With Only 13% Undecided Voters What Strategy To Take?

By Donald A. Collins | 26 July 2020
Church and State

(Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In this unique time in human history in the world’s most rich and powerful country (at least for now) there are many undecided voters, voters who will likely make the deciding votes on November 3rd, who may be experiencing considerable indecision about who to pick.

That indecisiveness seems incomprehensible to the at least 40 percent on each political side who now of course know they are already voting for the right candidate!

Clearly, at this time the number of voters truly undecided is getting smaller and the July 25th Wall Street Journal story says, “Half of voters in a recent WSJ/NBC News poll say there is no chance they will support President Trump, and 37% say they would never back Joe Biden.” You can read the story here.

What reasons will sway the undecided? Many answers spring to mind, but one voice popped out from some media source, which resonated with me when he said, “I will pick based on two criteria. One, who Biden picks as VP and two, how the candidates do in their debate.”

Recall—in thinking of this male voter’s second criteria—the decisive influence that first national TV Presidential debate had between Dick Nixon and Jack Kennedy in the 1960 campaign.

Now at a time when our nation has awakened to dealing openly with its history of racism, Biden’s decision to pick a woman as his running mate takes on an import which could well be decisive in his winning or losing.

It has been reliably reported that his short list is all black women. This was a very bold move, which could be the most decisive influence (of course perhaps the state of containment of the virus will supersede it) on whether or not he will be elected on November 3rd.

Now I am speculating that the 13% undecideds will want to feel some certainty because of Biden’s age, that this pick needs significant high level governmental experience to abet his office, as he did Obama’s, and the ability to take over should he become unable.

Obviously, the woman will endorse the usual liberal women’s issues, but—and this seems critically important—she will be lacking the stridency that some of his potential choices have shown.

Can she listen? Does she know how our pre-Trump government was supposed to work even if it didn’t often measure up to our founder’s ideals?

President Trump, mired in the Coronavirus pandemic, which could dominate voting choices on Election Day, has taken his own tacks for this crucial 13% which has been widely given media coverage so I will not repeat them here.

Just commenting a political strategist, based on the facts in a Washington Post article which uses the July 24th NPR article’s text, Biden could well pick Susan Rice.

The Post article’s headline: “Susan Rice, Perhaps An Unlikely Contender, Lands On Biden’s VP Shortlist”—you can read the whole piece here.

Her education and her foreign policy career amply qualify her for his choice. The stridency I mentioned applies to Warren and others.

One negative was her comments at the time of Benghazi.

As the NPR piece notes,

Benghazi as a GOP attack

Once line of attack that Republicans would likely use against Rice if she were on the ticket is Benghazi. That’s the location of the 2012 assault on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four Americans. When it happened, Rice went on TV and called the assault an act of spontaneous violence. That was later shown to be incorrect.

All these years later, it remains a rallying cry for Republicans. In fact, just this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on Fox News, and when asked about Rice’s criticism of President Trump regarding reports of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers, he responded by referencing Benghazi.

“She went out and made up a story about a video at a protest when she knew full well that this was a terror attack,” Pompeo said.

In the end, multiple GOP-led congressional inquiries into Benghazi uncovered no wrongdoing by the Obama administration.

Surely if in public life lying is the ultimate no no, the profusion of examples from the President make Ambassador Rice’s error excusable.

When should Biden disclose his choice? I would wait as long as possible to skip the flack regardless of who he picks. Would this highly educated, well qualified woman elicit sympathy when she is attacked. Maybe. Is her lack of political campaigning a dangerous shortcoming? To be determined, but she will have the benefit of the careful guidance from Biden and others to lean on.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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