Bob Franken




I know, I know. You’re really bummed out that the party conventions are over. Either that, or you’re so disgusted that you want to “throw all them bums out.” But for those of you who couldn’t tear yourself away from the virtual COVID conventions, perhaps Netflix or Amazon Prime could make them available for binge watching, or maybe C-Span.
Actually, as thrilling as they were, they were only the lounge act; the main show begins now. And yes, it was a four year lounge act, beginning when the ballots were counted in 2016. Because, American tradition has it that the next presidential campaign begins a few hours after the previous election results are known. This time around it’s been a one-man show. President Donald Trump has held the spotlight more than anyone in history. That’s partially on the media, but it’s mainly due to Trump’s incredible knack of being so goofy, so hateful, so preposterous, that all any of us can do is gasp and react to his latest outrage.
Let’s face it, the remaining campaign will also be about the Trumpster. Joe Biden could be the nicest, most capable candidate who has ever run for president — after all, he’s done it three times — but he’s still “What’s his name.” This is an up or down poll about Donald Trump. You either love him or you hate him.

True, there will be a few high points—or campaign low points, if you prefer—to capture your attention. The three debates between Trump and “What’s his name” should be a hoot. The first one is scheduled for Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, on Sept. 29. But will it observe coronavirus protocol? Will there be masks worn? Assuming they are in the same room, will they hit each other? How effective will the instant fact checkers be?
Can there be two losers? Trump, because he says something amazingly bigoted, or Biden if he utters something dumb. They have both had long experience.
There’s a vice presidential debate on Oct. 7 at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. A reminder that she is the first woman of color to be a major party Veep nominee. He is whiter than white and a Trump apologist, to put it mildly.
Notice, this calendar of events has now gotten into October. That means it’s “October Surprise” time. For those who shut these things out to maintain your sanity, that’s the blockbuster disclosure that is made in the last days of the campaign, when time is too short to explain it away. Maybe it will be video of Joe Biden taking a bribe from a Ukrainian oligarch. Perhaps it will be a recording of Donald Trump actually doing what he said he did in the “Hollywood Access” tape. (Does the word “grab” refresh your memory?)
It’s a last-minute sensational charge against one candidate that causes a really big turnout by supporters of the other, or discourages the other side so much that it stays home in droves.
Of course, that might not be such a factor this year. Because of COVID, most Americans will have already voted by mail. The truth is, most have already made their minds up.
That might be why Trump so opposes mail-in ballots. He may not be able to have the chaos when tallying the results that many worry he’s counting on so he can claim the election is rigged and not accept the results.
Then we will really have drama. Will the military support his attempted coup? The chief of staff says no way. Still, the 2024 campaign might not begin on Nov. 4, the day after, because there won’t be a 2024 election. Donald Trump will declare himself leader for life. Far-fetched? There are those who don’t think so. Besides, what would we do in this country for entertainment without politics?

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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