Amidst the global effort to stop the Coronavirus pandemic, the United States of America is in the heart of its presidential election cycle. While it almost seems unimportant compared to the life and death situations which are being faced all over the world, there is no time like a crisis to reinforce the importance of strong leadership. When decisions are the most difficult and the stakes are most consequential, is the time when you know whether or not the right person is at the helm. Undoubtedly, Donald Trump has risen to the occasion in the U.S. so far, though his biggest challenge may be yet ahead.
While the invisible enemy of CV-19 has tested his presidency, the more daunting task of resuscitating a once booming economy will be the challenge of a lifetime. He chose to put his own economy in a self-induced coma and knows he needs to bring it to life once again. To do so too soon could mean a widespread recurrence of the virus, but to do so too late could mean much of the economy may be beyond resuscitation. It will take nerves of steel and confident resolve to precisely determine that perfect balance.
Even though the American people are frustrated and fearful, the approval ratings for President Trump have been some of the highest of his presidency. He has been transparent and forthcoming, he has spoken to the nation with an authentic blend of caution and confidence, demonstrating mastery of all elements of the crisis himself, while surrounding himself with respected advisers in specific areas of expertise. He has taken questions for several hours every week on live television and done so with remarkable calm and clarity, peppered, of course, with a few moments of typical Trumpesque pushback on journalists who he feels are not treating him fairly.
President Trump comes across as being in full command of the situation, though openly admits he doesn’t always have the answers, and often says, “we will need to wait and see”. The American people have appreciated his decisiveness, his direct communication, and his consistent reminder that this will pass and our economy will rebound – and will do so quickly. This is not an economic crisis, but is a global health crisis which has paralysed our economy. Americans are waiting for the green light to return to work and will do so eagerly as soon as they safely can.
In stark contrast to President Trump’s lengthy, live television briefings, the American people are also getting periodic broadcasts from Joe Biden in his basement bunker. These strange and scattered videos and interviews are not helping his presumptive nomination as the Democrat candidate to run against Donald Trump. Instead, they are making his own party terribly nervous about his suitability for office. From incomplete sentences to incoherent thoughts, from not being able to remember a list of two things (even though they’re written down on the paper in front of him which he is obvious about referring to), to confusion about names or days or details, the former Vice President is appearing unprepared, ill-equipped and unsuitable to lead.
In these messages to supporters, Joe Biden often suggests actions the president has already taken, he criticizes decisions which have already proven effective, and changes his position on issues in a dizzying blur of self contradiction. And while many consider him to be a more moderate candidate, he has continually moved left to appeal to Bernie Sanders voters and has adopted policy prescriptions that are as progressive and dangerous as Sanders’ platform. Make no mistake, Joe Biden is no moderate.
As Joe Biden struggles with the simplicity of one-way, scripted video messages, one can’t help but feel sorry for him as clearly he is not up to even that elementary task, with no chance of navigating the complexities required of a President of the United States. While many say he is doing his best, we should listen to the words of Winston Churchill, who wisely stated, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.” Americans are doubting Joe Biden would be capable of doing what is required, yet are increasingly grateful that President Trump is.