September 1, 2020

Nicolle Wallace and Jason Johnson discussed the recent Marquette polls that showed some pretty dismal numbers for Donald Trump in Wisconsin, though numbers for Black Lives Matter was plateauing. Support for Joe Biden remains strong in that purple state, and the nine point lead is substantial.

Wallace asked Dr. Johnson how Biden can strike a balance between showing strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement and also acknowledging the massive scale of human suffering that's taken place on Trump's watch due to his gross mishandling of COVID-19. He put on his professor's hat and ran down the list like he was teaching class.

JOHNSON: Yeah, Nicolle. A couple of things. I saw that same poll. I didn't find it particularly worrisome because, you know, it seemed like there was a moment for George Floyd. But that's returning to the mean. Over 50% of white America is not going to suddenly say they're comfortable with Black Lives Matter. But here's the thing. Regardless of what's happening in Kenosha or what's happening in Portland, it's just like what you've mentioned and other people have mentioned. The day-to-day lives of Americans, and the day-to-day lives of Black Americans and especially white Americans, is COVID. It's, "My husband is out of a job." "My hours have been reduced." "I can't work because my kids are right next to me." "My son or daughter has to sit outside Chipotle to use the free wifi because we had to cut our service back home." That's what people are dealing with every day.

So, while Trump can scream and yell about protests that happen in different parts of the city, that is not people's day-to-day existence, and that's why support for Black Lives Matter can go down, but support for Joe Biden can remain stable, because his ultimate message — and we're going to hear this crystal clear in about a month when we start getting into the debates — is, "You want four more years of this guy? Seriously? Do you? Because this is chaos. And I am a calming force in the wake of chaos." That's all Joe Biden has to do. Make sure that he protects people, protects voters, gets people to turn out and reminds America that we can't handle four more years of this craziness.

I would like to add that Joe Biden can certainly co-mingle support for Black Lives Matter with the scale of human suffering from COVID. It's not like Black people aren't suffering from the COVID crisis in exactly the same ways Dr. Johnson described. And there is solid evidence that Black and brown communities are suffering in numbers and ways exponentially worse than their white counterparts.

So, for Joe Biden, the answer should be clear. All COVID, all the time, in one form or another. From now until November 3rd.

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