I do not believe that there are any undecided voters left in Pennsylvania. I say this after watching the recent Town Hall in Philadelphia, where some allegedly “undecided” voters gathered to ask questions of Donald Trump at the Constitution Center.
Most of those who were given an opportunity to seek answers from the president were polite, at the most epidermal level. That is, they did not scream at him or hold up signs depicting him as Hitler, or accusing him of killing people during the pandemic. They were nicer to Trump than their parents were to Santa Claus a generation ago (you know, the one who had to duck snowballs).
But clearly there was a sense among the questioners and “undecided” voters that this man had not served them well during the last four years and their purpose in coming before the cameras was to make that obvious to a national audience.
There was the woman who said she’d been born with a pre-existing condition, who told the president to stop interrupting her and then, angered by what she saw as a non-responsive answer told reporters afterwards that she was voting for Joe Biden. As if that thought had inserted herself into her mind that evening.
There was the pastor who accused Trump of ignoring the plight of Black Americans, and making fun of his “Make America Great Again” slogan by saying, in response to the question as to when America had been good to minorities, “I don’t feel like he adequately answered (my question) but essentially in doing so, he actually did. America was never great for Black Americans in the ghetto.”
There was the man who said that he had voted for Trump in 2016 and who was suffering from the same sort of diabetes that killed my grandmother, who accused the president to his face of throwing people “like me under the bus,” and then concluded that Trump was “lying through his teeth.”
Yes, these really sound like undecided voters.
I honestly don’t have a problem with people asking tough questions of the men or women who run for public office, particularly this highest of public offices. In fact, it is malfeasance and malpractice on the part of U.S. citizens not to demand answers to our concerns, clarification of our doubts and ambiguity, appreciation of our priorities and an understanding of our hopes.
What I do have a problem with, a very big one, is when people who have already made up their minds about a candidate take up valuable space, under false pretenses and under the guise of being even handed. The people at that town hall were Biden voters, as clear and as obvious as the mediocrity of the Eagles last Sunday.
I don’t blame ABC for pretending that they were actually the type of voters who might actually be sitting on that razor thin fence we pretend still exists. The network needs ratings, after all, and presenting the president with a slew of people who came out and admitted they’d be voting against him would have been a bit of a yawnfest.
But just as that fellow with diabetes said that Trump had lied to him through his teeth, I personally don’t like being lied to by a network that used to field great journalists like Howard K. Smith, Frank Reynolds, Ted Koppel and Peter Jennings. There was nothing “undecided” in either the questions or demeanor of those Pennsylvanians, despite what I was snookered into believing.
There might be one or two people out there in the hinterlands who at this juncture still don’t know who they are going to vote for. But do not tell me that a group of hostile Philadelphians gathered at the Constitution Center declaring their vote for Biden and that Trump is a liar constitutes a legitimate crowd of people with open minds.
To paraphrase Kamala Harris, that little girl who was told by her father not to swallow manure and pretend it was chocolate? That little girl, Mr. Stephanopoulos, was me.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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