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After the 2016 debacle, paying too much attention to polls is a little like buying a used car from someone with a police monitor strapped to his ankle. What looks bright and shiny now could sputter and die down the road.

I have always believed that one of the most significant factors as far as Hillary Clinton’s loss was concerned was the false sense of security that wafted off of the polls like the aroma from a just baked apple pie. Why go to all the trouble of voting when Clinton was a shoo-in? That security, of course, was bolstered by the fact that no sensible person could imagine that people in one of the most advanced nations on earth could possibly elect a nincompoop like Donald Trump to the presidency.

Mrs. Clinton also had the fact that she was a woman to contend with and I’m sure that part of Trump’s appeal to the basest of his base was the fact that he kept women in their place and that place was certainly not telling men what to do.

She also had the Great Big Email Scandal that the Republicans had inflated to a scale that would dwarf the Hindenburg.

It has probably occurred to most astute observers by now that Republican operatives are trying to do the same tempest-in-a-teapot thing to Joe Biden. You have to pay a grudging respect to a political party tasked with the job of finding something about an opponent that is actually worse than what Trump does all the time. Talk about the impossible dream!

The manufactured furor this time out is over Mr. Biden’s alleged interference in Ukraine on behalf of his son Hunter’s employment at Burisma, a gas company. The completely unsubstantiated allegations against both Bidens were promoted by Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal lawyer now that the previous one is in jail, and the motley collection of international lowlifes and Russian agents Rudy pals around with these days.

I’m not sure I would put much faith in any findings by a man who offers the excuse that he was “tucking in his shirt” when, after inviting someone he believes is a female reporter into his hotel bedroom, he lies down and sticks his hands into his pants. Mr. Giuliani has finally worked his way down to the level that his client has always operated on, but it is still a reasonable question to ask how a man who once had a promising career has fallen so low.

One of the big problems with pushing a supposed scandal in Ukraine involving Biden is the fact that it is the same country that Mr. Trump was attempting to bribe/coerce into conducting a bogus investigation into the man he considered to be his most potent roadblock to reelection. Joe Biden’s potential threat may have been one of the very few instances when Donald Trump was actually right, but the sleazy maneuver still got him impeached.

A Republican-led senate inquiry into the allegations found no evidence of wrongdoing on Mr. Biden’s part. The FBI concluded that the so-called evidence found on a laptop that Hunter Biden conveniently neglected to retrieve from a repair shop in Delaware was likely peppered with the same kind of Russian disinformation that helped elect Trump four years ago.

Mr. Trump was mercilessly cruel during the first debate concerning Hunter Biden’s admittedly difficult history, sneering about addictions and hurling unsubstantiated claims of rampant corruption. Neither Trump nor the bright lights he sired have ever spent a day in the military, but that didn’t stop him from claiming — falsely — that Hunter Biden had been dishonorably discharged from the Navy. Son Donald, you may recall, didn’t run any discharge risk because a doctor owed Fred Trump a favor and so bone spurs became a part of the national lexicon.

Trump got a lot of credit for suppressing his bad seed temperament during the final debate with Mr. Biden on Oct. 22. I still don’t see the point of debating with someone who proffers up lies as easily as McDonald’s cranks out Happy Meals, but the president kept almost as tight a rein on interruptions as he did on reality.

Despite the fact that infections have reached a level in the United States that the country hasn’t experienced since July, Mr. Trump still adamantly refuses to recognize the gravity of the situation. His chronic detachment reminded me of a song intended to lift spirits during the Great Depression in the 1930s: “Just around the corner there’s a rainbow in the sky. So let’s have another cup of coffee and let’s have another piece of pie.” People starved to death during the depression and no cheery song by any entertainer changed that. People are dying by the thousands in 2020, but Donald Trump is still pitching his coffee and pie platitudes.

Mr. Biden, speaking to adults, warned of a “dark winter” ahead.

There are some hopeful signs that bolster what most of the polls are predicting. Prominent among them is something I have been waiting to see for a very long time: A barely noticeable, but still perceptible inching away from Trump by Republicans. It was, of course, inevitable that when support among his cult-like following showed signs of weakening, the old guard in the GOP, who have either condoned or excused every Trumpian outrage for the past four years, would rise up in haughty indignation at the antics of such an undisciplined character and toss him to the wolves.

The American people, however, should never forget the culpability of members of the Republican Party who have, either by silence or complicity, allowed one completely awful human being to systematically diminish or destroy the values and traditions that have guided this nation for well over two centuries.

If we forget, it will happen again.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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