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The Morning After

By Steve Hamelman

On the morning of November 4, 2020, I hope I awake to find that a Democratic candidate has been elected as the 46th President of the United States of America.

That he or she will be seen beaming across every big and little screen in the world.

That he or she will have beaten Donald Trump by a margin big enough to prevent a recount involving the Supreme Court and the machinations of which that jerry-rigged, Republican-stacked body is fully capable.

Before getting to that victorious moment, I, along with millions of like-minded Democrats, will have to weather many ups-and-downs in the polls, both within the party and between the two parties. Such vacillations will occur for many reasons, a prime one being what the candidates reveal about themselves on the nationally televised debates.

I saw last night’s debate, the third installment, the field now half of what it was a month ago.

One would think that, notwithstanding minor policy differences between the candidates, the reduced number of them would have resulted in a more unified and clear Democratic message.

Depending on your perspective, perhaps that was the result. At the same time, however, the unique qualities of each candidate became more pronounced. Their strengths and weaknesses were more defined, their idiosyncrasies more obvious even to the casual viewer.

Since it is the policy of the Horry County Democratic Party not to endorse or otherwise judge individual candidates until after the nomination, I will desist from commenting on any single performance. But it would be a disservice to the dialogue surrounding this momentous election cycle not to express concern about where it’s headed in general terms.

In other words, think of the consequences should the Republicans prevail in 2020.

Did last night’s debates lessen or increase the chance of that outcome?

Did the front runners, or any other candidate for that matter, express themselves with sufficient vigor and sincerity to reach Republicans sitting on the fence? To convince them to throw in their lot with the party of hope, change, and healing and to abandon their abominable leader and his vicious policies?

Did the front runners speak coherently, directly, and sensibly on how to solve the grave issues pressing in on Americans from all sides?

Did the Democratic candidates privileged to stand on that stage and represent what we Democrats feel and fear—did those men and women renew our faith and make us swell with pride?

These questions arise from misgivings and doubts, as much as from the sense of urgency and cautious optimism that I, along with many of those millions of fellow Democrats mentioned above, feel on this morning after the debates, where the same-old talking-points were offset by brand new gaffes.

Democrats, let’s get it together.

November 3, 2020 is just around the corner.

I don’t want to wake up the next day to a future in which American democracy, mauled by a regime led by an ever-more arbitrary and erratic ruler whom the Republican Senate and conservative Court have refused to check and balance, may very well expire.

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