Recent polls have indicated that former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has a variety of possible paths to winning at least 270 electoral votes in November and defeating President Donald Trump. If Biden won every state that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 and flipped a handful of Trump states, he would be sworn in as president in January 2021.
But journalist Brian Klaas, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, stresses that although a narrow victory over Trump would put Biden in the White House next year, it wouldn’t be enough to eradicate Trumpism.
“Thankfully, poll after poll shows Americans abandoning President Trump,” Klaas writes. “In some battleground states, former Vice President Joe Biden has racked up double-digit leads. Of course, a few months is an eternity in a presidential campaign; so much could still change. But at the moment, Trump’s ship is sinking. He is currently on track to lose in November. Unfortunately, Trump losing is not enough.”
Trumpism, according to Klaas, is about more than President Trump; it is a toxic ideology that has infected the GOP in general — and a Biden landslide, Klaas writes, will be needed to adequately repudiate it.
“For the United States and the world, a narrow victory for Biden would be exponentially better than a narrow victory for Trump,” Klaas explains. “But we don’t need a narrow victory. We need a landslide that sends Trumpism to the dustbin of history — and forces the Republican Party to change.”
Klaas outlines what a narrow Biden win might look like in November — for example, Biden carrying the states that Clinton won in 2016 but performing better in the Rust Belt.
“Consider two scenarios,” Klaas writes. “The first is a mirror image of the 2016 electoral college: Biden wins by recapturing Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, or loses one of those swing states but picks up Arizona instead. Biden scrapes together 278 or 279 electoral votes and heads to the White House.”
Such a scenario, according to Klaas, wouldn’t be a true repudiation of Trumpism.
“The Republican Party would likely attribute a narrow Trump defeat to tactical errors,” Klaas warns. “Trump had the winning formula right, they might say, but just botched it a bit. Conclusion: tinker with Trumpism, don’t replace it.”
Klaas goes on to describe the type of Biden victory he would much rather see.
According to Klaas, “What we decide won’t just determine who is in the White House next year, it will determine what the Republican Party looks like for at least a decade…. If we assume that the latest battleground state polling averages from FiveThirtyEight are correct — yes, a big assumption — then Biden would win 367 electoral votes, picking up Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan compared with 2016. Right now, Trump is still leading in Texas and Iowa, but only by about a point. If he lost those, which is still unlikely, it wouldn’t be just defeat for the Republicans — it would wipe them out electorally.”
Klaas concludes, “America desperately needs two functioning political parties that are rooted in reality and firmly believe in an inclusive democracy. The only way to force the Republican Party to exorcise its demons of racism, authoritarianism and conspiracism is wholesale destruction at the ballot box.”