Former Vice-President Joe Biden is shown at the second inauguration of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh in Jan. 2018. Chris Lovett photo
The choice could not be clearer: I’ll cast my vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris next Tuesday. A lopsided proportion of my neighbors, if they haven’t already, will do the same.
This is not wishful thinking. In 2016, the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won 80.5 percent of the vote in Boston. Trump-Pence finished the day with 13.8 percent of the vote citywide.
The Republican ticket did not carry a single precinct in the city of Boston four years ago. The closest Trump came to winning a polling station here was at Florian Hall (16-12), where he received 46 percent. He also performed well at Dorchester’s Kenny School (16-9, Adams Corner) with 42 percent.
It won’t be that close this time, even in rose-colored, mainly-white enclaves. While it won’t surprise anyone to know that Trump is on track to get thumped in historic fashion in Boston, it is the margin of the thumping that portends bigger trouble for the GOP far beyond the 617 area code.
This week, a poll conducted by UMass and WCVB-TV finds that Biden holds a 35-point lead over Trump in Massachusetts. If it holds true, that means that Biden will defeat Trump in the Bay State by a margin that will be 8 points larger than Clinton’s victory in 2016.
Boston, which was already going to break big for any Democrat challenging this president, will also likely see a bump in the margin. Joe Biden— an Irish Catholic who hails from a working-class section of Scranton, PA that is not unlike our own neighborhood— is more appealing to right-leaning voters who share his ancestry and faith.
This time, there is little of the gender bias and animosity in play that animated the anti-Clinton vote in 2016. And Kamala Harris, herself a promising and accomplished national leader, is a compelling running mate who will make history as the first woman and first person of color to serve as vice president. She is likely to drive up turnout too.
But, it’s the anti-Trump sentiment that’s the big motivator here in Boston and across the Commonwealth. There has been ample grist for that mill over the last four years. The phony businessman persona cultivated on staged TV vehicles like The Apprentice has been thoroughly exposed for what it always was: a fraud. Worse still, Trump has not at any point checked the most dangerous elements of fringe America: white supremacists and anti-government fascists. Instead, he has enabled and empowered them. Each of these individual offenses should be disqualifying on its own.
Most recently, though, it’s the rank incompetence of Trump’s administration when faced with a legitimate domestic crisis that has taken center stage. We literally could not have picked a worse person to lead the nation through Covid.
Our state, and especially our neighborhoods, have been hard hit by the outbreak that Trump and his team clearly fumbled early, often, and right up until this writing.
Meanwhile, as this bizarre and ghastly election year has worn on, Biden’s finest qualities have proven a stark and welcome contrast to the pouting, petulant, and poisonous individual whom he’ll succeed in the White House. It’s easy to see why President Obama chose him as his running mate.
Like Obama, Biden’s empathy, his sense of decency, his innate respect for people, and for the institutions of our nation, come through in an authentic way. Like Obama, he chose a former rival, Harris, who was perhaps his sharpest critic in the primary season, to run alongside him. It was not only a shrewd electoral choice; it also demonstrated that when it comes to governing, Biden is eager to get different ideas and not just hire sycophants who will tell him what he wants to hear.
Biden is the right choice for a nation in crisis— and not just because he is not Donald J. Trump. His life has prepared him for this moment. And the choice has never been more clear.
– Bill Forry
Bill Forry is the Managing Editor of Boston Irish and Editor and Publisher of the Dorchester Reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @BillForry