Democrats stake out middle ground in election battle

V Nivedita | Updated on August 18, 2020

A television at Buck Bradley’s Saloon and Eatery shows former First Lady Michelle Obama speaking at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), which will be a largely virtual event due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US   -  REUTERS

Michelle Obama bats for Joe Biden with rousing call to vote out Donald Trump

As the three-day convention of the Democratic Party to formally nominate Joe Biden as the party candidate for President got under way, key-note speakers made the party's main campaign strategy clear: vote out the incompetent US President Donald Trump.

Many of the speakers made compelling arguments laying out the differences between Joe Biden and Trump; others focussed on Trump's many failures. The charge was led by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Obama said, "Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong President for our country." In a scathing attack, Sanders said, "The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next President and Vice-president." Others like House Majority Whip James Clyburn called for party unity.


Republican support

In an attempt to reach out to moderate Republicans and find bipartisan common ground, Democrats invited several 'Never Trumpers' and other well-known Republicans who have given voice to their displeasure with Trump. One such leader was former Ohio governor and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich, who said he would vote for Biden. He acknowledged the absurdity of his endorsement, and noted that "in normal times, something like this would probably never happen. But these are not normal times.”


By showcasing moderate Republicans, the Democrats hope to undercut Trump's message that Biden would become a puppet of the left. Kaisch acknowledged this: he said Biden was "reasonable, faithful, respectful" and that "no one pushes Joe around".

The Democrats' intent is quite clear: get disenfranchised Trump voters over to their side. There is a reason for this. Even though the Biden-Harris ticket enjoys a 11 point lead over Trump-Pence nationally (according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll), the gap is close in battleground States.

According to a CNN poll, Biden is performing marginally better than Trump in key battleground States. Biden has the backing of 49 per cent of registered voters, against Trump's 48 per cent. Trump won 10 of these key States in 2016, while his opponent back then, Hillary Clinton, won five States. Polls suggest that Trump's voters are a bit more likely to change their minds by November (12 per cent say so) than are Biden's backers (7 per cent).

Clearly, the voters in these battleground States hold the key for a Biden victory. It is to these voters that the Democratic Party made a pitch to on the first day of the convention.

Published on August 18, 2020

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