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Bunkered-down Trump opens fire on Biden

Denied his customary public platform by the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump has turned his verbal arsenal of lies and hatred directly at prospective Democratic nominee Joe Biden, hoping to blunt his steady rise in the polls and avoid defeat in the November election.

The president has sunk to questioning Biden’s lifelong Catholic faith and calling him “against God.” Trump meanwhile continues to brush off evidence of his own misbehavior in paying hush money to at least two women with whom he had sexual trysts, as well as charges of sexual assault and generally treating women horribly.

He thus invites voter examination of his own moral record as a thrice-married, twice-divorced man as opposed to Biden, who lost his first wife and an infant daughter in a car accident 48 years ago and has lived in a restored family with his second wife of the last 43 years.

At the same time, the former vice president has elicited complaints of being too intrusive of women’s personal space, out of an affectionate nature, but he also has a reputation for old-fashioned courtliness toward them. A woman accused Biden earlier this year of sexual assault, but the allegation faded under close press scrutiny.

Trump, on his own record as a political assassin of all who dare oppose him, can be expected continue his anything-goes strategy against Biden. It was first seen in his effort to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by withholding nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to obtain political dirt on Biden and his son Hunter, who had been on the board of a giant Ukrainian energy firm.

The effort led to the House of Representatives’ impeachment of Trump, subsequently negated by Senate Republican acquittal. Trump eventually released the aid money, although the sought investigation never took place.

Since then, Trump has steadily found other means to disrupt or derail Biden’s steady pursuit of the Oval Office after a dismal showing in the early 2020 state primaries and a sudden landslide revival in the South Carolina Democratic primary, driven by a substantial Black voter support there and in succeeding primaries.

As his strongest challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, soon withdrew, Biden swiftly consolidated his party behind him, as the coronavirus pandemic effectively forced the 2020 presidential campaign to the sidelines and essentially to a crawl. The current hiatus has thrown a monkey wrench into Trump’s massive rally strategy.

At the same time, it has given Biden much time to cement his party solidarity and to plan not only the rest of his campaign, but also to chart his intended course as the next White House occupant, promising an “FDR-style presidency” to tackle our current economic challenges.

Considering the current shutdown of the economy and perhaps of many of the nation’s schools as well, Trump finds himself facing a much more formidable Democratic foe than he probably ever anticipated. Thus he now also pivots to the election process itself, seeking life preservers in undermining voting by mail.

He warns not only of fraud in the mail-in itself, but also in tardy tabulations that could eclipse the 2000 Bush vs. Gore fiasco in Florida, and he hints of not accepting the outcome if it goes against him. Such a defiance is of course unthinkable in the world’s greatest democracy. But similarly unthinkable was Trump’s 2016 election itself.

So Joe Biden and his adherents should brace themselves for a down-and-dirty roller-coaster ride from now until Nov. 3 and possibly beyond.

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