American Armageddon: The Fight for the Soul of the Nation, Part 2

A Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you very much for reaching out to me for advice. Well, ok, maybe you didn’t actually reach out to me, but you would have if you had been reading my blog. I understand. You have been going through a lot lately and have a lot on your mind. And by the way, terrific job on the State of the Union Address! You showed vitality, conviction, and fire-in-the-belly. This is important going forward if you are going to defeat the most dangerous candidate for President of the United States that we have ever seen. I don’t want to make you nervous. I know you know how high the stakes are and how narrow the road to victory. A false move here or there could mean disaster, but I have confidence you can do it. Here are ten things that I believe will give you an edge and lead to your reelection. The target audience, of course, are the independents, swing voters, and traditional Republicans fed up with Trump—and your focus will be on the six or seven swing states. I am assuming for the moment that there will be no convictions or jail time for your opponent before the election. If there are, your chances should improve, but in the crazy MAGA world, a conviction might even give Trump a lift. However, you will win if you follow my advice:

  1. Stay healthy and vigorous. The State of the Union address was a good start. Yes, you are old, and age will remain a concern for many voters. I am a few months older than you are. I cannot begin to fathom the pressure you are under as President of the United States, not to mention the challenges in running an all-out campaign. I could not do it, nor could anyone I know who is our age.  (And the hit job by Hur describing you as old and feeble with memory loss was a punch below the belt. Shame on him!) That you have been a great president in your first term makes you a superstar in my book and for many others. But since age seems to be the major factor in negative polling, you can’t let up with your vigor and energy, and you can’t afford a health or age-related stumble. Since you have over seven months to go, you will have to balance your energy level with a pace that is more akin to a marathon than a sprint. In your favor is the fact that Trump is only a few years younger and frankly shows more far more signs of aging than you do. If you were running against a Nikki Haley or a Ron DeSantis, it would be a different story, but you are facing another old codger, who does not seem to be playing with a full deck. Don’t let the voters forget the age of your opponent, his many incoherent remarks, and his gaffs.
  2. Showcase Kamala. This is related to the age issue. If something were to happen to you, your vice president would take over. Kamala Harris is not popular with many voters, not so much because of anything she has done or not done, but because we do not know that much about her. Give her more chance to shine and to stand out. Many voters this year will be thinking about the ticket as well as the presidency.
  3. Keep the focus on the main issue: democracy versus autocracy. This is the main issue of the campaign and do not let voters forget it. Trump is a wannabe dictator. If he gets elected, it will be the end of democracy in the United States. He has told us what he plans to do. This is the most important election in our lifetime and probably in American history.
  4. Spell out a plan for immigration and border control. This is a very complicated issue but a very important one with no easy or noncontroversial solution. But you need to have a plan that is fair, equitable and achievable, and that people can understand.
  5. Empathize with those struggling, even those who are now supporting Trump. Feel their pain, which is real. Continue to talk about your blue collar roots and your commitment to working people, White, Black, and Hispanic. Compare your roots with those of Trump, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, stiffed many contractors and working people, and has been convicted  of illegal business practices.
  6. Talk about the major accomplishments of your administration, keeping in mind that many do not yet believe or understand how these accomplishments have benefitted them personally. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was huge in creating jobs for people without college degrees. The majority of jobs and infrastructure projects are still to come. Your administration has aggressively addressed climate change and promoted clean energy. Under your leadership there has been low unemployment, higher wages for working people, and expanded health care and social benefits. The list is long. Focus on how this benefits middle income and working class individuals and families. Your foreign policy supporting Ukraine and opposing Putin is important for European stability and point out how your opponent’s plans could end NATO. Explain why inflation has been a problem but under your leadership has fallen off dramatically and is close to the Fed’s target. Compare your record to Trump’s and focus on how his tax breaks for the rich lead to higher inflation and sky rocketing deficits.
  7. Champion a woman’s right to choose and keep reminding people that Trump is responsible for the antiabortion policies due to his extremist Supreme Court appointments. If you are reelected, remind people you will work to overturn the antiabortion initiatives due mainly to Trump.
  8. Do not hold back from personal attacks on Trump. You can bet that he will use every ounce of his strength to go after you personally. He will mimic you, ridicule you and make fun of you. Give back to him what he deserves. He is a monster. Remind people of the indictments and (hopefully) the convictions. No more mister nice guy.
  9. Talk about tax policy and what you will do to level the playing field. The big corporations and the super-rich should pay their fair share. The biggest problem we face is the widening gap between the superrich and everyone else and the challenges of ordinary people who live from paycheck to paycheck.
  10. Stay the course, but do not make a big issue of the culture wars. Continue to support LGBTQ rights, and support DEI and ESG initiatives but do not make them a centerpiece of your campaign.

So, Mr. President, follow my advice and you will win. I have not mentioned voter turnout and boots on the ground and assume your campaign will be highly focused on that. It could make all the difference in swing states.

But there is one other thing that I have not mentioned, which may turn out to be the toughest of all, and that is the War in Gaza and the horrific scenes we see every day on the television news with children dying of starvation and innocent people in desperation. Over 30 thousand Palestinian have been killed–mostly women and children–many more have been wounded. Much of Gaza has been destroyed. Yet Israel persists, following the orders of its extreme right wing government. It is not your fault, Mr. President, but this war is bordering on genocide and crimes against humanity.

 It is not antisemitic to oppose what Netanyahu is doing to innocent people in Gaza. Yes, what Hamas did was worse, but is that the case now and does it justify atrocities against Gaza civilians? The U.S. has given billions of dollars to Israel, much of which has gone to support their supply of weapons, bombs, and ammunition. We don’t know if our money has gone into the war that has killed thousands of civilians in Gaza. If it has, we could be considered complicit. Virtually the entire world has turned against Israel except for the U.S., which historically been Israel’s chief ally. We are the only country in the UN Security Council to veto UN resolutions censoring Israel.

For many of your Democratic supporters—especially those with ties to Palestine—this is not acceptable. If the War in Gaza continues into the summer along the lines that it is now, you will likely lose the election in November. Many in the Progressive Wing of the party will stay home. You certainly will lose Michigan, a key swing state where there are many Palestinians, but probably other swing states as well. “Yes,” the Progressives will say, “we love you, Joe, but this atrocity has happened on your watch. We can’t vote for you.”

The counter argument goes, “The situation in Gaza is horrific, but Biden is far better than the alternative.” That is also correct, but people vote with their hearts, not their minds, and the hearts of many Progressive Democrats and others in the U.S. and around the world are broken by what they see happening to innocent people in Gaza. If this can’t be “fixed” –or at least substantially improved soon so that people are no longer starving to death and civilian casualties are drastically reduced–your chances of being reelected are slim. I know that you are working on this now. I am praying there will be a breakthrough.

And one final point: If your health begins to fail or if you have an incident which puts into question whether you can continue to campaign aggressively or to handle the demands of the Presidency, you should step aside and let the convention decide who is the Democratic candidate. I certainly hope that does not happen, but as one octogenarian to another, people our age do tend to slow down. Health issues do happen.

Thanks, Mr. President, for considering my advice. Good luck, give it all you’ve got, and stay healthy!

Your friend,


Joe Howell



4 thoughts on “American Armageddon: The Fight for the Soul of the Nation, Part 2

  1. Wonderful advice! It’s perfect. So balanced. Please send this to him and also submit as letter to the editor.

  2. Good advice, Joe! A few quick points:

    On #1, the Special Counsel’s interview transcript quoted Robert Hur as having said to President Biden, ‘You appear to have a photographic understanding and recall…” Surprise! That of course didn’t make it into the report.

    On #4, there actually was a Congressional plan for immigration and border control – bipartisan and workable – but Trump submarined it because he wanted to run on immigration and didn’t want Biden to get a win by solving it.

    On Gaza, you can be sure that a Trump administration would be worse… Trump loves fellow strongman Netanyahu, and is also a big fan of violence to solve any problem. So, whatever you think of Biden’s response to Gaza, it would clearly not be better under Trump.

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