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Spoiler alert! Donald Trump will be allowed to remain on the ballot this fall.

By Ben Jealous —

One way or another, the Supreme Court is going to decide that a state cannot remove Trump from based on the 14th amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding elected office. Trump is an insurrectionist. But that is not the question currently before the Court. The decision will likely be joined by some of the Court’s moderates. It could even be unanimous.

Regardless of the reasoning behind or the narrowness of the ultimate decision, another barrier will be removed for Trump. His base will be further energized.

Increasingly, the question on many people’s minds is this: with the Trump train picking up speed again, what can President Biden really do to stop it?

The first step is to recognize what we’re dealing with. Yes, many Americans are depressed about this election, and depressed about it being a rematch between the same people who were on the ballot last time. However, turnout will still be high.

It is still a presidential year. The media coverage will not let any of us escape constantly hearing about the election. And people know there is a ton at stake.

Each side sees a lot to fight against. Each side sees a lot to fight for. This election is likely to go to the side that working class America believes is fighting for them.

In order to understand working class America today, we have to understand a huge swath of working-class America generally has the same address. It is the place where the factory shut down and opiate addiction, meth addiction, and suicide shot up.

The economic and social struggles of this broad base of American society define the political moment that we are in. It is a populist one. This has allowed Donald Trump to speak to Americans’ anxieties with no intention of following through, and in completely dishonest ways.

Trump has been stealing Bernie Sanders’ talking points since back in 2016. Remember before the all the “rigged election” rhetoric, Trump spoke of the “rigged economy.” He truthfully told voters our healthcare system is broken but dishonestly said he would give us a better one. And, of course he lambasted NAFTA as the disaster it was. It was all empty rhetoric. Trump lacked the conviction, knowledge, and genuine desire to do anything about these issues.

Take the issue of trade. All of Trump’s tough “America first” talk about trade belies the fact that his policies would do nothing to ensure American competitiveness. Despite China being a favorite target from the stump, Trump would allow China to dominate the emerging global economy by preventing the domestic growth of the industries at its center.

The irony is that what working class America is demanding, Joe Biden is delivering. He is just not talking about it.

Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is reopening American factories, rebuilding American manufacturing, and creating jobs. Our current president is backing up industrial unions like the United Auto Workers when they find themselves in a real fight. And he is ensuring that America seizes the moment to lead the world economy in this century like we did the last one.

In a world where Donal Trump talks the talk and Joe Biden walks the walk, we should assume that the talker has the advantage. The only way to bridge that gap is for President Biden to start talking the talk too. As a guy from Scranton, he knows how to do it and it is authentically in his heart.

President Biden does not need to sound more like Trump. Trump is all bluster and aims only to foment anger. What President Biden needs to do is make it clear that when it comes to cars and energy, there is only one future: electric vehicles and renewable sources like solar and wind.

He needs to speak plainly about how if America does not seize these markets and support the manufacturing sectors behind these industries, China will. China already controls more than 80 percent of the world’s solar manufacturing capacity and the Chinese electric car industry is growing rapidly.

To be sure, there are many, many factors at play in this year’s election. But many of the big ones tie back to the working class. For instance, the gender gap has grown – but not necessarily in Biden’s favor. Women skew more heavily towards Biden in polls that follow public displays of Trump’s misogyny or news of his sexual assaults. But in general, recent polls are showing Biden’s base advantage with women has shrunk. Meanwhile, the gender gap for men skews more and more heavily towards Trump. That is driven by the trend among working-class men. And it is working-class men of all races – including growing numbers of Black men.

Democratic politicians need to get over their default inclination to disregard working-class white men in their messaging. It ultimately leads to disregarding working-class people across the board.

We all grew up hearing that actions speak louder words. But talking the talk is becoming more and more important in our politics. This is not a case against action. Rather, where President Biden is already showing great leadership with his actions, he needs to also make sure the American people hear about it.

Ben Jealous is the Executive Director of the Sierra Club and a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.


IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.