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Letter to the Editor: Fate of American democracy is in hands of voters

Election season began with the Iowa caucuses on Monday, and with the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23, the fear that Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy and would act as a dictator if elected is getting louder and more frequent

Indeed, Trump has fanned fears of a dictatorship by saying that he would be a dictator on day one. This presumably helps to motivate his hardcore voters. However, in a democracy, a majority of voters choose who will govern the country, and therefore the fate of the American democracy is in the hands of voters, not Donald Trump.

The task for President Joe Biden is to convince voters to reelect him. Inducing fear of a looming Trump dictatorship will not be enough for him to win a second term. He needs to convince voters by highlighting his achievements in the current term and laying out the plan of action for the next term. Current polling data by John Zogby (Biden/Trump 39/51%) or by Emerson College (Biden/Trump 40/48%) do not appear to favor Biden’s reelection.

For a victory in November, Biden needs not only to siphon off some of the independent and Republican voters who might have voted for Trump in 2020 but also retain, expand and invigorate the coalition of Democratic voters that elected him in the first place. 

Former President Barack Obama and South Carolina Congressional Representative Jim Clyburn, among others, are concerned about the diminished enthusiasm for Biden. Black voters' support for Biden has declined from 87% in 2020 to 63% and 20% of the young and Hispanic voters are planning to vote for someone other than Biden.

The Biden campaign, apparently, is counting on Trump being the GOP nominee and hoping that in the end, voters will go for Biden instead of a criminally indicted Trump, who is linked to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. However, any such gains may not be sufficient for a victory in November unless Biden is successful in convincing young, Black and Hispanic voters to come back to him.

One of the reasons young Democratic voters are unhappy with Biden is his handling of the ongoing Israeli invasion of Gaza. He has vetoed the UNSC resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza. When young Black protestors chanted for a ceasefire in Gaza during his speech at the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston on Jan. 8, he waited for protestors to be escorted out and then meekly said, “And I’ve been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce significantly and get out of Gaza.” 

This response, without evidence of any meaningful outcome after three months of quietly talking, might have been good enough for the elderly crowd inside the church, but it surely was not very convincing for the young protesters. Biden’s inability to win back his voters — particularly in competitive states like Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin — and earn 270 electoral delegates will be his and his campaign’s failure and not an achievement of Trump, or whoever the GOP nominee may be.

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