrats, led by Biden, had accused Trump of the same. “The current President has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger, too much fear, too much division,” Biden said in his acceptance speech on 20 August.

But Trump and his camp had set the tone for the 3 November polls: “Be careful… Don’t let them take it away from you.” That says it all as what lies ahead!