We Have No Choice But Beating Trump On Election Day -- And We Surely Can

We Have No Choice But Beating Trump On Election Day -- And We Surely Can

Former President Donald Trump

Photo by Sam Wolfe/Reuters

Well, the big news is that after a couple of days of even more expert analysis, nothing’s going to save us. Certainly not the Supreme Court. They’re in the tank for Donald Trump, full stop. It doesn’t matter which way they will eventually rule on his claim of absolute immunity, hell, it doesn’t even matter whether they’ll rule at all. They’re going to toss the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban in the garbage, and then they’re going to dilly dally until presidential immunity is a moot point.

But even if the Supreme Court were to hurry up the case and rule against Trump’s claim of immunity, that wouldn’t save us, either. Even Jack Smith getting a conviction before Election Day wouldn’t save us.

Donald Trump has to be beaten at the ballot box, and beaten badly, and we can do it.

Trump’s performance in the Republican primaries so far has been abysmal. In three of the primaries, 40 percent of the voters in his own party didn’t vote for him. In the fourth, about 30 percent didn’t want him. Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, and significant numbers of Republican voters have rejected him every chance they’ve gotten. This can’t be emphasized enough. Those were Republican votes he didn’t get.

Every time you read a story about Trump, the political pundits are saying he has remade the Republican Party in his own image, he’s turned it into the MAGA party, he owns the party’s base. Really? Trump wasn’t running against Joe Biden in those primaries. With the likes of Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley on the primary ballot, Trump didn’t have an opponent that anybody in his party thought could actually win the nomination. Those weren’t votes for DeSantis or Haley as much as they were protest votes against Trump.

I’m not making an argument that those Republicans who voted against Trump in the primaries are going to vote for Biden in November. A few of them might, and most of them will vote for the Republican nominee, who will be Donald Trump, because that’s what Republicans do. But some of them are going to stay home.

That means Donald Trump is beatable. It won’t be easy, it will be closer than it should be, but he is not going to get as large a share of the popular vote as he got last time.

Sure, the MAGA people love him, they buy the red hats and they fly the flags from their pickup trucks and some of them turn out for his rallies. But not as many as in 2020, and certainly not as many as in 2016.

He’s bleeding. His fund raising is in the basement. A massive percentage of the money he’s raised through Super Pacs has gone to pay for his legal defense in the trials he has already faced and lost in New York and will face again in three weeks, and to the lawyers he’s hired to file the flurry of appeals briefs they’ve been cranking out. The New York Times reported last week that Trump committees had spent $50 million on legal expenses last year, “and those costs are likely to balloon as he prepares for potential trials this year.”

Why isn’t this a bigger story? Why has so much of the political coverage of Trump emphasized how he “trounced” his opponents in the primaries, when he lost between 30 and 40 percent of the vote in each of them? Reading the coverage of Joe Biden’s win in Michigan, you’d have thought that 80 percent of the vote was a loss, and a 13 percent vote for “uncommitted” was a disaster. President Obama got an 11 percent uncommitted vote when he was running for reelection. Where was that number in the mainstream coverage of the Michigan primary?

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that an analysis of Republican primary results showed that “voters 65 or older were the age group most likely to support Trump in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. They made up more than a third of his voters, increasing from a quarter eight years ago.” How is that good news for Donald Trump? It’s not.

I’m going to keep reporting on Trump’s legal woes because it’s an important story and because I just love it that he is finally being held to account for at least some of the crimes he has committed. But what I’m going to be paying the most attention to is the nuts and bolts of beating his sorry ass in November.

We can do it. The first thing we’ve got to do is get over the idea that this is somehow a different country than it has been because Donald Trump is running for president again. It’s not. He’s not a superman. Owning a corrupt Supreme Court does not give him the political power to win an election that depends on the votes of American citizens.

With abortion and IVF scaring the shit out of voters all over the country, we know we’ve got the issues. We know there are more of us than there are of them. What we’ve got to do is turn out and vote.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

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