I've voted for many presidential candidates during my life, but I don't remember another election where we had two more deeply flawed and/or unpalatable candidates than President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Sorry, but I think it's a choice between bad and worse.
So what are the keys to the 2020 presidential election? The president's reelection chances depend upon how he handles our recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. He's underwater with the voters on this key issue, and that's why he trails Biden in most of the national polls. At the same time, we should remember that the pollsters were wrong in 2016, and they could be wrong again this year.
Back in January, Trump downplayed the coronavirus and claimed that it would simply "go away." It didn't, however, and as I draft this column on Thursday the virus has killed nearly 100,000 of our fellow Americans, a disproportionate number of whom were elderly nursing home patients with pre-existing conditions. As it turns out, I made the right decision last year when I decided not to move to a senior residence in suburban Seattle.
Not long ago our draft-dodging president bragged about being the "commander-in-chief" in the war against coronavirus but when someone called his attention to the Constitution's Tenth Amendment guaranteeing states' rights he backtracked and said the 50 governors were in charge. And then he started blaming them for the increasing death toll.
Trump continued to claim credit for positive developments in the battle against the virus and denied responsibility for bad news while suggesting that we might consider injecting ourselves with household disinfectants like Clorox and Lysol and announcing that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug with potentially deadly side effects. Draw your own conclusions.
In fairness, I'll note that Trump faces a Catch-22 situation where he's damned if he urges governors to open their states to save the economy, and damned if he doesn't. That's certainly true here in Nevada, where we rely on gambling and tourism. There's a difficult balance between ensuring public safety and preventing an economic collapse with devastating consequences. Those are life-or-death decisions.
Biden in his Basement
Meanwhile, Biden is doing awkward video interviews from his basement in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden looks old and confused and sometimes doesn't seem to know where he is or what office he's running for. As a card-carrying senior citizen I know something about mental acuity issues, and that's what Uncle Joe's fellow Democrats are worried about – that and a serious charge by Tara Reade, a former female staffer in Biden's Senate office who claims that he assaulted her 27 years ago.
Biden, who agreed with the "MeToo" movement's view that women should always be believed during last year's contentious confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, now says Reade shouldn't be believed because the alleged sexual assault "didn't happen." So we should believe all women except Reade, right? I call that hypocrisy.
And then there's the issue of Biden's female vice presidential running mate. Although Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is clearly the best qualified veep contender, far left "progressives" are demanding that Biden choose "a person of color" like California Sen. Kamala Harris, failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams or Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, a former police chief who was a leader in the fight against Kavanaugh.
Bottom line: As a proud independent voter, I may vote for good old "none of the above" in November unless Biden chooses Klobuchar as his running mate. Stay tuned.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.