Virus-winter highlight: doddery old Joe versus The Donald

by Colin Campbell

NOVEMBER 3 is only 10 weeks away and it promises to be the most enthralling, gripping and riveting night of the year.

I’ve watched the unfolding drama of every US presidential election for the past 40 years. Trump v Biden, which reaches an electoral climax on that date, is certain to top the lot.

I was as stunned, disbelieving and drained of emotion as just about everyone else when The Donald defeated Hilary Clinton four years ago. Around 6am I went to bed, still not fully believing, with a couple of states still to be declared, that it had actually happened. I only did believe it when the grave voice of a BBC announcer confirmed the identity of the new president a couple of hours later on the 8 o’ clock morning news.

And even then it took a few hours to fully sink in.

Last week’s Democratic Convention was all Zoom link-ups and pre-recorded broadcasts and was bereft of the atmosphere of a normal convention with thousands packed into a massive arena reverberating with razzamatazz.

This week’s Republican Convention will be more of the same. Although no speech by Donald Trump should ever be anticipated as boring.

I imagine the vast majority of people in this country who will be fully engaged with events across the Atlantic are eager or even desperate to see Trump defeated.

This is not a remote event in a foreign country. We don’t have a vote, but that doesn’t mean people here aren’t hugely interested in the outcome.

A friend of mine strings together so many contemptuous adjectives to describe him that he takes several minutes to get to his name.

But I certainly don’t spit teeth in anger every time I see The Donald on television or Youtube. He still makes for entertaining and often compelling viewing, no matter what he says, and as we all know he often says some very strange things.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden is being portrayed by pro-Trump media outlets as a doddery old man nearing 80 with impaired cognitive function who won’t be able to complete a four-year term in the most demanding job in the world. There are too many recorded examples of his forgetfulness and mangled words to make this an entirely unfair characterisation. Maybe historical accounts of the 2020 election will be able to coherently explain why Trump’s opponents – if they are so manically desperate to get rid of him – ended up selecting Biden as the best man to do it. But it’s difficult if not impossible to find any rational explanations for that now.

When American cities were burning with mobs on the rampage in recent weeks he seemed to be tacitly encouraging the anarchy. As was his black running mate, Kamala Harris.

The odds favour Biden but no-one is counting Trump out. This time I think he’ll win again. And the explosive aftermath will be something best witnessed from a safe difference, ie here.

With this damn virus still hanging over everything it could be a very long and very bleak winter. I’m glad to have anything to look forward to to break up the monotony. The US election is one such monumental event, and whatever the outcome on November 3, I intend to make the most of it.

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