Democrats have to get this right

I am not alone in believing America deserves a better choice between the incarcerated and the incapacitated.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks July 7 at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. (David Muse/CNP/Abaca Press/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

President Joe Biden delivers remarks July 7 at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. (David Muse/CNP/Abaca Press/TNS)

From beginning to end, June was a tough month for America — and for me. It began with Americans digesting the first criminal conviction of a former and potentially future president, handed down by a jury on May 31 in New York. It ended with a shocking and sad display from the current commander-in-chief in Atlanta, an unthinkable collapse that called into question the viability of his presidency. In between those events, I endorsed Biden in a “ends justify the means” moment to purge former President Donald Trump from the GOP.

America is back to the precarious and dangerous spot many of us have described for years: lacking serious leadership for consequential times. Those who believe that neither a felon with no moral compass nor an 81-year-old man facing legitimate questions about his infirmity are fit for the job are wondering what’s next.

Credit: Geoff Duncan

icon to expand image

Credit: Geoff Duncan

For me, Trump’s actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election cost him the right to serve as president. He not only refused to concede his loss, which was fair and reflected the will of the voters, but his behavior incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In the June 27 CNN debate, he falsely laid the blame for Jan. 6, 2021, at the feet of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and (again falsely) claimed that he urged his supporters to act “peacefully and patriotically.”

Anyone with an ounce of desire for intellectual honesty knows both statements are demonstrably untrue. Anyone in Georgia who watched our state become the center of the political universe or experienced death threats against their family knows that Trump’s reckless actions carried consequences.

By the same token, any of the approximately 50 million debate viewers witnessed a spectacle that cannot be undone. President Joe Biden is a decent man, but he is not fit for another four years of the office he is seeking to hold. It is now obvious that his inner circle has masked his unfortunate realities, which have led to serious questions about his ability to finish his current term.

The sight was familiar and painful to anyone who has experienced an aging relative. There are tough conversations happening across living rooms and kitchen tables every day — hard talks about driving, living alone and make sound decisions.

I’ll leave the medical diagnosis to the trained professionals, but it’s fair to say that these are not questions that should be swirling around the person controlling the nuclear codes. Even more alarming have been the ensuing excuses emanating from the president: lack of sleep, global travel, a head cold. It’s all equally unpersuasive and misses the mark of reassuring Americans. The latest is lashing out at the “elites.” It rings hollow on multiple fronts.

The profiles of the respective candidates shrank during June, but the country’s challenges did not. June’s jobs report showed fresh signs of softening in the labor market. Lingering inflation led the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates steady at a 23-year high. Real solutions to these challenges and others, including the border, are absent from both candidates’ stump speeches.

In weekend remarks in Philadelphia, President Biden was right when he said, “The world is looking to America — not to carry their burden but to lead their hopes.” Wars in Ukraine and the Middle East continue unabated. Our geopolitical foes have not stopped because of our ongoing domestic dysfunction. The event has left our allies shaking and our adversaries grinning. As Washington Post columnist George F. Will observed in his latest column, “cold-eyed men in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang might not believe that good sportsmanship requires international crises to unfold between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time.”

If there is a silver lining, it’s that the concerns of those voters unhappy with their presidential choices have been validated. Data from Pew Research showed that number — 25% — hitting the highest point in the past 10 elections.

Since 2020, my north star has been and remains preventing Trump from becoming president again. That mission remains as true today as it was before the debate. Republican primary voters had a different point of view, leaving me no choice but to back Biden.

I am not alone in believing America deserves a better choice between the incarcerated and the incapacitated.

Democrats face a fork in the road, and the country is back to square one, metaphorically up the creek without a paddle. Many are tuning into their next move, eager for signs of hope and ending this morass.

Let’s hope they get it right.