I received a Biden-Harris Pre-Debate Focus Group email asking me if there is anything else that I would want to tell Joe as he prepares to face off against Trump (“We’ll select a few messages to pass along!”) I thought, sure, why not?
Hey Joe, thanks for the offer of inclusion. Sure, I have a few thoughts. I hope they help.
Stick to your game plan. Stay approachable, decent and well-informed. Continue to promote awareness about COVID, climate change, and science. Further the immigration, racial and civil rights conversations. Provide solutions after stating the problem. Propose actionable commitments that are Day 1 policies once you’re in.
Be a leader for all Americans. Make authenticity great again. Make accuracy great again. “Make A Great America” — channel JFK and why you first ran for public office, and please don’t forget that this, too, is a “big fucking deal.”
Talk about jobs. People love talking about jobs and they love to hear about new, better-paying ones even more. Especially from someone who was born in Scranton. Only people from Scranton have ever heard of Scranton (until you). Use that.
Don’t fall for the deflection/projection QAnon bullshit. Let it land on its own lonely runway far out of your purview. When the Pizzagate/pedophile/”Plane Of Deep State Thugs” Whac-A-Mole starts popping up — and it will, because what other tricks can Trump perform? — just stare at him, directly in his eyes, and remain steady and serious.
Turn the most expensive airtime available into a silent burial for his conspiracies. Underline his ignorance for the entire world to see, and without saying a word. Make him squirm like the alleged dealmaker he so proudly proclaims to be: sweating and sniffing alone on primetime. Deny him a response of anything unworthy of your lifelong career in public service. Deprive him of the narcissistic, sadist dopamine shot he needs to persist.
Let him talk himself out like a sleep-deprived toddler. Then ask, “Is that it?” or ”Are you done?” Then starkly lay out how your first day in office, with a new attorney general and a new task force led by VP Harris, will focus on criminal trials, tribunals and prison sentences for anyone found guilty — from caging children to negligent homicide — Trump, the family, Barr, Miller, all of them will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Bring class and character back to the main stage. Be the president. Even if for one night, give tens of millions of people the comfort and hope they so desperately need as a brief respite from the madness that is 2020. That has always been Trump — cruelty, chaos, and now descent into madness, taking the country with him.
Finally, and as I always tell anyone getting ready for one of the biggest gigs of their life, have fun. No matter what happens after Sept 29, or even Oct 15 and 22, you are a far better man than he will ever be. Don’t forget that. Any man who’s endured as much pain as you have — more than most will ever know, and yet still retaining the ability to smile — that, alone, makes you far more qualified for the People’s House than most before you.
You have my vote. Please honor it.