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President Donald Trump is building a wall — an aggregate of the bricks of his own words and actions, as well as the political fallout thereof, all resting on a foundation of the last seven presidential elections — forming a solid impediment to reelection.

As we know, the presidency is won with a majority of the Electoral College tally (currently 270). Donald Trump won 57 percent of the Electoral College votes yet lost the popular vote, thereby starting his term spurned by 54 percent of the electorate. Four years in office, manic tweetstorms, shoving a foreign head of state at an international conference, tarnishing his office’s dignity and reputation, false and offensive remarks, failure to protect Americans (and himself) from the COVID-19 pandemic, and undermining the nation’s system of checks and balances have in no demonstrable way swayed demographics in his favor. Each deed above, to quote Pink Floyd, is “just another brick in the wall.”

The president won some crucial swing states in 2016 by one percent or less of the popular vote. The situation in those states is now very different. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads by two to eight points in Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and nationally by 6.5-14 percent, which multiple news outlets have called one of the longest and most steady leads in history.

My conclusion: The electoral vote in some key states will be Biden’s.

Another contributing factor in Oval Office occupancy change is the fact that, statistically, the majority of American voters have repeatedly renounced GOP presidential candidates. In the last quarter century of races for our highest office, Republicans have won three, Democrats four. Sounds a bit like one for you, one for me, doesn’t it? Not even close. The win/loss records are deceptive. Those seven elections saw people vote for the GOP over Democrats only once. It’s true; Democrats won the popular vote six out of those seven times.

Did you know that in their three wins since 1992, the Republican popular vote margin was an average of minus 135,000, but the above-noted four Democratic victories had a popular ballot surplus of 6.5 million? It is very cut-and-dry that in national match-ups, Democrats are embraced by the electorate.

Still skeptical? Consider the following: the record for Republican presidential popular vote is Trump’s 63 million in his 2016 victory (a full 2.8 million behind Hillary Clinton), while the all-time Democratic candidate high is 69.5 million (Obama in 2008, with 9.5 million more than John McCain). Republican popular vote erosion of any sort amplifies this glaring difference.

President Trump’s un-American authoritarian style has created an unprecedented hemorrhaging of support from within his own party. Hundreds of members of the administration of former President George (43) Bush, dozens of former national security advisors (including former CIA directors) and congressional alumni, former and current governors (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Phil Scott, and Christine Todd Whitman), military brass such as Gen. Colin Powell, and conservatives such as George F. will and The Lincoln Project have all recently come forward as resisting his re-election or backing Joe Biden. This party line exodus is sure to sweep away with it additional voters across the country, swelling the lack of acceptance already plaguing the GOP.

My conclusion: The popular vote will be Biden’s.

Since its inception in 1824, the popular vote has been lost by the presidential victor only five times. Only. Five. Times. Yet two of those five times occurred in the first 16 years of this century (both winners GOP). Something’s wrong here. Data strongly suggest future Republican presidents, if any, will find themselves arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with the stigma of significant public rejection.

The emerging destiny of the GOP nationally may be one of perpetual reliance on disruption of democracy through voter disenfranchisement or intimidation with ballot drop box removal (think of the Texas governor) and electorate suppression through sabotage (think of USPS slowdowns and mail processing machine removal and dismantling by the hundreds), adding to the default dilutionary effect on the votes of Jane and John Q. Public facilitated by the Electoral College (an institution perhaps in need of some 21st Century tweaking). Republican presidents may be associated in history books with unusual election scenarios requiring asterisks and footnotes (hanging chads, etc.). It’s almost as if something negating the will of the majority of Americans is required for Republicans to win the White House.

I wish our president and first lady a swift and complete recovery from COVID-19, but the reality still stands: the Republican Party, barring dramatic platform shifting and/or improved candidate vetting, is itself in ill health. America is no longer the white bread, boy-meets-girl, “sit in the back of the bus,” leaded gasoline, “Twelve Angry Men” nation of yore. We have new needs, new blood, and new vision.

The figures and circumstances suggest the odds the commander-in chief receives a second term in office are close to zero if voter turnout is unfettered and reflects our diversity. If citizens encourage each other regardless of party affiliation to reflect on what is at stake and participate in this election, recent history tells us most voters will, with the trowel and cement of balloting, assist the president in completing the reelection obstruction that he himself began.

The conclusion: The election will be Biden’s, the wall is Trump’s.

Alexander A. Tenentes is a retired Doctor of Optometry in the Bennington area and occasional contributor to the Bennington Banner.


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